By March 29, 2009

Blackberry Storm 9500 Review

This is the first Blackberry touch screen handset from RIM. At a glance it looks fantastic, but can it compete with the iPhone?

The Storm 9500 is exclusive to Vodafone here in the UK – You can see what Vodafone have to say about it by clicking here.

storm_angled_right The Blackberry Storm 9500


What’s in the box?

  • RIM Blackberry Storm 9500

  • Battery

  • Quick guide manual

  • Mains charger (UK/US/EU)

  • Stereo headset/handsfree

  • 1GB Micro SD card

  • Pouch case

  • Data cable

  • Screen cleaning cloth

Check out Matt’s Blackberry Storm 9500 unboxing video


    • Dimensions: 112.5 x 62.2 x 13.95 mm

    • Weight: 155g

    • Battery Capacity: 1400 mAh

    • Display: 480 x 360 pixels/3.25 inch

    • Network: GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 (Quad-Band), WCDMA: 2100 HSDPA (Single-Band)

    • Camera: 3.2 mega-pixels (auto-focus)

    • Video: Video Recording supported formats: MP4, 3GP, H.264 & H.263

    • Music: Supported formats: MP3, AAC, ACC+, eAAC+ & WMA

    • Messaging: SMS, MMS (with video),  E-mail (POP3, SMTP, IMAP4, MS Exchange, BlackBerry), Instant Messaging

    • Memory: 1GB (internal)

    • microSDHC (external)

    • microUSB

    • 3.5mm Audio Connector

    • Bluetooth (2.0)

    • Navigation: AGPS, BlackBerry Maps


    The Blackberry Storm 9500 looks impressive with its large 3.25 inch screen. It seems quite striking after looking at previous Blackberry phones with their QWERTY keypads that take up much of the handset.

    Front – 3.25 inch SurePress touch screen, ‘call’ and ‘hang up’ buttons, menu button and back button. (The ‘hang up’ button is also the power button)


    Blackberry Storm 9500 front view


    Top – on the top of the handset are 2 buttons. From the picture below, the left side is a mute button and the right side is a keypad lock.


    Blackberry Storm 9500 top view


    Bottom – There’s not much on the bottom of the handset except for the microphone


    Blackberry Storm 9500 bottom view


    Right side – Right convenience key which is set as default as the camera soft key, Volume control buttons (also used as zoom with the camera function) and 3.2mm stereo headphone socket


    Blackberry Storm 9500 right side view


    Left side – Left convenience key which is set as default as the voice command soft key, Micro USB socket used for USB connection and charging the phone.


    Blackberry Storm 9500 left side view


    Back – The speaker is located near the bottom of the handest (left side of the picture below). The back cover encloses the battery, sim card and micro SD card. The 3.2 MP camera and flash can also be seen here.


    Blackberry Storm 9500 back view




    • Large 3.25" high resolution screen – great quality
    • 3G connection
    • 3.2MP camera with auto focus
    • Rotating display
    • SurePress touch screen


    • SurePress touch screen (yes, I have put this as a highlight too. You’ll need to read on to see why!)
    • No WIFI
    • Touchscreen QWERTY keyboard can be difficult to use
    • The size of the handset is a bit on the large side


    The Blackberry Storm 9500 is definitely a great looking phone, and the screen size and resolution is a definite highlight. The casing is black and chrome plastic and the back battery cover is brushed metal which gives it a classy, professional look.

    Before I had even switched it on I found the handset rather cumbersome due to the larger size and weight. But, that’s just my personal opinion of course. I’m sure some people with bigger hands than me won’t find this an issue.


    Once switched on the first thing that grabbed my attention was the brilliant display. Very sharp and erm, well. big! The inbuilt accelerometer rotates the display depending on the position of the handset. It rotates both the the left and right which I guess will be quite handy for left-handed users. Unfortunately I found that the accelerometer was a bit slow to respond at times.

