Mobile Phone News

BlackBerry Storm review – hands on and buy now

BlackBerry StormI was asked to pop along to see the new BlackBerry Storm yesterday which is Vodafone’s answer to the iPhone on 02. The guys from Vodafone and BlackBerry were there to answer any questions and of course to let me get my grubby mitts on the next potential iPhone Killer so here is what I made of it…

The BlackBerry Storm (previously known as BlackBerry 9500) needs to be directly compared to the iPhone as both are now aimed squarely at the same lucrative audience of both business users and the everyday phone users with their rich featuresets and enterprise level functionality.

The BlackBerry Storm is slightly beefier than the iPhone at 112.5 x 62.2 x 14mm compared to the iPhone’s 115 x 61 x 11.6 mm but it’s hardly noticeable in your hand. The extra 20g weight (155g) compared to the 135g of the iPhone might be a bit more noticeable though.

Where does this extra bulk go then?

Well first off it didn’t go on a WiFi chip which is the most striking omission to the BlackBerry Storm’s specifications in my opinion. No built in WiFi means you will have to rely on the all you can use Vodafone mobile Internet data policy which is bundled with all BlackBerry Storm contracts. Obviously this isn’t really an issue if you are within Vodafone’s super fast HDSPA (3.5 G) areas, which are among the UK’s fastest data networks but browsing / emailing where there is a FREE, faster WiFi connection and only GPRS network coverage would seriously annoy me!

The large 3.25″ high-resolution screen (480 X 360 pixels) screen is very clear and crisp and will definitely make journeys fly when coupled with a few movies stored on a microSD™ memory card. The screen also makes viewing the images captured from the 3.2 mega pixel camera great as you can see the extra fine details this camera picks up compared to the 2 mega pixel camera found in the iPhone. This camera has auto flash, auto focus and 2x digital zoom and coupled with the in built Flickr™ and Facebook™ applications you will be able to upload your snaps quickly and easily to share on the web.

Browsing the web using this large screen and the built in BlackBerry browser is a good experience but is maybe a shade less pleasurable compared to the iPhone’s browser and even the bundled Opera browser on the latest HTC Touch handsets which are both top notch. However one advantage the BlackBerry Storm does have over its rivals is a feature called Cursor Mode which enables you to have an on screen mouse pointer and by moving your finger around the screen and clicking on any point on the screen gives you get left click, mouse like precision for web links and editing documents etc.

Music wise the inbuilt music player is good and is tightly integrated with Vodafone’s Music Store service where you can download new tracks, albums and listen to 30 second previews of the latest songs. Also for the majority of people who use Apple’s iTunes to organise their play-lists and music collections you will be pleased to know the BlackBerry Storm can sync with iTunes however this will only be with your own ripped content not Apple DRM protected music!

The inbuilt GPS in the BlackBerry Storm uses Vodafone’s Find & Go service which is much like other GPS technologies however it does come with a nifty search and share service built in to allow you to share and view places of interest people have uploaded via their GPS phones. The downside to this native Find & Go GPS service though is you only get 6 months Find & Go Sat Nav subscription with your new contract compared to the unlimited usage of the iPhone’s Google Maps software which seems a little stingy on Vodafone’s part.

BlackBerry Storm landscape typingIn the short time I had hands on with the BlackBerry Storm I couldn’t say I like the new “tactile-touch” on screen keyboard compared to the old faithful physical QWERTY keyboards found on other BlackBerry phones.

The “easy and precise touch screen typing that is claimed via this new on screen QWERTY keyboard (full QWERTY in landscape mode only) felt a little more like clunky and cumbersome compared to say the iPhone and HTC’s Touch Diamond on screen keyboard efforts.

The primary reason for the difficulties I had getting along with the new keyboard is the fact the BlackBerry Storm’s screen is built using a unique new technology where the screen is actually spring-loaded so the whole screen effectively acts as one big button. So rather than the keys sensing my fingers like other touch screen keyboards I had to physically press the screen down down to press the keys. I suspect you would get used to this new style on screen keyboard but losing the brilliant physical QWERTY keyboard in place of this radically different, push down, on screen version might put a lot of people off within their initial contract cooling off period.

All the standard enterprise level BlackBerry email functionality and remote administration features that Research In Motion’s (RIM) success has been founded on are still present and do set the BlackBerry Storm apart from its competitors in the corporate environment. However the other large target audience of ‘normal’ end users who Vodafone and BlackBerry are going after with this handset won’t really be interested in locking down certain features and applications so I can’t see these features selling extra handsets to these ‘normal’ users.

So in summary the BlackBerry Storm is the most consumer friendly handset that RIM have released to date and a lot of new ‘normal’ end users will buy it.

