OMG – Serious gadget lust – The new Blackberry Torch

Yes, it arrived on Saturday morning. Rather unceremoniously in a green and yellow plastic bag handed over by a brusque postal worker to whom it was just another package (and actually I don’t blame him; difficult to show much passion in his trade).

But underneath that synthetic cocoon of bar codes and caution labels lay the object of my gadget lust. A lust built up over many months since the people at RIM first discussed the possibility of the best of Blackberry, with a touch screen but also a proper keypad, and, gasp, a brand new operating system.

I tore the plastic, and feverishly lifted the lid off the strengthened box. And there it was. Lying peacefully in the box like Frankenstein on his bed, waiting to come to life to, Frankenstein-like, slowly take over my life. I had tried to manage my lust for this monster of a product. I flirted with the iPhone but couldn’t commit to actually buying one. When I ordered my new Blackberry Torch I had wondered whether I’d made the right decision and whether I might become a leper in a sea of my Apple-laden gadget-freak friends.

But now here it was. I lifted it, stroked its unblemished screen, flipped down the keypad and I just knew I’d made the right decision.

So, that’s enough gadget-porn. What’s it actually like?

I previously had a Blackberry Storm, the touch screen BB with the slightly annoying clicky action. The Torch is much more like an Apple with similar touch screen features but also introduces some new features such as when you hold your finger over a contact a number of action options appear so you can call, text, edit the contact. On the front screen you also have an activity button which will pull up your recent emails, appointments and missed calls. Also, all activity for a contact is registered against that contact meaning you can find a trail of interaction with that contact. The browser which on the Torch was painfully slow is incredibly fast especially when used over a Wifi and the phone intelligently uses Wifi wherever possible reducing your data usage over the phone network.

The big advantage Apple claims for its iPhone is the apps directory and whilst the Blackberry has an apps store it is woeful in comparison. However, that’s not why most users will have chosen a Blackberry. The BB will allow you to post to Twitter and other social networks and play inane games and get various information but if you feel a need for a Carling app which can mimic you pouring some beer down your gullet then this isn’t for you.

If however you want push email then the smoothness and ease of the email functionality of the BB is hard to beat and this new operating systems multitasks effortlessly between email and browser and media. Best of all, the set up took just 30 minutes by which time all of my contacts and media had been transferred from my Storm to the Torch, and infact most of that 30 minutes was downloading and installing the new version of BB Desktop which is required by the Torch.

All in all the Blackberry Torch is an excellent phone and one I think which will make the 24 months to my next phone fly by. The problem with lust though, and especially gadget lust, is that you never know when it’s going to pop up again, and frankly I will find it hard to be faithful to a lump of metal and plastic, however beautiful and effective it might seem now, if a newer sexier model appears.

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