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back to article RIM Vodafone BlackBerry Storm

RIM’s first BlackBerry to feature a touchscreen has been eagerly awaited for some time now, and after all the hype, you’d have thought it would have made a much better job of it. Now don’t get us wrong, the Storm’s not a terrible phone by any means, and there are parts of it that are very impressive, but RIM and Vodafone have …

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Corrections

A Software update greatly improves the Speed and Battery life, And i think this is an excellent competitor to the iPhone with much better email and PIM syncing as well as manageability and security for business

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and the deal breaker...

no WiFi!!!

FAIL. -10

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Thanks!

I was considering getting one of those but I think I won't bother now.

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Anonymous Coward

Rubbish...

50% is a generous score! One of these is doing the rounds at work as we speak, no-one will have it for more than a day. None of us like it. The UI seriously needs attention. The screen bends when you press it. I know this is supposed to be a feature (haptic feedback for all you 'form vs. function' design 'experts'), but it feels like you're going to put your finger through he screen. Reception is woeful. Its slow. No wifi. No 3G. No hope. It looks dog rough too!!!

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500Mb?

Nice to see that Vodafone are still trying to milk their customers on data. Fail.

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Typing

I played with this in a Vodafone store, I found typing on the touchscreen felt better and was easier than on any other touchscreen device I've used before.

I guess its all down to personal preference though.

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Coat

Well.........

That'll drive down the competition entries then.

Got the coat already...

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No '@' symbol on the keyboard?

Are you saying that this Blackberry no longer inserts an '@' when you press the space key in an email address field?

(First press does '@' and subsequent spaces are replaced with '.')

A vital feature I'd really miss!

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Paris Hilton

@David Guillaume

So you agree that the phone performs very poorly on speed & battery out of the box? ;-)

I went to my local Voda shop on launch day and had a play and thought it very slow and unresponsive. I also spent the best part of an hour talking to the business manager about what I thought to be the major shortcoming of the phone - no wifi! His response was that with HSDPA and a 500Mb allowance, you don't need wifi. Ha!

Paris, as I'm sure she doesn't perform poorly out of the box...

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Unhappy

When they come off of vodafone...

When they come to O2 and have wifi I shall get one. iPhones are pretty but they are not business devices and should be saved for gadget freaks who work in the media and the sales monkeys. The simple difference between the two in the corporate world is that with a BB I can encrypt the data and I can remotely wipe it if it gets lost, until I can do that with an iPhone we won't be having one and neither will anyone else who cares about their data.

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Had one, returned it.

Completely agree with this review. I tried out an early demo unit in store and quite liked it, plus had loved the Blackberry Pearl I had previously, so put in a pre-order.

However, within a few hours of getting home it just annoyed the hell out of me. Killer problem for me was that I was frequently missing menu items and getting the one above/below. Either there was something wrong with the touch detection or the menus are just too small for touch operation - I've not had this problem with any other touch devices. Combine this with the lag inherent in correcting a missed menu item and it's an incredibly frustrating. And for extended typing it is awful. Anyone used to the usually snappy Blackberry response is going to be very disappointed.

And yes, it has (for example) a Facebook app, but it's exactly the same as the one on the Pearl. Only they haven't even replaced the low res icons, which are incredibly ugly and blocky on the bigger screen. This is symptomatic of the attention to detail shown throughout the phone - everything just feels very, very clunky and rushed.

One of the main reasons I the Storm instead of an iPhone is that some of the pre-launch reviews (and the fair heft to the unit) also suggested it should have much better battery life, and battery life is something I care about. Whereas, in fact, it's worse. So I returned it, got an iPhone 3g instead, and am really happy. Everything's just so much slicker and faster to use and even the battery life is not too bad - as long as you turn off 3g when you're not actively browsing...

I think Blackberry need to go back to the drawing board and design a UI from scratch for touchscreen. If they can do this, and sort the battery life, they've got a winner as the hardware seems pretty good. As it is, avoid unless you are very patient and really can't stand the idea of buying from Steve Jobs.

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Anonymous Coward

@ AC - iPhones can be wiped remotely...

...though lack of encryption is still a horrible omission.

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Coat

Ah the days of covermounts

I remember in my Amiga days getting demo disks or chances to win some new great thing, only to have a review in the magazine trash it

Thabks el Reg for reliving memories for me

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The update fixes 99% of the issues

The fresh delivered software update greatly enhances the device.

No more lag, typing an email is much easier, the accelerometer is much better.

Every reviewer should give a new try to the storm with the new software - they would be very very surprised!

This device requires 2 days to get use to it. Because it is different.

The lack of WiFi is not a problem when you use the Vodafone HSDPA network. WiFi would have been a plus for sure, but I am always on the go, so why bother with WiFi networks??

