10 reasons why the BlackBerry Torch got sent back

10 reasons why the BlackBerry Torch got sent back

Summary: The BlackBerry Torch was a perfect phone on paper for younger consumers and students alike. But in practice it failed and flopped. 10 reasons why you should not upgrade to a Torch.

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To say that the BlackBerry Torch is the worst steaming pile of phone to have ever had the blessing of holding in one's hand, it would be grossly too kind.

Having to endure a week of this phone made me genuinely question my ability to function. My paranoid mind raged to its limits as I convinced myself I was in a hidden camera show, as the people at Research in Motion watched and gazed from afar, enjoying every moment of frustration that I endured.

The device has qualities where written on paper would be attractive and appealing to younger users, students in particular. Yet with a brisk walk across any college campus, you would be forgiven in thinking that the device even existed in the first place. A sea of BlackBerry and iPhones in the hands of young and older people alike, but not a single Torch.

My old rule applies. "Theory does not always equal practice."

I upgraded to a Torch after a long wait of network uncertainty after my existing contract expired. Within days of upgrading and having the device in my hands, I put forward a request to my network to cancel the contract upgrade and to return the handset.

Why?

The market becomes tried and tested by standards in technology. While it seems counter productive for newer, younger consumers like the Generation Y to revert back to seemingly 'old' technology and regressive operating systems, the younger consumer prefers to get a feel for the market.

There is no point in spending what little cash they have on technology that hasn't been tested by unfettering, foolish friends with more money than sense. They'll see a great experience from someone they know using technology they like the look of, and follow suit. It's why so many younger people have BlackBerrys or iPhones above anything else.

1. The device is disproportionately weighted

The Torch is very heavy for a phone, weighing in at 161g. The iPhone 4 is 137g and the popular BlackBerry Bold series range from 122g for newer models and 136g for older models alike. Suffice to say, you could use the Torch as a blunt instrument to kill someone with.

The biggest annoyance, however, is the slide-out keyboard is lighter than the screen, so your hands are pulled away from you by the sheer force of gravity when you type on the hardware keyboard, making it almost impossible to type.

2. There's an app for that...

Social applications already exist in OS 6, the operating system running on the Torch and available for some other handsets too. But this only allows you to post statuses across MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger and to read other status updates. For a Twitter reader, it's not so bad. As an interactive social feature, it falls flat on its face.

There are already a plethora of applications available, including Facebook and Twitter for BlackBerry which, in conjunction with both respective companies, are developed and produced by Research in Motion.

3. Touch and type: one or the other

If you write with one hand, you shouldn't be encouraged to write with the other. Not only will you get messy handwriting but you'll quickly develop a headache, start mumbling your words, soil yourself and your head will subsequently explode. This is what using the touch and type features on the Torch is like.

You can keep the slider down and touch like a Storm or an iPhone, and in all fairness for balance and objectivity which this article fails miserably in, the touch screen isn't all that bad. I'd personally put it as better than Android, but nowhere near in the same league as the iPhone or iPod touch.

But when the screen slides up and the keyboard emerges, you are wedged into a paradox time vortex where mixing touch and typing becomes an allegory for a rectal craniotomy.

Menu madness, Exchange support and battery life »

4. Menu madness

Existing BlackBerry users know full well that to access the full menu, you push the BlackBerry key. On an OS 6 device like the Torch, it essentially wants you to do it again for no good reason; all in the name of adding 'favourite' and 'recently used' sub-menus which slide out on screen behind the menu.

But for users set in their ways will just want to access their full screen menu without the extra pushing of buttons. Why they changed this is anybody's guess.

5. Massively underpowered

Jason Hiner hits the nail on the head. The Torch is massively underpowered and is clear as day to anyone who uses it that the sluggishness and slow responsiveness of the operating system can be likened to the speed of a crushed snail. The 624 MHz CPU chip does not do it justice; with many other phones in the same bracket having higher processing functions, Hiner states.

