1. BerkeyC's Avatar
    I'd like to offer my 2 pennies on my newfound Stormhood, in the hopes that my experience might be of some use to those, who like me, are new to BB / Storm / smartphones.

    Who am I?
    A total noob. I'm relatively new to cellular phones in general (as in, say, the past 3 years) and have never owned or even really played with a smartphone, let alone a BB. That being said, I'm quite tech savvy, and professionally I write software. If you have problems reconciling my cellular virginity with my profession, that's your problem.

    My prior phone was an LG VX8700 (basic flip phone if you don't know offhand). It was the only tool I used to manage my contacts and calendar, and it worked great for that. And really, calls, calendars and contacts are the only things I rely on my phone for. But after some time it felt like I needed to be more connected. I keep a very busy schedule, and mobile internet access and email was beginning to look like a good idea. Additionally, texting was beginning to be a real hassle. Just took far too long without something QWERTY under my thumbs.

    After 1/1 my VZW loyalty credit kicked in and the search began.

    Why the Storm?
    ...because I'm not on AT&T? Actually, if I were, I would have bought an iPhone some time ago. But VZW's network really does matter to me since I do regularly go places AT&T doesn't reach. But don't get too excited; my satisfaction with VZW's vaunted network is matched by my disappointment in their dropping the iPhone ball in the first place. Either way, I started looking at touchscreens - I like big screens, and they're just more fun to play with.

    When I started researching smartphones, I thought I'd pick up an Omnia. The winmo thing didn't particularly appeal to me, but every review of the thing I read put it heads and tails above the Storm. As both units are two of the newer touch screen smartphones, my research soon came down to comparing the two.

    Finally I walked into a VZW store and tried them out. Coming in thinking I was all about the Omnia, I was surprised at how much easier the Storm felt. OS navigation and tasking were far more intuitive, prettier screen, much easier time typing. The click screen thing actually impressed me. It just felt more natural, and I was more confident on it than on the Omnia. After playing with texts, calendars, contacts, call interface, OS navigation, and browsing, the choice was clear. I was entirely frustrated on the Omnia where I felt much more comfortable and faster on the Storm. Even the Omnia's super-fast accelerometer seemed only to match or slightly beat the Storm; I felt that of the Storm was more than reasonable in store.

    I was, in fact, so pleased with my tests that I decided to go ahead with the purchase despite all the rants I'd read here and elsewhere. The unit arrived last week (6 days ahead of this posting).

    I was prepared for the worst. I'd read so much about shoddy construction and design on this forum, I figured mine would come with a button popped off or something. But it felt solid and tight. I've got a little rubber protector for it, and I'm confident in its construction. Dust under the screen? Do these guys live in the desert or something? I've been able to keep mine clean and dust-free so far. As far as my unit goes, it suffers from absolutely none of the construction or physical maintenance issues I see widely discussed on this forum.

    Up and Running
    I have to say, I'm liking the BB OS. I've only had to look something up once or twice; the rest of the time, finding what I want to do on the thing is easy and intuitive. I got my contacts moved over at the VZW store (couldn't push them via Bluetooth even though the devices were communicating... not sure why), added my calendar in manually, and began setting up my email, sounds, etc. etc. At this point, I was actually a bit confused as to why there are so many negative reviews (being conscious, however, of the fact I wasn't moving to the Storm from another BB/smartphone).

    Usage Notes
    OS: .75 build. I simply don't feel the performance of the .75 build as I experience it warrants fussing with a leaked OS upgrade. I haven't encountered any showstoppers, or even really any minor inconveniences. I plan to wait for the next official release unless I specifically encounter something I find unreasonable that I know the latest leaked OS addresses.

    Texting/Emails: Like a breath of fresh air. Man, having a QWERTY keyboard is nice. I'm much, much faster with texts than on my prior phone, and at the very least, having access to emails, whether I respond or not, is huge. I ended up removing my linked email account and using just Gmail mobile - having the ability to archive etc. my emails is very important, and without that I found I was duplicating work: reading the email on the Storm, then later on at home archiving the email separately on my desktop.

    Performance: Really does seem reasonable to me. I've been able to gather that the leaked OS builds increase performance on the Storm, but I've also read my share of issues with upgrading or other bugs that rear their little heads. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Ok, so the Storm might have its share of widely-agreed-upon problems, but as far as I'm concerned, performance is reasonable and satisfactory, to say the least.

    Browsing: It's nice to have Opera Mini when I want to hit something fast and know I won't be downloading. Otherwise, the browser is satisfactory. Definitely would be nice if it were a little snappier, but again, given my mobile browsing habits it's definitely acceptable. From what I read, Storm browsing is far, far ahead of browsing on previous BB models. Other web-based apps seem more than responsive and reasonable: Google Maps, VZ Navigator, Gmail Mobile, Flickr, Facebook, Vringo, Google Sync are all useful.

    Resets/batt pulls/memory: This is another one that surprised me. I was expecting daily batt pulls, resets a plenty, and dwindling application memory space. I've had problems with none of those. I've done one batt pull (not even sure it was necessary), and unless I've missed something, I haven't needed to reset the unit. Memory space is around 30MB and holds steady. I do make sure to close down apps when not in use and I'll wager dollars to donuts that's enough to keep it running smoothly.

