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Blackberry Storm 2 9520 touchscreen smartphone

RIM gets finger friendly again?

BlackBerry Storm2 9520

Review The original BlackBerry Storm launched around this time last year as Research-in-Motion’s premier handset and quickly lost no time in dividing opinion along Marmite-style lines. Mostly, people either loved or hated its innovative SurePress 'floating' touch screen, which made crystal clear the distinction between a brush a press by requiring you to depress the glass screen cover for it to make contact and access functions. For some, it just felt wrong, like something had come loose, but to others, it made perfect sense.

BlackBerry Storm2 9520

Missing link: RIM's BlackBerry Storm 2 9520, now with Wi-Fi

With the Blackberry Storm 2 9520 the floating screen has been retained and updated, and RIM would have us believe that it’s better than before. To pique interest beyond the Marmite divide, the new Storm has also got Wi-Fi and more Flash memory, plus a little bit of social network integration.

Unusually for a next-gen phone, the Storm2 is actually slightly bigger than its predecessor, though there's not much in it. At 112.5 x 62.2 x 13.95mm it's gained 0.5mm in length and a mere 0.05mm in thickness, and at 160g it's 5g heavier. The new screen looks much the same at first glance, but sits closer to the edge of the casing, so there's less room for it to collect dust and grime in the corners, as the original Storm was prone to.

The handset is a little less blocky in appearance, the original's strident chrome striping having been toned down a bit, and the buttons on the sides (volume rocker, camera shutter, programmable voice notes button) now all sport Blackberry's generic black rubberised plastic coating.

Otherwise, it looks pretty much identical to its ancestor, with micro USB and 3.5mm headphone slots, touch sensitive power/lock and mute buttons on top and the customary row of buttons along the bottom (call start and stop, back and menu). Rather than sitting below as hard buttons, these functions are incorporated into the screen.

BlackBerry Storm2 9520

Main function buttons appear as part of the screen

RIM has apparently gone back to the drawing board with the SurePress screen system; unwilling to let initial criticism get in the way of what it clearly feels is a very good idea. The transmissive LCD touch screen still moves, but to nothing like the same extent, and now has four little electronic sensors (instead of one) underneath which respond to your touch.

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