RIM BlackBerry Storm2 9550 Review

Introduction and Design

On paper the Storm was a success for RIM and Verizon.  In the flesh, not so much.  It was plagued by software issues that were eventually ironed out, but more so by the utter failure of RIM’s SureType technology.  The screen was cumbersome to use, tiring and inaccurate.  An iPhone killer it was most certainly not, and we dubbed it the worst BlackBerry ever made.  So, how does RIM fix it?  A new screen, now with four click points and Piezo technology to prevent accidental clicks.  We have to admit we are much more impressed this time around.

In the box you’ll find:
•    Li-Ion battery
•    AC Adapter
•    USB cable
•    Stereo headphones
•    16GB microSD card


Visually, there isn’t a lot of difference between the 9530 and the newer RIM BlackBerry Storm2 9550.  The overall feel is very much the same, and again one of the first things to catch our attention was the weight of the device.  The Storm2 measures in at a nearly identical 112.5 x 62 x 13.9mm compared to the Storm, but weighs in at 5g more.  The battery door latch mechanism is similar to the one found on the 8520, which is a welcome change, and the speaker has also moved from the back to the bottom of the phone, making it easier to hear when laid down.  The side keys are now rubber instead of silver, again taking their design cue from the 8520.  All of them offer plenty of travel and reassurance when they are pressed.

You can compare the RIM BlackBerry Storm2 9550 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The largest design difference is the function keys below of the screen.  On the original these were four physical buttons, separate from each other, but this time around these are incorporated into the screen itself.  Our preview unit had all kinds of issues that prevented us from actually pressing these buttons most of the time, but on this latest unit everything is great.  The Piezo technology is definitely in effect, and is very cool.  When the power is off the screen is not clickable, but it doesn’t end there:  RIM has blended Piezo and capacitive technologies so that when the screen is turned on it is only clickable with bare skin.  This prevents accidental key presses and is a very cool addition.

The display is again gorgeous, measuring in at 3.25” with a resolution of 360x480 at 184ppi but just 65K colors.  We’re not sure that this is any better than the screen on the Storm, but then again that was a very pretty panel as well.  More importantly it is much better to use.  The wiggle is gone, and we can no longer see the circuit board along the edges of the display.  Now with the new SurePress technology, it is much easier to click and the multiple input sensors make typing much more accurate.  This time around autocorrect was able to fix most of our mistakes, though not quite all.  In a typical message we’d have to manually correct only one or two words, which is way better than the original.  It also does a better job of replicating the feel of a physical keyboard, but it is still well behind the Tour’s physical keyboard.

We have to think that this is what RIM was going for the first time around.  The difference is so night and day that we really feel RIM should have dropped the Storm name, even if the two devices are extremely similar.  This new implementation of screen clicking is worthy of a new brand name.

RIM BlackBerryStorm2 9550 360 DegreesView:

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