My Blackberry Bold has been rebooting on me regularly, so today I got an upgrade. The Blackberry Torch is a nice... Blackberry. It is not an iPhone. It is not an Android device. But in the world of road-warriors and government officials, there is no business device better than a blackberry for real mobile productivity, and the Torch is the best Blackberry yet.
Touch - Welcome to the world of touch screens (lets pretend the Storm never happened, 'kay?). The interesting thing about this User Interface is that you have options. You have so many options that I can't figure out which way I am supposed to do a particular task. Users of Blackberries have been used to the wheel/ball movement for years now, but with the use of a good touch interface, it is no longer required. However, Blackberry left the mini-magic-scroll-thingy just to confuse us. I find myself trying to navigate with the scroll feature while knowing full well I could just touch the screen. Its weird, but the touch is good and responsive. It was the first soft keyboard I did not hate. My fat fingers only miss-typed about 10% of the time, which means if I made the effort, I could get good at it. I do not have to.
Keypad - My favorite part of a Blackberry. A like a real keyboard on the phone, not a soft keypad. More than that, I like having it small enough to type with one hand. Most hard keyboards make you flip the device landscape and use two hands. Having the slide out for the portrait oriented keypad is a great mix. I am still uncomfortable with sliding the touchscreen up to reveal the keypad because I am concerned about pressing something I am not supposed to. I'm sure this is just a familiarity issue that will go away over time.
Speed - feels faster than the Bold. Faster is better!
Resolution - Devices out there today have really small pixels. I feel like I could measure these with a standard ruler. You just can't get as sharp as you can with the iPhone, or other devices (Atrix, Galaxy S, etc.).
Opera - To be fair this is not Blackberry's fault, but the blackberry browser will have to do for now since Opera does not recognize the Torch's touchscreen. Disappointing to say the least.
All told, its a good phone. For Blackberry users, it is a HUGE leap forward, while still maintaining a business feel. A few years ago, BB pushed hard to pitch themselves as a young/hip alternative. It didn't fly then, and its not going to now with the phones that are available, but for business, when your phone is primarily a phone/email device, BB wins.
Perhaps when the Blackberry Playbook comes out, I can figure out a way to need one.