BlackBerry Storm : Specs | Price | Reviews | Test. Quick Specs. Service provider: Not specified. That said, the Storm is a well- constructed smartphone. We tested the RIM BlackBerry Storm in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless service, and call quality was quite. Personalize your smartphone, write reviews or share tips and tricks with other BlackBerry users. Specs at a glance. BlackBerry®. Storm2™ 9550. smartphone. The BlackBerry Storm 9530 Smartphone features Visual Voice mail which displays. When we did our full battery drain test, the phone lasted 7 whole hours. BlackBerry Storm 9500 mobile phone review, specifications and price check.
The ultimate catalog for mobile phones, smartphones and PDA news, reviews, Comparing the specs and features list of the BlackBerry Storm2 to the. For more on this, you can check out our BlackBerry Storm review where we. it puts it on par with other new BlackBerry Smartphones like the Tour and. a little clearer/louder from my initial testing on this review unit. View the image gallery BlackBerry Storm 2 - Smartphones & PDA Phones. Wi-Fi ( 802.11b/g) • microSD • See more specifications. Photo taken with the BlackBerry Storm 2. Best of our tests: this shows how good these.
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BlackBerry Storm : Specs | Price | Reviews | Test
In terms of form factor, the RIM BlackBerry Storm doesn't stray far from the other full touch-screen smartphones on the market today, including the Samsung Omnia and Apple iPhone. Sporting a black casing with silver accents, the handset is a bit blocky and heavy at 4.4 inches tall by 2.4 inches wide by 0.5 inch deep and weighs 5.6 ounces, so it feels a bit wide when you hold it in your hand and it'll make for a tight fit in a pants pocket. That said, the Storm is a well-constructed smartphone. It has a nice, solid feel and the edges have a soft-touch finish to provide a better grip.
While the Storm's design might not be the most inspiring, the smartphone's display is another story. Obviously, the fact that the Storm is the first touch-screen BlackBerry is news enough, but its 3.25-inch VGA glass display also demands attention for its sharpness and brightness, showing 65,000 colors at a crisp 480x360-pixel resolution. We weren't as impressed with the Storm's screen as the BlackBerry Bold, but it's still beautiful. You can also adjust the backlighting, font size, and type. The Storm is also equipped with an accelerometer, so the screen orientation will switch from portrait to landscape mode when you rotate the phone from a vertical position to a horizontal one, left or right.
Moving onto the touch-screen capabilities, the BlackBerry Storm uses SurePress, so that when you select an application or enter text, you actually push the screen down like you would any other tactile button. You can see a bit of a gap at the top and bottom of the screen, which but makes the phone. In terms of text extry, the BlackBerry Storm features a soft keyboard in both portrait and landscape mode. Originally, only a SureType keyboard was a available in portrait mode, but with the latest upgrade, you also have the option of a full QWERTY keyboard. It's not automatic though and you must enable it by pressing the BlackBerry menu key and then selecting Enable Full Keyboard. When using the keyboard or selecting applications, you do a simple finger touch over the item until it's highlighted and then you press down on the screen to register the action.
In addition to the SurePress technology, you can also use a number of finger taps or swipes to perform certain actions. For example, you can tap on the screen twice to zoom in on a Web page or map, or do quick finger swipes to scroll though a page. Also, to copy/paste text, you just touch the screen at the start of the text and then with a second finger, touch the end of the block of text you want to copy. You can adjust the tap interval, hover point, and swipe sensitivity in the Options > Screen/Keyboard menu.
While the SurePress technology is cool, it definitely takes some acclimation. It's not a natural feeling to physically push down on the screen, and we often found ourselves forgetting to actually press down; instead just tapping or double tapping on the letter button or link. You do get used to it after a while though, but as far as e-mail creation or text messages, we missed having a tactile keyboard. We couldn't comfortably type long messages as fast as we wanted and when we tried, the message was riddled with errors. The keyboard buttons are just a bit too small and cramped. If I had problems with my small hands, I can only imagine it would be worse for users with larger thumbs.
