Monday, 6 December 2010

Blackberry Torch

If we're being totally honest, if you're lucky enough to have the choice of Android, Apple, Windows, Bada, or even Symbian, its very easy to overlook a new blackberry handset release as 'insignificant'. For many years now, Rim devices have had 'issues'. Issues that have annoyed, angered, infuriated many an ordinary customer and likewise sales rep. Bluetooth file transfer anyone? Menu's within menu's upon menu's, with sub menu's and sub sections have made the most simple of tasks daunting or impossible. A blackberry without a user manual, is like abseiling equipment in the hands of say, Susan Boyle.
But here it is, the latest release of Blackberrys operating system, I forget which number they're up to and for the sake of this review, it's irrelevant anyhow. Lets get started.
Boot up is difficult as the battery has zero charge in it. Nevertheless I hunt down a compatible Micro USB charger and plug it in. If the EU have done anything right, its standardising mobile phone chargers. Not quite sure how Apple manage to get away with their USB cable uniqueness though? Possibly because they're designed and made in California, although obviously they're sold in the EU. Anyway, after a normally long boot up time, the blackberry is now ready for action.
I'm told that there is no sim card in, which is a worry as there is. It's just not a connected one. No matter, I log onto wifi and hook up to the store wifi. I boot up the web brower and point it to apple.com. The page loads quickly enough, although typing in the address was the usual, alt affair to get the full stop. Still, no typo's with a full qwerty keyboard. The first thing you notice is, this is no galaxy S screen or retina display. Yes, its clearly the best screen on any blackberry I've seen, but it's not wonderful. Double tapping the screen zooms into portions and helps visibility. Opening a bealtes video, (yes, the Beatles are on iTunes, surely we all know now?) Quicktime movie link tries to open and the window displays, but the video doesn't start. The world wide web does seem to be giving smartphone developers a bit of a challenge. Or a headache! You tube is far more successful, a click on the first video and it opens the video immediately. It does look a smidge blocky though, as if its being compressed. But the speaker is excellent. I check the main screen and hit the menu key, from here I have to select 'open tray' (two buttons to open the main menu) I look for an easier way, but alas, there doesn't appear to be one. There are quick links to favourites across the bottom though. Click and hold doesn't work to drag onto the favourites, knowing the BB way, I select an icon and click the menu button, There it is, mark as favourite. I press the end call key, but infuriatingly this doesn't return me to the home screen. The back arrow takes me back. Sure enough, in my favourites is the icon. Menu>Remove gets rid. The dock across the bottom consists of Favourites, Media, Downloads, All and Frequent. The top four of these icons are shown. Brushing down opens THE TRAY! It can be done. Just goto All, swipe down. The Camera looks ok, it boots up fine and takes photo's. Facebook works and looks ok. The calendar is ok on first glance, Month view involves clicking the BB menu button and scrolling to view>Week>Day>Month, by comparison on the iphone, this same task is done with one button click. It plays music, it does video, there's a calculator, tasks, word, even presenter, is anyone still there?
To summarise, it has everything a smart phone should have. It does it all relatively competently. The menu's look smart and navigation is ok, I suppose, but its not the most intuitive by comparison. In all, there is nothing that really excites me. If I got one as a company mobile as has happened in the past, I most likely wouldn't choose it as my first phone. I find it hard to put my finger on what it is thats missing. Perhaps its the way everything has to be 'found out' perhaps it's bias from previous disappointments. But nothing whatsoever about this handset excites me.
Its a massive leap for Blackberry in the right direction. But its a massive leap into a big muddy puddle.

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