Finally the day has come when RIM has completed a device in the BlackBerry Storm that should be able to compete with the iPhone. If it contains most of the features that BlackBerry users have come to love from BlackBerrys then it should have the advantage, but will it?
The BlackBerry Storm is the first touch screen device that has been made by RIM. It even has a unique click screen technology, SurePress, which gives you the impression like that of clicking a mouse. Since the touch screen is the main idea behind the Storm, it is the first thing that gets recognized and should be one of the best features. However, there are a few drawbacks that will need to be improved:
There does appear to be some backlighting leaking through the sides of the screen, which hopefully doesn’t take anything away from the build quality.
When using the SurePress technology, the screen seems to slide around a bit while pushing down with a finger.
The SurePress technology is apparently supposed to give users an advantage by hovering without selecting, as well as a nice click feeling when typing and navigating. However, typing and navigating can actually be slower on the Storm because of the SurePress technology. It’s not that the SurePress is bad, but rather, the OS on the Storm is basically the same as that of previous BlackBerrys that happen to be very different devices than the Storm. This could, and should be remedied in the future, to give users a more controlled feeling and a better typing and navigating experience.
How Does the Storm look?
The Storm does look quite impressive with its 3.25 in. touch screen. It is .55 in. thick with a plastic silver band that runs around the sides, while the remainder of the device is made up of black plastic. The phone, back, menu, and power keys are directly below the touch screen, a convenience key along with the microUSB can be found on the left, the 3.5mm headphone jack along with another convenience key and volume control can be found on the right, up top there is an LED light along with lock and mute keys, while the battery and flash camera can be found around the back. If RIM wanted to give the Storm an impressive look, then they succeeded.
How’s the keyboard?
As you know, BlackBerrys are known for having great emailing capabilities, among some other things, so the keyboard is an important part of any BlackBerry device. The virtual keyboard on the Storm, even with the SurePress technology, will probably not be getting high ranks anytime soon. Once a key is pressed, the press must release before another key can be pressed, which will probably mean much slower typing, however, the Storm obviously wasn’t built to compete with previous BlackBerry devices. Although a software component that guessed what users were attempting to type would be more helpful on the Storm.
How’s the rest?
On screen, copy and paste is as good as usual, and hovering over links and items while browsing is very helpful on crowded webpages. The overall appearance of the screen is not disappointing at all, although it’s probably not comparable to that of the Bold, which again, is not a big deal at all.
Browsing through the web and through apps seems to be actually a bit slower than compared to previous devices. The OS allows for crossfades and sideways swipes which is nice, however, response time seems to lag behind a bit which can become annoying.
Other advantages include; quicker page loading, better navigation, and better scrolling, which is a much needed improvement for BlackBerrys.
Email and messaging are still in great shape on the Storm, however, the formatting for the larger screen could have been improved.
Media management is standard, video playback is great, however, third party software remains to be weak at best.
The software that comes with the device is great, and the applications will allow you to edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. However, a major drawback is that syncing to a Mac cannot be done at all, unless a download is found and purchased itself. Something that should have been planned better if the Storm was to compete with the iPhone 3G.
The 3.2 megapixel camera is good, however, focusing and snapping seems to take more time than it should. Recording video is another nice function that the Storm allows.
Call reception, sound quality, and speakerphone are as good as can be expected. GSM radio is also supported so users can take advantage of HSPA around the rest of the world.
Early testing shows that the battery life of the Storm may be above average considering its capabilities.
The Storm is a very nice device, but it’s probably not going to be any kind of iPhone killer. Not too many iPhone users will probably be crossing over, and neither may BlackBerry lovers who are used to the traditional devices.
RIM has come up with a nice device that may attract some users not falling in the above categories, however (seems like there’s been too many howevers), improvements must still be made in some areas to make the BlackBerry Storm a true competitor.
Purchase the BlackBerry Storm here.