Toybox: It's touch and click with BlackBerry Storm

The screen is essentially one giant button

Now we’re talking! Research in Motion’s first touch-screen phone — the BlackBerry Storm — is pretty cool.

The 3-inch, 480 x 360 pixel resolution touch-screen works like a laptop mouse pad. The screen is essentially one giant button that gives slightly when you push it with your finger. At the same time, it is a strange yet familiar feeling.

It is impossible to review the Storm without making comparisons with Apple’s iPhone. They look similar, although the Storm is a bit chubbier and heavier.

The Storm is also more “phone-like” with a green call button, red end call/power button, along with a menu button and a back button below the screen.

I suppose it is more business-orientated — you won’t forget that what you are holding in your hand is a BlackBerry, even though it is pretty “out there” compared to the company’s other smartphones.

So, the Storm has all the qualities of BlackBerry functionality — superb productivity, email and messaging capabilities and cut-and-paste technology.

However, I did find the keyboard a little difficult to use, mainly because you have to push the letters, not just touch them as on the iPhone.

A nice touch, though, is when turned horizontally, the keyboard changes from a traditional cellphone keyboard to a QWERTY keyboard. For experienced BlackBerry users, it might be a bit tricky to get used to typing out messages with your index finger, not your thumb, as it is close to impossible to use your thumb when using the QWERTY keyboard.

The Storm has an onboard 3.2 megapixel camera with a flash and video functionality, which takes decent photos and video, so beating the “Jesus” phone there.

Taking a tour around the exterior of the phone, it’s got a shortcut button to the camera on the right side. Volume control buttons are also located on the right side.

On the left side is a shortcut button to voice dialling. The lock and mute controls are located in the upper left and right corners. I didn’t see these buttons at first — they are clickable through the casing.

The device has 1GB of onboard memory, plus a memory card slot for a microSD card.

The Storm retails for $999 from Vodafone stores.

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