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BlackBerry Storm - BlackBerry Storm

By Riyad Emeran



Our Score:


Along the right edge you'll find a 3.5mm headphone socket (Hurrah!), volume controls and a dedicated button for the 3.2-megapixel camera. On the left is the usual BlackBerry voicedial button along with a micro-USB connector. The latter is a major annoyance - I just can't understand why RIM didn't use standard mini-USB for power/PC connection. Pretty much everyone has multiple mini-USB cables and chargers knocking about, which means that you never have to worry about having the correct cable with you to charge/sync your device. It's not like a mini-USB connector wouldn't have fit either. Anything that makes me have to carry more cables when I travel is not good, simple as that.

It's the screen that's the real star of this BlackBerry, and rightfully so. The 3.25in display is slightly smaller than the screen on the iPhone, which measures 3.5in. However, the Storm's screen sports a slightly higher resolution at 480 x 360, as opposed to the iPhone's 480 x 320, which results in a slightly sharper image. Of course the Storm still can't match the ridiculous pixel density of the BlackBerry Bold, which squeezes a 480 x 320 resolution into a 2.5in screen.

The screen really does look superb, although, as with the Bold, the Vodafone red background really helps show it off to best effect. Colours are very vivid, while the overall brightness is impressive, although not quite to the levels of the Bold. The only tangible downside to the screen is the very noticeable light bleed from the top and bottom. This is particularly evident when you're using the Storm in a darkened room, despite the fact that the device automatically dims the display in accordance to ambient lighting.

But it's not the way the screen looks that's so important, it's how you interact with it, because although this is a multi-touch screen, it also clicks. What I mean is that you physically press the screen inwards to select items, in the same way that you would with a traditional button. This brings with it the advantage of being able to highlight or "hover" over links on a page without actually selecting them, thus ensuring that you have the right thing selected before actually clicking. This is particularly useful on busy web pages where several links are close together, and can save you a lot of page reloads or zooming.

The clicking screen is also used for typing on the Storm, and here I think that it works beautifully. Interestingly, Andy found it very hard to get to grips with the clicking screen, citing it as cumbersome compared to his iPhone. As a long term iPhone user myself I will admit that Apple's device still has the best mobile keyboard, but the Storm definitely comes in at a close second. I'll admit that the click screen takes a bit of getting used to, but once you've got your head around physically clicking, you'll be surprised at how quickly you can knock out paragraphs.

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December 3, 2008, 7:25 am

I would be interested to find out what Riyad thinks when comparing the Touch HD and the Storm. They are a similar size and weight. Both are touch screen phones and both were given an 8 by TR. I am most concerned about useability and performance (I know, neither will be as good as the iphone but...). I assume Niall and Riyad must have discussed the two phones?


December 3, 2008, 12:31 pm

Another iPhone Stomper comes close....But no Cigar!



December 3, 2008, 2:29 pm

I wasn't expecting this to score as highly as it did, so bravo RIM.


December 3, 2008, 2:50 pm


If you need the extra 'power user' features of a Blackberry or Windows Mobile device then the Storm is undoubtedly the better handset overall. It's easier to use, is better built and, well, there are just countless reasons.

If you don't need the enterprise features then the overwhelming opinion in our office would be to get an iPhone, unless you're stuck on a contract or find the iPhone contracts too expensive.


December 3, 2008, 3:19 pm

Blackberry have always been the leader when it comes to push email, is this now still the case. I know with my I-Phone going via Yahoo push mail it now seems to be instant, I'm not sure if it's the latest firmware or something at Yahoo that has improved, but I ordered something on the internet and as soon as I clicked the Order button, my I-Phone bleeped, I couldn't believe it, I thought that can't be the order confirmation surely, but it was, and I believe a lot of phones now have push mail. So do you think Blackberry have lost there Ace card (push mail).


December 3, 2008, 3:37 pm


Push email is definitely more of a commodity nowadays so you could say Blackberry has lost its trump card. However, the whole Blackberry system is still very powerful when it comes to enterprise level stuff so if you're a business they still hold some advantages.

For joe bloggs on the street that just wants to pick up his personal email, Blackberry's are no better than any other smart phone in terms of capability. They're just good devices.


December 3, 2008, 3:58 pm

@trini - I have a Touch HD in the office as well, and as Ed says, the Storm is the better device. There’s a lot to like about the Touch HD, but the lack of capacitive screen, and the need to still use a stylus when you drop down into Windows Mobile from TouchFlo is very frustrating.

I think that RIM has done a good job with the Storm, but I also think that with a bit more attention to detail, it could have brought a killer handset to market.

@Keith - Yes, BlackBerry email is still very much the best system, especially if you’re a corporate user. You’ll find that most companies have been using BlackBerry devices for years, so getting something like a Strom set up for you work email should be easy, while getting your IT department to allow iPhone usage is more of a challenge. Believe me, I know this from first hand experience!

