Review: Blackberry Storm

So ever since I first heard about the Verizon Wireless exclusive, Blackberry Storm, the first touch screen blackberry I was intrigued. To be quite honest while I have always understood the value of a Blackberry I have never really been in a rush to get one, to me it was for super corporate types who needed to be “connected” all the time. But alas when my LG Voyager all of the sudden started acting up and rebooting itself every45 seconds the opening was made.  I went into my local Verizon store to see if I could get it fixed but was told that since the phone kept restarting there was really know way to fix it without probably frying the phone. They didn’t have my phone in stock and instead gave me a new Titanium Voyager pretty much no questions asked. Now as my phone was out of warranty, I thought this was pretty strange which lead me to think they had seen this problem before and subsequent conversations with other Voyager owners confirmed this but hey I got a brand new phone so I am not complaining.

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It's not an iPhone killer, but it might be able to give it a really nasty wound.

While waiting for my phone to get fixed I couldn’t help but play around with the Storm and next thing I know I was buying the thing and having it shipped to my house since it wasn’t in stock there. I got my Storm a few days ago and this is what I think.

Bottom line up front, is it the iPhone killer that some predicted, NO. Is it a very solid phone yes. The big draw which is the touch screen does take some getting used to and is not as responsive as you would like to be. The voice quality is also nothing to write home about either. It could just be me but I have had more than one person tell me my voice sounded distorted while talking to them. There is also the pesky issue of when you hold it up to your ear, clicking the screen with your face and knocking it into speakerphone mode which works well by the way, but I guess that’s why they give you a headset and it did pair easily with my bluetooth earpiece easily.

The major advantage of this Blackberry as with all Blackberry’s is its multi-functional capability. You can easily install Facebook and Yahoo messenger as well as several other apps with a few clicks. The ease at which you can sync your  emails accounts is always a plus. Depending on the plan you get, you can also tether the BB to your computer. In case you don’t know, tethering is when you link your BB to your computer and then use the BB as a modem to get on the Internet, so essentially if you have the service anywhere you have your BB you should be able to get Internet service on your computer, now at what speed I don’t know but if you travel a lot its well worth the extra $40/month. I also love the fact that you can with one click completely kill all connections to your blackberry, both bluetooth and to the mobile network you are on. The downside here is that the Storm doesn’t have WiFi.

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Texting on this thing sucks, but who texts on a Blackberry?

So far the battery seems to hold up pretty well. My biggest disappointment with this Blackberry on Verizon is the loss of VCAST and Backup assistant. With VCAST I could watch live TV and lots of great TV clips for free and with Backup assistant never again did I have to go to Verizon simply to have someone transfer my contact list, but that is exactly what I had to do with my blackberry. I am sure its just a software program, it probably would be cheaper for Verizon to just offer it as a free software download. The BB does come with a pre-installed 8GB SD card for storing music and videos, and a big plus is that when you plug it into your computer and open it up there is a clearly named folder for ringtones, pictures, and video. Now transferring media to your phone is as simple as the dragging it into the right folder.  For folks who used to use Bitpim to put ringtones on their Verizon phones, they no longer needed because with this phone it has never been easier to create your own ringtones and simply put them in the ringtone folder, big plus.

All in all the Blackberry Storm does quite a lot well and while its no iPhone if RIM continues to improve the OS and they actually do come out with an App Store similar to Apple’s then they may just give Apple a run for their money off of its advantage of being more multifunctional than the iPhone. If RIM plays there game and simply assimilates the best characteristics from the iPhone’s infrastructure they could really do some damage. With the rebates that Verizon is giving to its existing customers, the Blackberry Storm is actually cheaper than the iPhone.

In the end the Blackberry Storm is not an iPhone killer, but it doesn’t have to be. If they keep making improvements, it will inevitably segment the market enough to at least slow the iPhone’s growth just enough. To what degree it does that depends completely on what RIM does over the next few months though.

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