One week with the Blackberry Storm

Capture11_35_42 Last week I gave my first impressions of the Storm, having used it now for a week, I thought it would be fair to give a more detailed review of the device.  The Storm definitely takes some getting used to, but I find myself adjusting to it nicely.  The biggest change is obviously the lack of a keyboard, while in Landscape mode you get a full QWERTY keyboard on screen I find the device awkward to hold and type in landscape mode, however using it in portrait mode with SureType has actually been OK, I find myself getting a little faster typing on it every day. The phone quality has been excellent, one of the nicest things about the phone is it much easier to control 3-way calls and switching between calls then earlier blackberries (or maybe it is just me but in the past if I tried a 3 way call, or switching between calls I generally hung up on someone in the process) Capture11_55_5 On the negative side of the phone making calls from contacts now requires more steps.  In previous models on the phone screen you could simply start typing and it would take the numbers, and also look up the letters in your contacts. On the Storm you have to click to another screen with in the phone to make a call from contacts, and if you want to search your contacts you first have to click in the find box to activate the keyboard.  You also have to switch screens to view recent calls. Capture11_40_10 Another feature I am missing is the ability to assign hot keys to contacts, so pressing and holding a single key called a person, very useful for frequently dialed numbers (though I suppose you would need a keyboard to use this feature).  I suppose I could look at voice dialing, but I have never really had any luck with voice dialing on any phone. One frequent problem I have with the device is I find it is very sensitive to movement and very often the screen orientation flips between portrait and landscape, and it is almost always wrong when I take the device out of the holster (in fairness I am not currently using a holster designed for the Storm, so I may need to revisit this after the new holster arrives). Application support for the Storm is really lacking right now, Socialcope and Beejive IM, are not supported on the Storm.  TwitterBerry is working fine but does not compare in functionality to Twitterfon on the iPhone.  One nice application I did find is Capture It for taking screenshots, which means I did not have to install the Blackberry Java Development Environment just to be able to take screen captures. The internet browser while much improved is at times very difficult to use, especially if you have to change a selection in a drop down box, maybe I am missing a trick, but it took me a few tries both times I ran in to a drop down box in the browser. The camera is slow, and in low light situations turns a light on for a few seconds before taking the picture.  The one upside of the camera for me was a Flickr client to upload pictures, something I have really wanted on the iPhone for a long time, until yesterday when I discovered Flickit for the iPhone, so even though the Storm is a 3.2 megapixel camera and the iPhone is 2 megapixel, I am getting better photo results on the iPhone. Finally the battery life so far seems to be good, I have not really had a day that really put the battery to test yet, but a full days use, with a few phone calls left me with plenty of battery life remaining. Overall I am satisfied with the Storm, I think it will get better as more applications are available, and I am sure some of the quirky behavior I mentioned will be fixed with later OS releases.  If you are a long time Blackberry user and thinking about a Storm just beware it will take some getting used to.

4 Responses to One week with the Blackberry Storm
  1. Steven Frank
    February 13, 2009 | 2:04 pm

    I’ve been seriously considering a new phone, and I haven’t wanted to switch from Verizon to AT&T just to get an iPhone. The BlackBerry Storm is intriguing, but hasn’t had great reviews. Your review was very helpful in answering a few lingering concerns I’ve had, especially about its quirks. Honestly, I’m still not convinced, but knowing that you are “adjusting to it nicely” is reassuring.

    Emoticon Thanks, Mitch!

  2. Joe Litton
    February 13, 2009 | 3:08 pm

    You *CAN* assign a speed dial key! 🙂

    Open the phone keypad, press and hold an unassigned number key, and a prompt will display asking if you want to assign a Speed Dial to the key. If you select YES, then you are taken to your Contacts from which you can select the number to assign to the key.

    I’ve had the Storm now for a couple of months and I’m liking it more and more.

    I would never now want to go back to the smaller screens. My expectation is that the OS upgrade from RIM (that Verizon will make officially available next month) will address some of the issues that have bothered users.

    Joe Emoticon

    fyi, I posted a few comments re the storm at { Link }

  3. Ted Stanton
    February 13, 2009 | 3:12 pm

    When I download attachments from my email client, I can never find them. Are they really downloaded somewhere? I check the download folder, but nadda.

  4. Chris Whisonant
    February 13, 2009 | 3:57 pm

    JDE to get screen grabs? You obviously don’t follow my blog close enough. Emoticon Just 2.5 years ago I posted something with a BB screenshot and then in the comments someone asked about how to do that and I linked to this site: { Link } I don’t recally having to load the JDE to be able to use that, though. Emoticon