Blackberry Torch 9800 vs. HTC Aria – Review

by Jerry D on August 13, 2010

How good is the Blackberry Torch? Not as good as some people hoped. Rather than hanging with the big smartphones, its so-so specification puts it into the same class as cellphones like the HTC Aria. So let’s compare the two and ask: which one would win in a Red Dead Redemption-style shoot-out?

Connectivity:

Here at least, the Blackberry Torch is well-specced. It includes 3G networking, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP connectivity. HTC’s Aria comes with 3G/HSDPA (7.2 Mbps), 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR as standard. That’s a point on the board for the Torch. (1-0)

Size & Weight:

Size-wise, the Blackberry Torch 9800 and the Aria measure 111.0 x 62.0 x 14.6mm and 104.1 x 58.4 x 11.7mm respectively. Neither are particularly BIG. The Blackberry Torch 9800 is only 2.9mm fatter than the Aria. But when it comes down to weight, there’s a big difference. The 9800 is way beefier than its opponent, weighing 161g. In contrast, the Aria weighs only 115g. (1-1)

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Camera:

RIM has built its Torch with a 5.0 Megapixel camera that boasts auto-focus, image stabilization, an LED flash, 2x digital zoom and VGA video capture. It’s a decent, if unspectacular specification.

The two phones match each other for megapixels – the Aria also packs a 5.0 Megapixel camera. It doesn’t have any other standout features worthy of an extra point. Autofocus? Check. Geo-tagging? Yup. Touch focus and VGA video recording? Yes and Yes. But it does lack an LED flash, which is criminal in this day and age. (2-1)

Screen/keyboard:

The 9800 incorporates a touch-sensitive LCD display, 3.2 inches in size and with a resolution of 360 x 480 pixels. As for the keyboard, it’s a compact QWERTY layout in the classic Blackberry style, designed to speed up data entry for fast-fingered road warriors. The Aria’s touch-sensitive LCD display is the same size. Its 320 x 480 pixel resolution is slightly less impressive than the RIM display. (3-1)

Performance:

As for overall usability and performance, the RIM Blackberry Torch 9800 is powered by a Marvell processor, clocked at 624MHz. The Aria has a similarly-revved 600MHz Qualcomm MSM 7227 chip, so neither phone is the fastest around.

RIM’s phone uses its overhauled Blackberry OS 6.0, while HTC powers the Aria with the increasingly powerful Android 2.1 (Eclair) with HTC Sense. An upgrade to 2.2 is in the works. (3-2)

Downloadable apps:

Storage:

The Blackberry Torch boasts 8GB compared to the default 384MB capacity of the Aria. The RIM handset also includes a microSD card slot to ramp up the memory to 36GB. The storage capacity on HTC’s phone can be expanded to 32GB via the microSD slot. (4-2)

Battery life:

Measuring the staying power of phones is difficult. But RIM boasts 5.8 hours of talktime for its Blackberry Torch 9800, versus 6.0 hours for the Aria. The standby times are 336 hours for the Blackberry Torch 9800 and 372 hours for the Aria. The Aria steals it here and claws back a point. (4-3)

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Extras:

The Blackberry Torch 9800 also includes GPS/A-GPS, geo-tagging and Blackberry Maps. The Aria features Stereo FM radio with RDS, plus GPS/A-GPS sat-nav with Google Maps. (4-3)

The RIM Blackberry Torch 9800 wins!

Torch 9800 keyboard Blackberry Torch 9800 vs. HTC Aria   ReviewSome good news for RIM. The Blackberry Torch 9800 stands its ground and comes out on top in this fight (4-3). It’s a narrow win, aided by the fact that the Aria lacks an LED flash and the Torch beats the HTC handset in terms of standard memory. Blackberry OS 6.0 is a definite improvement over the previous incarnation, but compared to Android it’s still streets (and avenues) behind in terms of usability and flexibility.

Do you agree with the outcome of this fight? Leave us a comment below now…

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