BlackBerry Storm 9500 review: Berry-go-round

GSMArena team, 13 March 2009.
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It's not everyday that you see a BlackBerry review on our homepage but it's not like RIM routinely churn out devices like the Storm either. Messaging is still the legendary name but… well… touchscreen is the game. Keeping the business appeal of its siblings, the 9500 Storm sure stands out in the Berry crowd. But it also tries to set itself apart from the other touchscreens by promising a whole new touch experience.

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BlackBerry Storm official photos

The Canadian manufacturer RIM is walking an unbeaten path by adding unique clickability to the fluid precision of the capacitive touchscreen technology. The award-winning SurePress screen may not be everyone's cup of coffee but we're not talking teacup either, just yet.

Key features:

  • 3.25" 65K-color capacitive touchscreen of 360 x 480 pixel resolution
  • A new touchscreen experience thanks to SurePress screen
  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and 2100 MHz 3G with HSDPA support
  • 3.15 MP autofocus camera, LED flash
  • BlackBerry OS 4.7
  • Qualcomm MSM7600 528 MHz CPU, 128 MB RAM
  • Built-in GPS and BlackBerry maps preloaded
  • 1 GB internal storage
  • Hot-swappable microSD card slot, ships with an 8GB card
  • Landscape virtual QWERTY keyboard goes as close to hardware keys as we have seen
  • Great build quality
  • Solid looks
  • 3.5mm standard audio jack
  • Bluetooth and USB v2.0
  • Really nice web browser
  • Document editor
  • Excellent audio quality

Main disadvantages:

  • No Wi-fi
  • No email support without BlackBerry Internet Service account
  • Interface not as quick as competitors
  • Chubbier than most touchscreen phones
  • Mediocre camera
  • No FM radio
  • No Flash support
  • Fingerprint-prone front panel
  • No video-call camera

Now, this isn't one of those all-about-email BlackBerry reviews where the 9500 Storm gets only compared to its own kind, for the lack of meaningful competition. We are more than confident that the Storm does its BlackBerry thing just fine, so instead of focusing on it we'll try to give a different view of the device. Our objective is to see how it fares against all those other "regular" touchscreens that have the crowd's attention: Apples, Renoirs, Omnias, Diamonds and the likes.

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BlackBerry Storm 9500 views

Well, our approach may seem like comparing apples to oranges but only at first sight. The first thing about the Storm 9500 is the attempt to reach beyond the core group of diehard BlackBerry users. We're talking stealing some market here, so if Blackberry are playing to win, they should well be ready to take some hard beating too. First-rate email is nice and all, but the Storm will only be as good as its user interface and multimedia. For the rest (which means WLAN too) there's Curve and Bold.

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The BlackBerry Storm 9500 next to the Samsung i900 Omnia and Apple iPhone 3G

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