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| | 10 Day Review/Rant - Looooong
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All right, Iím not sure where to start. Iíve been holding my comments for awhile because I wanted some time to use the storm. Iíve had the phone for about 10 days now and this is what I am thinking so far.
A little history. Iíve been a BlackBerry fan for a very long time now and the following are the devices I have used in, more or less, chronological order:
850, 950, 6750, 7750, 7250, 7103e, 8703e, 8830, 8100, 8310, 8120, 8130, 8330, 9530 (current)
Suffice it to say in the past 8 years or so, I have had a lot of experience with the devices. Along the way, I have also tried many of the pocketPC/Windows Mobile devices, though never really abandoning the Blackberry. Iíve also played with the iPhone a lot, though I have never owned one and never will Ė I just donít like it.
That being said, and coming from all of the keyboard devices, the Storm is a totally different animal. I think it has some really great features and there are some things I am not thrilled about.
Iím going to try and break this down by sections, but I tend to ramble.
OK, this is an e-mail device, so in my mind, one of the most important things should be the typing. I generally prefer and find myself coming back to the QWERTY devices after using SureType devices. That being said, I really do appreciate SureType for what it is. Once you get some custom words in the dictionary, it is really amazing. As a matter of fact, I find myself using SureType on the Storm very frequently.
On the QWERTY devices that I have had, most recently the Curve, I find that I can type very fast. Iíve been using a BB for so long, it is just second nature to me. Going into the Storm, I didnít expect to be able to type as fast as on the Curve. I know there are people out there that say they are just as fast, but for me, I just canít see how it would be possible as the whole screen is a button. I realize on a QWERTY device, you can also only press one button at a time. But with the Storm, pressing the screen and waiting for the rebound before pressing the next button seems to take longer. I just think it nearly impossible to type as fast on the Storm. Thatís OK. I think for many people it is a fair tradeoff for some of the other benefits that the Storm has.
In light of this, I have to say that I can type rather fast on the Storm. It did take some practice, but it certainly is acceptable. The issues I have with typing are the following
1. When typing fast and moving to type a letter at the top of the keyboard to the bottom, there are times when my fingers are close enough to the screen for the device to think I am trying to downward swipe and hide the keyboard. This gets frustrating.
2. Even though I am keeping my right thumb on the right side and my left thumb on the left side, I will often hit the ďbĒ key instead of the spacebar. Again very frustrating because going back to edit can be difficult (more on editing later).
3. Although performing the screw mod and adjusting it based on suggestions from this and other forums, I still find that the screen isnít exactly uniform Itís almost as if it does not click evenly. This can cause problems.
4. Sometimes when typing, the cursor will relocate and all of a sudden I will start typing in the middle of what I have already typed. The only thing I can think of here is that when typing near the top of the keyboard, my finger(admittedly fat) strays into the email field and places the cursor somewhere in the middle of what has been typed.
5. I find that I make more errors on the Storm than on a QWERTY device. I think it is a combination of the above issues, but I definitely find there are more errors with the Storm.
To work with these problems, I have set my keyboard settings as indicated in many forums for best response. That definitely helps. Also, I have loosened the screws on either side of the battery. Again, a huge help. Mine is an early Mexico build and the screws were almost tightened to the stops. Overall typing is doable. It isnít as fast or accurate as I would like, but I also understand the limitations of a touch screen.
This is probably the most frustrating thing for me. I find the select and cut/copy procedure to be difficult. The trick about holding your finger on the screen until the cursor changes to a box and then sliding it where you want is a tremendous help. Nonetheless, the whole process seems cumbersome to me. I cut and paste from e-mails and messages frequently and I find this is my biggest stumbling block. As mentioned, I donít have the smallest thumbs in the world, but the process of highlighting at the beginning and end of what you want to select is next to impossible for me. This is definitely something I would like to see improved. I miss my trackball when it comes to this.
Also, in the e-mail message list, I wish there were an easier way of deleting. For example, if there could be a check box in front of each e-mail, that would allow you to select e-mails and then delete them, I think this would be a big help. I know I can use ďdelete priorĒ or hold my finger on the first one I want to delete and the last one. The issue, however, comes when there is an e-mail in the middle that you donít want deleted. This isnít just an issue with the Storm. A select box I think would be helpful regardless of which BB one uses.
Even though I am running the official .75 release, I still find the device to be a little slow and laggy. I donít currently have any 3rd party software installed and I average around 46mb of application memory. Still, the device just seems a bit laggy. As if it is a half a second to one second behind what I am doing. The Accelerometer is fairly responsive but sometimes the device seems confused as to which orientation I am holding it at.
Iím averaging about 4-6 reboots per day. Some of these are initiated by me because the phone locks. Other times the device will reboot itself. I can deal with the occasional reboot, but I think this is too many. Also, the reboot time is ridiculous. It is in excess of 3 Ĺ minutes for me.
Answering calls can be challenging, especially if there is an orientation issue and the accelerometer is trying to process at the same time as a call comes in. I know this issue had been discussed, but I am still having it.
I really think the phone should have inertial scrolling. When navigating a huge list, a flick of the finger to travel a long way down the list would be good. Even the gmail application for the Curve had inertial scrolling.
Overall, it just seems like it takes longer to do things with the Storm. Iím not sure exactly why. To compose an e-mail requires the same number of steps as on a ďbuttonedĒ BB, but it just seems like those steps take longer on a touch screen. Again, not a dealbreaker, just something to be aware of. I certainly miss the homescreen shortcuts like ďmĒ for messages or ďbĒ for browser.
Okay, so now that my rant is over, what do I like about the device? A lot. Obviously the screen is amazing. It is nice to see so much at once. By not having the keyboard, you have more room for a screen. In general, I have never been a fan of touch screen devices because the virtual keyboard would always take up too much real estate on the screen and you couldnít actually see much of the email message that you were typing and responding to. I think RIM has done an excellent job of managing screen space so that the keyboard is good size but also you can still see what you are working with on the screen.
The browser is a much more enjoyable experience. The click to zoom works really well and it is not nearly as hard to select links as I would have expected. Most of the pages render very well and the load time is very acceptable.
I really like the clock feature. I used to use the free program Ė chronograph. Now all of these features are built in. I also love the flip style clock and bedside mode in the Storm cradle. Definitely a nice feature.
I really like how the calendar looks and being able to sweep your finger to navigate is a plus. I think they have done an excellent job in the calendar. I think the update to messenger is excellent as well.
I like that each contact can be assigned a different e-mail alert. This is extremely handy when you donít want to pull out the phone with every e-mail that comes in, if you are waiting for an email from someone in particular.
Overall, I am pleased with the phone. Certainly a lot of thought went into the device. I really like the idea of SurePress. Regular touch screen phones just donít work well for me. I like the real feedback. While I like the concept, I wish it worked just a LITTLE better.
When I first got the Storm, I was frustrated and I felt like there was only a 30% chance I was going to keep it. Then I moved into the ďloving itĒ phase when I started to get the hang of it. Now I am back to being up in the air. I see a lot of people have received replacements from Verizon. Even with the .75 software, I am still seeing more reboots than I should. I am considering having them swap the device out and seeing what happens then.
I really like a lot of the features. I just feel like it takes me a good deal longer to do things with the Storm. I actually still have a curve on another active line and sometimes Iíll even reach for the Curve because I feel like if I need to bang something out quickly, it will be faster than using the Storm. I suppose that alone should be my answer on whether or not to keep it, but I donít want to give up on the device yet.
For all of you who made it this far, thanks for listening to my review/rant.