Blackberry 9500 Storm Smartphone

By on April 9, 2009
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The screen on the Blackberry Storm is unlike anything I’ve come across in a Smartphone. It’s 3.25″ in size with a resolution of 480×360 pixels. Comparatively, the iPhone has a 3.5″ screen with a slightly lower resolution of 480×320 pixels. Both these devices have a touch screen that recognizes multi-touch and gestures however the screen [...]

The screen on the Blackberry Storm is unlike anything I’ve come across in a Smartphone. It’s 3.25″ in size with a resolution of 480×360 pixels. Comparatively, the iPhone has a 3.5″ screen with a slightly lower resolution of 480×320 pixels. Both these devices have a touch screen that recognizes multi-touch and gestures however the screen on the Storm is actually clickable. Think of it as one large button that can be pressed anywhere on the touch screen and that certainly makes things like dialog boxes and buttons feel alive.

storm_iphone

Unfortunately, the clicks don’t feel the same way across the screen- for example, pressing on the top or bottom edges of the screen doesn’t feel like it “clicked.” I felt that I was applying more pressure around the edges than the center that gives a real nice tactile feedback. Another aspect of the screen that is not too impressive is that the touch-screen moves around a bit in its frame- so if I have my thumb on the screen and move my thumb, the screen wiggles. I’m not sure if these two “flaws” are due to design restrictions or RIM just being lazy.

The viewing angle of the screen is awesome although its only capable of showing 65,000 colors which is the same as the iPhone but a lot less than some Nokia or SE models that are capable of 250,000+ colors. Viewing the screen in the bright Dubai sun could be a bit of an exercise for your eyes but its not as bad as some other phones I’ve tested. Still, given the choice, I would take the Storm or iPhone any day as pictures and videos on both these devices look incredible. RIM bundles a Babylon AD trailer on the phone and it looked smashing. The speaker volume is also worth mentioning. The Storm has a really loud speaker which is great for multimedia playback but not so good when its your morning alarm.

storm_burj

The camera is also similar to the 8900 with a 3.2 Megapixel sensor and auto-focusing capabilities. Although pictures come out nice, the camera is quite slow to focus on things. It works nicely when trying to picture Burj Dubai but not your three year old that loves bouncing off the walls. Other applications bundled with the Storm like Maps and Quick Office work pretty much like they did on standard Blackberry except that the touch screen is used as an input method instead of the trackball/keyboard. One application that has been updated is the browser. Although better than previous versions of the Blackberry Browser- especially with the double tapping for zooming in etc., it still doesn’t look or work as well as the iPhone .

Navigation on the Storm is sometimes awesome however, I’ve had quite a few frustrating moments. Things like switching between messages by sliding your thumb left or right is brilliant. Sliding between pictures also works this way and it would’ve certainly been cool to move between your songs by swiping the finger as well. The problems creep up moving through a large list of things, especially since the Storm doesn’t have that “Inertia” effect of the iPhone where a quick flick lets you scroll fast. To give you an example, I get lots of emails everyday and once I found myself towards the middle of my entire list. On a regular Blackberry hitting the T key takes me back on top but on the Storm I kept sliding my finger down and down and down and down and then some more. I thought that bringing the onscreen keyboard and pressing T would do it but nope.

Another problem is the Accelometer, or its fondness of moving to Landscape mode. The device would automatically switch to Landscape every time I’d lay it on a flat surface. Picking it up would sometimes take a while or a 90 degree rotation on my part to bring it back to portrait mode. This is probably more of a Software issue that hopefully RIM will tackle in a firmware update.

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About

Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of tbreak.com and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

Comments
  • http://www.tbreak.com/authors/5/Osama-Rashid Osama

    I used it…hated it. I can’t stand the whole touchscreen/button idea. If they wanted to make an iPhone beater, they should’ve aimed higher…way higher.

  • http://epicapplications.com BlackberryStormApps

    I totally agree with the editing feature in Black Berry Storm. I’ve been struggling with the text feature of Iphone especially if you are used to Nokia or Sony Ericsson brands.Wait till you see the integrated and WiFi feature and the improve SureTouch feature. These new features will definitely redeem Storm.

