BlackBerry Torch 9850 Review

A Mini-Review of the CDMA BlackBerry Torch 9850. Be sure to read our full BlackBerry Torch 9860 Review and followup BlackBerry Torch 9850 / 9860 Review for in-depth analysis

By Adam Zeis on 16 Aug 2011 09:00 am EDT

The BlackBerry Torch 9850 is the CDMA counterpart to the BlackBerry Torch 9860. This full touchscreen device sports a super sleek design but lacks the full QWERTY keyboard that RIM is known for. While we were excited about the Torch 9850 when we first saw it, after playing around for the last few days we do have an extensive live of pros and cons for this one. While hardcore BlackBerry users will still want to stick to devices with a physical keyboard, those fans of touchscreen's or those new to BlackBerry may want to take out the 9850 for a spin. Keep reading for our thoughts on the BlackBerry Torch 9850.

BlackBerry Torch 9850 Specs

The BlackBerry Torch ditches a physical keyboard in favor of an all touchscreen form factor that sports a great 3.7" screen. The device styling is great, but it seems like some corners were cut in certain areas. While the touchscreen gets the job done, the front navigation buttons seem a bit out of place. They are raised a bit from the device itself and have a little too much play for my liking. I wish RIM had gone with flush buttons to better finish off the styling on the Torch 9850. The convenience keys and volume rockers on the side of the device don't help much either. They seem way too flimsy and thin, and the Mute button gets lost in the shuffle as it is barely even visible.

Media and web browsing take the top spots on the Torch 9850 without a doubt. The bright 3.7" screen is powered by a 1.2Ghz processor and 768MB of RAM. This keeps things trucking along, although at times there was a bit of lag (not much at all though) that hung things up a bit. When it comes to actually messaging on the device, everything works pretty much as expected but at times gets help up by the on-screen keyboard. I found it tough to type at length as many times I would get frustrated by errors, but that obviously varies from user to user.

For full features, specifications and a breakdown of everything that is the BlackBerry Torch 9850, be sure to check out our full BlackBerry Torch 9860 review for more.  

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

BlackBerry Torch 9850 Review


Gonna have to try one of these before I decide on this or the 9930. Anyone know if Sprint's 30 day guarantee applies to full-price off-contract handsests as well?

Same compaints as Kevin. Plastic screen, plastic raised keys, clunky keyboard, difficult to use media keys. I sense we will hear the same in other reviews, jus not as gently put as on CB.

I'm used to Kevin's pumped reviews and agree, this guy makes it sound like it's a mere "Meh"

No offense really - however, might want to be cautious as these are trying times for RIM and us fans.. this site is a huge source read by many, such a review on a new critical device can really hurt :S


Yeah, dude obviously hated the device. It wasn't his baby, he didn't design it and no one peed in his Post Toasties that we're aware of. A reviewer needs to be free from emotion or at least if with emotion, exciting to hear. Kevin always has enthusism, which we all appreciate.

This was neither.

You guys suck for allowing this video to be published! I am not sure if this guy's cat was just murdered in front of him or if he lost a promotion. I am all for unbiased, but geez, THIS IS FREAKIN CRACKBERRY.COM!

I do sound pretty bad. We had a looooong day of work yesterday to get everything finished up for these reviews, and unfortunately I didn't get to the videos until about 1am. So I promise I'll try harder next time :)

Hey Adam,

Perhaps make a take two? ;)

I'll be happy to help you guys out, I'd gladly supply a Timmie's card for some nice java & timbits before reviews lol.

Cheers man

mmmmm, Tim horton's :) . iv'e been missing that here in California ;) ...oh but i have a question to anyone who can answer. Is there any major difference between the torch 9850 and the 9930 besides the keyboard, size, and design? (i dont consider nfc and more memory a major difference cause i probably wont use them). what i mean is, they are basically the same right, like the same fluidity, browser speed, etc. right? cause im trying to decide if i should get one of those but why is the bold 100 dollars more expensive than the torch??

hi Adam,
Now that this phone has put me off after your there any chance i can get hold of the pre-release version which we saw in video from china where it had the flush butons....why didnt hese jokers release that the touch curve looks too small.
Is there any way that i can get hold of one of those flush button touch/monza/

Adam: Thanks for your willingness to lookback, and to anyone who gave polite feedback. I salute your efforts and know that it must be tough to rush all the findings at a time like now. (p.s. I am a touchscreeneer)

...from my yesterday post... "It just hit me - all these "which one is better" questions are a GREAT thing for BB - it means there finally are options and variations for more different users on more carriers. Let's hope that the stream keeps coming and getting better."

It really depends on what you are most used to. I started out with BB on a Storm 1 so this phone seems the natural follow on device for me. I have never used a physical keyboard and don't like having all those keys on the front of the phone (although the 9900 is a piece of art). I guess the raised buttons may be something to get used to, but after a while, it generally becomes a non-issue as familiarity kicks in with a device.