Click here to order the BlackBerry Storm – released Friday 14th November

The following summary table should give a good overview of the pros and cons of the BlackBerry Storm compared to the iPhone:

Feature BlackBerry Storm Apple iPhone
Size 112.5 x 62.2 x 14mm 115 x 61 x 11.6 mm
Weight 155g 135g
Messaging MMS, Instant Messaging, SMS, Email SMS, Email
In built storage 1GB 8GB or 16GB
Card Expansion microSD™ none
Data Capabilties HSDPA, GPRS HSDPA, GPRS
Battery life Standby: up to 360 hours, Talk Time: 5 hours 30 minutes Standby: up to 250 hours, Talk Time: 8 hours
Camera 3.2 Mega Pixel (2048×1536) 2 Mega Pixel (1600 x 1200)
GPS Built in Find & Go (6 months subscription) Google Maps (ulimited usage)
Connectivity USB2.0 USB2.0, TV Output
WiFi No Yes

HTC Touch HD available now in UK

HTC’s Touch HD (previously known in development as HTC Blackstone) is now available to pre-order on both Orange and O2 networks. The HTC Touch HD is the top of the range Windows Mobile handset (alongside the Touch Pro) with a large 3.8” wide, WVGA (480 X 800 pixel) screen that hints at it’s superior multimedia capabilities.

This amazingly large, clear and crisp screen alongside a 5 mega-pixel camera, standard 3.5mm headphone jack, integrated GPS, microSD™ memory card slot, RDS FM Radio and HSDPA Internet capabilities gives the Touch HD a compelling list of multimedia specifications

The Touch HD’s superior screen coupled with the intuitive TouchFLO™ 3D interface makes browsing the web using the pre-loaded with the Opera a joy. Double tap the screen and the browser zooms in smoothly to your chosen web page and then simply swipe across the screen with your finger allow to scroll around web pages quickly and effortlessly.

Listening to music using HTC’s music player is a breeze using the intuitive touch screen controls as is scrolling around the inbuilt, GPS powered Google Maps.

Size wise the dimensions of the Touch HD are 115 mm x 62.8 mm x 12 mm, with the handset feeling particularly thin due to the omission of a slide out QWERTY keyboard when compared to the Touch Pro. The Touch HD also feels quite light at 147 grams (with battery).

With it’s large screen and advanced multimedia capabilities the Touch HD will no doubt become a best selling web browsing, email, office, movie and music device so go check out the pre-order deals now…

Compare Touch HD mobile phone deals now

Great Sim Only Deals: 350 mins – 650 texts – £15 per month – no contract!

Sim Only DealsDo you already have a mobile phone you’re happy with, and you just want a really good, low cost SIM only deal?

With a SIM only deal you can get 350 xnet mins and 650 texts for just £15 line rental.   Other tariffs are available on all networks and there’s no long term contract, just pay for 30 days at a time and receive a generous amount of free minutes and texts.

Put your SIM card into your current mobile and you’re ready to start talking and texting. (If your mobile is from another network it may need to be unlocked).

There are some great value tariffs with SIM only and there’s no commitment. If you spot a better offer or decide to take a new contract deal with a free phone at a later date then you’re free to switch with just 30 days notice.

Compare SIM only deals

LG KC910 Renoir out now

LG KC910 RenoirLG’s latest 8 megapixel cameraphone is out now, FREE on Orange from £35 per month.

The LG KC910 Renoir has a 3 inch touchscreen and an impressive specification. The camera promises excellent photos with a Schneider Kreuznach lens, xenon flash plus face, smile and blink detection. It can record video at up to 120 frames per second and has a TV out socket and slow motion playback.

The LG KC910 renoir is a 3G phone with videocalling. It also has HSDPA, Wi-Fi, stereo Bluetooth and GPS for geo-tagging your photos with their exact location.

There’s a decent organiser with a document viewer supporting PDF, Microsoft Word and Excel files. The advanced media player features Dolby sound, Xvid and DivX video playback.

Compare all LG KC910 Renoir Mobile Phones

Pre Order the Sony Ericsson C905

Sony Ericsson C905The Sony Ericsson C905 is now available to pre-order on O2 or Orange.  Stock is due 24th October.

The Sony Ericsson C905 is free and only £30 per month on an 18 month contract, or £40 per month on a 12 month contract

Pre-order and be one of the first to own Sony Ericsson’s first 8 megapixel cameraphone.

The 8 megapixel camera has GPS geotagging, autofocus, face detection and both a xenon flash and a photo flash. It will also be the first non-smartphone from Sony Ericsson with Wi-fi support.

Full review coming soon.

Compare all Sony Ericsson C905 deals