Congratulations on buying your BlackBerry Torch 2! I’m sure you’ll find that the modern BlackBerry OS has most of what you need right out of the box. If you’re upgrading, BlackBerry 6 users will find the update very familiar while OS 5 users will find that a lot of things that used to be optional now come standard and are deeply integrated into the OS. This guide is geared towards the BlackBerry novice so if you’re already a BlackBerry expert you may be more interested in the hardware side of things in our BlackBerry Torch 2 review. Hit the jump for a guide to setting up your new device.
As mentioned above, before we get started you may want to read a device review to know more about what you’re getting in to. Click here to read our BlackBerry Torch 2 (9810) review.
SIM Installation and Expanded Memory
After freeing your device from it’s box and recycling all of the included materials, take your SIM and slide it gently into the slot. Also insert your micro SD card, you’ll need it for all the multimedia stuff the Torch 2 can do.
There’s 8GB of on-board memory but that’s not enough considering this device will end up replacing your digital camera and iPod. I recommend at least a 16GB card if you want a lot of room for everything. If you’re planning on putting loads of music, snapping lots of pictures, or shooting lots of video then invest in a 32GB card.
It’s also worth mentioning that there is an increasing number of cloud-based services out there to expand the amount of storage you have access to. Here are a few storage services we recommend you look at, because they’ll go a long way to exceeding what the SD card can provide.
Soonr offers simple document organization and file-sharing with automatic backup and access from any Web browser or mobile phone.
SugarSync‘s file sync, online backup, and file sharing service makes it easy to stay connected. Get free, secure cloud storage for all your files.
FilesAnywhere offers online file storage, with cloud storage solutions for Internet backup, file sharing, secure FTP hosting, and web folders.
Email, Contact Management, IM, and Social Networks
Email setup: Setting up email is the first thing you should do when you get your new 9810. Most people have several emails they wish to set up and BlackBerry makes it easy to manage different accounts. Here’s a video explaining the basics:
There are loads of different email systems out there and RIM has created a helpful site to help you get connected.
Signature: BlackBerry devices come pre-loaded with an annoying ad telling people that you’ve emailed them using a BlackBerry on whatever network you’re using. As much as I’m a fan of the platform, I’m not a fan of all my outgoing emails looking like a billboard. To change this click on messages, then hit the menu button (the BlackBerry Button) and select options then email account management. From here you can assign a different signature for each email address that you have.
Twitter: RIM has preloaded its official Twitter client and completely integrated it into your BlackBerry’s messaging system. If you’ve got more than one Twitter account that you’d like to manage you’ll need to download UberSocial from App World. UberSocial is a great social networking client that features dual post to Facebook, an Inner Circle feature that shows you a separate timeline of just your favorite users, lots of support for posting photos, videos and themes.
Facebook: The official Facebook client also works in a similar way with integration into your BlackBerry’s notifications and messaging system.
Instant Messaging: The BlackBerry Torch 2 comes preloaded with AIM and MSN IM clients. A couple of other popular IM systems are and Facebook chat. You can also get Facebook chat in the official Facebook app updates so be sure to check that out too.
BBM: The BlackBerry-only IM client/social network BBM has got to be the best mobile IM client I have ever used. I have a feeling that other mobile IM clients will borrow its functionality for years to come. Be sure to stay updated with the latest version and check out all the BBM-enhanced apps in App World.
Social Feeds 2.0: This is a social network, RSS, and Podcast aggregator that debuted on BlackBerry 6. It draws in feeds from your various social networks so that you can browse them on a single feed. I find that social recommendations mixed with RSS and Podcast subscriptions are a great way to browse mobile content. Seeking out brand new content from your mobile can be a bit of a chore, Social feeds makes it easy by being able to browse from big lists, then earmarking content as favorites so that you can read, listen and watch later on.
