A Week with the BlackBerry Storm Smartphone

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I’ve decided to approach my review of the BlackBerry Storm (9530) Smartphone from Verizon differently than I normally would. Instead of using the phone for several days and posting a complete review all at once, I’m going to journal my experiences with this phone over the next seven days. Be sure to come back each day to see how this phone is working for me and what my final thoughts are at the end of the week.

Day Zero


Hardware Specifications

Network Support: Dual–band 800/1900 MHz CDMA/EV–DO Rev. A networks; Quad–Band: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks Single–Band: 2100 MHz UMTS/HSPA networks

Memory: 128MB Flash Memory, 192MB RAM, 1GB On–board memory

Display: High resolution (480×360 pixel), 3.25″ color, TFT LCD. Supports over 65k colors

Memory card support: 8GB SanDisk microSD card installed (device supports up to 16GB)

Camera: 3.2 Megapixel Camera w/Flash, auto–focus and Video Capture

Integrated speaker and microphone, Hands–free headset capable (3.5mm 4 Pole)

Bluetooth: (v2.0) including A2DP for Stereo sound

Standard Lithium Cell (1400 mAh)
Usage: Up to 270 minutes of talk time or Standby: Up to 372 hours

SAR Information: 0.50 W/kg at ear; 0.57 W/kg on body

Dimensions: 4.43″ (H) x 2.45″ (W) x 0.55″ (D)

Weight: Approximately 5.47 oz. including battery


My first impression of the BlackBerry Storm as far as looks, is that it’s no iPhone. It tries to look like one, with the large display, chrome sides and shiny Black body, but it’s missing that ‘thing’ that makes an iPhone an iPhone. Know what I mean? That being said, I don’t think the BlackBerry is ugly. It’s just not… all that sexy in my opinion.


It’s pretty much the same length and width as the iPhone, but as you can see from the image above, it’s slightly thicker than the iPhone 2G.


Almost the entire front surface is the display. At the top is the speaker and beside it a status LED. Below the display are four buttons: Call/Send, Menu, Escape/Back and End/Power. You probably already know that the display is a touch screen and that it is also one large button. More about that as we go along…


You will find the 3.2 MP camera lens and flash on the back of the Storm, along with the battery cover, which is metal.


When I removed the battery cover (which, to my delight is easy to remove), I saw something that I was not expecting to see – a Verizon branded SIM card. Apparently the BlackBerry Storm is one of Verizon’s World Phones and uses CDMA here in the US, but GSM in other countries. You can also see the microSD card slot next to it.


On the Left side of the phone, you find the voice command button and micro USB connector for charging.


On the opposite side of the phone, there is a standard sized (3.5mm) stereo earphone jack, a volume up/down button and the camera application launch / shutter button.

In hand the phone feels solid enough and doesn’t complain with creaks or flexes when I apply my ever popular gadgeteer squeeze test on it.

I’m leaving it to charge overnight and tomorrow I’ll actually begin using it… 🙂

Day One

I started the day wanting to get my calls forwarded from my iPhone to the Storm. The iPhone actually has a setting to do this, but for some reason it wouldn’t work for me and kept giving me an error saying that it could not save settings. Multiple google searches turned up some sites with GSM codes that were also supposed to enable this feature.  But they would not work for me either. I ended up having to call AT&T tech support and have them manually set it up for me. The trouble is that I wasn’t able to do this until late in the afternoon, so I didn’t get much hands-on quality time with the Storm today.  I anticipate a lot more use out of the phone tomorrow. But here are some things I noted today…


The touchscreen display is ummmm…. touchy 😉 First of all, like the iPhone, it will auto rotate when you turn it from portrait to landscape mode. But it seems to have a very sensitive sensor because it rotates when you barely turn it. Which means, I’m always having to correct the orientation – which gets a little tedious.


When the BlackBerry Storm is in portrait orientation, there are two rows of application icons at the bottom of the display. In reality, there are many more apps available to you. If you try to use your finger to scroll the list, you won’t be able to unless you turn the phone into landscape orientation. Then you can scroll up and down with your finger. If you want do this in portrait orientation, you have to press the menu key first. This isn’t a really big deal, but just something to be aware of.

The display is a touch screen, and it’s also one large clickable button. Interacting with the display does require some acclimation. At first it just feels wierd. To move around on the display and select icons, you use your finger to tap items. But then to actually select something you have to then press down on the display and click it. Selecting icons this way is easy, but selecting items in a list is a bit harder. I find I sometimes touch the item above or below the one I really want, or have to tap twice for it to register.

One of my complaints about the iPhone is that you can’t use the touchscreen with gloves on. Right now in Indiana, it’s winter and that means it’s freaking cold 😉 I wear gloves on the way too and from work. Interacting with the iPhone when I’m driving is impossible with gloves. I assumed that the BlackBerry Storm would  not have that problem because it’s a big button in addition to a touchscreen. I was wrong. You can’t wear gloves and use the touchscreen. You also can not use your fingernail. You have to use the flesh of your finger to touch the screen.

blackberry-storm-11 blackberry-storm-12

Luckily you can make calls with the Storm without using the touchscreen because it has voice dialing. Yay! Just press the button on the Left side and it will prompt you to speak a command. You can say something like “Call Jeanne Webster”. It will then come back and ask you which number to dial if there are multiple numbers listed for that person. You can then say “mobile” and it will dial the number. Nice!


I made a few calls with the Storm and was happy with the audio quality. Nice and clear with no clipping, static, etc. Great volume too. Most phones I have to crank the volume up to maximum when I am driving, but with the Storm, I had to turn it down to between 50-75%. The in-call display gives you the ability to toggle the speaker phone, mute the call, add another person to the call, flash, bring up the keypad, make notes about the call, go to the home screen, bring up the calendar and bring up the address book.

