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BlackBerry Storm 9500 review: Berry-go-round

It's not everyday that you see a BlackBerry review on our homepage but it's not like RIM routinely churn out devices like the Storm either. Messaging is still the legendary name but… well… touchscreen is the game. Keeping the business appeal of its siblings, the 9500 Storm sure stands out in the Berry crowd. But it also tries to set itself apart from the other touchscreens by promising a whole new touch experience.

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BlackBerry Storm official photos

The Canadian manufacturer RIM is walking an unbeaten path by adding unique clickability to the fluid precision of the capacitive touchscreen technology. The award-winning SurePress screen may not be everyone's cup of coffee but we're not talking teacup either, just yet.

Key features:

  • 3.25" 65K-color capacitive touchscreen of 360 x 480 pixel resolution
  • A new touchscreen experience thanks to SurePress screen
  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and 2100 MHz 3G with HSDPA support
  • 3.15 MP autofocus camera, LED flash
  • BlackBerry OS 4.7
  • 624 MHz CPU, 128 MB RAM
  • Built-in GPS and BlackBerry maps preloaded
  • 1 GB internal storage
  • Hot-swappable microSD card slot, ships with an 8GB card
  • Landscape virtual QWERTY keyboard goes as close to hardware keys as we have seen
  • Great build quality
  • Solid looks
  • 3.5mm standard audio jack
  • Bluetooth and USB v2.0
  • Really nice web browser
  • Document editor
  • Excellent audio quality

Main disadvantages:

  • No Wi-fi
  • Only BlackBerry email support out of the box
  • Interface not as quick as competitors
  • Chubbier than most touchscreen phones
  • Mediocre camera
  • No FM radio
  • No Flash support
  • Fingerprint-prone front panel

Now, this isn't one of those all-about-email BlackBerry reviews where the 9500 Storm gets only compared to its own kind, for the lack of meaningful competition. We are more than confident that the Storm does its BlackBerry thing just fine, so instead of focusing on it we'll try to give a different view of the device. Our objective is to see how it fares against all those other "regular" touchscreens that have the crowd's attention: Apples, Renoirs, Omnias, Diamonds and the likes.

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BlackBerry Storm 9500 views

Well, our approach may seem like comparing apples to oranges but only at first sight. The first thing about the Storm 9500 is the attempt to reach beyond the core group of diehard BlackBerry users. We're talking stealing some market here, so if Blackberry are playing to win, they should well be ready to take some hard beating too. First-rate email is nice and all, but the Storm will only be as good as its user interface and multimedia. For the rest (which means WLAN too) there's Curve and Bold.

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The BlackBerry Storm 9500 next to the Samsung i900 Omnia and Apple iPhone 3G

iPhone OS 3.0 is knocking on the door, launch set for 17 March

A word is out that Apple is now officially inviting representatives of the press to attend their next big announcement event on 17 March. The event will be dedicated to the upcoming iPhone OS 3.0. There's no word of an upcoming mobile phone, but our hopes are high as always. report to have received an invitation by Apple for an upcoming event with its main theme set on iPhone OS 3.0.

iPhone OS 3.0

Apple will display an "advance preview of what they're building", meaning that you probably won't see any working full-fledged iPhone OS 3.0 there (or iPhone 3 anyway). We really hope that at least some of the stuff on our wishlist will be answered - and maybe we will even be surprised by some new features.


3 INQ1 is the best handset for 2009, GSMA awards announced

3 UK's INQ1 is top of the list of winners of the 14th Global Mobile Awards basking in their glory. Last night at the National Palace in Barcelona the vote of a wide panel of judges from within the world of mobile technology, decided the winners in 7 categories.

The one we're most interested in - the Best Mobile Handset or Device - produced a quite surprising winner. The Amoi-made INQ1 for 3 UK emerged triumphant over LG KS360, T-Mobile G1, BlackBerry Storm 9500 and Nokia E71. Winning stuff was social networking - the INQ1 is tightly integrated with Facebook and, and comes with support for popular messengers like Skype and Windows Live Messenger.

