Pros: Beautiful touchscreen, Solid push Email system, Fast EV-DO Rev. A data, Great noise-cancelling on voice calls
No Wi-Fi, Extremely buggy firmware, Power users will likely find it difficult to
type on, Average users may also find clickable toucshcreen less
innovative than gimmicky
I really, really wanted to love the
BlackBerry Storm. As you may know, I've been using an Apple iPhone as
my personal phone for some time now and I'm really tired of its flaws.
When I reviewed AT&T's BlackBerry Bold a few weeks ago I just about
fell in love with it. The combination of BlackBerry's solid messaging
system, the new OS and improved Web browser, and a real QWERTY keyboard
really won me over. So I couldn't help but wonder what BlackBerry had
up their sleeves for their first-ever touchscreen device. I'd heard a
lot of buzz about a "revolutionary" new clickable touchscreen and
figured BlackBerry is all about messaging first, so it must be pretty
cool - AND comfy to type on.
My first attempt at
typing on Storm's clickable "SurePress" touschreen went pretty well.
But the more comfortable and accurate I got with the device, the more
frustrated I grew with it. I just can't deal with it. I've gone into
detail about this already in numerous blog posts and videos so I won't
repeat myself here, but suffice it to say I'm convinced that the
clickable screen actually slows me down when it comes to efficiently
tapping out anything longer than a sentence or so. Storm would
honestly be a better device if they'd kept the beautiful high-res,
capacitive touchscreen and ditched the whole clickable mechanism; the
device would have been more appealing to a broader swath of users, and
thinner to boot.
Whatever you think of the screen (everyone I've shown Storm to HATES the clicking), there's no getting
around the mess that is Storm's current firmware. I know, I know,
BlackBerry and Verizon can and (hopefully) will stomp most of the bugs
via over the air firmware updates. But that's no excuse for shipping a
device in this sorry of a state. My review unit lags, crashes, and
activates everything from voice dialing to speakerphone and mute all on its own, on a regular basis. Storm's
accelerometer is far more frustrating than it is useful, and button
response is honestly best described as a crapshoot: sometimes I click a
button (toucshcreen or hardware button) and the phone responds right
away, while other times there's a minimum two second lag.
which is too bad because Storm honestly has a lot of potential to be
the slick, multimedia powerhouse that BlackBerry and Verizon set out to
create. My feelings about the click-screen aside, Storm's audio
quality is excellent - the dual noise canceling microphones work well
during voice calling, Verizon's network performed very well for me, and
the internal speaker is loud and clear for both speakerphone and media
player applications. The display is glorious to look at and responds
nicely to fingertip touches (clicking aside), and while the device is
kind of bulky and heavy, it looks cool and feels solid, which make it
seem somehow less cumbersome and more like a flashy, reliable, luxury
vehicle (think Mercedes S-class or Bimmer 7-Series).
I personally don't think I can get over the clickable
screen thing, and I'm really disappointed in BlackBerry and VZW for
shipping a device that clearly still needs so much work. BlackBerry's
reputation has been built on stability and reliability, which makes it
all the sadder that so many Storm reviews and reports sing similarly
sad stories (granted I have seen a few "I love it! It never crashes!"
posts scattered about). But there are two positives to take away
here: First, if you've tried Storm and think I'm dead wrong about the
click screen, I'd place some good money on VZW pushing out some very
helpful firmware releases in the very near future, which means you
could wind up with your dream phone in a matter of weeks or months.
Second, rumor is BlackBerry's been hard at work on their next
touchscreen device, a sort of Bold/Storm hybrid with a touchscreen and
physical QWERTY board.
Given how nicely the "touch" and "screen"
portions of Storm's touchscreen perform (again, leave out the
clicking), a BlackBerry with a touchscreen and full thumboard could be
something to really get excited about. But first let's get the kinks
worked out of Storm, huh guys?
Verdict: Thumbs Down. BIG thumbs down when you factor in the insane hype VZW's generated around Storm via their marketing campaigns.