OK CrackBerry Nation, it's time for an in-depth hands on video of the new BlackBerry Torch 9850 / BlackBerry Torch 9860 and some initial first impressions! For the video, I put Andrew Bocking, VP of Software for RIM, to work at the BlackBerry 7 Fan Night to walk us through the new full touchscreen device. Be sure to watch the video above to get a good look at features of the new Torch, but maybe more importantly, to see just how snappy the overall performance is. 1.2GHz on the BlackBerry OS is definitely a good thing. I'm going to save the in-depth analysis for our full out CrackBerry review, but here are some quick thoughts on it.

BlackBerry Bold 9850 / 9860 First Impressions

  • FEELS GREAT - I LOVE the feeling of this device in the hand. RIM set out to build a full touchscreen phone that felt great when held both in portrait mode and in landscape mode and they really succeeded here. The sculpted back of the device almost makes it feel like you're holding a game console controller when in landscape.
  • FAST - This appears to be the case for all these new BlackBerry 7 devices with 1.2 GHz processors.
  • FUNCTIONAL - One of the complaints I've been reading on the site here a bit from members is that RIM went with raised buttons on the Torch 9850/9860. Having used the device now, I think they made the right choice here. I think sticking with physical raised buttons really makes the device more usable with one hand. You can better "feel" your way around the device - it stays true to the BlackBerry experience. I also like that they put the trackpad on the device. Not only does it help with that one-handed ease of use and provide more accurate cursor control (say for clicking links in a web browser), but it makes the device more recognizable as a BlackBerry. All of these touchscreen slab devices look the same, so the trackpad makes it pop out as a BlackBerry!
  • GREAT DISPLAY - At 480x800 pixels, this is the highest resolution display on a BlackBerry to date. The extra pixels come in handy, especially for web browsing, and the BlackBerry 7 web browser seems to be dialed in pretty good. Very smooth and usable.
With the Storm name now dead and the Torch brand respresenting RIM's full touchscreen experience devices (that's why there's now a slider Torch and full screen Torch), the 9850/9860 really is looking like a great option for those who want the BlackBerry experience and don't mind not having a physical keyboard. I have a feeling a lot of people are going to be torn between which BlackBerry 7 device once they get their hands on them.