I have been storing up my points to write this blog for you for just under 2 weeks now. I wanted to make sure I put the Storm through some real working conditions, so that I can validate or dispel all the hype and fanfare around the device.
Well let me say right now, I did not really care to do any kind of durability test with my Storm. Peter stated during my interview with him – “Durability is one of the tenants of RIM”. He there procceded to throw the Storm in the air and let it drop Smack! on the carpet. (watch interview).
Now that is enough for me in the department of the durability testing. No I am not attempting any others! lol. If that is not enough for you, take a look at this video where this dude stratches the storm with a knife.
Let me get the main point off my chest fast. Let me get real and honest here with you. I had mixed feelings about the Storm because over the past few months I’ve fallen in love with the wifi on my BlackBerry Bold. The wifi on the Bold allows me to –
– Play international radio using flycast – www.flycast.fm
– Download podcasts using – podcast trapper – http://www.versatilemonkey.com/
– Stream Live videos using qik – www.qik.com/coreykgraham
– fast browsing experience
– It allows me to set applications to wirelessly sync applications without fear of dropping calls especially
– My articles in viigo rss reader – www.viigo.com
– Sync my BlackBerry contacts with my Gmail contacts – http://www.google.com/mobile/blackberry/sync.html
Now I should also say that the Storm and the Bold are both primarily 3 G phones. 3G to make a long story short, is a faster network and it of course allows for my faster data rate i.e. high speed internet for the BlackBerrys, streaming video etc. Find out more on 3G here. Both phones can use data services on a 3 G network while taking calls. On a 2 G network this doesn’t happen, you can do one or the other. using the data services would mean that you will miss and or drop a few calls. It could be a real inconvenience sometimes. grrrrrr. I know from experience.
Now I am sure that the Storm is a wonderful 3G phone. However as of right now, we don’t have a 3 G Network in the Caribbean so that puts us in a spot of bother. I can’t make use of all the capabilities of the Storm.
It is possible that these 2 big marketing campaigns for the Storm by both major mobile providers in the Caribbean (LIME and Digicel) might suggest that race is on, to roll out the better 3 G Network of the Caribbean. You never know!
Cable and Wireless announced they will be implementing a 3 G Network across the Caribbean last December when they rebranded to LIME,( more on this) so maybe the 3 G Network will be here sooner than I think, probably by next week … Time will tell.
Now with all that said, I have noticed though that the Storm doesn’t seem to drop as many calls due to data usage as previous BlackBerry devices. It uploads or emails photos (as attachments) in quick time when compared to its predecessors. Actually I would say it sends in a comparable time frame to the Bold when it is on a wifi network!
I really wish I could experience, the Storm on a 3G Network. The browser is painfully slow on this phone with the GPRS here in Barbados. Although I am sure it is not too bad in Trinidad with their Edge network. I loaded a few pages and its good viewing the webpages in full is great, but the speed, oh gosh the speed!
I know you are thinking where is the wifi? Why doesn’t the Storm have wifi?
Well the Storm was launched exclusive some certain networks across the world. Yes all those networks had 3 G. It is my theory is that someone involved felt it was a good move to leave out the wifi out of this initial model and to force persons to purchase the Storm through a carrier and on a data plan. It would be more costly and much more of a hassle to purchase a Storm and then get it connected. It makes business sense to me. I am not surprised to be hearing rumours of a Storm 2 to be released in September which does have Wifi!
Check out this post – http://www.slashgear.com/blackberry-storm-2-due-in-september-has-wifi-0640236/
The wifi issue aside, the Storm is one of the few phones in the world which will work anywhere, it has a whopping 7 radios which translates to – anywhere in the world you go, the Storm would work. Note that the GSM phones we use in the Caribbean won’t work on certain networks e.g. CDMA, however the Storm will!
I still want a high-speed internet connection for my storm though, either from 3G or from Wifi. Hmmm actually I would prefer both, so that I can have an option. If I am traveling I can use wifi instead of incurring roaming charges for using the 3G network in another place.
Also as an aside Skype has announced that they will be launching Skype for BlackBerry sometime in this month May. High speed net on the Storm will be almost a must!
Alrite with that off my chest the next thing – the …
I know this is a big, big issue for many of us. The idea of using a touch screen instead of our beloved BlackBerry Qwerty keyboards. It was a really big thing for me too. I am pretty fast with the regular BlackBerry keyboard, I can almost write ideas and thoughts as they form, but using the touch screen keyboard? I was not sure. I had my reservations about this keyboard.
Now first off the Surepress technology is a elegantly simple and brilliant innovation. I give the creative genius behind it at RIM a pact on the back. What is SurePress? It is pretty simple. When using the Storm if you tap the screen lightly it will highlight whatever option is under your finger. Now to select that highlighted option, you will have to press the screen in, and “click it” and the Storm will open up that particular option.
This gives you a lot more control when using the phone. You actually highlight a letter before you actually “press” it. I think it is typical BlackBerry in my humble opinion, elegantly simple solution to enhance the user experience and make life easier.
Typing on the Storm for the first few days was still REALLY hard for me. I mean I started to think about using the Bold again for typing. However, to my surprise by the 3rd day though I started to get of the hang of keyboard. I didn’t expect it to happen so fast! I was seeing I saw light at the end of the tunnel for the Storm and I. I put more effort into practicing typing on the Storm, and I really have improved a lot. I am at about 80% confidence with the typing on the Storm now. I am not sure I am ready to jump to making notes on the Storm in a meeting but I am getting there.
