Review: BlackBerry Storm - RIM's Touchy-Feely Smartphone | Page 2

The touchscreen also isn't perfectly reliable. We often selected one thing when we meant to touch another. We found it best to tap the screen just enough to highlight the item we wanted, and then actually click it. We were much more accurate then. This improved with the update, but more on that later.

iPhone's Missing Features
Those many little features that the iPhone still doesn't have are all found here, thankfully. You can send and receive images in text messages. You can select text, then copy and paste it.

And, since this is a BlackBerry, of course there's true push e-mail.

There's also a working video camera (although the images are pretty grainy, much worse than with still photos).

You can use the Storm as a modem for your notebook (for an extra $15 per month) and edit documents with the included copies of Word to Go and Sheet to Go.

There's even GPS with turn-by-turn directions (VZ Navigator at $9.99 per month).

Application Center shows with apps are
installed and which have downloadable updates.

Initial Problems
When we first began testing the Storm, we experienced many of the same problems others have reported. For starters, it was a little slow; whether opening an application or just rotating the screen, there was a slight lag. We never found it as irritating as other people did. Our biggest problem came when we weren't able to open one of the videos we shot with the camera.

The screen click was also a hassle. We weren't able to accurately tap letters every time, and it's hard to see what letter you're tapping. Also, pressing the screen down becomes a chore when you're writing e-mail.

The one glaring omission with the Storm is Wi-Fi. Verizon's 1XEV-DO network did a great job at loading Web pages quickly in our testing, but we'd prefer the versatility of having Wi-Fi as well.

The Software Update
The Storm's first update was released while we were still testing, and we're glad we got to experience it before writing a review. It's available over the air, which is a first for BlackBerry updates. You can also use the desktop software or load it directly to your phone.

For an over-the-air update, select Options, then Advanced Options, then Wireless Upgrade. The software will tell you if an update is available. Downloading the software took around a half-hour and required us to delete some apps first to make room.

After the update, the Storm experience becomes more pleasant. There's less of a lag when switching screen orientation or opening an app. Issues such as the screen getting stuck in one orientation seem to have gone away. Also, typing on the SurePress screen seems a little more accurate.

Getting this free update is essential, and the buzz is that another update is coming soon.

If you're trying to decide between the iPhone and the Storm, know that they each have their advantages.

We prefer using the iPhone's interface and we love the many apps available for download. It's more a multimedia phone. The Storm has a big edge for business and definitely plays better with enterprise. The BlackBerry Application Center should debut in March.

The BlackBerry Storm is available exclusively from Verizon and sells for $199.99 with two-year commitment and mail-in rebate.
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