Below the display, you do get a set of tactile navigation controls that consists of Talk and End/Power buttons, a Menu key, and a clear button. Unlike other BlackBerry models, there is no trackball navigator and we have to admit that we missed it. It may be that we're just used to having the trackball, and often we found our thumb automatically looking for the control while trying to scroll through pages and menus. However, even beyond that, we think it wouldn't hurt to have a trackball navigator since it allows for easier one-handed operation. Also, you wouldn't always have to rely on the touch screen and it would be useful for certain operations like for selecting links on a Web page.
On the left side, there's a user-programmable shortcut key and a micro USB port, while the right spine has a 3.5mm headphone jack, a volume rocker, and another customizable button, which is set as the camera activation/capture key by default. The camera lens and flash are located on the backside, and behind the battery cover, you'll find the microSD/SDHC card holder and SIM card slot. Finally, though not readily apparent, there is a device lock and mute button on the top edge of the Storm.
Verizon Wireless packages the RIM BlackBerry Storm with healthy set of accessories, including a travel charger with various adapters, a USB cable, an 8GB microSD card, a SIM card, a wired headset, a software CD, and reference material. For more add-ons, please check our cell phone accessories, ringtones, and help page.
While the RIM BlackBerry Storm might be the first touch screen for Research in Motion, the company wanted to make sure the smartphone offered the same feel and functionality of previous and current BlackBerrys. The Storm runs the latest BlackBerry OS 4.7, bringing an updated user interface much like the BlackBerry Bold and the BlackBerry Pearl Flip. You now get DataViz Documents To Go Standard Edition, so you can now edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files as well. If you want the capability to create new documents, you will have to upgrade to the Premium Edition. We had no problems opening and working on Word and Excel documents, but we can't imagine doing more than minor edits on the Bold or any other smartphone for that matter. Other PIM applications include a Calendar, a task list, a memo pad, a voice recorder, a calculator, a password keeper, and more.
You can also get more applications for your Storm through the recently launched BlackBerry App World. The store was not available when the Storm was first released, but you can download it through the phone's mobile browser. We installed it on our review unit with no problem and were able to download apps such as Pandora quickly and easily over Verizon's 3G network.
For e-mail, the Storm can sync with your company's BlackBerry Enterprise server, with support for Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino, or Novell GroupWise, to deliver corporate e-mail in real time. You can also access up to 10 personal/business POP3 or IMAP4 e-mail accounts via the BlackBerry Internet Service. Like all recent BlackBerry models, the Storm has a spell-check feature that will look for errors in e-mails and memos, but not text messages. There's also an attachment viewer for opening Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Corel WordPerfect, PDF, JPEG, GIF, and more.
As a phone, the BlackBerry Storm offers dual-mode functionality, so the phone switches automatically between CDMA and GSM networks to offer seamless international roaming--all while keeping the same phone number. (Note that the phone does not support domestic GSM bands.) In all, you get voice coverage in 157 countries (22 of those on CDMA) and e-mail coverage in 62 countries. Just be aware that you'll still incur roaming rates, which range from $0.69 to $2.49 a minute. Verizon also offers technical support if you need help while overseas. First, there's a 24-hour Global Help Desk that's open seven days a week. In addition, you get a calling card for free support calls while traveling outside of the United States from any landline phone to technical support your BlackBerry Storm is lost, broken, or stolen.
The address book is only limited by the available memory with room in each entry multiple phone numbers, e-mail addresses, work and home address, job title, and more. For caller ID purposes, you can assign a photo, group category, or one of 32 polyphonic ringtones. Other voice features include a speakerphone, voice-activated dialing, smart dialing, conference calling, speed dial, and text and multimedia messaging. You can also download Visual Voice mail. Bluetooth 2.0 is onboard with support for a mono and stereo Bluetooth headsets, serial port profile, phone book access, and dial-up networking. To use the Storm as a wireless modem for your laptop, you will need a subscription to one of Verizon's BroadbandAccess plans, which start at $15 per month.
The BlackBerry Storm runs on Verizon's EV-DO Rev. A network, which allows for faster Web browsing, e-mail, and downloads. The Rev. A offers an extra boost over regular EV-DO, bringing download speeds up to the 450Kbps-to-800Kbps range versus 400Kbps-to-700Kbps, while upload speeds will average around 300Kpbs to 400Kpbs (compared with EV-DO's 50Kpbs to 70Kbps). Of course, this is all dependent if you live in a coverage area (you can find a coverage map from Verizon's Web site. The smartphone also offers support for the 2,100MHz UMTS/HSDPA, so you can get 3G support while overseas. Unfortunately, there's no integrated Wi-Fi, which we find disappointing. We realize and understand the argument that the 3G radios does away with the need for Wi-Fi, but we still like having that option, especially if you drop out of range or don't live in a coverage area.