Contact Management: A new feature in BlackBerry 7 is the ability to add contact details to an existing contact. This used to happen quite often when a person already in your contacts communicates with you in a new way. Before you would have to select and copy the new email or phone number, then find the contact by multitasking over to the address book, and editing a specific contact before pasting in the new info in the right spot. Now all one has to do is select Add to Existing Contact from the menu button and search for the desired contact.
OS Navigation and Universal Search
If you’ve never used OS 6 before, the main menu screen now has something called panels. The panels give you quick access to the apps you use the most by dividing your apps across a few different categories. The All panel hosts all of your apps unfiltered, the Frequent panel is home to your most-accessed apps, Downloads is a drop box for you newly downloaded apps, Media holds all your entertainment apps and Favorites is where all your apps marked as favorite end up. In OS 7 it’s possible to add new panels and remove unused ones by pressing the menu button on the main menu screen then press Manage Panels.
Multitasking between apps and finding what you’re looking for quickly is what BlackBerry does best.
To switch to another already-running app, simply press and hold the BlackBerry/Menu button and a menu will appear with the icons of all the apps you’re currently running.
Using universal search is very intuitive. Instead of having to look through the menus and icons of your phone, just start typing what you want to access and you’ll be presented with lots of options.
A new feature introduced in BlackBerry 7 is the Voice Search feature. This will use your voice and engage the Universal Search without having to access the keypad, especially handy for 1-handed operation. To use voice search, simply click the magnifying glass search icon on the home screen, and then click the microphone icon. It appears I the same place as the magnifying glass so just click it twice to access it quickly.
Notifications appear in a notification menu separated by type. To access the menu, click between the speaker icon (your profile settings) and the Universal Search hourglass. This notifications menu lists Upcoming calendar events, missed calls, Twitter mentions, IMs, Facebook messages, and SMS.
Location Based Services with Magnetometer and GPS
A brand new feature in BlackBerry 7 devices is the magnetometer. This new hardware will pave the way for Augmented Reality apps as well as better navigation apps. The two apps of note are the RIM-built Compass app and the Wikitude augmented reality suite.
Wikitude is pretty useful for displaying geolocation information such as Foursquare venues and BBM friends but I still find myself using Google Maps to do all my navigation.
The BlackBerry 9810 comes with 768MB of memory in which to store lots and lots of apps. You’ve probably noticed that when you install lots of apps on an older BlackBerry that you begin to experience a sluggish OS and long boot times. The new Torch however has plenty of wiggle room for you to try out new apps and personalize your device with themes and ringtones. If you’re looking for a place to download games, apps, ringtones and themes I suggest Bplay.com and BlackBerry App World.
Searching for apps is particularly easy on the Torch 2 because of its inclusion of App World in the Universal Search options.
This may be your first device to utilize BlackBerry Protect, I suggest setting this up as soon as possible because its features can really save the day. On a convenience note, I really like automatic backups. Very few users take the time to back up their phone and BlackBerry Protect’s automatic backups turn a chore into something rather painless. BlackBerry Protect uses the same My World login and password that you use for App World.
When the unthinkable happens and you lose your BlackBerry, you’ve got a few options to minimize the data loss and more options that give you a good chance at recovering your device. Once you lose your device you can remote backup your data, remotely lock your device and compose a message to the person who found it.
You can log in to the BlackBerry Protect site and see where your phone is on a map. If it happens to be between two couch cushions you can make your BlackBerry ring.
What I love about BlackBerry Protect is that it gives you a few tools that will make you feel less helpless when trying to recover a device. Most horror stories I know of involve someone unfriendly person who has your phone. BlackBerry Protect gives you an idea of where they are and a means to lock the device, recover the data and communicate with them that you’re coming to get the phone.
Getting Music Set Up
Get ready to experience mobile music at its finest. First off connect your BlackBerry to your desktop PC or Mac and sync over some music and playlists from your iTunes library. The better you’ve managed your music with the correct info, the better your BlackBerry can sort them by artist, album, genre or playlist.
Internet Radio is handled through Slacker, the Netflix of internet radio with a $3.99 monthly plan that includes unlimited skips, news radio and offline mode enabled. Slacker’s premium $9.99 allows searchable access to all the music in their catalogue and playlist creation.
