Thu, 20 Nov 2008 BlackBerry Storm 9500 review
Quad-band touchscreen smartphone aims to take on the iPhone, and - to a certain extent - suceeds. Discover what Macworld UK thinks of the BlackBerry Storm 9500
- Manufacturer: RIM (BlackBerry)
- Distributor: Vodafone
- Pros: Unique click-able touchscreen, high speed 3G support, good Web browser; superb email client and contact management
- Cons: Lacks wi-fi; cut-and-paste solution is inelegent, lacks multi-touch zoom,
- Min specs: Quad-band GSM, 3G, HSDPA smartphone; 480x360-pixel transmissive touchscreen (80mm diagonally or 75mm x 49 mm); 3.2Mp camera, flash, 2x incremental zoom; video recorder; voice recorder; Bluetooth v2; BlackBerry Enterprise for Microsoft Exchancge; Lotus Domino; Novell Groupwise and other email clients; email, MMS, SMS, calendar, clock, task list, voice dialling/voice recorder; BlackBerry media player/manager, Vodafone Music downloads; MP3 ringtones; password keeper; AES secure encryption; BlackBerry Maps; Vodafone Telmap Find&Go (six month subscription); 3.5mm headphone jack; mini USB port; 1GB onboard memory; 128MB flash memory; microSDHC slot; dimensions: 62x113x14mm; weight: 158g; 15 days standby; 5.5 hours standby
- Free handest; from £35 per month on 24-month contract
- £300 handset only
- Star rating:
NEXT: Syncing a BlackBerry Storm to a Mac
Mac owners can rejoice because venerable syncing company, Mark/Space has already added support for the BlackBerry Storm. You will need to purchase Mark/Space's Missing Sync for BlackBerry application, which at $39.95 (£26.68) is worth every single penny.
One of our key criticisms of the BlackBerrry Bold was that RIM hadn't supported the Mac and hadn't worked with other providers to enable Mac support on day one. Our guess is that because Mark/Space has now managed to add support for the BlackBerry Bold (a 9000 model) it has also been able to add support for the BlackBerry Storm (a 9500 model). Either way, this means that the Storm is a viable option for Mac owners.
The Missing Sync for Blackberry enables you to sync Calendars, Contancts, Music, Notes, Photos and Tasks, plus specified Folders.
Mark/Space's Missing Sync for BlackBerry ensures that you can get all your Mac's information and media onto the smartphone
Although we were perfectly happy using the proprietary USB cable supplied with the Storm to hook it up to our Mac and use the Missing Sync for BlackBerry app to synchronise tracks from our iTunes collection, we also tried out the Vodafone Music service. For this, we had to agree to go online (not a problem, since we were helpfully told that it wouldn’t cost us any money to do so)
We chose current track So What by Pink and were treated to a 30-second clip of it before electing to download it. Options included buying the single track for 99p or buying the whole album or a group of other tracks at once. We downloaded the one track but were intrigued by what else was suggested as a ‘You might also like’ prompt. We were offered an old All Saints track we chose for nostalgia’s sake but could have chosen a pack of 7 songs for £5 or 15 tracks for £7.50, rather than buying them single. Flogging a decade old song for 99p certainly seemed a bit steep.
No matter, the process was painless and we needed merely to press firmly on the Single track option to initiate the download – you get a confirmation that this is about to happen and need to click OK to agree to it.
We wouldn’t recommend spending much money listening to songs on the BlackBerry Storm, however – at least not without dumping the nasty plastic earphones it comes with. We found these painful to wear even with their protective muffling. The Storm has the same 3.5mm standard headphone jack you get on the iPhone, so any earphones that are compatible with this will also fit into the Storm’s headphone socket.
Having made the switch, you’ll find the Storm’s media manager a pleasure to use. The quality of our two sample downloaded songs was every bit as good as that of the album we had transferred from our computer. Had we built up a large collection of music, we could use the search to scoot through tracks, while a playlist manager allowed us to instantly add a song to an existing playlist or create a new one.
One thing of note is that like all non-Apple music players, the BlackBerry Storm won't play music bought from the iTunes music store that is protected by FairPlay DRM (although some iTunes tracks are available in a DRM-free format, and these will play just fine).