The BlackBerry Storm 9500 is something of a departure for RIM, and not just because it's the first touchscreen BlackBerry. It's also a handset that has been jointly designed by its customers - the mobile phone operators Verizon and Vodafone.

BlackBerry Storm 9500: Take a letter

When used in portrait or standard phone mode, you are presented with a two-character-per-key SureType layout. This is pretty good at divining what you are attempting to input and suggesting words, but far too often we found it didn't recognise which of the two keys we wanted - not so useful when entering names or other character strings that aren't listed in a standard dictionary.

Although RIM assured us that the glowing blue halo that appears around your finger to confirm that you've pressed the intended button means users will be able to type confidently on the BlackBerry Storm 9500, in practice, we found entering text using the SureType keypad a slow and clunky process.

It's far more effective to turn the BlackBerry Storm 9500 on its side and enter characters using the more familiar qwerty layout. As with many phones these days, the Storm automatically reformats the onscreen display when you switch orientation, so you don't need to invoke any special menu option to bring this up - just turn the Storm sideways whenever you want to compose an email or text message.

Given that Dataviz's Word To Go, Sheet To Go and Slideshow to Go come preloaded and can be used to open, edit and resave documents on the Storm, before sending them as attachments over email, it's important that text entry is efficient and accurate.