The four controls on the front panel are operated in the exact same way as the display. Those include the Call and End buttons, as well as the Menu and Back keys.
On top of the front panel of the Storm2 we find the earpiece and the LED indicator. The status LED notifies of missed calls and messages, low battery and charging.
The left side of the BlackBerry Storm2 9520 hosts the microUSB port and one of the convenience keys. There isn't a cover for the data jack so dust is likely to accumulate.
The default function of the left convenience key of the Storm2 is voice commands, but you can change that as you see fit.
On the right, we find the other convenience key, a 3.5mm audio jack and the volume rocker. The 3.5mm audio jack is exposed too. The convenience key is a two-step button, which suggests that it is best suited for its default purpose - operating the autofocus camera. Yet if you aren't much into using your phone camera (which is likely if you are looking at the Storm2 at all) you can assign it a different functionality.
Unfortunately, you won't be able to assign two applications to it despite it being capable of handling them on half press/full press.
The BlackBerry Storm2 9520 loudspeaker grill is located on top of the handset, between the two hidden keys. Those take care for switching the Storm2 on/off and muting the handset. The on/off key also locks/unlocks the display.
The bottom of the Storm2 is very plain with the microphone pinhole providing the only entertainment there.
The back hosts the 3.15MP autofocus camera and the LED flash. You shouldn't expect miracles from the shooter given its specs and the RIM track record in imaging.
Under the solid metal (me likey!) battery cover hides the 1400 mAh Li-Ion battery. Given the ample capacity it's little surprise that it can last for almost two full days under fairly heavy usage (about 2 hours a day of fiddling with the phone and 30 minutes of calls).
The microSD card slot is also here. It is fully hot-swappable and has no trouble handling the largest memory cards currently available on the market (16GB). The only problem is you will have to open the cover each time you access it but we consider it a fair sacrifice for having one less aperture on the surface.
So, as you might have sensed we are delighted with the build quality of the BlackBerry Storm2 9520. There is no wobbling display, or gaps between panels or anything else to raise questions. The handset just radiates sturdiness.
Now for the software part of the review - the user interface is due on the next page.