For those who haven’t followed my smartphone history (and I suspect many haven’t), last December I gave up my BlackBerry Curve 8530 for an Android phone. It’s true, I was long a BlackBerry (and BlackBerry Messenger) addict, but as of December 2010, RIM left me with no other choice but to abandon ship. It had yet to provide, well, a modern-day smartphone — one with a great browsing and app experience. The Torch was its lone higher-end touchscreen option at the time, but the phone’s 624MHz processor made for a sluggish experience, its low-res screen was an eyesore, and the software was just too outdated. So, I threw off the mobile shackles (as I wrote at Engadget) and headed for the Droid 2.

The Torch 9810 is the successor to that original Torch and the third in a trio of new phones by RIM packing a new operating system — BlackBerry 7. Sure, from looking at it you wouldn’t necessarily know that RIM had made any changes, but the original pain points have been mended with a faster single-core 1.2 GHz processor, a higher resolution screen, and a zippier OS. Not to mention, the HSPA+ equipped phone is only $49.95 at AT&T (rather than the predecessor’s $199.99 starting price). So, is the new Torch the phone to pull me back to BlackBerry? Or is it too little too late? Read on for the full review.