BlackBerry Torch vs. iPhone 4: Smartphone showdown

Will the BlackBerry Torch smartphone be able to challenge the iPhone 4?

Apple's iPhone 4 has finally launched in Australia. Boasting a brighter screen, a faster processor and better battery life than its predecessors, the iPhone 4 is expected to maintain Apple's strong foothold in the smartphone market thanks to its amazing display and superbly constructed body. A new challenge to Apple's smartphone supremacy is on the horizon, however: RIM's BlackBerry Torch.

Read our BlackBerry Torch review.

More information on the BlackBerry Torch price.

Check out our Samsung Galaxy S vs. iPhone and HTC Desire vs. iPhone smartphone showdowns.

Despite the iPhone 4's popularity, it's not for everyone. The latest BlackBerry Torch is a slider phone designed to appeal to people who want a physical QWERTY keyboard as well as a touchscreen.

The Torch will run BlackBerry OS 6, the latest version of RIM's smartphone operating system. The new version of BlackBerry OS is designed to make it more touchscreen-friendly. It boasts touchscreen commands, Wi-Fi synchronising capabilities, social-networking integration and an all-new Web browser, bringing it in line with Apple's iOS and the Google's Android platform.

With this in mind, how does RIM's BlackBerry Torch stack up against the Apple iPhone 4?

BlackBerry Torch vs. iPhone 4

Feature Apple iPhone 4 RIM BlackBerry Torch Verdict?
Operating system (OS) Apple iOS 4 BlackBerry 6 Unknown
Display technology Capacitive retina IPS Capacitive TFT iPhone 4
Display resolution 640x960 pixels 360x480 pixels iPhone 4
Multitouch Yes Yes Draw
Camera 5 megapixels, LED flash, autofocus, geotagging 5 megapixels, LED flash, autofocus, geotagging, image stabilisation Draw
FM radio No No Draw
GPS Yes Yes Draw
Internal memory 16GB or 32GB 4GB iPhone 4
Expandable memory No microSD card slot BlackBerry Torch
Dimensions 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3mm 111 x 62 x 14.6mm iPhone 4
Weight 137g 161g iPhone 4
Application store Apple App Store BlackBerry App World iPhone 4
Processor Apple A4 Marvell (624MHz) iPhone 4
3G networks HSDPA 850/900/1900/2100 HSDPA 850/1900/2100 Draw
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 802.11b/g/n Draw
Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP 2.1 with A2DP Draw
Quoted talk time Up to 7 hours Up to 5.4 hours iPhone 4
Quoted standby time Up to 300 hours Up to 336 hours BlackBerry Torch
Adobe Flash support No No Draw

Though we are yet to get our hands on the BlackBerry Torch, it's clear that its biggest advantage over the iPhone 4 will be its combination of a physical QWERTY keyboard with a touchscreen. Despite the iPhone's popularity, many people still prefer to type long e-mails or messages on a physical keyboard. RIM has a history of releasing BlackBerry phones with excellent keyboards.

One area where the BlackBerry Torch definitely falls short of the iPhone 4 is its display. The iPhone 4 uses IPS technology (also used by the iPad) and has been described as a "retina" display because of its 640x960 pixel resolution. Apple claims the human eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels on the screen. It's the best display of any smartphone we've seen to date, and it is particularly excellent at displaying text, with no visible aberrations even when zoomed in. The BlackBerry Torch's capacitive display is a smaller (3.2in compared with the iPhone 4's 3.5in) and lacks any advanced screen technology, such as the AMOLED display on the HTC Desire or the Super AMOLED screen of the Samsung Galaxy S.

It’s the BlackBerry Torch's software that will ultimately determine its success. Version 6 of the BlackBerry OS has been redesigned to make it easier to interact with a touchscreen. The UI has received a full upgrade, with action menus on each screen and the ability to use multitouch the big features. BlackBerry 6 will also offer tabbed Web browsing, a customisable home screen, kinetic scrolling, Wi-Fi synchronising capabilities, and social networking integration. Our first impression is that these features merely bring BlackBerry in line with the iPhone and Android platforms, rather than bring anything new to the table, but we are eager to spend some time with the OS before rendering a verdict.

The BlackBerry Torch is slightly larger and thicker than the iPhone 4, mainly due to the slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Unlike the iPhone 4, it has a removable battery and a microSD memory card slot for extra storage. The iPhone 4 has a stunning design that is just 9.3mm thick, making it one of the world's thinnest smartphones. Of course, its antenna design means it suffers from widely reported reception issues — if you use a case for your phone then it won't be a major problem but the flaw remains disappointing.

