Since its launch in 2007, the iPhone has completely revolutionized the mobile industry. It was the first usable touch screen smartphone and had a really good user interface. It gained scores of fans in the month it launched and in the subsequent months, it went on adding more users.
While RIM was the number one mobile company in the US with the BlackBerry smartphone platform and Nokia was at the top worldwide with the Symbian platform, Apple’s market share exploded with the success of the iPhone, making it the second largest mobile company in the US. Apple will soon cede that position to Android, but both iOS and Android are growing at phenomenal rates, adding about 200,000 new activations each day.
RIM tried to counter the iPhone with the BlackBerry Storm, but it flopped. Then, RIM launched the BlackBerry Torch 9800, a touch screen smartphone with a QWERTY keyboard which slides out. With the Torch, RIM hopes to defeat the iPhone 4 and regain its lost glory. Considering how awesome the iPhone 4 is, it is going to be a tough fight. In this article, I will examine the BlackBerry Torch versus the iPhone 4 based on various aspects like display, hardware, OS, design, connectivity options, and multimedia features.
The iPhone 4 is much slimmer and more compact than the BlackBerry Torch. Most of the bulk on the Torch is due to the presence of a physical QWERTY keypad. While the iPhone 4 has dimensions of 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3 mm, the BlackBerry Torch is much bulkier at 111 x 62 x 14.6 mm. Weighing 161 gms, it is also heavier than the iPhone 4 which weighs 137 gms. Both phones are easily pocketable though.
Both the iPhone 4 and the BlackBerry Torch have excellent build quality and look very stylish. If you don’t care about any of the other features, you should get a Torch if you want a QWERTY keyboard and an iPhone 4 if you want a normal touch screen phone.
When it comes to the design, there is no clear winner. It’s completely subjective. I, myself, like both a lot. But if you do want a physical keyboard, the BlackBerry Torch is your phone.
While the BlackBerry Torch’s display is much better than that of the Storm, it still cannot compare to the iPhone 4’s retina display. The Torch has a 3.2 inch capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 360 x 480 pixels while the iPhone 4 has a 3.5 inch retina display with a resolution of 640 x 960 pixels. The capacitive touch on the iPhone 4 is better than that on the Torch and it also wins in terms of the display size and resolution.
The iPhone is powered by a 1 GHz A4 processor and comes with 512 MB RAM while the BlackBerry Torch comes with a 624 MHz processor and 512 MB RAM. Both support multitasking but BlackBerry’s implementation is better. Also, the iPhone 4 comes with 16 GB or 32 GB of internal storage while the Torch comes with 4 GB internal memory and support for up to 32 GB microSD cards. Despite having a slower processor, the BlackBerry Torch is much better at multitasking. There is no clear winner when it comes to hardware, but I suppose the iPhone 4 sneaks it.
The iPhone 4 sports the latest version of the iPhone OS - iOS 4.1. It has an awesome user interface and now also supports multitasking. The best thing about iOS is the number of apps in the App Store. There are now more than 350,000 apps and games available for download. It is easily the best mobile platform.
The BlackBerry Torch runs the new BlackBerry OS 6.0 which is much better than the previous versions, both visually and performance wise. BlackBerry’s App World has only a fraction of the apps found in the App Store though. It you have been a BlackBerry user, you will feel right at home with the new OS.
Solely based on the strength of the App Store and the superb OS performance, the iPhone wins this round.
Both the iPhone 4 and the BlackBerry Torch have a 5 MP camera with autofocus and LED flash. But the Torch can only shoot VGA videos while the iPhone 4 can shoot 720p videos at 30 FPS. The iPhone 4 also has a secondary video camera with Facetime video calling. While the Torch captures great images, the stills shot by the iPhone 4 are really awesome. With the latest update, the iPhone 4 will also support HDR images.
When it comes to the camera, the iPhone 4 beats the BlackBerry Torch hands down.
Both the iPhone 4 and the BlackBerry Torch offer the basic connectivity options like GPRS, EDGE, 3G HSDPA, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP. Both have a GPS transceiver with A-GPS support. Both have Webkit based browsers, but the iPhone Safari browser is slightly better than the BlackBerry’s default browser. BlackBerry’s e-mail support, on the other hand, is the best among all smartphones. While the BlackBerry has a 1300 mAh battery, the iPhone 4 has a 1420 mAh one. But the BlackBerry Torch still offers much more battery life than the iPhone 4. I would go with the BlackBerry on this one.
Both the Apple iPhone 4 and the BlackBerry Torch are extremely capable smartphones. However, if I had to recommend one, I would go with the iPhone 4. It has a better display, better OS, better camera and offers great hardware. If, however, you want a physical QWERTY keyboard, the BlackBerry Torch is one of the best options you have. It is RIM’s finest phone to date.