To conclude, the battery life is better. Not quite perfect, but better than my iPhone 3G for sure....

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@voda advertising exec

Sorry, titiri... The lack of wifi sucks for me because there's bugger all voda 3g coverage indoors where i live and work, which is kinda when i'd need to use the damn thing. Sure, where i live i'm out of the city, but it's a big commuter town of approx 10k people. Where i work is a different matter - i get no 3g coverage on my voda 3g card for my work laptop in my office in the canary wharf area, so what are the odds of getting any on the phone? With wifi i could connect to the work network, my home network, the free networks run by my local coffee shops, etc....

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No current HSDPA link is ever going to get close to proper broadband.

>No current HSDPA link is ever going to get close to proper broadband.

Oh I dunno ... I got 400kb/sec downloading a Blackberry desktop software upgrade today via my T-Mobile HSDPA USB donglet this afternoon.

7.2Mbit isn't exactly sluggish.

Tim

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Paris Hilton

@ Kevin Fairhurst

you are the only man on the face of the planet who hasn't seen La Hilton in the full glory of grainy night-vision AICM5£

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Voda 3G

Hi

The lack of WiFi might be OK when using the device on a network with decent 3G network coverage, but Voda UK does not have this! I switched to Voda from T-Mobile - The 3G coverage on Voda is ruddy awful in comparison.

I also thing that Voda's coverage is seriously exaggerated on their maps compared with T-mob. I'll switch back to t-mob soon. I only went with voda (on 30 day rolling contract) because they have superior 2G coverage in remote parts of Scotland.

Nigel

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@ Iain Buchanan

---There's loads more tips on various websites - master them (about 5 minutes reading), and you're amazed at how intuitive everything is.

Not exactly a the correct definition of intuitive, is it?

I had my hands on one of these, and while it seems like a nice toy, I would have to be worried about getting dust and grime in between the screen layers.

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Oh Cr*p, there's a credit crunch coming...

You can just imagine the boardroom, can't you?

"Oh send it out there before half our customers disappear".

REG - You can't say 'iphone killer' and 'no wi-fi' in the same review. You muppets.

as for the guy who said this:

"---There's loads more tips on various websites - master them (about 5 minutes reading), and you're amazed at how intuitive everything is. In otherwords, the same as you are with the iPhone when you know how it works."

Duh! Er, hello? INTUITIVE?

For the record, iphone could do with cut-n-paste, before the mac-boys start smirking. Muppets.

Bah humbug.

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hmmm

as the 'proud' owner of one of these I have to agree with the review. Today's system software update has definitely improved things, but it's still not up to the enormous hype and was clearly rushed to market.

Given the absence of wifi etc (see the review) I would at least expect to be able to use this phone as a 3G modem, but oh no!! Use it as a modem with your laptop and you can expect prehistoric speeds.

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Anonymous Coward

Storm and iPhone

I have had the 1G and 3G iPhone and now have a BB Storm from VF. Obviously, as a Mac user, the integration of the iPhones is way better and the software just works. As an entertainment device, the iPhones (and Touch) can't be beat. But as phones? Crappy reception compared to almost anything (in direct comparison). I still hate the iPhone keyboard. No MMS, no message forward, no copy/paste... like I said - a play machine.

Although the Storm is aimed more at independent users, it's still a corporate device - it's all "work" where the iPhones are all play.

I've also had an HTC S710. I liked the size and the keyboard, but it broke when I was working in South Africa and HTC SA wouldn't fix it - so much for a worldwide warranty. I shipped it back to the UK for repair, and got it back with a new fault so it immediately had to go for repair again. That was it for me and HTC phones. I also am no fan of Windoze Mobile.

I actually like the Storm as an e-mail machine. I never went for a previous BB because the screens were useless. But the Storm displays photos well (with zoom) and that's important to me. Commercial video looks great on it. The camera ain't great but beats the iPhones easily.

The lack of wifi surprised me, but I get good VF 3G reception in most places so it's not such a big deal. What do I use my iPhone wifi for? Controlling iTunes remotely - I don't think the Storm was ever going to do that.

I can get three days out of the Storm if I take it easy. The N95 I tried last year got about five hours. And unlike the iPhone, the Storm has a removable (possibly upgradeable) battery. If nothing else, a removable battery makes a good hard reset - unlike the iPhones' obscure reset process. Memory can be upgraded (or swapped).

Lots to like. Now to see if VF UK has locked it down or if I can use a Vodacom SA (owned by VF) local sim in it when I am there.

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Unhappy

Oh dear

Shame, I had high hopes for this, but the abysmal battery life, no Wi Fi and if it is as slow as reported, this is a total and complete fail. Shame, I was really hoping to get one of these.