While I am somewhat drawn to the 9900 (mostly by Kevin's enthusiasm), I just can't give up the screen size since I mostly use my BB for phone calls and browsing. I don't do a lot of typing outside of answering a few emails with a short response or texting and I like the virtual keyboard because that is what I am used to using. While no device is perfect, I think the 9850 best suits my needs. Hopefully I'll feel the same way after I actually get to try one out!

My thoughts exactly InnerChild, my first BB was the Storm and I'm still using it waiting for another full screen BB to come to Verizon. I love the full screen and have never used a real keyboard so it's not that important to me. For what I do with my phone the physical keyboard isn't a deal breaker. I'm getting pretty frustrated with Vzw though. Does anyone know why Vzw is always getting the raw deal when it comes to new BB devices. Of all the new phones, They get one and all the the rest go to ATT and Sprint. I do like vzw service so I may have to go with the 9930 if that's all they are going to carry.

You didn't see my attempt at a CrackBerry video, now THAT was bad!   I make Adam look like Marlon Brando!

This review, like the review for the 9810, make it sound like these new Torches are disappointing. I was looking forward to upgrading from a Storm2 to the new Torch but I've lost my enthusiasm with these lackluster reviews, and I don't want a Bold because I prefer a touchscreen. What to do?

You need to try it for yourself because you are coming from another touch-screen device. I think Adam is so used to his Bold and keyboard that he couldn't generate a lot of enthusiasm for an all-touch device. I'm still excited because this will be soooooo much better than our Storms!

Adam, could you please be a little more excited about the new phones that you review ! Both your 9930 and the 9950 review did not make me want to go out and buy these phones. "Thats pretty much it"! Grrrrrrrr! If you say that one more time! Come on Adam get a little pumped about your reviews! K!

Maybe you should find someone that is not klutz fingered to do the review next time. Some of us have looked forward to a new BB touch screen only phone.

Is this 3g or 4g I've heard different answers. More specifically will this be 4g for Verizon, anyone know?

I'd like the reviewers of these new phones to comment on how well they bridge with the Playbook. I'm a Storm2 user and love the full screen. Was really looking forward to the 9850. But now that I have a playbook, I might consider the 9900 and go back to a physical keyboard.

I think the chickens will come home to roost with the 9900. People are so excited to have the 9900 they are dismissing one thing...that awful camera is going to frustrate people with no ability for close up shots. I find a good phone camera increasingly important for document scanning and many other things.

I had my heart set on a 9930, until I saw the camera close-ups. Even with the indifferent attitude of this video, and the fact that I have to give up the key board, 9850 here I come. No way I'll buy a 9900 now. What a huge let down. At least I gain some screen size.

Sorry Kevin, but you should have recused yourself from this evaluation given your admitted bias for a physical keyboard.

Since the smartphone market more or less breaks into two camps, virtual and physical keyboards, you should have gotten a hard core virtual keyboard fan to do this evaluation.

This is really important because this handset will be going up against the most popular phones on the market and I for one would like to know how it stacks up.

I'm just saying......

It's not just Crackberry feeling "meh" over this phone. Every other site seems to feel the same way, even if they are used to virtual keyboards.

Same. I was torn between this and the Bold, but the $100 price difference for virtually the same specs had me worried that this phone would be sub-par.

I'm not convinced that the Bold is worth $250 with the camera issues, so hopefully the price is down to $200 or less when my contract is up in March.

Why are we even talking about physical keyboards in this review!? I get it, Blackberries traditionally have them. But seriously, Android didn't grow 9 bazillion % in market in the last few years selling qwerty devices. They did with devices analogous to these Torches.

CB needs to get a Storm 1/2 owner who has since moved on to iOS or Android to handle one of these for a week and then post some things.

Shame on you guys. 80% of Smart phones are now all touch and you guys keep pointing out your need/desire for a physical keyboard. Get over it and review it from the perspective of most of the rest of world.

Sorry - just sick of seeing these devices compared to 9900, or 9810's. Compare it to the iPhone or an Android device.

Pow! My sentiments exactly. In a nutshell, there really should have been an everyday, day in, day out virtual keyboard user reviewing this phone; specifically a S1/2 user. I have no experience with the standard physical keyboard BB's use.

I'm pretty sure we would have gotten the same review from a Storm1/2 user if he "reviewed" a 9900. This would be most especially true if that reviewer was a hardcore virtual keyboarder.

I know what the Iphones and Androids can do. I don't find their experience to be the same as a BlackBerry and should not be compared to the 9850/60 What I really want to know is how does the 9850 stack up against the the Storm and Storm 2. I am a BlackBerry virtual keyboard user, period.

waiting on fedex to get here with my f-ing 9930 and i am going cccccccccccccrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why are you being so negative towards others opinions?

I agree with "to each his own" that's why I use a BB. But all touch screen BB phones here on CB should be reviewed by people whom don't despise virtual keyboards. We don't want to make people think that this is a 7.5. Just because someone prefers physical keyboards doesn't mean that the phone itself is bad.