The BlackBerry Storm has a full HTML Web browser that you can view in Internet Explorer or Firefox mode, depending on your preference. You can check out sites in page view or column view, and navigate via pan mode or cursor mode. In pan mode, you can move around pages simply by dragging your finger and then double-tapping the screen to zoom in. To select a hyperlink, you just highlight the link and then click. Meanwhile, in cursor mode, you can just place the cursor over the link and click or use the onscreen magnifying glass to zoom in. There's also a collapsible toolbar along the bottom that lets you go to new sites, change views, and more. There is support for streaming media, including YouTube's mobile site. As we've said before, the BlackBerry browser has greatly improved over the years, but it's still not as easy to use as the iPhone and its multitouch screen.
Last but not least of the wireless radios is integrated GPS. You can use the BlackBerry Storm as a handheld navigator, but to get real-time turn-by-turn directions, traffic data, and more , you will need to subscribe to Verizon's VZ Navigator location-based service, which costs $9.99 per month or $2.99 per day.
Moving onto multimedia features, the BlackBerry Storm is equipped with a 3.2-megapixel camera with video recording capabilities, as well a flash, auto focus, 2x zoom, and image stabilization. In camera mode, you get a choice of three picture sizes and three picture qualities. There are white balance settings, and you can add various effects to your photos, such as black and white, and sepia. With the built-in GPS, you can also geotag photos. As usual, options are more limited in camcorder mode as you only get a choice of two video formats (normal and MMS) and three color effects. The volume rocker can be used to zoom in and out in both camera and video mode.
Picture quality was subpar. While we could identify objects in the picture, they looked a bit soft and the colors were completely washed out. Video quality, on the other hand, was pretty impressive with good light and better image quality than other smartphones we've tested.
The Storm's built-in media player can play various music and video formats, including MP3, WMA, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR-NB, and MIDI music files, and MPEG4, WMV, DivX4, XviD (partial support), and H.263 video clips. There's a search function, playlist creation, shuffle and repeat, and you get a full-screen mode for video playback. The included software CD also contains a copy of Roxio Easy Media Creator, so you can create MP3s from CDs and add audio tags. Like the latest BlackBerrys, the Storm also works with the BlackBerry Media Sync application so you can load your iTunes library. There's 1GB of onboard memory and 128MB of flash memory onboard, while the microSD/SDHC expansion slot can accept up to 16GB cards. Unfortunately, for now, it looks like the BlackBerry Storm will not support Verizon's V Cast music and video services.
We tested the RIM BlackBerry Storm in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless service, and call quality was quite good. We enjoyed clear audio with no noticeable background noise or voice distortion, and we didn't experience any dropped calls during our test period. There were also no problems using an airline's voice automated response system. On the other end, our friends reported similarly positive results and said they had no problems hearing us. Unfortunately, the speakerphone didn't fare as well. Both sides experienced choppy call quality as words occasionally were cut off. There was also some slight voice distortion on our end. Overall, we were able to carry on full conversations and volume was not a problem, but we definitely had to ask our callers to repeat themselves on more than one occasion. Finally, we successfully paired the Storm with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones.
Verizon's first firmware update, version 126.96.36.199, definitely improved performance, but there were still multiple issues. We downloaded the software upgrade using the desktop manager, and the entire process went smoothly with no problems. The biggest improvement we noticed was the improvement in the accelerometer. The Storm was much faster to change the screen orientation when we rotated the phone. However, page redraws are still on the slow side and there's continued bugginess. For example, while checking out a Web page, we turned the phone to check it out in landscape mode and the screen went on the fritz for a couple of seconds and went completely blank, though eventually the site came back up. Also, when we were listening to music, we changed orientation and the player controls started to flicker. Launching and using multimedia applications like the camera and multimedia player were definitely better, however, with faster response times and the problems with the inconsistent camera toolbar looks to be resolved.
