RSS icon Bullet (black)
  • BlackBerry Bold 9000 versus Storm 9530

    Posted on July 28th, 2009 Shawn 2 comments

    I haven’t given enough love lately to My Gadget Obsession, most of my time has been spent on My Game Obsession.  Let’s talk BlackBerry.

    We last left off on the continuing series where I had jumped ship from Verizon Wireless after many years and headed to AT&T.

    Part 1 – Last Days on Verizon Wireless
    Part 2 – First Days on AT&T
    Part 3 – BlackBerry Bold 9000 versus Storm 9530

    Now, let’s talk about My new Gadget Obsession, the BlackBerry Bold 9000. This has been my primary device since February 2009.  As far as smartphones go, this one wins over the three I previously owned (BlackBerry Storm 9530, Palm Treo 650, Palm Treo 700p).  It’s not perfect, but hits enough pluses to be a huge success for me.

    Since I am both a Bold and Storm owner, I feel I can give a fair comparison of the two.  I’ll put features in categories to make it a quick read.

    Screen – The Storm has a much larger screen (3.25 inches versus ~2.3 inches), yet only a slightly higher resolution (480 x 360 pixels versus 480 x 320 pixels).  What this translates into is the Bold has a brighter, crisper display. Side-by-side, there’s no comparison, the Bold looks nicer.  Though, the sheer size of the Storm display, at 480 x 360 is higher than the iPhone, is extremely good.  Both the Bold and Storm excel in the display department.  In my opinion, there are very few smartphones on the market that look as good and sharp as the Bold and Storm.
    [ad#post-banner-ad]
    Keyboard – The age old story, of preference should come into play here (but it does not).  Do you like a physical QWERTY keyboard on the candy-bar layout (that would be the Bold), or do you like all touchscreen with an on-screen soft keyboard (that would be the Storm).  Personally, I want both!  I had both on the Palm Treo, and I want it on my newer phones. Rant aside, preference really doesn’t apply much here…well, not in the standard sense.  The Storm keyboard just plain falls down with the patented “SurePress” technology of the screen clicking for every typed character.  No matter how good a smartphone typist you are, you just cannot get much speed out of typing on the Storm, plus my fingers quickly get sore typing on it.

    The Bold keyboard has been called “the Cadillac of smartphone keyboards”. It’s big, the buttons are wide and the have a very solid click feel to them.  I believe it is a very impressive and solidly built keyboard, though it’s actually a little too wide for me, but only a little.  I’m being very picky here.  If the keys were just a tad shorter and thinner, I’d be able to type lightening fast.  Plus the form factor of the phone could be a little smaller. (I think the recently released BlackBerry Tour 9630 on Verizon has slightly smaller keys).

    The one major complaint to the Bold keyboard is I have not figured a way to press the ‘alt’ key and have it lock to type several numbers.  Same thing goes for the ‘sym’ key to type several symbols.  This makes typing anything other than letters slow and challenging.  On the Storm touchscreen keyboard, there is the ability to lock the ‘alt’ key.

    Now, if email and text isn’t your main use for a smartphone, then the Storm might just be right for you. We’ll get into that on Navigation.  Overall the Bold wins and stomps on the Storm in the keyboard category.

    Camera – The Storm camera is an impressive 3.2 MP with flash, auto focus, 2x digital zoom.  Whereas, the Bold is a 2.0 MP with flash, 3x digital zoom.  The Storm takes better quality pictures, that’s for sure…but there’s a cost.  The software (and/or hardware) running the Storm camera is very slow and can take about 3 seconds for a photo to snap.  So those posed pictures commonly have closed eyes, or those candids have a a blur since the photo opportunity passed by the time the shutter captures the image.  Though, if the picture is captured as expected, the Storm photos are very impressive.  The Bold is decent and easy to use.  Though at only 2.0 MP, do not expect semi-professional quality photos to come out of it.

    Audio – The Storm has a single speaker in the back-bottom-center of the battery case. The Bold has two-speakers hidden under the top of the battery case emanating sound out of the left and right side.  You’d expect the Storm being the media device to have better speaker sound, but the bold takes the win here.  As far as using headsets or bluetooth Headsets, both sound excellent.

