Blackberry Storm Review

Blackberry Storm

Blackberry Storm

About a month ago it was time to get a new phone. Up until that point I had a Motorola Q and was very pleased with it. Based on everything I read, I had decided to get the new Motorola Q9c. But when I arrived at the Verizon store I was informed that the Q had been discontinued. I had a hard time believing it so I called around and verified that it was indeed being discontinued. This left me in a position where I was uneducated on just about every phone in the store. A friend of mine had the HTC Touch Pro and for several reasons, I won’t go into, I had decided against it.

Because I have an Exchange server, I had a pretty specific set of requirements that my phone needed to have. With no Q available and not wanting the HTC, that left 2 choices i.e. The Blackberry and the Samsung Omnia. This is when the salesman at the store went to work on me.

The Blackberry Storm was the best thing on the planet AND it was on sale. If you bought one storm, you got the second one for free. What a great deal right? I told him that I was extremely happy with the Q and wanted the SAME functionality and Exchange integration. I was absolutely assured that everything about the Blackberry Storm would integrate seamlessly with our existing server environment. After repeated clarifications on this matter I ended up getting the Storm. I have never had a touch screen phone and, after all, it WAS kind of cool.

This is where the misery unfolds. Despite all assurances, it turns out the Storm doesn’t integrate with an Exchange server like a Window Mobile device. You have to purchase additional software from RIM (Blackberry), set up separate admin accounts, create additional databases on the server and purchase additional enterprise licenses for each Blackberry in use. 3 days and countless hours of tech support later, the Storms were functioning. OK, it was a headache to get the Blackberry Storm working but after all that it has to work great.

NOT the case. As I started playing with my new Storm, I was excited about the number of apps that were available for the device. I immediately proceeded to install a bunch of apps that were either handy or fun to use. It turns out that the OS on the Storm kind of struggled with some of the apps that were available. YouTube, Google Maps and others seemed to create some minor conflicts with power management and other areas in the phone. Pretty soon my phone started crashing and rebooting on a regular basis. I began reading some forums in an attempt at troubleshooting my issues. In the end, I uninstalled all of the apps bringing the phone back to the original configuration. This should have fixed it.

Touch screens are cool, no doubt. However, I soon realized that I like buttons. About a week ago I went to dial a phone number and the touch screen number pad had crashed. I couldn’t dial a phone number. I had to take the phone out of the case, remove the back cover and take the battery out to force the phone to reboot. I did this twice and the touch screen number pad began working again.

Aside from the technical problems, the email and SMS organization leaves a little bit to be desired. You can customize it a bit by separating the SMS and email messages but all of your sent messages go into your main message folder. Not the end of the world, you just have to sift through more lines to get at what you want.

I have talked to people that are pretty happy with the Storm. My guess is that they are simply a casual user. Below are some additional negatives as well as positives.

The WIN: The Storm’s browser is fast and loads websites quickly, the voice dialing works really well and the screen size is outstanding for browsing, viewing pictures and reading emails. The camera on the Storm takes really good pictures and the threaded text messaging is great. The Storm has a TON of on board memory with the option for additional memory via the memory slot.

The FAIL: Touch pad dialing and typing is MUCH slower and cumbersome vs. a conventional keyboard, the Storm OS app conflicts and the horrible integration and setup. Even though the camera takes great pictures, it crashes frequently and takes FOREVER to “snap” the picture. Sending pictures is also a tedious venture at best.

Bottom line? I don’t think I can recommend the Blackberry Storm to anyone. There are a variety smartphones out there that seem to function much better.

UPDATE: I was just on the Verizon website and discovered that the Motorola Q9c IS available again. There’s a little salt in the wound!

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