InformationWeek reviews RIM’s BlackBerry Storm: ‘Tiresome, slow, severe bugginess and problems’

“I’ve spent the past three days using Verizon Wireless’s new BlackBerry Storm extensively,” Eric Zeman reports for InformationWeek. “In the tests I performed on the phone, the quality and clarity of voice calls was excellent. The speakerphone was nice and loud, and pairing the Storm to Bluetooth headsets (both mono and stereo) was easy.”

“The Storm covers most of the BlackBerry basics well. One area it fails to perform is with battery life. RIM claims that the Storm gets 6 hours of talk time. I completely killed the Storm’s battery in a single day. It had a full charge at 8AM, and by midnight, the Storm was flashing ‘low battery’ warnings at me,” Zeman reports.

“What is it like to type on the Storm? Honestly, I can’t stand it,” Zeman reports. “The Storm’s display is touch sensitive for navigating the menus, swiping up and down and back and forth. In order to actually open folders or applications, you have to press the screen forcefully. The entire screen is one big button. You’ll feel it click, giving you the physical feedback that other touch phones lack. This is fine for selecting applications and interacting with most of the Storm’s features, but it just doesn’t cut it when it comes to typing… Physically pressing the Storm’s screen down to type each letter was just tiresome.”

“Now for the really bad news. The Storm has issues. The review unit I tested experienced severe bugginess and problems all over the place,” Zeman reports. “The accelerometer, for example, rarely works as it is supposed to. I would rotate the phone and wait up to a minute for the phone to recognize that I had turned it on its side. Other times, the phone would randomly switch from vertical to horizontal orientation even though the phone hadn’t been rotated at all. That’s unacceptable.”

“The camera software and video playback software both crashed the phone completely several times, requiring me to pull the battery to reset the Storm,” Zeman reports. “Another issue I experienced was serious lag and lack of responsiveness from the user interface. The Storm would fail to register finger presses, the ‘back’ button worked only about 50 percent of the time, and panning around was slow and jittery. Applications behaved strangely and would randomly quit.”

“If you think I got stuck with a bad unit, think again. In order to be as fair as possible, I requested a second review unit from Verizon Wireless,” Zeman reports. “The second review unit experienced all the same problems and issues… People may have lined up early this morning in eager anticipation of buying the Storm, but if I were a consumer, I would have returned the Storm by now.”

Full review here.

Another excellent* review of RIM’s BlackBerry Storm.

*Excellent for Apple, that is.

38 Comments

  1. I played with one for about 10 minutes on release day and was very unimpressed. I see this as another example of a phone/device that I might have been scrambling for two years ago. Now, however, it’s just another example of a phone/device that falls embarrassingly short.

  2. Having a touch sensitive panel as a button obviously has merits, the new MacBooks are obvious examples of that, but like those computer companies offering multi touch computers, RIM seem to have missed with the execution entirely. There are times when a seachange in technology is great (iPhone) but you have to execute it right, at other times you’re best suited to a gradual transformation (Apple Trackpads and lack of touch screen on MacBooks). So far Apple seems to be getting it right from both ends of the innovation spectrum.

  3. hey guys, while everyone is piling on the Storm, remember that this is Storm version 1.0. the 2007 1.0 iPhone had a lot of issues too, and it is really the 2008 2.0 iPhone that has taken off in popularity. and just like the iPhone, this original Storm’s app store isn’t ready at the initial launch either.

    in 2009 RIM will release its 2.0 Storm. nagging problems, including the click-to-type screen, will get fixed. wifi will be added (like Apple added 3G). a decent app store will go on line.

    so while the 2008 Storm won’t be a great seller beyond Blackberry aficionados, the 2009 Storm might become a very good product.

    this puts pressure on Apple to significantly upgrade the iPhone to 3.0 in 2009 too, matching the capabilities of the Storm it lacks, like a decent camera and bluetooth stereo earphones. and document editing at last. competition is good.

  4. @John E

    And when RIM releases Storm 2.0, the iPhone will be on 3.0. As has been talked about, they are behind the initial innovator in this product space … Apple. You can not talk about innovation without remembering that your target is always moving forward. As Wayne Gretzky said “I skate where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” RIM and others are just skating to where AAPL was in June 2007.

    What does Apple have in store for 3.0? Have there been any rumors?

  5. @JohnE
    Are you really a RIM CEO in disguise on an Apple forum? Boy, are you cushy towards blackberry.
    Apple will not sit still and will be years ahead…you sound like Apple now has to play catch up to what??? a camera? Do you really think that Apple, when making the iPhone software, doesn’t already have landscape keyboard and cut and paste? Did they just leave it out and say we will create it later? Apple is at least a year ahead of their own releases, and years ahead of RIMM’s. RIMM ceo’s showed desperation in releasing this ahead of its functionality and they are paying for it bigtime. That thing is a thick brick even in their flashy moving advertisements.

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