    Battery: There's no way I can use the Storm as long as I used the VX8700 between charges. But then again, I don't expect to. Would it be nice if the Storm ran for weeks without a recharge? Yes. Would it be nice if I had another 20%, 30% life? Sure. But I recharged my last phone in the evening anyways, and so far that pattern has been more than sufficient. I'd say on average, I have 20% - 40% battery life left at the end of the day given my normal usage and calling habits.

    Camera: Wait, the Storm has a Camera? Oh yeah, lookie there, a 3.2 MP one right on the back. I'm sure it doesn't hold a candle to my Nikon D90 so I'll probably never use it. I've heard it's slow. Honestly, I couldn't care less what kind of camera my phone has.

    WiFI: This one I have a harder time understanding: you buy the thing knowing it doesn't have WiFi, then complain about it...? I probably won't miss WiFi, though if it did have it I'm sure I'd enjoy it. Not sure if this is a gimmick to keep network subscriptions humming or what, but I knew full well I didn't have WiFi walking into the thing. And you know what? It doesn't have it. My expectations were flawlessly met on this one.

    Rushed Deployment?: In my opinion, yeah, I'll agree the thing was pushed a little too soon. There are some aspects of the phone that just don't seem intuitive, helpful, or even well implemented. Why the LED can't be customized without a 3rd party app, or why it only blinks for 15 minutes when set to notify is beyond me. Screen locking is awkward and there definitely needs to be something differently implemented about in-call screen behavior. Sound profiles are wacky: why does ANYTHING make a sound when I have it on Vibrate? (I solved that one by setting up a custom sound profile for work - the rest of the time I put it on Normal, and it behaves exactly as I'd like without any issues). The screen orientation should not change when I'm being notified of a call. Performance, while acceptable to me, could be snappier. Just for kicks, I'd like it if I could customize my calendar to shade days with appointments rather than putting a tiny little bar in the day box.

    But in the end, these are definitely acceptable. Will there be a Storm II? Absolutely, I'm sure of it. And I'll bet it will be really, really awesome. RIM proved that a touch screen BB is definitely in demand; if they could take some time to make a really solid offering that gives BB users what they're used to without sacrificing some QC, it should perform very, very well. As is, I'm happy with my Storm. I'm confident future OS updates will address any outstanding issues. Until then, I'm more than pleased with BB and the Storm.

    I'd love to hear others' thoughts on this. And please feel free to blame any factual issues on my noobness. It's quite well developed and can take anything you throw at it, I'm sure.
    Last edited by BerkeyC; 01-12-09 at 06:57 PM. Reason: Added a WiFi section.
    01-12-09 06:50 PM
  2. Sooks's Avatar
    that has to be one of the longest write ups i have ever seen lol.... well done.
    01-12-09 06:58 PM
  3. TheFarmer's Avatar
    If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
    I agree with you on many of your aspects. Especially your statement that I quoted above and have posted myself many times here and on HoFo.

    Great writeup!
    01-12-09 07:06 PM
  4. BecerraC's Avatar
    I believe that the reason you read a lot of bad reviews is because most people do not write or say anything when all is going ok. The only time people take the time to write a review is when they are upset about something. Like the saying goes, misery loves company. So when someone is mad, the rant about it so they get empathy from someone. GREAT REVIEW. I personally am still on my 1st storm, with no real problems. I do however have the occasional battery pull.
    01-12-09 08:46 PM
  5. kuroshio's Avatar
    Initially, the fault was VZ's for shipping Storms to phone reviewers with the .65 OS on it. That was like slapping a bear with a raw steak. WTH did they expect to happen.

    Next, the fault lands on the reviewers themselves. Of the prerelease reviews, there were few that were objective. Noah at Phonedog sticks out in my mind. Though I feel he, and every reviewer, fell to the same trap: attempting to rate a phone they never intended to use past the hrs they toyed with it to prepare their review.

    Then finally, and most importantly, we have only ourselves to blame. Well, maybe not me... I opened my Storm box on 11/22 fully expecting to be lucky to make a phone call sometime before the wknd was over. Not because of the previews but because it was NEW TECH. I hate to say it however unless the product can cause loss of life or limb, companies QC to 'acceptable' quality. With 'acceptable' being defined by themselves and their accountants.
    01-12-09 09:58 PM
  6. Graz's Avatar
    Nice write up I just didn't have the attention span to finish reading it. I do appreciate the fact that you went into depth instead of just saying "the Storm rocks" of "the Storm is garbage". Well done!
    01-12-09 10:57 PM
  7. asmallchild's Avatar
    Awesome post.

    Like you, I too am a 1st time BB/smartphone user.

    It surprises me so many "grizzled" vets are having so much problems with their Storm.

    It makes me question whether they just aren't that bright or whether i'm that talented with new technology.
    01-12-09 11:39 PM
  8. fcortese's Avatar
    Welcome to the wacky world of CB. Nice. thoughtful review from a newbie perspective.
    01-13-09 08:28 AM