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printed November 26, 2014
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Review: BlackBerry Torch 9850

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Apps

The Torch 9850 ships with about the same amount of software as any other Sprint smartphone. It's loaded with Sprint-branded applications, such as the aforementioned Sprint Music Plus, NASCAR, TV & Movies, Football Live, and Radio. BlackBerry App World, which was just updated to version 3.0 today, offers thousands of applications that are available for free and for sale. The selection isn't as vast as what's available to the Android and iOS platforms, but developers have been diligent enough to cover the essentials, such as Weather apps, tip calculator apps, and farting apps. One warning, however: a frustrating number of apps require a device reboot to install, which takes ages. Save your reboots up and do them all at once.

Bluetooth

The Bluetooth functions of the 9850 worked well. Pairing with headsets, speakers, other phones and PCs was a snap. Call quality through my car's Bluetooth connection was excellent. Quality of music through stereo Bluetooth speakers was acceptable, but not great. I had no problems using the Bluetooth radio nor its functions.

Clock

The 9850's clock application is the same as on the 9930/9900. Press the screen lock button, and the time is visible in digital form at the top of the display. It's not very large. I wish the lock screen had a bigger clock available to it. Alternately, you can set the 9850 in "bedside mode" which show a large clock and lets you interact with the alarm. Bedside mode can also be activated when the 9850 is charging, which means the clock is visible any time the 9850 is plugged in.

GPS

The 9850's GPS radio performed well, and was able to locate the device in about a minute. That's not as fast as some other devices, but was fast enough for most navigation purposes. Accuracy was as good as about 25 feet.

The Torch 9850 is the first among the newer BlackBerrys to ship with TeleNav's navigation software, which Sprint offers for free. I took it for a quick spin, and the app works just as well on the 9850 as it does on other handsets for mapping routes and directions.

Neither BlackBerry Maps nor Google Maps is on board, but each can be downloaded separately from App World.

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