Looking back to my younger days I used to have fond memories of heading out with my parents on a Sunday afternoon to go blackberry picking. And the best bit was when the fruits of our labour (couldn’t resist the pun !) resulted in a delicious apple and blackberry pie for dinner.
BUT we are now in the year 2009 and Blackberry Storm has taken on a whole new meaning. I purchased the device back in November of 2008 so it has now been road-tested for over five months and I have mixed feelings. Unfortunately I’m in an 18 month contract so love it or hate it my options are limited!
The BlackBerry Storm is the first BlackBerry to have a touch screen user interface which I feel has been developed to tackle the ever increasing domination of the Apple iTouch. Ever since Apple released the iPhone, every phone manufacturer has been trying to produce an iPhone killer and this is BlackBerry’s answer. The Storm incorporates two kinds of virtual keyboard – the full QWERTY keyboard and the SureType keyboard – the keyboard switching depending on whether you’re in portrait or landscape mode. The Storm uses a new innovation called ‘ClickThrough’ that means the screen responds to pressure, so it feels almost like you’re using a real keyboard. This actually works really well and I do find that typing is quicker than the old style Blackberry with SureType learning new words as you use it more.
The display itself is a massive 480 x 360 pixels so you can fit a lot of information on screen, including viewing photos and videos in near-perfect detail. On the web it handles HSDPA running at 7.2 Mbps, so you have the fastest possible download speeds available on any phone. The built-in applications make it easy to access social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. And with the built-in GPS device plus BlackBerry Maps you can find your way around any town or city – a feature I have used before to get to a meeting on time. It has a fully featured email client so you can have instant access to multiple pop email addresses. I also use Outlook on my desktop for both my Calendar and Contact list so synchronisation is a key feature. This is where the Bluetooth compatibility comes in to its own as I now walk into the office and my phone and desktop will instantly synchronise (and no cables required).
It certainly isn’t the best camera phone around, but it boasts a resolution of 3.2 megapixels and with autofocus and an LED flash, it will take reasonable pictures. Personally I think most “mobile phone” cameras are fine for simple spur of the moment pictures but for anything you want to keep use a proper camera. The media player supports every common audio format and synchs with iTunes which makes it compatible with my personal music collection. It comes with 1GB of built-in memory, although I have upgraded this to 16GB with an SD Micro card giving me storage capacity for around 4,000 MP3 tracks.
Battery life is quoted to be 5.5 hours talk time and 360 hours standby but in the real world I find that it needs to be charged every day otherwise it will let you down just when you need it.
It has been a frustrating first few months for me – The Storm was regularly dropping calls and the screen freezing at least once or twice a week. I believe this was due to the manufacturer rushing the device to market before Christmas when it wasn’t ready. Since getting a replacement device in March it is significantly more stable.
With the instant email, Google Maps, browser capability and Bluetooth synchronisation I now have a phone that is my portable office.