I own multiple cameras of which none come with me everywhere I go, so I do need a phone that has a camera that functions well. I don't need 5 'bazilion' MP but it has to autofocus so when I send pictures to my wife and family, they don't see a blurry mess.

I hope they can somehow address that because I really wanted a new BOLD.

I'm still excited to try the 9850.

As far as the camera on the 9900/9930, someone said it was the same camera as in the Playbook. The PB has a software zoom slider. Digital zoom can be added with OS or with an app. I have an photo editing app on my iPod Touch that zooms and crops, etc., etc. I haven't found ANY phone camera that takes good photos in low light. I think expectations may be too high for a phone to be all things to all people.

Well for me i will be picking one of these up from Sprint on Sunday!It will be somewhat different for me cause i'm a 9630 tour and 9650 user but i'm now tired of showing pic and browsing on a small screen.I'm sure i can get used to this device easily cause it seems fast and has a nice screen!!.

I'm jealous of your getting one on Sunday. I'll hang around to see if VZW rises to the occasion to give us Storm users a much needed all-touch upgrade option with this phone. If not, may have to jump ship!

The only thing I learned about this phone from the review was that it is not a good choice because it doesn't have a physical keyboard.

.... One con i have about this Chevy 3/4 ton pickup truck is that it has a bed that I'm not used to on my Camaro. It also is slower than my Camaro which I think really makes it a bad vehicle. I'm not going to mention that I can haul furniture in it, or tow a trailer because I don't like that in my Camaro.....

I was really looking forward to a honest review on this phone, not complaining, blah, this phone is terrible. I appreciate reading the content on this website, but this review just didn't tell me anything about the phone other than it wasn't a good purchase because it is impossible to type on. Please do another review in the coming weeks after you have used it. RIM has to make a touchscreen device if they want to stay relevant. I'd like to know if it stacks up against all the other near non-existant phones that nobody has, like the Iphone and Android phones.

Nice i love the big screen, Im thinking about getting this one,Do you think there will be any difference in the build between the 50 and the 60. like the buttons, battery door or anything or pretty much the same thing.

I am a Storm 1 (9530) user. I liked it, and it has done me well to this point!
Im thinking going to the 9860 or the 9810. Altho with the 9810 I woudlnt ever use the slide out keyboard...does anyone know the main differences hardware wise of the 9810 vs the 9860 device, other than the slide out keyboard..???

Also the 9850 vs 9860..same device virtually. 9850 is CDMA, while the 9860 would be more "4G"/HSPA style, someone correct if wrong...???

Now why again is it we dont see th Verizon 9850? We saw it in leaked videos. I'm beginning to wonder if the Verizon 9850 will be without buttons. Verizon is being very hush! Someone leak a Verizon 9850.

Why can't they bring the 9810 to Sprint?! I'm sick of overpriced Bold and a pure touchscreen device does not intrigue me. The 9810 is a perfect Blackberry with best of both world.

Thanks for informing me for the 5,652nd time that the full touchscreen "lacks" a keyboard that "hardcore" BB users will find horribly ineffective. Seriously, is RIM in the dark ages of technology or is CB?? A full touchscreen is an asset, not a problem. I'm sure that 90% of D1, D2, D3 users don't even slide out the crappy keyboard to use. YOU go ahead and geek around with 2 thumbs on your grandiose, space wasting keyboard, I will enjoy the bigger, nicer, clearer, cleaner view from the real estate.

Wake up and smell the touchscreen coffee. Or, of course, you can just ride the keyboard into the sunset on your RIM horse.

Wow,..... first Kevin now Adam. You guys just don't seem enthused by this phone at all. Oh well, still looking forward to this phone.

What's the difference of 9850 from 9860?
"For full features, specifications and a breakdown of everything that is the BlackBerry Torch 9850, be sure to check out our full BlackBerry Torch 9860 review for more. "
^ Does that mean 9860 and 9850 are technically the same?

Activated mine today around 2 central time and can't keep my hands off of it except to write this review. So far loving it, at first the lanscape switching was lagging but it's ok now....SMH.....The only other thing negative I can see is the track pad is slightly crooked, and for that matter I may go to the Sprint store and exchange cause I want one that is perfect.....More to follow


Come on, answer the question: is it a 4g phone or not. Stated otherwise, at the top of this section there appears "3g/4g": what does this mean ? Doing the *611 (NOT #611) a Verizon tech said that the 9850 is NOT a 4g phone. Tell us true, Adam! Doctor Neutron

It would be nice to see some comentary on how well the OS/hardware runs apps (other than the web browser). Maybe some details about signal strength or the EVER -Irritating 'hourglass' I get when it's thinking... or the delays in functionality ANY TIME the phone is sending/receiving data. At least those are the things I've come to know on my Blackberry. I have a 9700, but have upgraded the OS (not sure what I have on it at the moment), but regardless, the functionality of the BB compared to android or iPhone sucks and can (could) only be described as clunky.

This new OS looks much better. I hope it is.