6. Still no Exchange support; not for businesses

There is still no Exchange support. Nokias can do it, and you can sync up using the desktop software, but there is no in-built over-the-air function to synchronise your calendar, tasks and push email. Instead, for those using Exchange-supported email and calendars, including both Google Apps and Microsoft Live@edu services for students, have to resort to IMAP protocols to send and receive email only, or pay through the nose for NotifySync to support Exchange.

7. Battery life is beyond awful

The only way you can get more than a full day of battery life out of the Torch, is if you either live in Narnia where Torch batteries grow on trees, or if you live in a nuclear centrifuge which somehow recharges your battery using magical airwaves in your own little 'imagination-land'. 'Nuff said.

8. No screen-orientation lock

The screen acts like Jason Bourne on Ritalin, to quote the infamous Malcolm Tucker. Unlike the iPhone, the BlackBerry Torch doesn't have an orientation lock, meaning when you are sitting or lying in generally considered comfortable positions away from the desk - on a bench, on a beach, in bed or after using this phone for a week, on train tracks, the screen jumps from one orientation to another.

For I and many other students like working in bed, this makes using the Torch, combined with the gravity defying weight of the device, makes it impossible to work with.

9. Lack of Storm-Torch application compatibility

Considering the similarity of the Storm to the Torch - both with a similar interface, hardware, touch-screen and screen resolution, yet many applications for the Storm are not yet compatible for the Torch. Of course, the disparity in operating system between OS 5 for the Storm and OS 6 for the Torch mean those upgrading may be in for a shock.

10. It isn't an iPhone, or a real BlackBerry

It just isn't. Oh - and I appear to have reached the end of my argument on this one.

The most frustrating element to the Torch is that on paper it is designed for the student and the younger multimedia-loving consumer. It's the BlackBerry that never was; far from the business and enterprise minded person to the fun loving kid on the block, but it failed and flopped in my hands.

Have you tried the Torch? Are you considering getting one? What do you think?

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, BlackBerry

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41 comments
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  • RE: 10 reasons why the BlackBerry Torch got sent back

    Odds are you had an old firmware on it, the latest solved many issues like the low battery life. crackberrys has a how to on upgrading.

    And for you as a student, this wasn't a good phone choice IMO. Complaining about weight? no business person I've met has ever put that as a top 10 complaint.
    This phone to me, is better for the business person, that wanted something new, something better than their existing rollerball blackberry curve, or other BB model, for something "new and hip." But still wanted to retain BBM, wanted to retain "secure," and has been using a BB for years.
    Outside of that, it was an incremental upgrade to me, I have one, and it works, not without its quirks though..
    unredeemed
  • RE: 10 reasons why the BlackBerry Torch got sent back

    No Exchange support? If you've already got Exchange it's no charge for BES express. If you have no control over Exchange then you don't own the Exchange anyway.

    But hey, at least you've got BBM that no other phone has.
    Samic
    • RE: 10 reasons why the BlackBerry Torch got sent back

      @Samic You're right. BES works with Exchange, and those running Exchange Servers can use BES Express which is free. Yet Exchange Online, supported by Live@edu and partly Google (contact sync, for example) isn't supported. Users have to rely on BIS which supports IMAP from Exchange and Google.
      zwhittaker
      • RE: 10 reasons why the BlackBerry Torch got sent back

        @zwhittaker Outsourced Exchange can be hit-or-miss. At my last position we had outsourced Exchange, and it was pretty simple to enable both BES and android activesync as needed. However, not sll outsourced Exchange services have this capability, so it's a good idea to shop around.
        Scott Raymond
  • RE: 10 reasons why the BlackBerry Torch got sent back

    Blackberry? that term is so 2004 LOL, I would go ahead and sell all RIM stock if you own any...
    Hasam1991
    • RE: 10 reasons why the BlackBerry Torch got sent back

      Don't feed Hasam the troll.
      nicholas22
  • RE: 10 reasons why the BlackBerry Torch got sent back

    I absolutely agree... I sent mine back with only 2 days of frustation. Above all the screen now goes blank and touch is not recognized when it does turn on. It is a piece of garbage and the worst ever phone one could create. This shows RIM is totally down... It is time they take a bow and f@##K the hell off! Atleast then my company would stop shoving BB down my throat.
    browser.
  • RE: 10 reasons why the BlackBerry Torch got sent back

    I take it, Zack, you didn't like the phone? GRIN!

