Blackberry Storm 9530 Review


iPhone Killer?

The Blackberry Storm 9530, what was for a long while hyped to be the potential iPhone-killer from RIM: beautiful, sleek, the first touch-screen Blackberry, with all the functionality that was deemed lacking in the perfect fruit-phone.  As are most things in comparison to Apple products, it lacks the final grooming that a manicured and coiffed showpiece from the Jobsness generally carries, but compared to the HTC devices I’ve had the Storm takes the cake in nearly every way.  From the physical design to navigating, selecting, entering information – I find the device pleasant and easy to use from the get-go.

With the Storm, you certainly get a lot of functionality that Apple either ignored or decided we weren’t ready for – some “push” functions and copy/paste most notably.  Windows Mobile devices have included most of the capabilities of the Storm for a long while, but minus the tremendous connectedness of a Blackberry.  Going from a WinMo phone to a Storm is pretty simple once you learn that it’s a different universe and get the hang of the tools.  I have a single friend with a G1, so I can’t be too specific about how it measures up – I have used it for about 15 minutes and it feels good, but I much prefer the size and feel of the Storm.

Without the Apple brand of design behind it, you lose the brilliant polish on the software, the snappy and fluid user interfaces, and the seamless integration of all the device’s functions; but you gain a lot of capabilities in the realm of customization, freedom to choose functionalities (enough with the jailbreaking, okay?), and most of all glorious email integration surpassed so far by no other service, in my opinion.  Those who would upgrade from most WinMo devices gain, among other things, a rather solid business tool that includes a functional browser as well as a suave-looking hip-hanger that doesn’t seem like an injection-molded cereal toy.  Bonus!

General 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA 2100
CDMA2000 1x EV-DO
Announced 2008, September
Status Available. Released 2008, November
Size Dimensions 112.5 x 62.2 x 14 mm
Weight 155 g
Display Type TFT capacitive touchscreen, 65K colors
Size 360 x 480 pixels, 3.25 inches
– Accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate
Sound Alert types Vibration; Downloadable polyphonic, MP3 ringtones
Speakerphone Yes
– 3.5 mm audio jack
Memory Phonebook Yes, Photocall
Call records Yes
Internal 1 GB storage, 128 MB RAM
Card slot microSD (TransFlash), up to 16 GB, buy memory
Data GPRS Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots), 32 – 48 kbps
EDGE Class 10, 236.8 kbps
Bluetooth Yes, v2.0 with A2DP
Infrared port No
USB Yes, v2.0
Camera Primary 3.15 MP, 2048×1536 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
Features Geo-tagging, image stabilization
Video Yes, QVGA
Secondary No
Features OS BlackBerry OS
CPU 624 MHz processor
Messaging SMS, MMS, Email, Instant Messaging
Browser HTML
Radio No
Games Yes + downloadable
Colors Black
GPS Yes, with A-GPS support
Java Yes
– BlackBerry maps
– Document editor (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF)
– Media player MP3/WMA/AAC+
– Video player MPEG4/3gp/H.264/WMV
– Organizer
– Voice dial
– Voice memo
Battery Standard battery, Li-Ion 1400 mAh
Stand-by Up to 360 h
Talk time Up to 5 h 30 min

Overall, the 9530 is so far the best smartphone I’ve ever owned and used regularly, and it’s my new beloved all-encompassing connected device.  It’s only failings are the persistent ones of Blackberries past, and in that sense it is a bit of a failure – by introducing so much new functionality, RIM seems to have avoided solving any of the long-term Blackberry OS problems which carry forward into OS 4.7.  Only time will tell if 5.0 brings relief.

Through the following sections I hope to convey to you both my excitement about how the Storm is a grand accomplishment, and also how  disappointed I am that there is still so much to wish for.