Best Buy
  • Price: 300 . 35

  • Company: RIM (BlackBerry)

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

When it comes to web access, , the fact that the Storm is a 3G handset really comes into play. The Vodafone network operates at up to 7.2Mbps, so access is really zippy. The Vodafone browser has been set up so Mobile versions of major websites are presented unless you tweaks the settings, but we had no trouble viewing content on the non-optimised PC Advisor website. To zoom in to items you can double-tap the area in question, or you can use the onscreen magnifier icons to zoom in and out. You can also slide a finger across the screen to scroll around.

While not quite as accomplished or as accurate as the web browser on the iPhone, this is easily the best BlackBerry web browsing experience so far and a huge leap forward for existing BB customers who have been frustrated about this key aspect. If you've got a non-3G BlackBerry phone and wondering whether to upgrade, the data connection and browsing experience alone should convince you to do so.

9500 to hook it up to our PC and use the media manager 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 is 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 9500, 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 (and indeed, almost any digital media player), 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 BlackBerry Storm 9500'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 PC. 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.