First off, sorry for disappearing from Dealer Refresh again – I was on another vacation….rough life, I know. I just got back Monday morning and thought I’d do a quick review on the Storm since it has now gone through its first firmware upgrade, and I’ve got some significant mileage on it.
There is a Verizon store about a mile from my house and I have to pass it to get to work, so I stopped by late on the release date to check it out. When I got there I found out I could grab a spot to get the phone on the second shipment of the day, so I bit. Later that day I got a call to drop everything and get to the store. After 3 unsuccessful attempts to get it programmed (Verizon’s systems crashed numerous times) we finally got it right.
The Storm is a very well constructed phone. It has a weight to it that gives it the same kind of feel you get from a German car – just solid. When you turn the screen on, it is beautiful. There is so much screen real estate you almost get lost. It is filled with all the Blackberry goodness of intuitive navigation and simple buttons to move through apps easily.
Before the new firmware update, it was a little slow to respond to things and I found myself hitting buttons twice because I didn’t think it was responding. Today it is much better.
The keyboard takes a lot of getting used to. Everyday I get better, but it will never be the same as the keyboard on the Curve or Bold. I like it much more than the keyboard on the iPhone though. There are 3 keyboard options: regular QWERTY, double-lettered SureType like the Pearl, and a numeric keyboard much like any regular phone. I find myself using the SureType keyboard more than anything else. I only use the QWERTY one if I need to type a word the SureType (fills in the words for you) doesn’t like – usually cuss words (for emphasis of course). SureType has a tendency to replace a certain word with “ducking” every time and that is *ducking* annoying!
Keyboard Tip: grab a business card and cut in 3 equal pieces. Put one piece between the battery and the battery cover to decrease the travel space on the push-down part of the touch screen. This will allow you to type much faster. Continue to add pieces of the business card until you’re satisfied or the back cover won’t close.
The phone is plenty loud – louder than the Curve and much better than the older Blackberry 8703e. BlueTooth is fantastic over an earpiece or through the car. Using BlueTooth sucks the battery out over a day of use, but when the BlueTooth is not on the battery lasts for days with heavy use. My biggest gripe with the phone is that there are 4 big buttons present: Speaker, Mute, Add Participant, and Flash. Because this is a touch screen you either have to pull up the numeric pad or be very careful not to rest your face on the screen or you’re going to hit one of those buttons. My second biggest gripe with the phone is that you have to hit the call button twice in order to get to the phone – it is just annoying. When you hit the phone button it takes you straight to your contacts which is good for me about 40% of the time, but I also call people back about 40% of the time too and have to shift over, or the other 20% of the time I’m actually dialing a number. I can’t tell you where I’d prefer the phone default to.
Where the Storm rocks is online. I have yet to find a website I can’t visit in its full splendor. There are 3 browser settings that tell websites what type of device you are: Blackberry, Internet Explorer, or Firefox. If you find a website isn’t loading quickly or is coming up in the mobile format, it is simple enough to flip between one of those three and hit refresh – works like a charm! The Verizon 3G network is fast. Yes, I would like Wi-Fi, but I’m not that impatient. I find my texts, emails, voicemails and any other messages coming to and from the Storm are happening much, much faster than on any other Blackberry I’ve ever owned.
When on a call, you cannot send and receive emails, but you can send and receive texts. I find this to be a blessing and a curse all in one. I’m too much of a multitasker to pay attention to anything. I’m always doing 3 or 4 things at the same time and think that not being able to respond to emails in a call helps me pay better attention (my girlfriend appreciates that), but there sure are a lot of boring business calls during the day where I’d love to be saying “uh huh” …. “yeah” ….”gotcha” ….”uh huh” while getting some emails done.
It works fantastically while roaming – even in Mexico….except in Mexican Customs where I really needed it to work (don’t ask). I have yet to find a bad spot with this phone.
All in all, the Storm is a great phone. I’m not convinced it is “the” phone and my search will continue one day. I’m looking forward to the new Curve, but I certainly will not be getting one on launch day. If you’re a heavy Blackberry user with little patience you will hate the communications side of the Storm, but if you need to visit heavy websites on the go, you’ll love it. So I’m split because I need to do both.
Some of the things I didn’t cover, but am happy to answer in comments below:
- Visual Voicemail
3 MP Camera