final rating

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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Reception and call quality BlackBerry has always been known to have great call quality and reception, this is no different. great!
  • Display 3.7" display is one of the biggest on a BB. Browsing, media, reading, are all a more enjoyable experience compared to other BB. Touchscreen is responsive too. good
  • Battery life This being the BB with the biggest screen, and 1230mah battery, battery life is not as great as the 9900. But still its better than other platforms. good
  • Camera Camera has auto-focus, 720p video recording. Despite only being 5mp, its more than sufficient. Shutter is quick too and image quality is good. good
  • Ease of use Like most OS 7 devices, its relatively easy to use. But you get the feeling that the OS works better with a physical keyboard. so-so
  • Design and form factor The design of the phone is great, with fantastic ergonomics. The phone is very nice to hold with both hands, and 3.7" is just nice for use with one hand. good
  • Portability (size / weight) The phone is slim and easy to hold, while the weight of the phone is kept at a nice balance. great!
  • Media support With the bigger wide screen, video viewing is a much nicer experience. Video/audio codec support is decent too but not great. good
  • Durability Its a phone that seems to be able to hold up quite well to drops. The main issue is just the screen which is plastic, and it scratches. Back cover is metal. so-so
  • Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) Most of the apps that i need are there. But compared to other platforms, its definitely lacking slightly. A lot of the apps in app world are obviously outdated. good
Detailed review
I would view this device as the Bold 9900's full touch screen counterpart. Since it has similar specs as the Bold 9900, other than some differences. It only has 4GB internal memory instead of 8GB, It doesn't have support for NFC, and the camera has auto-focus. But sadly, the materials used for this phone is not as lavish as the one on the Bold 9900.

If you want a BlackBerry experience, but want a bigger screen, the Torch 9810 (I'll leave the review for this soon as well) and this 9860 are pretty much your only choices. If you dislike a slider, and can live without a physical keyboard, this is pretty much your only choice. But being the only choice doesn't mean that its a bad choice. Its a device that I personally really enjoy using.

The larger display meant that you can read more of your emails, texts, IMs. Browsing the web is now a nice experience with the larger display too. Video viewing no longer requires a magnifying glass like other BlackBerry smartphones. Even taking and viewing photos is a better experience.

When people think about full touch screen BlackBerry devices without keyboards, most would cringe at the thought of the Storm. Personally, i have a love-hate relationship with my Storm, i loved it for a while, and then hated it soon after. It was a decent idea (clicking touchscreen) poorly executed and let down by the software. But you are not going to find it on the 9860. The touch screen on the 9860 is a normal capacitive touch screen (no clicking, just tapping), and lo' and behold its extremely sensitive. This time, both the software and hardware is working well with each other.

The OS is fast and responsive to the touch. No matter browsing the web, or just scrolling through your mailbox. The screen is able to register to the slightest of taps, apps launches fast too. Making it a very nice experience indeed. Even typing is a relatively decent experience. Of course this is no swiftkey 3, but it certainly is livable. In terms of stock keyboards, iOS and Windows Phone 7.5 certainly performs better than the 9860, but the 9860 is really not that bad at all.

Would i recommend this to anyone? Sure. Only if you really know what you are getting yourself. This is a BlackBerry OS 7 device, so you are not going to get Angry Birds, Infinity Blade, or Real Racing on it. I would recommend this, only if you fit the description in my 2nd paragraph, or like i said, you know clearly what the device is designed for.

In a nutshell, if you want a BlackBerry with a large screen, and can live without a physical keyboard, the Torch 9860/9850 is definitely a great phone. It certainly did surprised me when i used it, and thats in a good way.
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Updated detailed review
Updated detailed review