Tuesday, August 04, 2009

BlackBerry Storm: my initial impressions

So the BlackBerry Storm is an old phone and it's been reviewed by many people on the Internet. However, since I recently switched from Windows Mobile to BlackBerry, I'm writing from the perspective of a former Windows Mobile user.

I've played around with the Storm extensively, but I've never used it as my personal smartphone until today. I'm not your average user who occasionally uses the browser an app here and there. I'm constantly using my smartphone for e-mail, web browsing, GPS, notes, etc.

So, here are 10 of my initial impressions after using my BlackBerry Storm for a few hours:
  1. I miss the ability to use a stylus. Since the Storm uses a capacitive touch screen, it has no stylus. You use your finger instead. Hence, no more drawing or scribbling notes on the screen.
  2. I miss having a scroll bar. When you install a new app, you often have to scroll through all the disclaimer/agreement/legal stuff and then hit "agree/accept" before you can move forward. You can sometimes bypass the scrolling by hitting the "MENU" button and then you'll see an option to accept/reject. However, this option isn't always available. If I had a scroll bar, I could simply tap my stylus and quickly scroll to the end of the page.
  3. I miss the ability to double tap on the word and highlight/select it. This is useful when you're trying to delete an entire word or if you're performing a copy/paste. This double tapping to highlight/select is not there on the BlackBerry.
  4. I miss having physical keyboard buttons. The Storm uses an on-screen keyboard. It's just not the same.
  5. I miss having space on the screen that isn't occupied by the large on-screen keyboard buttons. In landscape mode, the keyboard fills over 50% of the screen. You're left with a small "sliver" of a screen where you can see/navigate.
  6. I miss having a single button that I can click to make the on-screen keyboard appear/disappear.
  7. I miss having more memory for apps. Although the Storm comes with an 8 GB microSD card, you can't load apps on that card. Instead, you're only given 128 MB or RAM for your apps. I've only had my phone for a few hours and I've already filled 110 MB of that space. 18 MB left.
  8. I miss having the ability to edit Word/Excel files. I realize that if I purchase Documents to Go Premium, I can have this ability. But why pay for something that should be a standard feature?
  9. I miss the ability to close programs (vs. just minimizing them) with a single tap. By closing programs, you free up more memory. On the BlackBerry, you can still close programs, but it takes a bit more work. On Windows Mobile, you can install little free apps that make it much easier for you to close apps.
  10. I miss running my Windows Mobile apps. Which apps? TomTom navigator (for GPS navigation) along with medical and productivity apps. The nice thing with staying with Windows Mobile is that I don't have to repurchase the apps that I currently have. By switching to BlackBerry, I have to purchase a number of apps that I already own.
So, those are my initial impressions. Am I planning on keeping this phone? I have 30 days to test it, but I don't think I'll need 30 days to decide. I think that by the end of the week, I'll make my decision. After all, the prices on Windows Mobile phones have dropped significantly on Verizon Wireless so I may go with the HTC Touch Pro (even though I really don't want another slider).

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