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al
Happy

Enterprise

I run 600 BB's through a BES, I had big hopes of the incresed screen real estate for accessing corp web apps. I'm glad it doesn't have wifi, we have enough probs managing security., and I don't want to gove employees mp3 players, taxable benefit in kind ?

I'll hang off until we get our eval unit to see if it makes it as a business tool as opposed to a personal toy

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Urgh!

The boss got one of these to replace his iPhone. I didn't think there was a worse mobile than an iPhone. I was wrong. RIM has taken everything that's crap in an iPhone and made it crappier! Congratulations.

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Storm

I've had a Storm as a evaluation for the last couple of weeks and must admit to being disappointed. I'll qualify this by saying I use a Blackberry Curve for work and have been impressed with that phone, and have borrowed an iPod for a couple of weeks while the owner was on holiday. First up the battery life was absolutely rubbish - with a brand new battery I wasn't expecting to leave the office at 5.30 with it fully charged and for it to be dead by 11pm following fairly light use. Even switching off the 3G resulted in it lasting less than 24 hours.

Possibly as a result of it's energy thirst, the metal battery cover does get worryingly hot when you're using the apps. Not quite flaming laptop proportions but then considering where people usually keep their phones it probably makes for a good contraceptive...

I've got it until tomorrow so will see about upgrading the firmware that people have mentioned, maybe that will improve things.

The camera is pretty poor in anything other than good conditions and 5 seconds is far too long to be waiting for a photo after you press the shoot button. In dark conditions the photos are grainy and the light flashes a second or so prior taking the photo, causing everybody to think the deed is done and start to break up the pose when it does take it. Asking everybody to pose again gets very frustrating.

Compared to the iPhone the clickable screen is better when you're navigating around the system menus, as it noticeably eliminates mistaken clicks, but when the icons reach the size they do for the qwerty keyboard or some of the menu screens the force taken to press the screen increases the thumb/fingerprint size the phone detects, therefore causing the selector to wander a bit right before you press - frustrating and a definite step back from the Curve's dedicated keyboard.

The Pearl SureType entry is OK, but you aren't going to be interested in typing lengthy emails in it. I definitely preferred the iPhone's touch screen keyboard set up, the fact that a mere brush of the screen meant the large-fingered can accurately select letters was a happy experience in comparison to the Storm, despite the small size of the screen keys.

Finally, the browser - maybe I'm just too used to Opera Mini on the Curve, but there is something counter-intuitive about using it. It's not bad for reading sites, but trying to enter text/submitting searches into websites is an absolute pain and the phone tends to become unresponsive while you're using the internet. pressing the screen to zoom is haphazard and you can easily click a hyperlink by mistake. Can't recommend it at all.

Good things: The system is generally responsive (though becomes less so with the more apps you run) and the screen is top-notch, the built in software installed (messaging, camera, app installation etc) works very intuitively and the look and feel of the entire UI is much more polished than the decidedly threadbare Curve. Plus Brickbreaker with a touchscreen is sooo much better than with the erratic Pearl scroller :o)

I do like it, but the iPhone does what it can do that little more slickly than the Storm, so for me this is very much a case of waiting for v2.0 before I'd commit to a 18-24 month contract. Particularly given the battery life.

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Firmware Fix = A Storm That Works

I've gotta say, the new firmware (.78) fixes all issues with the lag. It now picks up the orientation within half a second of turning the device. Typing and sending mails is a breeze (the type settings just need to be turned up to "fast"!) and there are a lot of fixes for the rest incoming.

The lack of Wifi is crap, but it's not a showstopper by all means.

Overall, the potential for the phone is awesome, it's a much more of a beast technically than the iPhone, and RIM are working flat out for VF and Verizon to produce the goods. Reviews such of this will give them a royal kick up the arse too.

I'm a happy camper, even though I had to put up with a sluggish brick for the first 3 weeks of it's life.

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Corrections again

I will agree that performance out of the box is poor due to a rushed release but this is fixed now, pressing space does indeed insert an @ symbol in an email adress field. and this has quite simply the best touchscreen of any phone and is the best touchscreen phone for business by a mile. I will also admit that it is not as good as typing on the Curve 8900 or Bold but that is a small sacrifice for the increased screen size if you wnat to use media.

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Coat

@TimBiller

"Oh I dunno ... I got 400kb/sec downloading a Blackberry desktop software upgrade today via my T-Mobile HSDPA USB donglet this afternoon.

7.2Mbit isn't exactly sluggish."

Actually, 400KB/sec is only 3.2Mbit, but who's counting...

Mines the one with the slide rule in the pocket.

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