Aug 20, 2011

BlackBerry Torch 9810 review

In the fall of 2010, AT&T stores nationwide installed a mysterious shroud housing some sort of exhibit. Even employees didn't even know what was inside, and anyone caught tampering with the makeshift wall in order to find out was terminated. What was this strange hype-building marketing ploy? A new iPad? Perhaps it was some secret Android device that nobody had heard of? The atmosphere was thick with suspense. When the curtain was finally lifted, it turned out to be... a BlackBerry Torch 9800.

This curious marketing attempt must've worked at least to some extent, since Research in Motion decided to tempt fate a second time with the Torch 9810. Known in its early days as the "Torch 2," the new version of the portrait QWERTY slider was released to much less pomp and circumstance. This time it was unveiled alongside two new BlackBerry BFFs: the Bold Touch 9900 / 9930 and the Torch 9850 / 9860. The 9810 in particular wasn't a surprise because we'd been given the opportunity to preview the device in May. Though it's nearly identical to the original, it packs a processor that nearly doubles the speed -- a behind-the-scenes upgrade culminating in a night-and-day contrast. But how does it fare against the blooming market of superphones that are flooding the market? And is this the best BlackBerry you can buy today? Let's find out.


ViewSonic ViewPad 10pro: a Windows 7 tablet that also runs Android

Life would be so much easier if you could just switch operating systems depending on what you need, wouldn't it? That's the thinking behind ViewSonic's ViewPad 10pro, a "dual OS" tablet that runs Windows 7 and Android 2.3. The Wi-Fi enabled device comes with Intel's new 1.5 GHz Atom Z670 CPU, a 1024 x 600 display, 2GB of memory, a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, HDMI capabilities and a microSD slot. We had a hands-on in May and found out that the 10.1-inch device runs Android with Bluestacks' virtualization layer for Windows, though we noticed that performance left a little to be desired. The base model comes with Windows 7 Home Premium and a 16GB SSD for $599, while an extra Benjamin gets you Windows 7 Professional and a 32GB SSD. If you want one soon, best get a move on, as "limited numbers" are currently available. For more information you can sonically view ViewSonic's press release.


Xiaomi Phone hands-on

In case you're still skeptical about the $310 Xiaomi Phone, our brief hands-on with a prototype just now suggests that little should be worried about this Foxconn-made device (not Motorola as previously rumored). While the 1.2GHz or 1.5GHz dual-core phone is a tad thicker and heavier than many other flagship smartphones these days, the soft back felt nice in our hands -- a bit like the HTC Sensation but smaller. The overall build quality was surprisingly solid, though we won't comment much on the software since it was a non-final build (we had a little crash while filming, and the three touch buttons didn't light up). Leaving those issues aside, we're definitely looking forward to this nicely priced, feature-packed Android in October. Hands-on video after the break.

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