BlackBerry Storm 9500 comes in a retail package worthy of its price tag and high standing. Besides the phone itself the nice looking box holds an 8GB microSD card, microUSB cable and a DC charger that can take both American and European voltage. All you have to do is slide in the appropriate plug.
The Storm also comes with a nice leather carrying pouch and a cloth for polishing its shiny face. A handsfree is also included but it's one-piece, so alternative earphones on the same remote is not an option. Finally, you get a CD with some arguably useful PC software and the usual paperwork.
At 112.5 x 62.2 x 14 mm and 155 g of weight the BlackBerry Storm 9500 is certainly a heavy bloke. It is pretty heavier than most of its competitors, including the iPhone 3G which is no featherweight itself.
Anyway, the substantial weight does work in favor of the Storm 9500 for the distinct upmarket feel it lends. The Storm sure isn't the most pocketable touchscreen, but the quality build and reliability pay off.
We won't get tired of saying that you just cannot be too creative designing a touch-operated handset. Indeed the BlackBerry Storm 9500 is quite similar to most other touchscreen handsets out there but for the few extra pounds around the waist.
The extra few millimeters of thickness give the lovable chubby a rather distinct personality, resulting in a profile pretty different to, say, LG KC910 Renoir. The glossy plastic on the face and the metallic rear cover do look nice but the front gets covered in smudges and loses much of its appeal in almost no time.
Quite understandably the most of the Storm's front panel is taken by the 3.25" touchscreen display. The most important feature of the handset has its reserved spot a while later in our review.
The other elements of interest at the front are the call and end keys, the menu and back key as well as the earpiece and the loudspeaker grill at the top. There is also a LED status indicator at the top. The keys are large and tactile, and generally render no obstacles to usability.
The left side of the BlackBerry Storm 9500 hosts the microUSB port that is also used for charging, as well as one of the convenience keys. By default its functionality is set to starting the voice dialing but you can change that if you prefer otherwise.
The other convenience key is on the right of the handset, below the volume keys and the 3.5mm standard audio jack.
The top of the BlackBerry Storm 9500 hides two keys - one for locking the display and the other for muting the phone. At first sight you might miss those two controls as the surface looks smooth and save for the two small icons there is no way you can tell there are keys underneath.
The microphone pinhole is at the bottom, being the only element of interest there.