The Trainjotting Product Review: 4G Blackberry Torch


So my old 3G Blackberry died last week, and the workplace gave me the brand new 4G BlackBerry Torch in its place.

Most notably, it’s a considerably larger phone. It’s bigger in the hand, and heavier in the pocket. I might even guess that it’s double the weight of the classic Blackberry.

The Torch also has both a touch screen and a sliding face that opens up to a traditional QWERTY keyboard (I know there are technical terms for these features, but I don’t know what they are). I’ve tried typing on the touch screen, but my fingers are just too large to hit the right keys, skinny as they are. Hitting the larger icons on the touch screen is no problem.  

After a week, I’ve decided that the old 3G was better for bare bones operations on the fly, such as checking to see if the boss emailed while you are hoofing it fast to the train station.

The 4G Torch, on the other hand, is much better when you’re sitting and have two hands free and can relax while operating. The interface owes a debt of gratitude to the iPhone or iPad, with prominent and colorful icons for Messages, Contacts, Browser, etc. The Torch instinctively groups your most commonly used features under Favorites, which is handy, and means you can be playing Word Mole after just one click.

I also like that the Browser automatically tailors a website’s size to the screen; with the old 3G, you had to click to make the type large enough to read, but inevitably made it too large to fit on the screen, and had to go through the process again before settling on a type size that was never quite large enough to read comfortably.

The camera also has much, much faster shutter speed, and can actually take a picture of something that’s moving, which the 3G could not without turning the pic into a giant swirl of blur. That came in handy when Little G was playing soccer over the weekend; although the youth’s lack of foot speed made the 3G’s slow shutter speed less of an issue.

I haven’t read the manual yet, and at times have ended up staring at screens that I don’t remember clicking towards in the Browser. But overall, the interface is quite good.

The only downside, then, is the larger size of the Torch, and the fact that the battery needs to be recharged almost every day. It was fully charged yesterday morning, and is in the yellow zone of battery life right now.

In the modern technological world, it seems every new iteration of something does more, is smaller and lasts longer without a charge. The Torch, like Rick Perry, got two out of three right.

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