Blackberry Torch 9800…Useful for Ministry?

I got some brief hands-on time with the new Blackberry Torch 9800. I lack the contacts in the Cell Industry to test phones before they are released. This one happened to be pretty simple. Our Senior Pastor was up for an upgrade, and after looking at his needs, Blackberry was going to be his best bet.  Wirefly got him a great deal on the 9800.

My impressions vs the 9700:

I carry a Bold 9700 from ATT, so there were a lot of innate similarities. I would call the 9800 and Blackberry OS 6 more evolution of the platform than a Groundbreaking new device. Someone upgrading from OS 4.7 or 5 will see a lot of similar menus and icons. The one exception I saw was an options/settings menu that was more Android in nature than Blackberry. This was a very welcome change. Personally the reviews I read could not prepare me for how much better the Webkit Browser was over the stock OS 5 Browser. Hardware, Performance, and Durability I would rate on par or better to the Bold 9700 that I have. The one thing that would be a learning curve to some is the weight of the Torch vs the Bold 9700. The Torch feels solid in its weight. Not heavy, but solid – if you had one, think Blackberry 8800/8820/8830, they were solid. It is really one of my main issues with the 9700, it’s almost too light. I was not able to push the 9800 to its limit or spend an extended amount of time with it, but my overall impression was positive.

Useful in Ministry?

A while back, I did an overview of using a Blackberry in Ministry. I won’t repeat, except what is specific to the 9800. This phone is primarily a business unit. They have added some features that make it more consumer-friendly. The way I see it, it is not designed to be an iPhone killer.  It is designed to be a secure, business-minded phone that has some of the “fun” features of other smartphones. It continues and builds on what RIM does well – email and messaging. It does both very well. It has very reasonable battery life, slightly diminished from the Bold 9700, but remember it’s driving a larger touchscreen display.

As I mentioned earlier, the web is a much richer experience on OS 6. I would put it at least as good or better than the Android 1.6/2.0 Stock browser (have not tested a 2.1/2.2 unit extensively to compare).

My overall vote in Ministry use is that this is a very serviceable unit for ministry use due to the fact it does email and messaging extremely well, has a great built in backup method (via Desktop Manager), and contact management is improved from even OS 5 (which is very good).

On a scale of 1 to 5, I would rate it at 4.5.

Do you have a 9800? Looking at getting one? Questions/Comments?

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Brent Lacy

Youth Pastor. Web Designer. Homeschool Dad. Former Child Abuse Investigator. IT Technician. Writer. Lock-in Survivor. Rural Ministry Advocate. These all describe the experiences and stories that are part of Brent Lacy’s time in ministry. Brent grew up on 160 acres of corn, soybeans and cattle in Southern Illinois. He is currently a Rural Ministry Specialist with National Network of Youth Ministry (NNYM), based in Rockville, Indiana where he lives with his beautiful wife and three awesome kids in the Covered Bridge Capital of the World! His book "Rural Youth Ministry: Thrive Where You're Planted" is available at SimplyYouthMinistry.com and on the Kindle Store.

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