RIM BlackBerry Storm2 9520 review
We weren't completely convinced by the BlackBerry Storm's clicky screen when it first launched a year ago - it felt heavy and occasionally counter-intuitive, but the revamped Storm2 (aka the 9520) is far more persuasive.
Outwardly, there's little sign of change. The Storm2 differs little from its forebear - the BlackBerry Storm 9500 with a similar heft and feel - only the details have changed, with fewer sharper edges than before, a more streamlined profile, and all trace of physical buttons removed.
Where the Storm2 leaves the original trailing is in the way the click-screen technology (still dubbed Sure Press) is implemented. Rather than use the simple, single-button mechanism - an approach that led to the first effort feeling clunky - the system is now electro mechanical, using four actuators that produce a localised feedback effect when you apply pressure to the screen.
In conjunction with multitouch support, which allows key presses to overlap, and BlackBerry's excellent auto correction, it works incredibly well. We found we could type fast and accurately almost straight away, and the push-to-click felt a lot more sensitive too, without overdoing it.
And it's good to see that the screen actuators automatically switch off when you hold the phone to your face - no more accidentally pressing mute with your chin. There's bound to be some debate over its merits among iPhone fans, but this is at least as good in our opinion; try it, you might be surprised.
The one blot on its copybook is that there's a slight delay when switching between the alpha and numeric or symbol keyboards, which can be irritating. But it's a small complaint in light of such a technological tour de force, and one we hope would be fixed with a firmware upgrade in the coming months.
The lighter click mechanism makes all the difference to navigation and web browsing too, with the highlight-then-click procedure working flawlessly. The touch interface of BlackBerry OS 5 not only looks great, but feels extremely slick and responsive, and finding your way around is quick and painless. All the buttons and menu options are large and finger-sized and, apart from the pausing mentioned above, it all feels very nippy indeed.
And although the BlackBerry web browser isn't quite as nippy and slick as its rivals, it's perfectly workable in most scenarios. The high-resolution 3.25in, 480 x 360 pixel display means headlines and even some smaller text is readable zoomed out, and most web pages we visited were rendered accurately. One gripe we did have, however, was that the double-tap to zoom felt clunky and slow compared to the methods employed on Mobile Safari, the Android browser and Opera Mobile.
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