Best Buy
  • Price: 300 . 35

  • Company: RIM (BlackBerry)

  • Our Rating: We rate this 9 out of 10 We rate this 9 out of 10

Given that Dataviz's Word To Go, Sheet To Go and Slideshow to Go come preloaded and can be used to open, edit and resave documents on the Storm, before sending them as attachments over email, it's important that text entry is efficient and accurate.

The other area it's vital that the BlackBerry Storm 9500 gets right is, of course, basic phone and contact features. Here, as ever, the BlackBerry really shines. You can import contacts, synchronise them, add them on the fly and associate ringtones and photos as well as email addresses and search for them. Four web addresses, three locations with fax, page and phone numbers, plus notes on each contact can all be added.

The voice dialler feature hooks into this too and can be initiated via the silver hardware button on the BlackBerry Storm 9500's lefthand side. There's a large microphone above the BlackBerry branding at the top of the screen. Audio output from the speaker is pretty loud too. Calls we made were clear and remain central to the Storm's setup: pressing the green phone handset icon takes you straight to a keypad, with the address book and call log listed as options above it.

The audio feature can also be used to record voice notes to yourself (if you prefer these to creating Task lists - both options on the main menu). SMS and MMS share an icon but, again, are default options on the Storm's main screen. As with email, you can compose messages and send attachments - whenever you take a photo using the BlackBerry Storm 9500's 3.2Mp camera, you are given the option to send it as an MMS.

The BlackBerry Storm 9500's camera - a step up from previous BlackBerry handsets which came with a 2Mp camera - has both a zoom and a flash. We also like the fact that you can rename files on the fly and instantly send them to a contact. Again, this isn't the first BlackBerry with this facility, but it's worth having.

What's different about using the camera is that the zoom must be operated using the hardware volume keys on the righthand edge of the handset. However, you can zoom in incrementally with quite a lot of control and the sensor is able to work out which is the main subject of your shot and optimise its operations around this. Taking a snap isn't an instantaneous process, however. If you want a snapshot cameraphone, try a Sony Cyber-shot instead.

Video is worth trying too. The BlackBerry Storm 9500's excellent vibrant and detailed screen lends itself to video playback - the sample videos we were given to test this feature were glamorous film trailers, but we activated the YouTube application and imported some footage of our own to see how a more average video clip would look.

The fairly ropey wildlife clip we tried (a recommended clip on our iPhone) was full of artefacts, but we ran the clip on the Storm alongside the T-Mobile Android G1 and was noticeably brighter on the Storm. Part of this may well be because the Storm has a glass screen rather than a plastic one (as on the G1), but we know which we'd sooner use to view video.