The Storm first arrived at 10am this morning and I’ve been playing with it ever since. My first impression is that the device is named incorrectly, it should be called the Blackberry Flurry.
I’ve been following the Storm since early 2008 when information about it was first leaked. During the months between the initial leaks and its actual release I read every little piece of information - pictures, features, specs, etc. I was truly excited to get this phone.
I liken my experience to a child going to bed on Christmas Eve hoping to wake up to a ton of presents and winter wonderland outside of his window. The Storm does provide a ton of a new presents, in the form of new features, but no winter wonderland. To better explain my analogy, let me start from the Storm’s release date.
The phone was officially released on November 21, 2008 and it immediately sold out. I ordered mine directly from Verizon at 1pm that day, even after reading all of the horrible reviews. The Storm didn’t arrive until a week later even though I had it shipped FedEx Next Day. (To be fair, the shipping problem wasn’t RIM’s fault, but Verizon’s.)
This morning the phone arrived. Before I activated it, I decided to run a few tests: type a few fake emails, navigate around the menus and the applications, etc.
Typing on the keyboard feels strange. My first experience with PDA’s and smart phone’s began with a Handspring Visor back in 1999, so I have a deep-rooted sense of how a touch screen should work. The Storm’s screen doesn’t fit that idea. Simply placing your finger on a button or an icon will highlight it, you actually have to press down on the screen in order to activate the button or icon. The press isn’t a big deal, it requires the same amount of effort as a mouse click. But it will take some getting used to.
The strangeness of the keyboard led me to make a ton of mistakes. One mistake caused me to send an email to client well before it was ready to be sent. Thankfully the client had a sense of humor and the email didn’t contain any “gaystack“-type mistakes. I could only imagine what could happen…
The menu system and general navigation is just slow, painfully slow. One example is attempting to make a telephone call. I placed my Blackberry Pearl 8130 next to the Storm then I clicked the “Phone” button on each device. The Pearl’s phone keypad displayed noticeably quicker than the Storm’s. Very disappointing.
The accelerometer is also slow. The commercials lead one to believe that the screen’s orientation changes quite quickly, unfortunately that’s just advertising voodoo. In real world use, it’s painfully slow. So slow in fact that it actually caused me to press the wrong button a few times because I didn’t know if the orientation change didn’t register or it was just taking a while.
In order to take advantage of the accelerometer, applications must be updated. While it seems that the applications packaged with the Storm do support the accelerometer, some of the other 3rd party applications do not. Twitterberry (an otherwise great Blackberry Twitter client) doesn’t work well as it could, but todoMatrix seems to work just fine (but they released a Storm-compatible beta), and WorldMate Live (a favorite travel-related application of mine) just doesn’t work.
Another thing I noticed while playing with the Storm is its weight. Normally, I don’t take weight into account when comparing devices unfortunately the difference is noticeable when it comes to the Storm. The Pearl weighs in at 3.4oz, the Curve about 4.2oz and the Storm weighs 5.5oz. Not a big difference, just a few ounces but, in your hand, it feels immense. My hand actually gets tired after typing a long email. I’m not sure what the difference is.
One thing the phone does have going for it looks. Right now the phone is sitting on my desk and it looks very stylish. The screen is crisp and the colors are brilliant. Videos playing on the phone are wonderful. No lag, no slow downs and no shadowing, even when playing action movies.
The phone also comes with 1GB on-board memory and Verizon is shipping it with 8GB microSD card. The extra 8GB of space was something Verizon definitely got right. I’ve never purchased another device that came with so much extra memory.
The Storm is also a worldphone and Verizon will send you a SIM card already installed if you ask for it. I didn’t have to pay anything extra for the card.
I really want to fall in love with this phone. It is a beautiful device and the feature set is wonderful. Verizon Wireless has a 30-day return policy for existing customers and it may take me the full 30-days to decide whether or not to keep it.
Comments? Questions? A good or bad experience with the Storm? Post a comment!
- Great looking.
- Nice feature set.
- Beautiful Screen.
- The accelerometer and menu system is laggy.