HTC and RIM are two of the largest (if not THE largest) smartphone manufacturers in the world, although their handsets never really intersected as they target two different distinct niches: while HTC goes for the consumer market with phones ranging from very cheap to very expensive, RIM usually goes for the corporate market and business users who need devices that are reliable, safe and “just work”. Interestingly, the iPhone matches that description perfectly – that’s exactly the reason why RIM has been losing market share ever since the first iPhone came out.
RIM of course, started to take action against that, but so far it seems to be pretty unsuccessful. They have released an improved Blackberry OS with support for apps, better browsing experience and other features, but their smartphones, which are now targeted at the consumer markets as well, have definitely been lacking in hardware features. That’s why I wanted to compare RIM’s latest and greatest smartphone with HTC’s flagship product, to see how far they’ve progressed and if they’re really on the right track.
The Blackberry Torch 9800 is RIM’s latest phone, with the most impressive feature set yet (for a Blackberry). So how does it compare against the Sensation, HTC’s latest device and one of the most powerful smartphones in the world?
The Sensation has a better screen and even better performance
Let’s start with the outside: the style doesn’t really matter, but both devices have their own distinct unique look that will attract people. The 9800 has a slide out portrait QWERTY keyboard, in the best Blackberry traditions, while the Sensation has a big 4.3 inch display with qHD resolution that makes the 3.2 inches 360×480 unit on the Torch look very small. Both the phones will make the iPhone 4 look bland, so RIM is on the right track with the design, as is HTC.
Moving on to the performance department, it’s safe to say that the Sensation can run circles around the Torch (not that you’ll have the software to test it out on Blackberry OS, anyway) – the dual core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon is very fast and power efficient, and with 768 MB of RAM, it’s faster at multitasking and resource intensive apps than the single core 1 GHz processor and 512 MB of RAM in the Blackberry. I suppose both phones will handle pretty much the same in most day to day apps, however should you fire up the browser and load a page packed with elements, open a HD video or 3D game, you’ll notice the difference right away.
Android can match anything Blackberry OS offers, and have a lot more features left
Of course, that assumes Blackberry 6 actually has those things – the OS is pretty new and there aren’t nearly as many developers working on apps for it as there are for Android, with most of them being focused on business and productivity apps, leaving nothing for entertainment and any other categories. Android has it all, on the other hand – it can rival Blackberry in productivity and business apps while providing enough entertainment and multimedia apps to satisfy anyone’s need – a true universal OS.
The Sensation also has support for 1080p video recording, a front facing camera DLNA, HDMI out (with mirror mode support), a gyroscope and compass – all of which are missing on the Torch 9800, although it wins in the on board memory amount with 4 GB instead of the 1 GB on the Sensation (both phones have a microSD card slot for expansion, so storage is not a problem). The camera on the Blackberry doesn’t even support HD filming – it finally has autofocus, though…
Overall, I’m not impressed with the Blackberry Torch 9800, a flagship smartphone, and I think that you have to be a real diehard fan of RIM to choose it over the Sensation and Android (if you have a choice, of course 🙂 – the latter can do everything a business/corporate user needs to do, while also having a lot of other features and options.
You might say that this is an unfair comparison, that the two devices are targeted at different user groups, and you’ll be right, but why would anyone buy the inferior Torch if they can have the same features and much better hardware with the Sensation? RIM is certainly losing marketplace, and they need to release something at least close to the Sensation in order to keep the most tech-savvy business users (there are many of them nowadays) with them, otherwise they will definitely fail.