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.