We went and saw the Storm 9520 today - the followup up to BlackBerry's first-touch-screen-ever, the Storm. The main thing on our mind - was the touch-screen going to be better than the original's glitch-ridden display? Thankfully yes, and BlackBerry's new operating system 5.0 launches on this device too, though we didn't get a chance to really see what it does.
Look and feel Pretty much like the old Storm, except slightly more streamlined. Instead of four hard buttons for call, hang up, back and menu, these are now integrated into the touch-screen, while the protruding bits from the Storm's clicky touch-screen have been done away with. The screen remains a high-res (360x480 pixels) 3.25-inch display. The on-screen keyboard featuring something called 'SurePress' that means even though you're tapping on a capacitive, swipe-friendly screen, you have to press pretty hard for your input to be registered. There's tactile feedback, as if you're actually using a hard keyboard - a little bridging feature to help 'Berry fans shift from the brand's traditional QWERTYs? Either way, the auto-correct is almost perfect, and our quick burst of messaging was both speedy and accurate.
Under the hoodAside from a totally revamped SurePress keyboard, the Storm 2 also has double the RAM (256MB) and internal memory (2GB) which theoretically should mean smoother multitasking. There's also Wi-Fi (finally) and 3G, so internet wise you're covered, and a 3.2-megapixel camera with video recording that looked decent enough.
Ease of useBlackBerrys are great to use, and the Storm 2 is no exception. We observed no lags in the touch-screen, with light swipes to navigate the menus, and harder presses to type. There are also loads of useful touch-screen shortcuts - for example, holding down a track in the music player to filter all tracks by that artist - and these make the OS navigation even quicker.
The Storm 2 is posed as a multimedia device, and that's a good thing, because even though the keyboard was certainly an improvement on the old Storm, it's still no match for that on top notch touch phones like the iPhone 3GS or HTC Hero, or for that matter, any QWERTY BlackBerry.
Launching on Vodafone, for free from £35 per month on a 24-month contract with 600 minutes, unlimited BlackBerry Internet Service, unlimited texts, as well as unlimited access to VMI (Vodafone Mobile Internet) and broadband.