I would tell those hardcore BlackBerry users out there that if you get a Storm give yourself some time to get into it. It is a big change to move to a completely touch screen interface. Give yourself some space to learn it.
I made the change from the thumbwheel on my 7100g and my 8700g to the pearl on my Pearl and Bold. It was a bit of change but after a couple hours was all sorted out because the way your interacted with the interface was very similar. Most of the rules where the same. The jump from the Bold to the Storm’s touch screen is much bigger jump so I would strongly advise that you give yourself some time to learn the interface.
I would close by saying that, I think that if RIM puts out a touch screen phone with a keyboard it will probably be their most coveted device yet! If it happens, just remember I called it!
Now the next big thing for me was the voice quality – it has SIGNIFICANTLY improved. My bro from another mama was raving about it. He said he could hear me much clearer no matter where I went. I could be next to a busy road with cars up and down and the person on the other line can hear me very clearly. A lot better than with my previous Berrys. I can also hear them a whole lot better too. I marvel at the call quality constantly! This is great for me when I have to make calls from big events and concerts. This is a big highlight on the Storm for me. Smartphones are not known for their voice quality generally, so this is big points for the Storm. I imagine this would be great for persons who work in noisy environment e.g. factories plants of on construction sites. It is great!
The phone does get pretty hot on extended calls though, so that is a little concern.
The GPS is much faster than on the Bold, once you pull out the storm and open google maps, the GPS is on, has already locked in on your position. On the Bold this would take a good 2 -3 mins at best! Most of the times when you want to use the GPS you want it to pop up right away and give you the information you need.
For those of you are unfamiliar with Google Maps on the BlackBerry. The GPS gets your position within 3 m of your location, that’s about the size of a car. In the satellite view you can see buildings, roads, large trees and more, around you. All the details you find on google maps is available to you on the phone, road names and landmarks etc. The cool part is that if you start moving the GPS will move in real time with you and also point the direction you are moving on Google Maps. There is actually an arrow showing your direction.
Rex Wireless Apps
The next big things for me were my RexWireless applications, i.e. TodoMatrix, AlertMatrix and IdeaMatrix. I have written about Todomatrix and Altermatrix.Ideamatrix I have not written a post about, however I use this just as much or even more than the other 2. It is Ideamatrix I use to take notes from meetings and write my blog posts. I am writing on it right now! The big thing for me about IdeaMatrix, is that it allows you to store your notes in categories and also add more tags to it. I absolutely love the fact that it automatically syncs wirelessly with my laptop. There is no forgetting to sync a note its all automatic. Once I hit save in a few minutes that note will be updated on the web and on the phone.
All these apps have been upgraded to fit the storm’s interface and they are a breeze to use once you take the time to figure them out, of course . There is nothing more to say. Its RexWireless those guys are on top of their game. You should check them out – www.rexwireless.com
Blackberry App World
No access to BlackBerry App World, I was excited about browsing and looking at the different applications out there, however we don’t yet have access in the Caribbean so that is the story for now. No access.
Camera And Screen
I liked the camera on my Bold but the camera on the Storm inspires me.
If you don’t know, I am into photography. I am not as active as I once was, but the passion is still there. The Storm’s camera is
- 3.2 Megapixels
- auto focus, this helps a lot with getting a sharp image with the things you might be in focus in your pic.
- Better Low light Performance – one of the problems I had with the cameras on mobile phone’s in general, is that they don’t do very well in low light and yet many of the pics we want to get are in low light conditions. All those blurry and dark pics you see around, that’s the reason. The Storm’s camera can take great pictures in not so well light rooms.
- Incremental zooming, i.e. it goes from 1x to 1.1x, 1.2x up to 2.0 x. On the Bold and Pearl, it was either 1 x 2x or 3 x.
You don’t believe me that the camera inspires me? I have started something I call BlackBerry Photography. It is a new hobby, challenging myself to use my creative juices to overcome the limitations of this cameras, and get some interesting photos. Take a look, straight from the phone with no editing
The screen is excellent, I mean its great, the movie trailer on the phone is excellent! Now the think that freaked me out the most was that I got a video from a Nokia E65 and the quality was amazing! Video in mobile phones is really, really improving.
If you are going to be watching videos on the Storm you will need a big MicroSD card. The Storm ships with an 8 GB Card and that is of course upgradeable. I wonder how
The storm ships with an 8 GB card I am not complaining. There is not much more to say. It is 8 GB and it can be upgraded to 16 GB.
New Charging Connection
One thing that really shocked me in a not so positive way, is that they change the connection to the charger! This is a big dagger in my heart because, all the BlackBerry’s I have had, had the same charger so chargers were always in abundance. there is one at home, one at work, one in my bag and then to add to it the connection used to sync the BlackBerry also charges it, so that is another way to charge it. The interesting thing is that this connection between the BlackBerry and the laptop is the same for digital cameras so, if push came to shove I could pick up some charge using the connection for a digital camera. Basically no matter how my schedule changed I could get my phone charged.
Now with the Storm I only have 2 options the charger and the connection to the laptop. It is ALOT less convenient. I am going to have to have to source some more chargers. I am a bit spoiled.
OTA Software Updates
I couldn’t test this because there were no new updates were available for the storm, but I know alot of people will appreciate this. One stop update with no cables or downloading online etc?
In summary I would say the Storm is a good phone, give me some 3G and I will probably say its a great phone. It is a step up for sure and getting used to the typing is taking some doing. Overall it is a step up from the Bold and of course its missing your beloved keyboard.