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Review: BlackBerry Torch 9850

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I was hoping that RIM would have taken a few extra steps to make the 9850's camera stand apart from the rest of its BlackBerry 7 brothers, and those hopes were somewhat realized. Leaving the side convenience key set to launch the camera is the best and fastest way to get at it. It launches in perhaps a second or so.

The 9850 has a 5 megapixel camera with an LED flash and several focus modes. The 9930/9900 had a fixed focus camera, so the 9850's auto-focus is already a vast improvement. The focus modes include Continuous, Single Shot, and Off. When set to Continuous, the Torch 9850 is always focusing on whatever is in the center of the viewfinder. In Single Shot, you have to press the camera button half way to focus the camera before shooting. In Off, the Torch reverts to a fixed-focus mode. The default setting is Continuous, and I suggest you leave it set that way, as it is also the fastest and produces the best results.

The physical button can be used to take pictures, as can a software button on the 9850's display. Some basic options can be controlled from the viewfinder without calling up a separate menu. The flash can be turned off, on or set to auto. The shooting mode can be changed, which includes a wide list of options (auto, face detection, portrait, sports, etc.).

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When you want to take a picture, the 9850 responds quickly. It shoots and saves pictures in about a second.


The 9850's gallery app feels like and improvement over the 9900/9930, though I can't quite put my finger on why. Pictures are displayed in a grid or list; up to you. Pictures can also be arranged into galleries, and are automatically segregated depending on where they are stored (internal storage vs. memory card).

Once you open a picture, you can zoom through the entire gallery by swiping in either direction. Editing features are limited to rotating, cropping, and zooming. Pictures can be shared via email, MMS, Bluetooth, Twitter, GoogleTalk or Facebook. The slide shows are nice, and I like that many of the editing and other options can be accessed and used from the grid view without the need to open each photo to make changes to it.

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