The Apple iPhone 4 is available through all carriers in Australia — Telstra, Optus, VHA and Virgin Mobile.

The BlackBerry Torch will also be available through Telstra, Optus and VHA, though no release date has been set. The smartphone is expected to be available "later this year".

Are you buying an iPhone 4? What do you think of the Australian iPhone 4 plans?

What do you think of the BlackBerry Torch? Do you consider it a valid alternative to the iPhone 4? Let us know in the comments below!

For full details on all the iPhone 4's new features, read our iPhone 4 review.

Tags AppleRIM BlackBerry Torch 9800mobile phonesiphone 4iPhonesmartphonesRIM BlackBerry

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

Good Gear Guide

14 Comments

gervase

1

For an unbiased review go to: http://www.knowyourmobile.com/ and look up Blackberry Torch vs iPhone 4

Thol

2

Sheesh. I was hoping for an unbiased comparison. I sure didn't get it here. I'm actually leaning toward getting the iPhone, but this article didn't help much. How is it that the iPhone wins the dimensions category? Isn't that subjective? Does smaller necessarily mean better?

Also, you gloss over the removable battery and expandable memory as if it's no big deal but then immediately salivate over the iPhone's screen.

At the very least try to hide your bias a little better. Thanks.

jak3

3

iPhone has a better camera and battery life so those arent draws

Nancy

4

Very impressed with the BB torch. Reception alone makes it a better phone for me because the iphones lack of was too much to handle. All applications are super fast and the qwerty keyboard option makes things even faster! Battery life is great although iphones is slightly better. Something I can deal with.

Joni

5

Are u a hype customer or a professional? If hype, then use i-phone4. If professional, then use torch. i-phone4 surely can't beat torch in a professional corporate world.

michael

6

torch will beat iphone4 anytime

James

7

Jak3, iphone 4 doesn't have better battery life. I don't care what the specifications say, I want proof.

Owen

8

I have both an iphone 4 and BB Torch. The iphone is more of a toy where the BB is more of a business instrument. If I want to watch music videos and listen to music, the iphone is the winner, but when it come to no nonsence business, BB torch wins it hand down.

Richard

9

After two years of Blackberry in Australia I am glad I can get rid of it. The GPS is useless, the maps non existant and the battery dismal. Can't wait for my Iphone

Rick

10

The torch has one major drawback in it's locking system. When you lock the screen with the locking button at the top of the phone and put it in the magnetic holster, the magnet unlocks the screen. I had to get a velcro holster. You would have thought that blackberry would have done a better job on this before they started selling it. That shows they are too anxious to get the phone on the market before they have all the bugs worked out.

mason

11

I have had Blackberries and the iPhone before, and I do like both a lot. However, I got the Torch and actually had a couple offers from people to trade their iPhone4 for my Torch..... This seemed very tempting at first, but after using the Torch for about one day, I decided I liked it better than the iPhone. There are a few things that I hope Blackberry will improve upon with newer models, such as the video camera, but overall I greatly prefer the Torch!

Jason

12

as an owner of both a torch and an iPhone 4 I find it hard to believe anyone would want to trade their iPhone for a blackberry. The blackberry is slow and unresponsive. not to mention their OS seems dated even though it is brand new. sure the blackberry has a removable battery and storage media but that has never been a feature I have taken advantage of on my bb's other than buying a larger memory card. the keyboard is nice on the blackberry as sometimes fast responses on my iphone are filled with spelling mistakes. the functionality and easy of use on the iPhone is unparalleled by rims weak offering of the torch.

Jake

13

As I had iPhone 4 (sold it) and now got my torch. My meaning is that the Torch definetly down the iPhone 4 with e-mails facebook etc.
However if you want to play games (which I don't need cause I have ps3) than iPhone would be better for you.

Willizyoyo

14

I wouldn't say Blackberry Torch 9800 is better than the Apple Iphone 4 as I am currently using. In my point of view, I prefer Blackberry Torch more than Iphone 4 because I have had Iphone 3GS on hand and traded-in the flaws and my lagging Iphone 4 to Blackberry Torch 9800. At the beginning, I felt uncomfortable and Difficulties to the Blackberry Torch 9800 because I have been got used to Iphone a couple of years. Later, I found it is more interesting, friendly-user compare to Iphone, although the speed browsing, the Iphone has slightly upper hand to the Blackberry Torch 9800. But the rest is quite easy to use and convenience, particularly for sms, email and etc.

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