Another great music innovation from RIM is the WiFi music sync feature. You can select the songs and playlists you want on your phone and when you’re at home and on the WiFi network, your selections are automatically updated.
To enable WiFi music sync, simply connect your BlackBerry to your desktop and then click Device Options in your BlackBerry Desktop Software. Managing which playlists and songs are synced is done through the BlackBerry Desktop Software.
We also highly recommend you sign up for the Beta Zone. At the time of writing this, the BBM Music Service is available for beta download and you need to get it.
Converting video for the Torch 2 is easy. I strongly recommend this free video conversion utility for Mac and PC by Squared 5 called MPEG Streamclip. You should stick to these file types like AVI, MP4, MOV, WMV, and keep in mind the Torch 2’s native resolution of 640×480.
Voice notes are a great way to get ideas down without having to slave over your BlackBerry keypad. The voice quality is about as good as the Torch 2’s speakerphone abilities and stores the voice data in a very efficient manner. You’ll be hard-pressed run out of storage space with voice notes, even if you use it constantly.
Docs To Go
RIM has included a full version of Docs to go on the Torch 2. If you’d like to try it out to see how it works, just email yourself an attachment with Word document, an Excel spreadsheet or a PowerPoint presentation to see just how far mobile viewing and editing of office documents has come. I think that this is the first usable version of Docs To Go because of the Torch 2’s increased screen real estate.
If you’re upgrading from the original Torch 9800, all of your old cases, skins, battery doors, Micro SD cards, batteries, data cables and chargers are all compatible with the Torch 2. When shopping for new accessories keep in mind that anything that works on the 9800 will work with the 9810 too.
The control buttons on BlackBerry devices have remained a familiar fixture for the past few years. These buttons give you quick access to lock your BlackBerry, stop, play, fast forward, rewind, and control the volume all without having to open the keyboard or even take the device out of your pocket.
The volume rocker buttons double as fast forward and rewind buttons by holding down on them. All of the music controls work even if your screen is locked. It’s somewhat difficult to accidentally hit them because of the buttons’ low profile.
There’s also a side convenience key that can be assigned to quickly open your favorite app. I assign my convenience key to the video camera so that the video light (aka flash light) immediately comes on when I press it. To assign your most-used app to your convinience key, go to Options > Device > Convenience Key.
If you find that your BlackBerry is too easily unlocked, you may be interested in some of the screen locking apps that requires either an on-screen pattern like Android devices or an iPhone styled slide lock. You can also set a text password by going to options, security, then password.
It’s also a good idea to have a locked screen message so that good samaritans can easily return your device. Set your message by going to options, then display, then message on lock screen.
BlackBerry LED indicator
Those new to the platform will notice something different about how BlackBerry tells you it needs your attention. The BlackBerry features a distress beacon-like LED indicator that quietly tells you about new messages, whether you’re getting reception, if your battery is needing a charge or if it’s utilizing the Bluetooth radio.
All these options can be configured to never flash. You’ll want to choose what’s important because having them all on is a bit of an LED overload and it’ll seem that your BlackBerry is never at rest. Most users I know turn off their Bluetooth indicator and the coverage indicator just to cut down on the excessive LED blinking. The coverage indicator is quite useful if you’re in an area of lackluster coverage.
Red -New message indicator
Blue – Bluetooth radio in use
Amber – Low batter indicator
Green – Coverage indicator
There are a lot of apps that utilize the full-color LED to show a different blinking color for each contact, or a rainbow effect whenever receiving a call. If you want one with a lot of options try Color ID by Motek.
Making the most out of your BlackBerry battery involves a bit of configuration and maybe some changes to your charging habits. The processor in the Torch 2 runs at a battery-taxing 1.2GHz so you’ll need to charge it every single day in order to not run out of juice. I suggest a few simple habits for extending batter life that will have you laughing at people who run out of power mid-day.
