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Review: BlackBerry 9800 Torch

Form Basics Extras Video Wrap-Up Comments  10  

Music Camera Photos/Video Browse/Customize Extras  

Browser

One of BlackBerry 6's biggest features is the entirely new WebKit-based browser. WebKit is the same underlying technology used in the Safari browser on the iPhone and the Android Browser on Android handsets. It makes a noticeable impact on the Torch.

RIM hasn't done too much to the way the browser is used. In other words, the options and BlackBerry key work as on older BlackBerries. Users can set the home page, set the default search engine, add/sort bookmarks, subscribe to RSS feeds and so on.

The browser does a much better job at rendering HTML web sites, though. It supports double-tap, pinch-to-zoom, and press-and-hold gestures, which vastly improves the experience and puts it in the same playing field as the iPhone and Android browsers.

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It supports multiple open tabs at a time. The tabs can be accessed by pressing a little button in the upper right corner of the browser window. The tabs are shown in a visual bookmark fashion, making it easier to see which site you're jumping too.

My only complaint with the browser is speed. It felt a bit sluggish to me. Even over speedy Wi-Fi, web sites often took 10 seconds or longer to load. I think most seasoned BlackBerry users, however, will trade a teensy bit of speed for all the added functionality.

 

Customize

The Torch can be customized somewhat by users. Ringers, ringtones, wallpapers, and all that stuff is easy to adjust. RIM's use of ringer profiles is always helpful. It allows users to set up distinct alert actions depending on pre-defined circumstances (Normal, Silent, Meeting, etc.).

The basic theme of the device, which I can't stand, can't be changed unless users download extra themes. Only one theme is included out of the box. BlackBerry themes can be found online, both free, and for a few dollars.

The home screen can also be customized to a certain extent. It's not as vastly customizable as an Android handset, but users can populate the five different screens with a number of apps, shortcuts, and so on. According to RIM, more HTML5 and WebKit-based widgets are on the way, which will further allow users to customize their handsets.

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