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: Calls and contacts

The other area it's vital that the BlackBerry Storm 9500 gets right is, of course, basic phone and contact features. Here, as ever, the BlackBerry really shines. You can import contacts, synchronise them, add them on the fly and associate ringtones and photos as well as email addresses and search for them. Four web addresses, three locations with fax, page and phone numbers, plus notes on each contact can all be added.

The voice dialler feature hooks into this too and can be initiated via the silver hardware button on the BlackBerry Storm 9500's lefthand side. There's a large microphone above the BlackBerry branding at the top of the screen. Audio output from the speaker is pretty loud too. Calls we made were clear and remain central to the Storm's setup: pressing the green phone handset icon takes you straight to a keypad, with the address book and call log listed as options above it.

The audio feature can also be used to record voice notes to yourself (if you prefer these to creating Task lists - both options on the main menu). SMS and MMS share an icon but, again, are default options on the Storm's main screen. As with email, you can compose messages and send attachments - whenever you take a photo using the BlackBerry Storm 9500's 3.2Mp camera, you are given the option to send it as an MMS.

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