Charge your BlackBerry while you sleep: The BlackBerry needs a charge every day. If you make a habit of it when you go to bed you’ll always be starting the day with a full charge.
Set your screen brightness to something low: One of the biggest power draws on the BlackBerry is the backlit screen. Setting it from 0 to 30 brightness with a 30-second timeout and auto-dimming will get a lot more mileage out of your battery.
Close apps after use: The BlackBerry is a miracle of multitasking but at a battery cost. Minimize the amount of apps you have running in order to maximize your battery. Apps that have the biggest battery cost are GPS apps and IM apps that use the radio to poll constantly like Facebook chat apps.
Turn off radios that aren’t in use: When you leave home or the office, turn off the WiFi and Bluetooth radios to conserve energy.
Managing Connections and WiFi
If you’ve set up WiFi on a previous BlackBerry device, all your preferred networks and passwords should still be intact. If this is your first BlackBerry, you should get familiar with the status bar at the top of the main screen (where the current time is displayed). Clicking that bar brings you to the manage connections menu and allows you to choose connectivity options for your mobile network, WiFi, and Bluetooth radios.
Setting up a WiFi connection is the same process as it is on the PC or Mac, just select the network and enter the password. WiFi is utilized by all the data-intensive BlackBerry apps such as secure backups with BlackBerry Protect, the podcast app new games like 3D Rollercoaster Rush Jurassic 2 that need to download large art libraries after the game has been installed.
Tethering your PlayBook to your BlackBerry
Using the BlackBerry Bridge only allows you to use the bridge apps while you’re on the go. If you want full access for the rest of your PlayBook apps then you’ll also need to set up tethering. To enable tethering go to the PlayBook’s options menu and select Internet Tethering. You’ll see your BlackBerry show up in this menu, click on it and then select your mobile carrier. It gave me 3 options to choose from for my carrier so I just tried them all until I found one that worked. With tethering engaged I can use any internet-connected app like App World and the weather app.
Bluetooth Pairing the Blackberry PlayBook
The PlayBook’s portable potential is unlocked through Bluetooth. To pair your devices together, first go to the Manage Connections > Network and Connections > Bluetooth Connections > Discoverable. On your Playbook go to Options > Bluetooth > Add New Device > Search. Your phone should appear in the list and after clicking it it’ll ask you to confirm that a six-digit number matches both devices.
After pairing your PlayBook you’ll need to set up your BlackBerry Bridge connection. Go to the Manage Connections menu on your 9810, select Network and Connections, and then press BlackBerry Bridge. This time it’ll ask you to enter a small pass phrase that’s 6 digits long and case sensitive. Now you have access to all the apps that draw data from your phone like notepad, tasks, calendar, address book, BBM, bridge files and the bridge browser.
Pairing your Visor Mount Speakerphone VM-605
The BlackBerry Visor Mount is a popular accessory, especially for those who commute to work. If you’ve bought one, we’ll tell you how to set it up. Press and hold the power button on the visor mount for 2 seconds. On your 9810, go to Manage Connections > Network and Connections > Bluetooth Connections > Add New Device > Search. Once you’ve established a connection your phone will ask for a 4-digit code, enter 0000 (four zeros) and you’ll be ready to use your visor mount.
Pairing your BlackBerry Bluetooth headset
Most Bluetooth headsets follow the same pairing sequence as the visor mount. Default passwords are either 0000 or 1234.
BlackBerry Stereo Gateway
The BlackBerry Stereo Gateway is great for playing music at home or in the office. The range of this Bluetooth device impresses me because it easily works without stuttering when my device is 10 feet to 15 feet away from the receiver. Pairing this device follows the same sequence as the visor mount and Bluetooth headsets with its default pairing password set to 0000.
If you ever need help with your BlackBerry, try typing in what you’re trying to do in Universal Search. You’ll find some very thorough help topics that are sure to explain what you’re hoping to do. Setting up a new BlackBerry might seem a bit convoluted but once it’s all set up things just work seamlessly.
Feel free to leave any questions in the comment thread and we’ll do our best to get back to you.