Test Center review: BlackBerry Storm bridges business and lifestyle
The first touchscreen BlackBerry pairs RIM's familiar enterprise strengths with superior ease of use, but Wi-Fi goes missingFollow @infoworld
Keyboards can be swept off the bottom of the screen with the same flick gesture that scrolls, and since gliding and clicking are distinct actions, scrolling never accidentally activates an on-screen control, a common issue with tap-to-click. A keyboard can also appear for applications such as terminal emulators and IM clients that don't present text fields.
I'm not quite used to the QWERTY keyboard. It has the same foibles as the iPhone's in that moving your finger a millimeter between the glide and the click selects the wrong letter. I took a quick liking to SureType, the Storm's abbreviated portrait keyboard. SureType auto-completes words and corrects fumbled text with “how did it know that?” accuracy.
The BlackBerry Storm more than passes muster as a media player. Its speaker is plenty loud enough to cut through road noise when delivering that drive-time podcast. RIM and Verizon documentation conflict over Bluetooth stereo and remote control, and my deadline hit before I could charge my Plantronics headset. I'll follow up. You expect standard voice dialing and audio recording from a BlackBerry, and of course the Storm delivers.
I'm pretty attached to QWERTY, so the T-Mobile G1 and BlackBerry Bold (up for review next) are a more natural fit for me than the iPhone and its like. But the BlackBerry Storm's tactile click, portrait- and landscape-mode support for all apps, integrated camera, built-in assisted GPS with navigation, and large, bright high-contrast screen, as well as Verizon's 3G network, add up to a device that I wouldn't hesitate to carry. At $199 with an 8GB flash card, the BlackBerry Storm is a best buy. Perhaps the strongest feature of all, this touchscreen handset is a genuine BlackBerry. Among BlackBerry users, there's no substitute for that.