BlackBerry devices are just as easy to setup and use for consumer email too, which makes a device like the Storm even more attractive. Considering that this is RIM’s first touchscreen device, I’m expecting very good things for the next model.


December 3, 2008, 8:06 pm

How does the Storm compare to the Samsung Omnia? I've been looking to upgrade my phone as I'm nearing that period and have been researching the various different phones out there, such as the N96 (off the list now due to various reviews about it), the Omnia, Storm, iPhone (Though I'm with Vodaphone currently) etc.

Being the administrator of our company I already administer our Blackberry Enterprise server, but it also means that I have the luxury of tinkering with alternative devices. Which leads me to another question, does the Storm, or any other device such as the Omnia for that matter support multiple accounts, ie: an Exchange account as well as POP3 accounts?

Finally, and slightly off topic being that the Omnia is running the older version of Windows Mobile, would it be worth holding off for a new handset with an updated Windows Mobile build on it?

Thanks in advance!


December 3, 2008, 8:43 pm

@Reugne - I really don’t like the Omnia. I find it cumbersome, slow and generally unintuitive to use. This is a shame, since I do feel that Samsung has the ability to create great handsets. I think that the Pixon is a better handset than the Omnia, but that’s not really a smartphone, just a mobile phone with lots of features packed in and a touchscreen. Or an 8-megapixel camera with a phone built into it!

If it’s a choice between the Storm and an Omnia, go for the Storm every time. If you’ve got the choice between an iPhone or a Storm, that’s a bit more tricky. If you’re keen to stick with Vodafone, then the Storm is a great option, although if you’re not dead set on a touchscreen, the Bold is also worth considering.

As for the next Windows Mobile builds, I have it on good authority that Microsoft is well aware that it needs to raise its game. Whether that will happen in the next revision is doubtful, but our friends in Redmond are aware that they’re being left behind by the likes of Apple, Google and even RIM.


December 3, 2008, 9:43 pm

Hi Riyad, First timer on here although an avid reader of your reviews for at least the last 3 years.

I have never used a blackberry before, but seriously considering buying one this weekend. Form of the handset has been an important factor to me always. So, i really like the clamshell Pearl 8220, but would you say that its worth sacrificing that personal likeness for 8220 Pearl and instead go for the Storm?


December 4, 2008, 3:19 am

Does the storm support microSDHC or just microSD?


December 4, 2008, 4:12 am

@ChaosDefinesOrder microSDHC (and therefore microSD with the tech being backwards - but not forwards - compatible).


December 4, 2008, 2:30 pm

I've read that Vodafone claims that with global roaming and their own 'superior' HSDPA, the need or desire for Wi-Fi is void. Here comes the however, is there any possible chance that they'd see the error of this logic and try reissuing the phone with built-in Wi-Fi, sometime in the future? Considering that the Storm is their 'big-gun' device, would this be more likely than cramming it into a future handset?


December 4, 2008, 6:19 pm

@Atchoo - Personally I’d take the Storm over the 8220 every time, but then I’m not a big fan of clamshell phones. Ultimately it depends what you intend to do with the handset. If you’re not going to use it as a music and media player, and you’re not going to be typing long emails, then the Storm may well be overkill.

That said, if you think that your needs may develop over time, you’re better off with the Storm since it will grow with you, and probably improve with firmware too.

Andrew Stephens

December 4, 2008, 7:16 pm

Someone please rewrite this review, I cant believe the score, did the reviewer use the phone ? I personally used this and I must say it rubish, and no where near the usability of the iphone, or other blackberrys. Ive just read a couple of more reviews on the net and they seem to feel what I feel. Dont touch this bad boy, It could of been good but all in all its a rushed hash.

Andy Vandervell

December 4, 2008, 8:24 pm

@Andrew Stephens: And how long did you use the Storm to come to your conclusion?

Andrew Stephens

December 5, 2008, 4:40 am

@ Andy, for two nights, got my uncle at vodafone to loan a demo one to me. I don't know I guess I just see things differently to the reviewer.


December 6, 2008, 12:38 am

Just a quick question. Why doesn't the person who writes the review be the one who does the video review? Just seems inconsistent to me, that's all. Is it because Ed loves being on camera!?


December 6, 2008, 9:56 pm

@Ohmz - In this case, it's because I simply don't have the time to shoot video right now. Writing reviews can be done in the early hours of the morning if needs be, and they often are in my case, shooting video at 3am isn't really an option. Well, not a sensible one anyway.

But of course, as you say, it's because Ed loves the camera too :)

Andrew Stephens

December 9, 2008, 3:55 am

I think Stephen Fry, a well known, long term geek and smart phone user sums this phone up better than most, "Been playing with the BB Storm. Shockingly bad. I mean embarrassingly awful. Such a disappointment. Rushed out unfinished. What a pity." I can't agree more !

