Review: BlackBerry Storm 2 - More like a shower

Opinion

Review: BlackBerry Storm 2 - More like a shower

This is not the first Storm that I've got to know intimately, I had something of a hate/hate relationship with the original model.

Actually, there were only three things I really loathed about it: the lack of WiFi, the slow web browsing and the godawful touchscreen on a spring that RIM seemed to think everyone would love. Ding! Wrong!

Unsurprisingly these were the first three things I looked at when the Storm 2 arrived.

See also:

1. WiFi added. Check.

What's more it found and connected to my wireless network quickly and stayed that way. iPhone users will be interested to know the signal was not up and down like a whores' drawers.

2. Speedy browsing introduced. Nope.

Speedier perhaps, and support for CSS and Javascript have helped things along, but to be honest it's still the slowest smartphone web browsing I've endured recently. The iPhone 3GS and HTC HD2 put it to shame when it comes to speed of page rendering.

3. Touchscreen on a spring scrapped. Nope.

It is still there but now the SurePress system is no longer a mechanical menace but instead uses four electrical actuators to provide a kind of haptic feedback that feels like a click. And I still hate the thing, it's a cumbersome abomination that has no place on a 21st century smartphone, to be frank.

It makes using the Storm 2 so surreal that if Salvador Dali were still alive he'd be advertising it. Tap and then push to click is one action to many, take a look at every other touchscreen phone and take the hint.

Hmm, 1 out of 3 ain't good.

However, the Storm 2 is far from being a total disaster. For a start it's a sexy looking little number, pressing all the right business geek buttons here. Smaller at 62 x 14 x 112.5mm than either the curvy iPhone 3GS or the slab-like hugeness of the HTC HD2 the Storm 2 feels right in the hand even if it does weigh in at 160g.

This is partly thanks to the removal of the gap that existed between the 3.25" (360x480) touchscreen and casing in the original, and partly down to the gloss black of the curvy hardware sitting so well with the Vodafone red of the home screen. Superficial? Moi?

Display

The display is sharp and bright, but when sat next to the HTC HD2 it looks positively second class both in terms of size and resolution. Don't get me wrong, for email and texting it is fine but when you start trying longer writing jobs such as blogging online or some extended web browsing (don't do it, I implore you) then you start wishing for a little bit more.

Whereas the HD2 is perfectly usable for browsing in portrait mode, the Storm 2 is a landscape only device unless you are a real masochist or have Steve Austin style bionic eyes.

I'm not going to bother talking about email, this is a BlackBerry so you know it does that particular trick to perfection. Not so the rather basic 3.2 megapixel camera with even more basic video functionality, but it's good enough for most business needs.

Capacity

As is the storage capacity: twice as much Flash (256MB) and internal memory (2GB) as the original and support for 32GB of external microSD card as well. You get GPS with A-GPS for good measure, and perfectly acceptable audio capabilities with a 3.5mm headphone socket.

Verdict

If the Storm 2 had been the original Storm I would have been really raving about it, but it's not and the smartphone sector has moved forward this last year.

The iPhone 3GS and Androids such as the HTC Hero have moved the goalposts and, to be honest, this BlackBerry fails to score. Here's hoping RIM will get it right with the Storm 3.

The HTC Touch HD2 is available for free on a £30 per month tariff from Vodafone.

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This was first published in December 2009

 

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