Tommorow I plan to do some texting, IM’ing and browsing.

24 thoughts on “A Week with the BlackBerry Storm Smartphone”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. I am quite happy with my Storm, and I deliberately did not by an ipone because of the lack of turn by turn directions, sending pictures, and ATT which I have used for many years. I do not think the phones should be compared for an evaluation of one or the other. First evaluate each phone for what its strengths and weaknesses are.

    1. Spence:
      I don’t intend to directly compare the features of the iPhone and Storm. I was mainly commenting on the style / design aspect. 🙂

  3. My sister just got a Storm and I had the opportunity to play with it over Christmas. I have an iPhone 2G and was curious to see how they compare. The Storm seems to be a solid piece of hardware and offers a lot of nice features but the thing I couldn’t get over is how clumsy the interface is compared to the iPhone’s which is very sleek, easy, and intuitive. In my opinion this is definitely not “the iPhone killer”.

  4. Cant wait to see all of your feedback after using it some more. Im in the market for a new BB and/or phone, however I have Tmobile right now, so I would have to switch to Verizon for this who I am not particularly fond of.

  5. I got a Storm for my b’day. So far: takes great photos, touch screen is hard to “land” right button sometimes, you have to download Talklock so you don’t accidentally press touch screen while on calls, does not come with a case so you have to keep it locked so it doesn’t open various apps while floating around in your bag. I upgraded from a Motorola phone so it is way better of course. But my new obstacle is that BMW does not support this phone for use with their integrated Bluetooth… huge bummer because that is the thing I loved most: I could hop in the car and have my whole contacts list appear on the BMW I-screen and make all my calls etc. Now I have to go back to the wireless ear bug or use the Storm in speakerphone. (Note: while I was on the phone with BMW Assist I was able to use the Storm to go to their website and see the list of phones they DO support… )

  6. Get the lead out! Where is day two! Kidding, I really want to hear what you think about the touch screen and the fact the you press it in and not just touch it. Also a hard review of the GPS feature would be appreciated. I just bought a Garmin Nuvi 760, the Storm is on my short list of phones…. should I return my Garmin?

  7. I have used the Storm over a month now; don’t think it can be compared to iphone in anyway, Though it has a big screen, solid shell body. Yet it still has many bugs that need to be fixed. Battery life is not very good, but can be better depending on your usage. Email functionally is amazing, and call quality is clean and crisp. I loved the speaker of my storm, something iphone lacks, great sound quality and when playing your music, you could always adjust the equalizer which can bring more fun. Touch screen is not very great, as the buttons are cramped and needs a lot of practice to get use to. The camera is not that great, even when it is 3.2MP, my LG voyager had a great camera and picture quality. I have encountered my phone freeze sometimes, and off course, gets slower as well. I have my friend with an iphone 3G, and want to switch to Att for iphone. I hate and regret to loose Verizon, which has the best wireless coverage, but cannot stay away from iphone.
    It is really a tough choice, switching to Att from Verizon, as I had Verizon from the past 5 years. I only wish iphone came to Verizon!

  8. I am so glad I found this website. I just purchsed the Storm and I am expecting it from Fed Ex today. I will have 30 days to test it out so finding this article will help me. Thanks
    I 100% agree with one of the first things you said…the Storm is just not sexy. I almost went with the pink curve for this reason. I would love to have the IPhone, but will NOT change my service to AT& T and don’t know much about the unlocking thing.
    Well I am looking forward to following your week with the Storm.

  9. Went from the Moto Q and love my Storm. I have had it now about 3 weeks. It does get confused sometimes and I have to reboot. Having been a geek for a while, I will work with the kinks for the productivity and reliability.
    Some of the day one facts are incorrect, for example – the buttons on the sides can be reprogrammed for any application, the phone display and portrait display can have as few a one line or as many as three lines.
    I am just a poor schoolteacher so I had the Q for over 2 years…I loved the Q and still miss some of the features, however I will never go back to keys.

  10. I went through 4 Storms in a month!

    #1 was delivered with a very loose screen.
    #2 was delivered 2 days later. Developed a loose call button within 3 weeks.
    #3 was an exchange from the store. Developed a loose call button within 4 days!
    #4 was an exchange from the store. Developed a loose screen within 3 days.

    Returned #4 and went back to my Palm Treo. I’m waiting either for RIM to improve the build quality of this phone, or for Verizon to come up with something else that’s similar to the Storm or the iPhone. Don’t care for Verizon’s other offerings. No iPhone. No Blackberry Bold. No Palm Pre. Ugh.

  11. Day One Irresponsibility: “Interacting with the iPhone when I’m driving is impossible”

    Would you do us all a favor and NOT try to interact with your phone when driving. And please downgrade a device that makes it easy to be so irresponsible and thus more prone to kill or maim you neighbors child.

  12. My fellow phone junkies, my Phone lovers- Storm just has hbetter use to it- -I phone- nice just more of someone who likes to play games.

  13. i am unable to use the touch screen i think i literally cannot unlock my keys. how do i do this? i am pressing where the unlock symbol is on the top left corner of the blackberry. HELP!

  14. I just got an upgrade from a dare to the storm. So far I like the phone a lot. My only complaint is I cannot for the life of me figure out how to move and arrange my icons on the main screen. I would much rather pick and choose than be stuck with what they have put there…someone help meee?!?!

  15. so actually this phone is better than the iphone?
    i have been looking for a phone that is better because my mum has one and i dont want the same phone as my mum 🙂
    thankss 🙂

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