Now, with BlackBerry OS version 188.8.131.52, the smartphone is even more polished. The browser and camera didn't freak out when we rotated the phone, and in a two-week period, we didn't have any system freezes or crashes. There are also some nice additions, such as a phone icon on the home screen and better test selection for copy/paste--it's the simple things. Since we haven't been using the Storm over a long period of time, we didn't experience first-hand some of the problems and bugs that plagued its owners. However, some of features of 184.108.40.206 include a fix for the phone freezing during incoming calls or a blank screen appearing while on a call and improved camera functionality.
Music playback through the phone's speakers sounded blown out, though there was plenty of volume. Thankfully, the built-in 3.5mm headphone jack so should allow you to enjoy better sound quality. Video performance wasn't quite as dazzling as the BlackBerry Bold's. There was a bit more pixilation, but we still enjoyed smooth playback. Web browsing was pleasantly swift thanks to Verizon's EV-DO Rev. A network. It took about 25 seconds to 30 seconds for graphics-intensive sites such as CNET to fully load, while the mobile sites for CNN and ESPN loaded in about 10 seconds.
The Storm's GPS capabilities were great. It took the smartphone only about 2 minutes to get a fix on our location, and we used VZ Navigator to plot a course from the Marina District of San Francisco to CNET's downtown headquarters. Route creation was quick and it was able to get us back on course in a timely matter after we purposely missed several turns. That said, the voice-guided directions sounded blown out at the medium-high level and too soft at the medium level, so that was a bit of a struggle.
The BlackBerry Storm comes with a 1,400mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 5.5 hours and up to 15 days of standby time. In our battery drain tests, the Storm offered 7 hours of continuous talk time on a single charge. The battery performance in day-to-day usage was better. Before the firmware update, the battery would already be at 50 percent after just a couple hours of using the phone, Web, and multimedia applications, but after the update, it would only be drained about 25 percent. One thing we noticed, however, after a period of use the phone gets a bit warm where the battery is located on the back.
Though the BlackBerry Storm and BlackBerry Storm2's displays have the same specifications listed on their spec sheets, to my eyes the BlackBerry Storm2's display seems to be improved. Putting the BlackBerry Storm beside a BlackBerry Storm, you can see that when powered off the Storm2's display is much darker. Still side by side but now powered on watching the same music videos, the Storm2's display is brighter, with darker blacks and whiter whites. It really is impressive. The only improvement I'm longing for here is to reduce the amount of black border surrounding the edge of the display which would create a noticeable jump in screen real estate.
While there has been plenty of debate in the forums about whether or not the BlackBerry Storm will support OpenGL (3D graphics support), to date there has been no official mention of it yet. At last year's BlackBerry Developer Conference, this was one of the most sought after features developers wanted to see in the BlackBerry platform. With the 2nd Annual BlackBerry Developer Conference just around the corner, I can't help but think maybe there is more to the Storm than meets the eye in this department, and that RIM will announce upcoming OpenGL support at the event and at a later date will be able to flick the OpenGL switch on the Storm. I know I'd be pretty stoked to find later that the Storm2 has the support built-in. I guess time will tell...
While on the topic of watching music videos, it makes sense to comment on the Storm2's speakers, which sound solid. The original BlackBerry Storm can get pretty loud, but it really tends to distort/get tinny as you crank the tunes up on the external speaker. The Storm gets loud, but has less distortion at the louder volumes. The sound coming out of the speakerphone on calls also seems to be a little clearer/louder from my initial testing on this review unit.
Now with WiFi
The BlackBerry Storm didn't have WiFi. The BlackBerry Storm2 does. It's as simple as that. AMEN. Leading up to the release of the BlackBerry Storm 9530/9500, we had heard of units floating around that actually had WiFi onboard. So whether it was a carrier mandate to not put WiFi on the original BlackBerry Storm or a technical limitation at the time, it is clearly apparent now that the carriers want it and that RIM can deliver it.