3's INQ1 official photos

T-Mobile and Nokia are the two runners-up so to say, splitting the Highly Commended award in this category. The G1 was praised by the judges and T-Mobile should share credit with HTC, who actually manufactured it. The Android Platform got its share of appreciation and, with several new handsets coming in 2009, the way ahead is wide open.

The other competitors

Nokia got a firm handshake too on behalf of their E71 - the business minded QWERTY all-in-one.

Nokia also snatched the Best Mobile Internet Service award with the Nokia Sports Tracker. The application uses GPS to keep track of your workouts - jogging, running or cycling. Putting due emphasis on networking again, that workout data can be shared on the relevant website including route, speed and even pictures taken along the way.

The Best Mobile Technology Breakthrough award went to the SurePress screen of the BlackBerry Storm. The SurePress screen actually 'clicks' like a hardware button allowing the user to both hover over an item and get physical feedback from virtual buttons, a feature that has been a major challenge for touchscreens.

There were many rumors of trouble for the Storm but if anything, this award is confirms that touchscreen is the way the future's shaping and tactile feedback will play an important role in user experience.

Next year's awards promise to be even more interesting with the Mobile Innovation Grand Prix. It will focus on smaller players with pioneering products and services seeking bigger market deployment

Nokia N97 will be unleashed on the 31 March in UK at 480 GBP

An online retailer has started accepting pre-orders for the upcoming Nokia N97. There's a specific release date now and a price tag to match the N97 rich feature set. We bet all Nokia fans will rejoice to find out that their dream device will hit the stores in less than three months.

The QWERTY-and-touch-enabled Nokia N97 is supposed to hit the shelves at the last day of March.

The price tag of 480 GBP (540 euro or 720 US dollars) for the dream-come-true phone sounds quite nice and is actually a tad lower than the officially announced suggested price of 550 euro before taxes or subsidies. We've never seen a Nokia phone introductory price go lower than the initial expectations, so it's either the world financial meltdown talking here or the seller is just pulling our leg.

Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 review

Key features:

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support plus HSDPA 7.2Mbps
  • 3-inch 65K-color WVGA touchscreen
  • Qualcomm MSM7200 528 Mhz CPU and 256 MB DDR SDRAM
  • 3.15 MP auto focus camera with VGA video recording
  • Four-row full QWERTY slide-out keyboard
  • Wi-Fi and built-in GPS receiver with A-GPS
  • X-Panels interface
  • Optical trackpad
  • Exquisite and solid metallic body
  • Standard miniUSB port and Bluetooth v2.0 with A2DP
  • microSD memory expansion
  • FM radio with RDS
  • 3.5mm standard audio jack
  • MS Office Mobile document editor
  • Opera 9.5 web browser
  • Excellent video playback performance
  • Superb audio quality

The Touch Pro had a nice two-month advantage since it hit the shelves back in August and this could be quite decisive for the sales. After all two months is quite a long time in the world of mobile phones, isn't it?

Let's not waste any more time now and get rolling with the actual review of Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1. Unboxing is this little jump ahead.

Main disadvantages:

  • Body is a bit on the bulky side
  • User interface is hardly thumb-optimized
  • Mediocre camera performance
  • No built-in accelerometer
  • Poor display sunlight legibility
  • Records low quality VGA@30fps video in 3GP format
  • No TV-out port
  • No full Flash support for the browser (hence no full-featured YouTube)

Nokia 5320 XpressMusic

General Specification

Status: Coming soon. Exp. release 2008, Q3
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (4 votes cast)
Network: 2G Network: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
Announced: 2008, April


Dimension: 108 x 46 x 15 mm, 67 cc
Weight: 90 g


Type: TFT, 16M colors
Size: 240 x 320 pixels, 2 inches
- 8-way Navi key
- Dedicated music and N-Gage gaming keys