    BTW, did you create the graphic used in your blog post? (The one showing the Torch being squeezed).
    kenosha77a
    • RE: 10 reasons why the BlackBerry Torch got sent back

      @kenosha7777 Yep.
      zwhittaker
      • RE: 10 reasons why the BlackBerry Torch got sent back

        @zwhittaker

        Good Job!
        kenosha77a
  • RE: 10 reasons why the BlackBerry Torch got sent back

    Can't disagree with you more. My accessment is totally the opposite. As a BlackBerry user, the Torch is a fantastic blend of Touch and QWERTY. I love it. As for my 23 year old daughter in Med school. She received one for Christmas and loves it too.
    CNOR12
    • RE: 10 reasons why the BlackBerry Torch got sent back

      @CNOR12 I think it does come down to personal preference. I use my (now) Bold for work a great deal, so I need to write on the go and to communicate with others. The Torch is not really designed to be 'productive', while other BlackBerrys are. iPhones are great too - have you seen this? http://www.zdnet.com/blog/igeneration/medical-students-given-iphones-for-field-work-experience/6292
      zwhittaker
    • RE: 10 reasons why the BlackBerry Torch got sent back

      @CNOR12
      assessment
      roger that
  • RE: 10 reasons why the BlackBerry Torch got sent back

    #11. Ugly, didn't work, outdated, slow, too pricey.
    james347
    • RE: 10 reasons why the BlackBerry Torch got sent back

      @james347 For once, we agree.
      zwhittaker
  • Orientation lock

    Is pretty easy to use, slide it open. If that's not sufficient, there's always sixtools by shaosoft available on app world.
    rtk
  • RE: 10 reasons why the BlackBerry Torch got sent back

    Thankfully i purchased mine from Wirefly, adn i did upgrade from the bold as a gap before the iPhone5 comes out next year. I LIKE mine-its like iPhone lite and gives me an opportunity to play with a touchscreen. I have been a loyal Blackberry guy for 5 years, and believe this to be the best phone yet-agree wi/ battery(a joke), weight issues(i can live with).
    jwillie2010
  • RE: 10 reasons why the BlackBerry Torch got sent back

    I've owned a Torch for about a week and I absolutely love it. Yes, it has quirks, but it's so far ahead of the steaming-pile-of-crap Blackberry Bold 9000 that I replaced that it's not funny.

    Your weight criticism is ridiculous, I don't get that at all.

    I also don't understand where the "slow" criticism comes from. I have not once felt like the device is underpowered. I've jumped around between apps, listened to music, texted with BB Messenger and downloaded new Podcasts and never once has my Torch frozen.

    I'm beginning to think a lot of people are living in a different world.

    Zack, did you do any homework or research on this device before you bought it? Doesn't sound like you did to me.
    jefferyd3810
    • RE: 10 reasons why the BlackBerry Torch got sent back

      @jefferyd3810 This is my argument; if you'd bothered to read the actual post. On paper, it's perfect. In practice, it really isn't.
      zwhittaker
  • RE: 10 reasons why the BlackBerry Torch got sent back

    I agree on the weight imbalance. when i slide open the Torch, it tends to fall out of my hand. Not to mention i have to charge my BB torch 2x to last full day. That does not help me - who is a low usage user. Can't imagine what it's like for business user. There is no screen lock when you are having incoming calls! (unless i don't know this function) but 70% of the time my phone either got on hold or hung up because of fat cheek syndrome... :(
    agaexs