    Btw, I just want to share this information I found which is definitely useful for Storm users. There is an All Blackberry Storm Apps that do not require any compatibility mode. It has a Cool Call Blocker application, useful tip calculator, Typing speed application, a bartender app that tells you what drinks you can make based on what you have in your kitchen and even a super-quick and bright flashlight app!

    This is a must have for Blackberry Storm fanatics!

  • Pingback: Blackberry Storm @ t-break - TestFreaks Forum - Geeky discussions about Consumer Electronics

  • Jodiuh

    If you’re not going to bother updating firmware, why should we place merit to anything in your review?

  • Jodiuh

    Maybe I’m sleepy, but I don’t see anything on the 2nd page about firmware. Did you at least get a chance to loosen the torx screws and put some paper behind the battery door?

    I went right from .109 to .122 and there’s quite a difference. From 25MB free to 40MB and I can finally leave Opera mini running in the background wo/ the GUI having a heart attack. Sadly, it still goes back down to 25MB later in the day and becomes crappy again. Quickpull’s scheduled every night @ 4am, so that’s a work around for now.

    .122′s really gotten the GUI where it should have been in the beginning though. Here’s to hoping for .200 instead of a Storm 2. :(

  • http://www.tbreak.com Abbas Jaffar Ali

    Sorry- my bad. Its now on the first paragraph of the third page- last line. Must’ve been moved when the review was edited.

    It was a loaner unit from RIM so I didnt want to open it up- in case something messed up. But what exactly does putting paper behind the battery door do? My back cover is firm in its place if thats what it helps with.

    Storm 2 rumours have certainly been making the rounds. Lets hope RIM reads reviews and comments on the Storm and makes it out to what it should be

  • Jodiuh

    There are 2 torx 6 screws in the middle (left and right) behind the battery cover. The right screw’s covered w/ a red sticker (water damage revealer?), but it’s removed easily w/ a push pin or small needle. You can’t even tell I removed it. But be careful, my bro ripped his. :D

    From there, you can loosen 1 or both ever so slightly and play w/ them to get the right amount of tension on the screen. Once you’ve tweaked it to your liking, it will not longer “stick” and should press down 2-3x easier than before w/ much faster rebound.

    By placing a felt/plastic button or slim paper behind the battery door and centered behind the screen, you reduce the total travel time. Now instead of a PRESS, it’s a quick tap.

    Combined and after some practice, typing on this phone became a true joy to use. I’m getting very fast and accurate on the portrait QWERTY and the landscape keyboard gets used when I want to relax and chill type.

    The current .122 has increased the speed of the GUI tremendously. However, it still leaks memory like a champ. That may well be due to the weatherbug or one of the many crazy apps installed, but quickpull sort of fixes that. Every night, it does a reboot and gets me back up to speed.

    Battery life on the thing impresses me the most. I know a lot of users complain about the G1 and the iphone’s not a warrior either. But I can last 1 to 4 days depending on how hard I use. it. Average is about 2 and that’s using GPS on occasion, 30-40 emails a day, 30 minutes of phone, and a decent amount of browsing.

    Here’s a good illustration and guide for modding the screen which BB should have done from the start IMO:

    http://www.hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1033783056&postcount=42

    And the Storm 2 better come w/ an “upgrade” offer to Storm 1 users if it comes out sooner than a couple years…

  • Cool

    I am not happy with Rim Blackberry at all! I have to dispose my Iphone because of Storm Blackberry with the aimed that it’s going to have all the features i needed compared to Iphone.. they should try to correct that as soon.

  • iPhone Lover

    The Storm has got to be the worst phone I ever used. The software is slow and feels very arkward. The screen may be crystal clear but the icons and color scheme is horrible. The web browser sucks you can’t browse any regular website with it. The video playback is slow to start and the controls are jerky. I would go on but this would take all day.

  • Reggaeluvr

    Blackberry Storm!!! What a turd!!! I wanted to take it back the 2nd day i had it. Can’t upgrade because you need a Windows system running internet explorer. Who the hell uses internet explorer anymore?? Phone sucks!! I don’t care what it cost, i’m getting a iPhone.

  • http://www.tbreak.com Abbas Jaffar Ali

    Jodiuh: If you read the second page of the review it states that I used the latest official firmware available at that time which was .113

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