Type: Polyphonic (64 channels), MP3, AAC, 3D, True tones
Customization: Download
Vibration: Yes


Phonebook: Practically unlimited entries and fields, Photocal
Call records: Detailed, max 30 days
Card slot: microSD (TransFlash), up to 8 GB supported
- 140 MB of user memory
- Nokia 512 MB or 1 GB microSD card included


GPRS: Class 32
Edge: Class 32
3G: HSDPA, 3.6 Mbps
WLan: No
Bluetooth: Yes, v2.0 with A2DP
Infrared port: No

Mobile Features

Messaging: SMS, MMS, Email, Push E-Mail, IM
Browser: WAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML
OS: Symbian OS, S60
Games: Yes + Downloadable
Colors: Blue, Red
Other Features
-3G Network: HSDPA 2100 / 900
- Nokia Say and Play (voice control to music player)
- SMS reader
- Macromedia Flash Lite 3.0
- Java MIDP 2.1
- Flickr
- Yahoo Go! & Yahoo Messenger
- 3.5 mm audio output jack
- Nokia Xpress Audio messaging
- FM stereo radio with RDS
- Visual radio
- MP3/MPEG4 player
- Voice memo
- Voice dial
- Built-in handsfree
- Calendar
- Active standby screen
- Up to 24 h music time
- Up to 4 h 30 min gaming time


Battery: Standard battery, Li-Ion 890 mAh (BL-5B)
Standby: Up to 250 h
Talk time: Up to 3 h 30 min


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The XpressMusic
line of Nokia has always been mainly targeting the people of young spirit. Besides the music, they usually have one more passion – games.

The new model of the Finnish giant has as a purpose to satisfy exactly those needs. It employs a musical chip, which should provide a high quality sound and is equipped with a 3.5 mm jack for all types of headsets or speakers. On top of that, it runs on the Symbian OS with S60 interface (3rd Đ•dition, Feature Pack 2). This is the environment of the N-Gage platform, which is Nokia’s strongest hand regarding mobile games. Unfortunately, at the time this review was written the N-Gage site did not yet have support for 5320.

The package includes:
  • Nokia 5320 XpressMusic
  • Handsfree
  • Software CD
  • User’s manual
  • Quick Guide
  • Charger
  • 1 GB microSD card* (it can be 512MB depending on the region)


The appearance corresponds to the audience it targets. It is not stylish, not elegant and even slightly thick. Comparing the 5320 to a fashion phone will be like comparing Avril Lavigne (the skater type) to Heidi Klum (top-model). That’s why it will suit the young audience just fine. It has aggressive design and it’s light, making it pocket friendly.

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The 2” QVGA display supports 16 million colors, which provide a very well-saturated and pleasant image. When exposed on direct sunlight the picture fades and even though it’s not nice, you can work with the phone just fine.

Over the display is located the video calling camera and a single, hard to press button, which can be assigned to the function of your choice. The soft buttons, the SEND/END keys and the D-pad are jammed into a very small space and are a pain to use. The D-pad is the only one with a noticeable relief, and all the other buttons are small and therefore hard to press.

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The numeric keypad is specifically outlined, to facilitate playing the games. It cannot be compared to the original buttons of the old N-Gage phones, but as a whole it offers comfortable use and distinct click when pressed.

Both sides have an interesting pattern, which doesn’t provide better grip. Here we have the music controls, the microSD slot, the volume rocker and the camera shortcut. Overall, they are not user-friendly, because they have a barely distinctive relief and a weak tactile feedback.

The bottom houses the microphone and connectors for the charger, the headphones (3.5 mm jack) and the data cable (microUSB). The opposite side houses the power button, which is rather hard to press.

As a whole, the design will fit the teen lifestyle, but the hard to use buttons could be quite annoying.

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