Blackberry Storm Phone Review

The Body

It's surprisingly heavy. Like, heavier than RIM's manly slab of smartphone, the Bold, at 5.47 oz to the Bold's 4.7 oz. It feels thick, too, thicker than it actually is, because of its squarish shape. It looks good, it feels okay in your hand. It's just kind of clunky at the same time. On the other hand though, all this substance also makes the Storm feel really robust. You'll never feel like you're going to break it.

The Storm has the biggest, highest resolution screen RIM has ever produced with a 480x360 res. It's bright and beautiful, though not quite as stunning as the Bold's since it has a lower pixel density. Still, the OS and video look fantastic on it, with plenty of pop. The capacitive touchscreen is fairly responsive—on par with the T-Mobile G1—though sometimes the OS lags behind you.

We haven't fully tested the battery life on the Storm yet, but it seems to be respectable. The battery isn't quite as beefy as the beast powering the Bold, but you shouldn't have a huge problem getting through the day on one charge or anything.

The camera is 3.2MP of noisy noise, like most cellphone cameras. The camera is tarted up with some basic photo editing features and a dedicated flash, but it's nothing incredible.

The Storm needed a little bit longer in the oven—I had lotsa lock-ups and crashes over the last two days with it. Lag was all over the place, which is a cardinal sin with a touch-based UI. It really needs to be more stable. I wonder how long before there's a software update, 'cause it needs one badly.

Other Touchiness
Copy and paste! Yeah, Storm's got it. You highlight text by putting your fingers on either side of the text you want to highlight, then you've got a little menu that pops up below asking what you want to do with it. Your fingers are probably too big to do it correctly every time, but once you've learned the process of how to float the cursor with a long touch, it's easy and it works most of the time. Moving the cursor around within text isn't quite as intuitive as the iPhone's magnifying glass, but once you hover to take it into cursor mode, the whole screen acts like a trackpad, so you can move anywhere around it. It works. There are some other cool UI things here—in your inbox, hovering over an email will bring up every one in that thread.

Email and Texting
It's a BlackBerry, so yes, the Storm is everything you'd expect from one in the email department, like search, push, the works, just touched up with a touch UI. For instance, the aforementioned easy search feature, which also bring a menu when you hover over a person's name to do things like send them an MMS (take that iPhone!) or add to contacts that works really well with touch. Thankfully, I saw lag in the email app far less than anywhere else in the phone—it was always snappy, and works really with the touch UI. It's also got a few subtle aesthetic enhancements over the email client in the Bold. I'd like threaded text messaging, but it's the standard BlackBerry setup here that looks just like email.

The biggest improvement over the Bold, media wise, is that the Storm comes with an 8GB microSD card. Unfortunately, everywhere else, it's mostly the same. The media player UI is essentially identical, with minimal tweaks to make it touchable. On the actual playback screen, it's fine, and album art looks great. However, the list system it uses is fairly tired and straight out of the old BlackBerry playbook essentially. The bigger pain point, if you're comparing it to the iPhone's multimedia muscle, is the crappy Roxio Media Manager. New phone, same crap. Please please please get better media software, RIM—this stuff is beneath you. Video looks really great on that screen though!

The Storm is a strong effort from RIM, but it's not quite the killer phone that they or Verizon need it to be. It's good—RIM clearly put a lot of thought into the design. But I think it fall short of what they were aiming for, and ultimately what all the hype is driving people to expect. Some of this is fixable: The damn thing needs to crash less often. But SurePress is not the end-all, be-all of touchscreen technologies—it's not really an evolutionary step forward, even. The experience may be fairly refined, but more polish is still needed. Had this Storm been left to brew a bit longer, it would've been much more powerful.

I think this phone looks amazing, I still kinda want it

Read the full interview @ Gizmodo here