The BlackBerry Storm developed by Research in Motion belongs to the BlackBerry 9500 series. A full touchscreen smartphone, it is positioned as an alternative to other smartphones such as the iPhone. It has been getting mixed reviews for its business-oriented features and innovative touchscreen providing touchy-feely feedback. The phone also provides a global roaming capability with its dual mode function, as well as a 3.2 MP camera. However, some critics have been bashing the cramped onscreen keyboard as well as the often-choppy speakerphone quality.
Design (4 out of 5)
In terms of design, the BlackBerry Storm is not different from the other touchscreen phone models available in the market today, it is similar to the iPhone and Samsung Omnia. It has a black casing accentuated with silver highlights, although the handset does feel heavy and blocky. The phone has dimensions of 4.4 inches in length, 2.4 inches in width and 0.5 inches in depth. The phone weighs about 5.6 ounces.
Although the BlackBerry Storm does not have the most unique of designs, the display is quite remarkable. It boasts of a VGA glass display measuring 3.25 inches. The screen displays 65,00 colors at a resolution of 480x360 pixels. The Storm’s screen backlighting, font type and size can also be adjusted. The device likewise has an accelerometer, enabling the screen to switch in orientation from landscape to portrait when the phone is rotated vertically to horizontally.
User Interface (3 out of 5)
The device also makes use of SurePress which enables the user to push the screen and get tactile feedback when selecting an application or entering texts. The BlackBerry Storm also has a soft keyboard available in landscape and portrait modes.
The phone allows finger tapping and swiping in performing certain tasks. For instance users can tap the screen twice to zoom in on a map, or use quick swipes of the finger to scroll through a page. Likewise, in cutting and pasting text, users may touch the screen at the beginning of the text and with the other finger, touch the latter part of the text that needs to be copied.
Although the SurePress technology is quite amazing, users need to get used to using it. Likewise, the keyboard buttons may feel too cramped and small for some users. This may pose a problem for users with large thumbs.
On the front of the device are navigational controls such as menu key, talk and end buttons, and clear button. The BlackBerry Storm, however, does not have the usual trackball navigator that has been a trademark of many BlackBerry units over the years. On the left spine of the phone there’s a USB port and short cut key, while a headphone jack is found on the right side of the phone.
Features (4 out of 5)
The BlackBerry Storm is powered by the Blackberry OS 4.7 which is used in other models like the Blackberry Pearl and Blackberry Bold. The phone allows editing of business-related documents like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files. Other applications that this phone has include task list, calendar, voice recorder, memo pad, and a password manager. More applications, games and themes can be downloaded from online sources.
The BlackBerry Storm e-mail capabilities feature the ability to sync with the BlackBerry enterprise server. The phone is also capable of support for IBM Lotus Domino and Microsoft Exchange, so it is able to deliver corporate e-mails easily. The Storm comes with the usual spell-check function that all BlackBerry models have. The phone is also equipped with an attachment viewer capable of opening various files like PDF, GIF, and JPEG.
Offering dual-mode functionality, the BlackBerry Storm is capable of switching easily between GSM and CDMA networks. Users can enjoy easy international roaming without having to change numbers with this smartphone.
The Storm address book also features customization such as assignment of photos, group categories and polyphonic ringtones. Other features include voice dialing, speaker phone, conference calling and multimedia messaging.
The BlackBerry Storm is quite reliable when it comes to Internet browsing. Download speed can go up to 800Kbps, which is a good number especially for business minded users. Of course the download speed depends on the coverage area.
Performance (4 out of 5)
Calls made using the Storm are usually defined with clear and crisp audio without any noticeable voice distortion and background noise. System crashes and freezes are uncommon thanks to its upgraded operating system. Users will also appreciate nice additions like copy and pasting of text.
Music playback may not be the best through the phone speakers, although the volume can be quite loud. The headphone jack allows better sound quality, however. The video performance is also not as amazing as that of the Blackberry Bold, but the Storm makes up for it with the swift web browsing. Likewise, GPS capabilities of the Storm are commendable.
The BlackBerry Storm uses a 1,400mAh ion battery which lasts up to 15 days on idle time and provides talk time of about 5 hours.
Verdict (4 out of 5)
The BlackBerry Storm may be considered a good alternative to other higher priced smartphones given the good array of features. It will suit business people who want something like an iPhone but not an iPhone. Although since the BlackBerry Storm does ape the Apple device you do have to wonder if the iPhone has replaced the Blackberry as the Business Users Choice.