In our previous article 'Smartphone shootout: BlackBerry Torch 9800 versus iPhone 4 (1)' ( click here ), we have highlighted the features that could make the new BlackBerry Torch 9800 give a stiff challenge to other smartphones in the market. But is the Torch 9800 an iPhone killer?
The answer is no. There are ten reasons why:
One: Display - The Torch 9800 has a 3.2-inch high resolution capacitive multi-touch display (with 480x360 pixel resolution).
On the other hand, the iPhone 4 boasts of a 3.5-inch capacitive widescreen multi-touch 'Retina' display (with 960x640 pixel resolution). In other words, the iPhone 4 has a bigger screen, which means it is more enjoyable to watch movies and browse on the iPhone than on the Torch 9800.
The revolutionary Retina display of the iPhone 4 also offers better contrast ratio and has a higher resolution than the Torch 9800. In other words, the iPhone 4 can support higher resolution images and videos without distortion or pixilation unlike the Torch 9800.
In fact, Apple claims that the Retina display is the "sharpest, most vibrant, highest-resolution phone screen ever, with four times the pixel count of previous iPhone models."
"The pixel density is so high that the human eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels. Which makes text amazingly crisp and images stunningly sharp," Apple claims.
However, don't get me wrong. The Touch 9800's display is also stunning, very much like Bold 9700. It's bright and crisp - just as you'd want a smartphone's display to be. But at a time, when RIM's rivals are firing off HD-quality displays with 800x480 pixels, the Torch 9800's display disappoints.
Two: Camera - The Torch 9800 boasts of a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus, flash and 2x digital zoom. However, the iPhone 4 too have a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and flash. In fact, the iPhone 4's flash is LED flash, which is better, as it allows the camera to capture amazingly detailed images even in low-light scenes. The camera also comes with a 5x digital zoom function, which means that no matter where the subject is, it's never too far away.
In the video recording and playback segment, the iPhone 4 is also superior to the Torch 9800 - while the Torch 9800 can record and play VGA quality (640x480) video, the iPhone 4 can record and play HD-quality (720p) video.
And, unlike the Torch 9800, the iPhone 4 has a front-facing VGA camera too that allows you to have the video calling fun everyone's having these days.
Moreover, the iPhone comes with a tap-to-focus and geo-tagging features, which means that the Torch 9800 can't claim brownie points here.
Three: Keyboard - The physical keyboards of BlackBerry devices are the best in class and RIM made sure that the Torch 9800 has one too - by giving the device a slide-out full Qwerty keyboard.
In fact, the keyboard of the Torch 9800 is, like most of the new keyboards RIM designs, a marvel. Their thinnest keyboard ever, the Torch 9800's keyboard types just like the latest BlackBerry.
However, those who were lucky enough to get their hands on the device during Tuesday's launch said they found the keyboard a wee bit cramped. Besides, with the keyboard out, the Torch 9800 becomes a bit unwieldy, some claimed.
Also, though the slider mechanism is very solid, getting it open with your thumb could be a bit difficult because there isn't a good "ledge" for your thumb to grab hold of to help provide leverage.
On the other hand, though the iPhone 4 lacks a physical keyboard, its virtual keyboard is nothing less than remarkable. With the iPhone 4, you can type both in portrait as well as landscape mode and it gives the feeling of having artificial intelligence as the keyboard promises to match your typing speed and in fact, it accelerates it because it tracks what you type, then suggests words, corrects spelling, and inserts punctuation for you. "The trick is to just type away and trust the intelligence of the keyboard," Apple claims.
The virtual keyboard has another advantage - with the iPhone 4, there's no need for complicated keystrokes to add special characters. Simply Tap the ".?123" key to switch to a numerical keyboard.
And, even if you're not used to a virtual keyboard, don't worry - it requires very little learning curve to master it.
Coming back to the Torch 9800, it seems that RIM, as an afterthought, has added a virtual touchscreen keyboard to the device. The company has ditched its buggy "clickable" SurePress technology but, at best, the new virtual keyboard is "not bad."
Four: Processor - The Torch 9800 comes with a 624 MHz processor, zippy but it leaves a feeling of being underpowered especially when stacked up against the iPhone 4's Apple A4 1GHz processor, which is used to power the company's popular tablet computer, the iPad.