The BlackBerry Storm doubles, across the board, the amount of memory on the device compared to the BlackBerry Storm:
Application (Flash) Memory has doubled from 128MB to 256MB. This is the active memory where the firmware resides, applications are installed and use resources, messages sit, browser cache piles up, etc. Devices like the BlackBerry Storm and Bold with only 128MB of flash memory tend to bog down as there's simply not enough memory. While 256MB is still not a big number and hardcore BlackBerry users would like to see that number increase 4 fold or more, it puts it on par with other new BlackBerry Smartphones like the Tour and Curve 8900 and so far during my time using the device the 256MB appears to allow the Storm to run smoothly.
Device Memory has doubled from 1GB to 2GB. This built-in memory is used for storage - pictures, videos, downloads, apps installed from App world (get backed up here, but when installed utilizes application memory).
Expandable Memory that ships with the device has also doubled. Whereas the BlackBerry Storm shipped with an 8GB MicroSD card, the BlackBerry Storm2 ships with a 16GB card, which can be removed.
Thankfully, if you're not satisfied with the native browser, third party browser support is here and on the way via Bolt Browser, Opera Mini and SkyFire. Likewise, RIM knows their browser is a weak spot and is working to improve it as demonstrated by their recent acquisition of Torch Mobile. It's coming. We have faith in you RIM.
Other Stuff: GPS, WiFi, Phone, Camera, etc.
With not much time between getting my BlackBerry Storm unit and getting this review written up, I haven't had a full chance to grind through every feature and function of the Storm to the extent I would like to. A few phone calls later shows that the Storm should be solid as a phone, and the GPS located me on the map in a matter of seconds. I took a few pictures on the camera as well and they look good, but haven't had the chance yet to pit them head to against photos taken from the Storm or competition. Oh, and the Storm2's vibration function is seriously powerful (though kind of loud). I'll come back and add to this section later as I have a chance to spend more time putting the Storm through its paces.
BlackBerry OS 5.0
I often take for granted that if you're reading GadgetMostWanted.com you're likely a BlackBerry user and are familiar with the BlackBerry operating system experience. If you're completely new to BlackBerry you'll want to hit our BlackBerry 101 section and Smartphone Round Robin articles to learn the basics about the platform and what it can do for you (everything!). As for Handheld Software version 5.0, we'll have a full walk through of all the improvements coming soon in a future article. The BlackBerry Storm and Bold 9700 will be the first new devices to launch with it, but it will be rolled out to existing devices on the market so we'll want to do an in-depth job covering it for everyone.
A noticeable BIG improvement to OS 5.0 for the BlackBerry Storms is the inclusion of inertial scrolling with snap back. It provides a much more intuitive and friendly user experience. Other good news on the BlackBerry Storm is that it features the new and improved threaded SMS chat client (w00t!). Combine this with the recently released BlackBerry Messenger 5.0 and the native IM clients are at a whole new level of addictiveness.
BlackBerry Storm Apps
The BlackBerry Storm2 comes preloaded with BlackBerry App World. The review unit I received also comes with the Application Center pre-loaded, which seems a bit redundant since App Center contains App World and all the other apps (IM clients, Facebook, Flickr) can be found in App World itself. If and when you take delivery of your BlackBerry Storm, you'll also want to check out our GadgetMostWanted App Store. There are a lot of compelling reasons to load up GadgetMostWanted App Store Client on your phone (themes, better pricing in many cases, sales and promotions, etc.). Check out this article for Getting Apps on your BlackBerry which goes through the process. As the Storm hits the market we'll be sure to put out a Top Apps for your BlackBerry Storm article.
BlackBerry Storm Accessories
If you're a BlackBerry Storm owner planning on purchasing the BlackBerry Storm, you'll need to do your due diligence on which accessories will still work and which won't (visit this page on BlackBerry Storm Accessory key points). You shouldn't have much of an issue with loose fitting accessories, like BlackBerry Storm2 cases (top pouches and leather holsters should be fine, skins should be close) and BlackBerry Storm batteries (1400mah, like the Storm, 8900 and Tour), but the differences between the Storm form factor and original Storm are big enough that accessories like the always popular BlackBerry Charging Pod may not quite work. To see compatible Storm2 accessories, you'll want to keep it locked to our BlackBerry Storm Accessories page at ShopGadgetMostWanted.com. And as we did for apps, we'll also put together a Top Accessories for the BlackBerry Storm article once the device hits the market.