Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on December 18, 2008
One of the frustrations of reviewing products is that I always have to write before I have spent enough time with a product to feel really comfortable about my assessment. Sometimes, however, I’m able to use a new product over a longer period and come back with a more measured assessment.
The touchscreen BlackBerry Storm opened to distinctly mixed reviews when it debuted in November and mine was one of the most positive. I’m happy to say that after using the Storm daily, the feel that my original judgment has not only been confirmed but strengthened.
I think there were two reasons for some of the negative reactions to the Storm. BlackBerry fans tended to compare the on-screen keyboard to the excellent physical keyboard on the Bold and found it wanting. I don;t think there will ever be an on-screen keyboard that can match a good physical one; you just have to decided whether the tradeoff for a bigger display is worth it, and I felt it was. (It is, however, frustrating that in the U.S., the Bold is exclusive with AT&T and the Storm with Verizon; you should be able to make independent choices of your handset and your carrier and I hope these exclusives won't last too much longer.)
The second reason is that I think that some reviewers were bothered more than I was by some minor performance glitches when the Storm was first released, The touchscreen was sometimes sluggish, especially in switching between portrait and landscape mode when you rotated the device. And some minor calibration issues occasionally generated errors when you ended up clicking the screen and selecting something other than what you thought you had chosen. I find these a minor nuisance but the were showstoppers for others.
The good news is that no matter how you felt about these problems, they have been fixed by a software update available through either a desktop link or over-the-air. (You can check your version number by choosing About on the Options menu. The new version is 126.96.36.199.)
The Storm isn't the smartphone choice for everyone. But if you want a big screen and can deal with a virtual keyboard, it is a very good one.