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iPhone 4 vs. BlackBerry Torch: How do they compare?

iPhone 4 vs. BlackBerry Torch: For the regular consumers who have been choosing iPhone and Android over BlackBerry, look at how the BlackBerry Torch stacks up against the iPhone 4.

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iPhone 4 (l.) vs. Blackberry Torch (r.): How do they compare?

Photo illustration: Research in Motion/Reuters (r.), Paul Sakuma/AP/File (l.)

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The newly announced BlackBerry Torch is widely recognized as the latest attempt to make BlackBerry relevant to the non-business crowd, in other words, the regular consumers who have been choosing iPhone and Android over BlackBerry. So lets take a look at how the BlackBerry Torch stacks up against the iPhone 4.

One of the biggest and most important differences between the BlackBerry Torch and the iPhone 4 is the operating system these phones use. iOS4 has received great reviews, even though it has recently had security issues. The Torch uses the brand new BlackBerry 6 operating system, which launched with the announcement of the Torch.

BlackBerry 6 maintains all of the messaging and productivity features beloved by BlackBerry users, but it also adds in significant social networking and media features in order to appeal to the average consumer who has come to expect those features in a smartphone. Even still, its likely the average smartphone user will still prefer the simplicity of the iPhone interface over the revamped look of BlackBerry 6.

IN PICTURES: Apple's iCandy

The BlackBerry Torch has an obvious advantage for those who prefer physical keyboards or haven't decided if they prefer typing on keys or a touchscreen yet. The iPhone has no physical keyboard, so it's not even a competition. The Torch includes a touchscreen, which is rare for BlackBerry devices, and utilizes many of the same multitouch gestures for navigation found in other touchscreen phones.

Another area where BlackBerry wins is in mobile browsing. A new WebKit browser in the BlackBerry 6 operating system has already been tested and is shown to be faster than the browser included in the iPhone 4. The WebKit browser scored significantly better than iPhone or Android phones in an Acid3 test, which indicates a faster and better browsing experience.

In many other areas, the BlackBerry Torch is similar to the iPhone 4. It has Wi-Fi and GPS capabilities, and while it has less internal storage (4GB) than the iPhone (16GB or 32GB), it has a microSD card slot that can expanded up to 32GB. BlackBerry 6 also has a revamped media player that mimics that of the iPhone, with cover art and searching capabilities reminiscent of iTunes. There is even an app store for the Torch.

Perhaps the most obvious similarity is that they are both on the AT&T network, which has taken a beating from iPhone users for poor reception and dropped connections. It remains to be seen if the BlackBerry will have the same level of reception woes the iPhone 4 has had.

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But that's where the similarities stop and the iPhone starts to look better and better.

For instance, the iPhone app store is much better than the BlackBerry App World 2.0 that the Torch uses. And by better we mean in both quantity and quality of apps. The iPhone also trumps the Torch's battery life (iPhone: 7 hours talk time, 10 hours of video, 40 hours of audio; Torch: 5.5 hours talk time, 6 hours of video, 30 hours of audio) and has a front facing camera for video conferencing.

One of the biggest advantages the iPhone 4 has over the Torch is in display quality. The Torch has a 480 x 360 pixel resolution, which is actually last-gen technology that most new smartphones on the market exceed. The iPhone 4 takes it a step further with the highest-resolution display in a smartphone: 960 x 640 pixel resolution. This Retina Display technology in the iPhone renders images much sharper than those found in any phone, let alone the Torch.

To top it all off, the iPhone 4 A4 processor is also significantly more powerful than the one in the BlackBerry Torch, making the iPhone 4 more snappy and responsive.

While the new BlackBerry Torch does wonders for bringing the BlackBerry line up to date with current smartphone technology, it also doesn't do anything to make the Torch stand out. It brings BlackBerry up to the general level of the competition, but no further. And that means it will be hard to stand out against smartphones, such as the iPhone, that have been leading and innovating all along.

IN PICTURES: Apple's iCandy

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