BlackBerry Torch: The Initial Verdicts

The first real reviews of RIM's BlackBerry Torch are in. They make for an interesting contrast, because in many ways the point-by-point conclusions are similar-but there's no consensus about whether the glass is half full or half empty.

[See Related: RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800: A Visual Tour & New BlackBerry Torch Fires Up RIM's Smartphone Lineup]

As usual, the last paragraphs of the reviews are concise summaries of the bottom lines in question...

Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal isn't a raving fan, but he's pretty upbeat:

Overall, the Torch and the BlackBerry 6 operating system are good products that improve the BlackBerry experience considerably and bring the device closer to its newer rivals.

Joshua Topolsky of Engadget is disappointed:

The Torch seems sluggish, underpowered, and dated from a hardware design standpoint, and BlackBerry 6, despite its new features and polish, still feels woefully behind the curve. To call the Torch the "best BlackBerry ever" wouldn't be an understatement, but unfortunately for RIM and the faithful, their best isn't nearly good enough.

Matt Buchanan of Gizmodo is even less impressed:

Maybe RIM's too big, too entrenched to build the kind of phone that'll make people want a BlackBerry again. But they could've at least given the damn thing a better screen.

But Sascha Segan of PCMag.com says the phone has its place:

The state of the art in Android and Apple phones has vaulted into super-high-res screens, 4G radios, tens of thousands of apps, and glorious 3D games. The BlackBerry Torch doesn't live in that world: it's for people who live on e-mail, IM, Facebook and Twitter, for whom typing updates and messages is their number-one priority. For them, the Torch will be a shining light.

Nobody thinks the phone is transcendent-but come to think of it, I'm not sure if there's ever been a smartphone based on a venerable existing platform that's been greeted as a great leap forward. At least I can't think of a Windows Mobile, Symbian, or Palm OS one that changed everything...

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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