    Media – As for the media players, the Storm (with it’s larger display) can display album art more than twice the size of the Bold.  I love displaying album art, and wish there was a full-screen option to the Bold.  The Storm was designed for media and videos, although crisper on the Bold, are best played on the larger screen.  I don’t use my smartphone for much video though, but I do use it for my regular MP3 player.  The BlackBerry Media Player (on both the Bold and Storm) does not stand up to the old PocketTunes player on Palm OS or iPhone/iPod.  There’s no bookmarking feature, no cross-fade feature, no custom skin feature, and limited EQ options.  The BB Media Player is just so-so.  I’m looking at 3rd party players, but have yet to find a perfect replacement.  For podcasts, I use PodTrapper and highly recommend it for any BlackBerry user that listens to podcasts.

    Service – “Your mileage may vary”.  I get good AT&T signal at home and inside some buildings.  I get poor Verizon signal at home and inside some buildings.  As for data service, the Bold has WiFi and the Storm does not.  That’s a huge negative on the Storm for me.  I have my home wireless network setup on the Bold. As soon as I walk in my front door, the Bold detects my home network and connects.  That way I get broadband speed for downloads, email, and web browsing at home.  Makes audio streaming work near perfect.  The Bold is my first smartphone with WiFi, and I will never go back to one without it.  The battery life is not that bad when leaving WiFi on all day.  For me, the Bold wins on the AT&T signal and the WiFi capabilities.

    Navigation – Not GPS navigation, but navigating on the device.  This is really a preference.  The Bold has the standard BlackBerry trackball, where the Storm is all based on touchscreen.  I think the trackball is ok, at best.  I commonly navigate to something and click with the trackball, only to have the item above/below selected.  It’s frustrating.  The trackball is also likely to build up “gunk” over the months/years of use and will reduce its performance.  I do not favor the trackball very much.  Though, when it works, I can fly around for navigation.

    The touchscreen navigation on the Storm is nice.  Finger flips on the screen scroll it any direction you need. Pressing on the SurePress screen selects your item, and I rarely ever click the wrong item.  For me, the Storm wins in the navigation department.

    Size – Both are big and clunky (see pictures).  If you are looking for something small to hide in your bag or pocket, don’t go for either of these.  I’m not so worried about size 🙂 so I’m OK on both.

    Speed – Both the Bold and Storm are fairly snappy.  The time they slow down is when you are running low on flash memory (see Storage).  Otherwise, both perform quite well.  No complaints.

    Storage – The Bold comes with 32MB flash memory for storing and running applications, plus 1GB of memory for storage (files, photos, music, etc.).  There’s also a microSD slot for adding up to 16GB of additional storage. Once you start playing with downloading/installing/running applications, you’ll quickly learn that 32MB is just not enough.  The Bold cannot run like an iPhone loading up hundreds (or even dozens) of apps that you may (or more likely may not) use.  32MB quickly gets taken with only a handful of installed apps.  Keep in mind that the 32MB is needed not only to store the apps, but to run them too.  Just not enough.  1GB of on-board storage is nice, and the microSD slot is great.  I have an 8GB microSD card, and considering upgrading to a fast 16GB card in the future.

    The Storm comes with 128MB flash memory for storing and running applications, plus 1GB of memory for storage (files, photos, music, etc.).  There’s also a microSD slot for adding up to 16GB of additional storage. The 128MB is respectable, and will go a lot further than the Bold.  It’s still not up to iPhone snuff, but easily trashes the Bold.

    Let’s wrap this up.  Both are great devices.  The Bold keyboard wins.  The Bold WiFi wins. The Storm screen size and media capabilities win. The Storm flash memory wins.  The Storm navigation wins.  Now that I have owned two very different BlackBerry devices, I realize that I cannot wait for the rumored next generation that will combine the best of the Bold and Storm, a BlackBerry with both physical keyboard and touchscreen.  It’s not very groundbreaking since Palm has been doing that format for more than 7 years.  It will be nice to have the best of both worlds.  For now, I’m content with the Bold and my wife is content with the Storm.
    [ad#post-banner-ad]

    2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

    Leave a reply

    You must be logged in to post a comment.
Get Adobe Flash player