BlackBerry Storm 9500 - overall phone performance
The Storm's large 3.25-inch touchscreen, which features the new SurePress system, is what sets it apart from every other BlackBerry device. To select something you actually press down on the screen using your finger (it won't work with a stylus). The screen floats slightly above the phone's surface and so you need to press quite firmly, but the advantage of this system is that it should stop you from accidentally launching applications or sending emails.
A gentle touch on the BlackBerry's screen allows you to zoom in or out, or you can scroll with a swipe. And, as with the iPhone, turning the phone from vertical to horizontal switches the screen from portrait to landscape.
Entering text is straightforward. In landscape mode, you see a decent-sized full qwerty keypad. And in portrait mode, two or more characters share keys - a setup that regular BlackBerry users will be familiar with.
Any keys or items you select are highlighted in blue, which makes it easier to see what you’re typing.
The BlackBerry Storm has maintained its business roots - for example, it's still capable of editing Microsoft Office documents. And, unlike the first iPhone and T-Mobile's G1 Google phone, it's possible to copy and paste between applications - simply put your finger and thumb at the beginning and end of the text to make a selection, and use the menu to copy it.
Camera and music player
Despite its business origins, the Storm is equipped with reasonable entertainment features. There's a decent a 3.2Mp camera that works well in good light, although it struggles as it gets dark and has quite a long shutter delay. The standard multimedia player works well, especially if you have good set of headphones you can use, and there's also GPS and BlackBerry maps.
Fast internet speeds are possible thanks to the 3G and HSDPA connections, but in our tests the Storm struggled to play videos from websites. Also we're a little surprised that it's not wi-fi capable.
To see the Storm in action, check out our hands-on video review.
October 2009 update
The BlackBerry Storm handset that we reviewed in March 2009 performed extremely well in our extensive tests, making it a clear Best Buy. However comments on our Customer Views page have revealed that some people have experienced problems with this phone.
We're not in a position to say how widespread these difficulties are and BlackBerry hasn't acknowledged any problems with the million-selling device. However we do monitor phone reliability through an annual survey of members' experiences. In our latest survey, in July 2010, BlackBerry phones had a reliability rating of 86%, which although it sounds quite high was actually one of the lowest in a very reliable product area.
For any current Storm owners who have experienced problems with their phone we'd advise downloading the latest firmware for your phone as this should help.
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