Francis Phillips

December 10, 2008, 6:00 pm

I can only assume that Trusted Reviews recieved a different BB Storm to the many other reviewers who have reviewed this phone. Have a look at the New York Times review which is pretty typical of the reviews: www.nytimes.com/2008/11/27/...

They say"How did this thing ever reach the market? Was everyone involved just too terrified to pull the emergency brake on this train?"


December 10, 2008, 6:03 pm

@Francis Phillips - nope, but we saw the potential of the device and now a few weeks later and one firmware update and our points remain valid and the NTY looks rather stupid ;)

Andrew Stephens

December 11, 2008, 6:32 am

Come on you gave this a higher performance rating than the original iPhone ! How can this possibly be ? I think I would give my old psion siena a better rating. I love you guys at trusted and your reviews but this seems unrealistic and I feel many people may be disappointed if they get one on reading this review.


December 12, 2008, 3:23 pm

@Andrew Stephens - Of course the Storm got a higher performance rating than the original iPhone, since you can actually make phone calls on it. The signal strength for calls on the original iPhone is appalling - I know from first hand experience. Both myself and Hugo still have to go out to the car park every time we want to make a call, that’s how bad it is. Thankfully this was fixed with the iPhone 3G, hence its higher scores.

@Francis Phillips - As Gordon says, looking at very early hardware in a review will always highlight issues that should not have been there. The early HTC Touch Diamond samples for instance were terrible, but firmware updates fixed many of those issues. Likewise early samples of the T-Mobile G1 had a lot of problems, which is why T-Mobile wouldn’t send out review samples until it had retail boxed versions. And even then it proved to be a disappointing handset.

Personally I don’t really care what other reviewers say, and I make a point of not reading other reviews until I’ve finished writing mine. But since you were keen to point out that other reviewers all thought it was a terrible device, I thought I’d grab a few quotes at random.

The Telegraph - “Research In Motion's first attempt at a touchscreen device, is a triumph. It's a really powerful device with plenty of clever features”

Gizmodo - “By trying to actually innovate rather than imitate, RIM has conjured up the phone most deserving of the title "iPhone killer".”

Wired - “The Storm, though, actually gets closest of any device we’ve ever laid hands on. And in one critical area it — get ready for it — it actually beats the iPhone.”

The Times - “I really didn't think I could be impressed by a new touchscreen device. To my surprise, I was.”


December 27, 2008, 8:23 am

I have had this phone for 1 week now and sadly my SIM is back in my faithful Bold. I waited and waited for the release of this phone and was so delighted to finally get my hands on one.... The screen is wonderful, I played with the swiping action and then set about changing my PIN online.... Emails came through just as slick as ever. It all started going wrong when I tried to type, the portrait suretype keyboard was ok but a pain when entering non standard words and I quickly found the little editing trick of touching the keyboard for a few second to get a cursor just above your finger very useful. Too useful in fact as I had to correct almost every word. I use suretype on my wifes Pearl and have no issues with it even with the smaller keys. The landscape standard qwerty is surprisingly worse due to the smaller keys. You have to put your finger directly on top and this is hard to do if you used to a normall BB keyboard where you type with the side of your thumbs. I licked the clicking sensation so struggled on determined to get use to it. Web browsing was great the screen was good. But what about the 3meg camera, press the button to focus the light lights the camera focuses, you press harder to take the picture and then wait for 2-3 seconds before the light lights again and the picture is taken. I have loads of pictures of people walking away !! But the screen, the coolness I will struggle on. Day two - I had my "tunes" loaded only to find that the sound was not as loud as my Bold. I was using the excellent "buds" that came with the Bold as the ones supplied with the storm were not even worth taking out of the box!! Worth 50p at the most, when the Bold ones compare well to my Sennheiser's. Even with the volume boost enabled it was quieter. But still it looks so good and the screen, I struggled on determined to love it! At around 3pm that day when I had listened to music for 50 mins and made a quick 2 min call, the battery warning went! To be followed 30 mins later by BB's "Not enough power for radio use" warning. Maybe if it had a mini USB like all the other BB's I have owned I could have kept it on charge on my desk, but no mini USB instead micro USB, what a waste of 7 BB chargers from previous phones... I had to put my SIM back into my Bold and the first call I made? You guessed it Vodafone 14 day returns... Who offered me all manner of Batteries and chargers to keep it (no doubt becasue of similar calls) , but what is the point of a mobile phone that needs to be tethered by wires. I don't expect a phone to last for days and days, I am happy to charge every night. (especially as BB had a cool bedside feature) I am dissapointed, really dissapointed! I have loved all of my 7 Blackberries. I get teased for being a "crackberry fan boy"! I have been with Vodafone for over a decade and would not be persuaded to move to another network. Its such as shame that the Storm did not live up to the idea behind it. I am sure they will get it right with the Storm 2. But if your thinking of getting one, don't. My Bold has forgiven my little affair and we are reunited once again, Blackberries are all about reliability and typing. The Bold is a much better bet.

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