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Blackberry 9500 Storm Review: Connectivity

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In today’s smartphones, connectivity is the most important feature. Think of a smartphone with all features available, but without connectivity abilities, it is useless!

Smartphones are meant to connect people, send, receive files, emails, pictures, etc.. In order to accomplish that, today’s smartphones have a wide range of connectivity technologies and options to connect with almost anything.

In this chapter of the Blackberry Storm Review we will discuss what connectivity abilities the Blackberry Storm has and how well they perform.

The Blackberry Storm is a well connected device, we will begin with the data bands that the Storm has to operate with carriers. The Storm has two variants, the 9500 and the 9530. Both have GSM Quad-Band  support, meaning that they both can conduct calls on countries that support GSM bands. With those four bands the Storm can use its EDGE connectivity technology to connect to internet on most countries with GSM support. The Blackberry Storm is an international device that can be used in a wide variety of countries.

Both the 9500 and 9530 support the HSDPA 2100MHz Band, which means that they both can connect to 3G networks on carriers that support the 2100MHz band, generally located in Europe and Asia. In North America there is no carrier with 2100MHz support, in order to connect to 3G in the USA, only the Storm 9530, which is the Storm offered by Verizon has CDMA2000 1x EV-DO support, the equivalent of 3G.  So the only way that a Storm can connect to a 3G network in the United States is via Verizon’s 3G network.

In order to test the Storm’s internet speed, we compared our Blackberry 9500 Storm from Verizon to the Samsung Omnia from Verizon which has the same 3G technology, against the T-Mobile G1 from T-Mobile, which uses AWS, which is another 3G technology, and finally, against the Nokia E71, which uses the AT&Ts 3G network, the results were as follows:

The winner of the speed test was the E71 with 953kbs/sec, followed by the Blackberry Storm with 613kbs/sec, the T-Mobile G1 with 434kbs/sec and finally the Omnia with a not-so-good speed of 169kbs/sec. What we can see here is that the counterpart of the Storm, which is the Samsung Omnia, a device that runs on the same Verizon network, underperformed by a wide margin the Blackberry Storm speed. The only device that outperformed the Blackberry Storm was the Nokia E71 running on the AT&T 3G network. Although the margin is evident this test is not definitive, because both devices are running in different 3G networks.

The Blackberry Storm also has other connectivity technologies, Bluetooth v2.0 is on board as well as a USB v2.0. These technologies are essential in a smartphone and the Storm has them both.

Unfortunately, the Blackberry Storm lacks Wi-Fi,  there is no way to connect to a WLAN network on the Blackberry Storm. This is complete nonsense, the WLAN technology is the fastest data technology available in smartphones, and an unknown reason, RIM decided not to add it to the Storm.

The Storm is advertised as a multimedia device, and that is why RIM added a standard 3.5mm audio jack to it so that users can make use of any pair of headsets they want to. The 3.5mm audio jack is essential because makes the multimedia experience richer.

In conclusion, the Blackberry Storm is a well-connected device, the 3G is present and has an outstanding speed. The only technology that the Blackberry Storm should have had is the Wi-Fi because Wi-Fi speeds are the fastest ones and are free. People who work or spend most of their days in areas with free WLAN networks are wasting the opportunity to browse internet at faster speeds and for free.

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By , International Correspondent on Dec 23rd, 2008 GMT +2

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