    The SurePress technology included in the Storm gives a spring-like effect or physical button-like effect when pressing on the screen. The idea of this I think is great. It’s designed to eliminate any type of confusion between navigating and confirming/selecting. For example, navigating through the menu – you highlight what you want to select but touching the screen. You can see if you’re on the correct icon before pressing the screen to actually select your option. The best part is that whilst on a call you are unlikely to accidentally select any options on the screen with your face!

    Now, I seem to be raving about the SurePress technology here but you may have noticed that I have also placed this a lowlight. The reason for this is that because the whole screen is designed to be clicked it does actually move. This makes the handset feel a bit flimsy and surprisingly makes it feel a bit cheap. Shame really.

    The sound quality during calls is clear and the microphone filters out background noise quite well. The numeric keypad for dialling is huge! Very user friendly! There is also the option to use numbers stored on the sim card as well as the phone’s memory.


    Moving on. 3G!!! Ok, this doesn’t actually make a big difference for me but from browsing forums many people much prefer 3G to EDGE technology as 3G is faster. Other Blackberry handsets seem to all use the EDGE network connection so the Storm using 3G seems to be a good selling point.

    Then there’s the WIFI. or lack of in this case. I’m not really sure of the reasons for this. It’s been suggested that the carriers want users to use their mobile broadband network and that’s the reason there’s no WIFI. Anyway, this is a definite lowlight for me.

    The software and general setup is almost identical to that of the Blackberry Bold, Curve and others. The obvious difference being the integration of a touchscreen QWERTY keyboard. When the phone is held in a normal upright position it is a 20 key SureType QWERTY keyboard (which can be set to multitap), and when it is rotated either onto its right or left side a full QWERTY keyboard is presented. The Storm 9500 also supports the copy and paste function which can com in handy.

    For messaging, SMS, MMS, Email, and Instant Messaging are supported. Multiple email accounts can be added and the inboxes can all be kept separate. Push email also alerts of new emails in each account.

    Blackberry’s built in web browser looks great on the large screen but navigation using the touch screen takes a lot of getting used to. There’s a bit of a wait sometimes while scripts are loading which seems to be a bit of a common theme though the Blackberry range.

    Word, Excel and PowerPoint files can be opened and edited with the built in viewers. The full version of the Office application would need to be purchased in order create files.

    Other applications include a memo pad, a Task application, a calculator, and password keeper. Maps software which works with the GPS function is also included

    The music player is capable of playing MP3, AAC, and WMA files and the built in speaker on the back of the handset gives surprisingly good quality sound.

    The 3.2MP camera produces quite impressive images. The colours are great and the auto focus comes in handy. Unfortunately the quality lessens when the image is enlarged which can only be expected as 3.2MP in the (if you’ll excuse the pun) bigger picture is not that great. I found the video camera quality pretty poor. Especially in lower light. The colours seemed to change whilst filming as if the camera was trying to correct the white balance, but this ended up producing ‘off’ colours.

    A clever addition to this touchscreen smart phone is the magnetic strips in the pouch. When the handset is placed in the pouch the magnetic sensor (which I’m guessing is in the back of the phone hence the metallic back cover) senses the magnet in the pouch which in turn switches off the display and locks the keys. This is an energy saving feature of the phone.



    The Blackberry Storm 9500 was a strange device to review! I seem to have had many positive points written out, yet if I’m honest, I just didn’t seem to like it!

    Just seemed a bit to bulky for me. It sometimes seemed a bit sluggish in its performance and I although I got used to the touchscreen QWERTY keyboard I just couldn’t type as fast as I could on actual buttons for making so many mistakes!

    The Storm 9500 definitely looks great and the screen quality is brilliant. The SurePress screen is a brilliant idea but you’ll either love it or hate it. Unfortunately it’s not my cup of tea.

    No WIFI. I missed it. But, that’s personal preference I guess. Just as well Vodafone’s network coverage didn’t let me down.

    There are many people out there who say that the Storm 9500 is a huge competitor to the IPhone. You’ll just have to see for yourself!


    Reviewed by: Emma

    Posted in: Reviews

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