An overview of the Blackberry Storm 2

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Blackberry have revamped their touch screen range by introducing the Storm 2, the successor to the original and widely criticised Storm. Have the improvements however propelled Blackberry into a battle of the big guns with the likes of Apple and Palm.

The physical measurements of the Storm 2 are 112x61x13 mm and the unit weighs 160g, overall fairly similar to the Storm, but that is where the similarities end. A neat looking tinted chrome ring surrounds the handset, which also houses a customisable button on the left and a volume button on the right, both in a soft touch finish.

Behind the scenes of the Blackberry Storm 2 is where the biggest changes have taken place however. The 3.2" screen is built on four piezoelectric sensors, meaning when you put pressure on the screen there is an audible "click" as well as the physical sensation of actually pressing a button. This technology, named SurePress, was incorporated in the original Storm, but originally worked on only the one sensor. The result is that the screen on the Storm 2 is more responsive, and physically lets you press down on two parts at the same time, meaning quicker typing. A consequence of this is that multi touch can be supported for copying and pasting. Put simply, this means one finger can be placed at the beginning of the text, and one at the end to select the segment required. The traditional main function keys have also been incorporated into the screen.

There are numerous neat touches on the Storm 2 which make it very appealing to the consumer. For example, a proximity sensor has been placed behind the screen, meaning if you are making a call the screen will switch off, thus preventing the accidental pressing of buttons. The inevitable improvements in the operating system have also resulted in speed improvements in the day to day use of the phone, such as moving between applications etc. The new OS (version 5.0) splits audio and video files into different folder views, meaning browsing such files is a much easier user experience.

The Storm 2's 3.2 mega pixel camera works well. A flash and image stabilizer are both included and the actual loading speed of the camera app is surprisingly fast. Wifi has also been added to this handset in addition to 3G, and the standard 3.5mm stereo jack and bluetooth are included.

The Blackberry Storm 2 certainly goes some way to laying the ghost of its predecessor to rest. It is a very neat, functional handset and certainly warrants a place on anybody's smartphone shortlist. But whether the features of the Storm 2 pack enough of a punch to rival the current market leaders remains to be seen.

The Blackberry Storm 2 and Apple iPhone 3GS are available now.

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