Archive for November, 2008

Blackberry Touch / Storm Review: Still no iPhone

Posted on November 20, 2008. Filed under: Product Review Tangents |

By:Brenton Blawat

black berryStorm

After a huge media ramp up and a Verizon demo on Thursday, November 20, 2008, there again has much left to be desired.

Taking Delivery: It’s here but you can’t have it. 😡

Perhaps most frustrating is the release on Friday but no one except ‘new customers’ will be privileged enough to receive on Friday. Everyone else will receive a handheld via a remote warehouse. While the principle shipping from a warehouse makes sense as a corporation, those geeks which are thriving for new technology, and much like that caffeine fix that I yearn for every morning, leaves a bitter taste in my mouth when new customers can receive the latest and greatest right away and I am stuck… waiting? So much for customer loyalty.

Note: I do have to note that I have a pre-order configured for expedited delivery on Saturday. They technically couldn’t even put it into the system until tomorrow on the official release date. I for some reason feel uneasy about the pre-order being fulfilled… as they were filling these pre-order slips out left and right. I am expecting to see it on Monday or later.

 

Functionality: Neat but nothing innovative.

Touch – The touch screen is very responsive and accurate. While you scroll your finger around the screen, location of your finger is exactly where you want it to be. – Do not confuse this with the SurePress functionality. While the touch screen goes where you want it to, when pressing the screen to register the click, it would often miss the icon I was going for; frustrating.

SurePress – As mentioned by the GDGT team in their phone reviews, either you love the technology or you hate it. While 15 minutes of play time and several “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.” later, I found that the keyboard is something that I can tolerate. Being that I came from a LG Chocolate, I enjoy the fact that you know you are clicking something.

QWERTY Keyboard – This is not a thumb keyboard. I have average size thumbs and I found my thumbs were some what obtrusive to the typing on their qwerty keyboard. With practice I believe I might be able to “thumb it” but for now, I’d recommend your index finger to type. No more learning curve than the iPhone, but a learning curve.

Application Launching – I was very disappointed with the speeds of the application launching. The iPhone’s powerhouse of a GPU and processing power, really puts the Blackberry to shame. This is probably the most disappointing feature of the Blackberry Touch unit. I want applications to launch like NOW. I don’t want to see 15 second app launch delays as an acceptable speed anymore. If Blackberry wants to stay competitive in the market, c’mon guys… let’s get the launch times to less than 5 seconds.

Screen Rotation Speeds – That wonderful demo they had on the TV is a bunch of smoke and mirrors. The screen took a minimum of 5 seconds to rotate to the QWERTY Position and another 5 seconds back. This was again another let down. The Verizon tech stated that it’s faster with a software update but so is my car and my microwave. Put your best foot forward, I don’t want to update the software out of the box.

No WiFi – You’ve got to be kidding me! I would pay another $100 to get this feature. Market demands WiFi in their devices… Market 1 Blackberry 0.

Phone Storage – As part of the introductory release, the Blackberry Touch is including a 8gb MicroSD card with the phone (and another 1gb embedded on the device). While this doesn’t compete with the iPhone 16gb, the Blackberry is focused towards business professionals, and 8gb is a great start.

Camera – At last! Something I am happy about! I really liked the 3 megapixel camera on the phone. Even better it has an auto focus which works. The iPhone has issues taking pictures of close up items, however, the Blackberry had no issue refocusing on small lettering on a box. Camera a plus!

App Store – Limited applications, soon to grow. It seemed to me that the Blackberry App Store will provide the opportunity for innovation on the device. I am going to definitely look into the SDK for the Blackberry to develop useful applications.

Corporate Documents – The Blackberry has stronger support corporate files than the previous versions. I’m looking forward to trying out several formats, and emailing my revisions.

Corporate Email – The iPhone loses again. Blackberry is still built on the instant (push not pull) email access and truly is a perk that the iPhone cannot touch. While this feature may be nothing new, it gives the Crackberry users their fix.

Broadband – For $59.00 / month, broadband service can be added to the cell phone plan. This is the service where you tether your phone to a laptop and browse the internet. I asked about access to the internet for my laptop via Bluetooth and got a bunch of blank stares. I don’t mind tethering the phone but really? Broadband was fast, however, this 3G network wasn’t anything that blew me away – but a feature iPhone users would love to have!

The Final Verdict: ARG! But I’ll take it.

Verizon Wireless has been plagued with phones that have been good, but not great. I am looking forward to working with the Blackberry Touch / Storm to see if familiarity with the QWERTY keyboard will make accelerate my productivity. Ultimately, I bought the phone as it’s the best phone available for Verizon.

Now only if we could legally get an iPhone on a Verizon…

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