Five: Memory and Storage Space - The Torch 9800 comes with 512MB RAM and 8GB storage space - 4GB flash memory + 4GB microSD card (included). And, a microSD card slot supports memory cards up to 32GB.
On the other hand, the iPhone comes with 512MB RAM but no expansion slot. However, the device comes with a choice of built-in 16GB or 32GB flash drive, which is much more than what you get when you buy the Torch 9800.
Six: Battery - The Torch 9800 comes with 1300 mAHr lithium-ion battery that promises up to 5.5 hours of talk time and 18 days of standby time on GSM network. In comparison, the iPhone 4 is a power sipper - its built-in 1420 mAh lithium-ion battery promises up to 14 hours of talk time and up to 300 hours of standby time on 2G network without needing a recharge.
Seven: Active Noise Cancellation - How many times have you heard the caller on the other end of the line complain that your voice can't be heard clearly as it is being drowned by the background noise? Don't you then wish that your phone came with a noise-reduction feature that cancels out background noise during phone calls - an often overlooked function in the cellular world? Well, wish no more because the iPhone 4 comes with active noise cancellation technology with dedicated microphone. In other words, much like many good Bluetooth headsets, the iPhone 4 features a microphone that detects the difference between external noises and the user's voice and blocks the erroneous sound to leave quality of the call crystal clear.
The Torch 9800 also has built-in noise cancellation technology but the voice quality of the Torch 9800 is no better than other BlackBerry models. In other words, it's satisfactory at best.
Eight: E-mail and Text Messaging - The Torch 9800 incorporates BlackBerry's popular e-mail and text messaging services whose high level of security allow users to transmit their information wirelessly with the knowledge that not even RIM can access their data.
The iPhone 4, however, does not use this high level of encryption technology.
But this could be a blessing in disguise because presently RIM is facing a lot of flak from several countries that have complained that BlackBerry devices pose national security risk as government security agencies are unable to intercept, access, or monitor the data transmitted over the device.
Nine: App Store - iPhone 4 users have access to the legendary iPhone App Store where over 100,000 apps are available for download for free or a small cost.
In comparison, BlackBerry's app store, the App World, which was launched last year, is a far cry even as RIM attempts to attract developers to build software applications for the device.
But, by incorporating the BlackBerry 6 OS in the Torch 9800, RIM is going to have to tell a very compelling story to developers to attract them. The reason is because developers want to go where the consumers are and consumers are currently with Apple.
Ten: Miscellaneous - The Torch 9800, which comes with BlackBerry 6 OS boasts of an improved user interface; multi-tasking capability; gesture controls such as iPhone-esque pinch-to-zoom feature; an improved notification system; a universal inbox; a universal search bar; and a new media player.
The Torch 9800 also boasts of accelerometer, ambient light sensor and a proximity sensor.
The device also features a tethered modem.
Impressive features but not impressive enough when stacked up against the iPhone 4. Why? Because the new Apple device too comes with multi-tasking capability; gesture and multi-touch controls that have become legendary; a one touch universal search function; a unified inbox; and a slick user interface.
As for the media player, the iPhone 4 can double as an iPod and play multiple video and audio formats and if you're in the mood to party, the device can also act as a DJ machine, thanks to proprietary features such as the Genius Playlist and the Genius Mixes.
The iPhone 4 too has accelerometer, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor and something more - the three axis gyro sensor.
The iPhone 4 also has voice memo and voice control functions and can act as a tethering device to help you stay connected to the Internet anywhere in the world.
Conclusion: The BlackBerry Torch 9800 is no doubt good and perhaps the best BlackBerry RIM has launched to date. Though I'm not a big fan myself of vertical slider phones, RIM has done a good job in combining a physical keyboard as well as a touchscreen in the device. Nothing about the Torch 9800 feels cheap or under-designed also.
However, there's nothing in the Torch 9800 that really represents a leap forward beyond what others smartphones are offering, especially the iPhone.
In conclusion, the Torch 9800 may be able to help RIM hold its ground against the iPhones and Androids of the world. It may also help the company rise in the ranks of smartphone makers, perhaps even help it gain some market share. But don't expect the Torch 9800 to blow away the competition, especially the iPhone 4.
This article is copyrighted by International Business Times, the business news leader