Blackberry Storm Review: Specifications, Looks, Design, Build Quality and Ergonomics

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Main Specifications

  • Screen: 3.2 inch TFT active matrix at a resolution of 480 x 360
  • Internal memory: 128 MB
  • External memory: 1 GB (can be upgraded up to 8 GB via a microSD card)
  • GPS: Built-in GPS with Blackberry maps
  • Wi-Fi: No
  • Bluetooth: Yes version 2.0
  • Dimensions: 2.4 in x 0.6 in x 4.4 inches
  • Weight: 155 Grams
  • Price: Approximately USD 550.00


Blackberry Storm 9530

Looks, Design, Build Quality and Ergonomics (4 out of 5)

With the Blackberry Storm, Research In Motion (makers of the Blackberry line) has tried to change its traditional QWERTY keyboard style design by excluding it and rather adding a 3.2 inch touch screen. This Blackberry is much heavier than all its predecessors, weighing almost 155 grams. It’s also bulkier and much wider than the iPhone. It seems that this time Blackberry has tried to move one step further and is trying to compete with the other multimedia phones. Otherwise the build quality is quite impressive with a very solid design, large touch screen and use of chrome tin in the body. I’d go as far as to say that the Blackberry Storm is a huge phone with a solid build quality which you will notice when you realize that you can feel its load in your hands.

You will find just four keys at the bottom of the screen, which include the call, menu, escape and end call buttons. On the left hand side of the phone there is a bay for inserting the microSD card which you won’t be able to find in any other Blackberry phone. The left hand panel also holds a charging port along with a convenience key. You will find the volume keys at the right hand side of the phone along with another convenience key. The volume keys and the convenience keys are made of chrome that shines on the rubber finish giving a beautiful view.

The back panel holds the 3.2 megapixel camera that is just at the top along with the camera flash. The battery lid excludes the rubber finish and is made up of brushed metal giving it a rich and elegant look. There is a blackberry logo that proudly shines on the battery lid and just where the battery lid ends you will find a speakerphone. The speakerphone should have been placed at the right or left hand side of the phone and placing it on the back panel somewhat suppresses the sound output when the phone is placed on a flat surface with the back panel touching the surface.

The 3.2 inch TFT touch screen is wider, larger and brighter than any other BlackBerry phone. The virtual touch-screen keypad tries to capture the absence of a QWERTY keyboard but fails poorly. I think the QWERTY keyboard setup on past Blackberries is the best thing Blackberry phones had going for them and replacing that functional keyboard with a virtual one doesn’t make sense and is a big mistake on RIM’s part. The virtual keyboard does not support multi-touch and typing on it seems tiring. Blackberry needs to work on this function if they plan on releasing future touchscreen based units. The keyboard will actually slow you down and is not accurate like a business phone keyboard should be. No matter how much harder I tried, I was not able to use it with ease.

Features and Performance (4 out of 5)

The Blackberry Storm is based on the same operating system as that used by the Blackberry Bold. You can view and use the large screen in portrait mode as well as in landscape mode. Also, while the phone Contacts has not changed much and is very easy to use as is the case with other models of Blackberry. Opening up a contact displays all the information about the person you are looking for while the user is also able to assign three e-mails, two business and home phone numbers and a pager and a fax number each to the contact information. You can have the access to all contact information at a single click.

The Organizer also hasn’t changed much and is very easy to setup with the use of Blackberry Desktop Manager by synchronizing the phone with a personal computer. The organizer consists of all the functions that a business person may need including a calendar, a scheduler, a calculator and more. The scheduler provides all the support for meetings, appointments and reminders and is very user friendly. The Organizer also has a voice note recorder that acts as a virtual assistant taking and typing voice notes from the owner.

Like a true business phone Blackberry Storm handles setting up of an e-mail account with ease and sending and viewing e-mails is a piece of cake. Messaging becomes very simple as the phone is pre-equipped with Yahoo messenger, Windows Live Hotmail and Google Talk. Storm is a true global business device enabled with dual band CDMA and quad band GSM that can connect to any network in the world. However it does not have a Wi-Fi and is deeply missed. This phone has a Bluetooth v 2.0 and can be connected to any Bluetooth device.

As is the case with the rest of the Blackberry phones line browsing is a pleasurable experience on this phone as is the presence of a huge screen and the ability of the phone to render web pages with eas.

The 3.2 inch screen is the largest among Blackberry devices and has a high resolution making the phone rich for multimedia, including watching videos on the units large screen. I would even say the Multimedia viewing is about the same as you would find by watching movies on a PMP. The Storm also acts as a true multimedia phone by having an in-built video and music player that almost use the same interface seen on the iPhone. Finally all the controls and buttons can be accessed by tapping on the touchscreen, while the sound quality is second to none.

Value for money (3 out of 5)

Priced approximately at USD 550.00, this phone is quite expensive and you can buy an entry level notebook PC at this price. However business people looking for a good device with strong performance abilities alongside multimedia offerings should find the price to be rather reasonable.

Conclusion (3 out of 5)

The Blackberry Storm is an ambitious product from RIM that attempts to make up the middle ground between business and personal devices. I cannot say it succeeds fully in its goal but it definitely makes an impression. The performance is great in terms of multimedia functions but it really needs to improve in the business section. Another shortcoming this phone has, is its poor quality virtual touchscreen keyboard, which makes the QWERTY keyboard deeply missed, and so is the trackball. Without a good typing keyboard I simply cannot say that the Blackberry Storm is a true business phone, or for that matter a true bargain.