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BlackBerry Storm2 review

January 1, 2009

in All Articles,Cellphone reviews

This article is a continuation of my review of the BlackBerry Storm. Be sure to read that one first, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with the BlackBerry Storm. It’s a different enough cellphone (mostly in a good way!) that users need to know what it is, how it works, and under what conditions you should purchase it. My first article addresses these points.

This article is all about the improvements between the Storm and the Storm2. Because there are improvements. Many. In my earlier article, you’ll see that I liked the Storm, but many other reviewers did not. However, the Storm2 is so much better, it really makes the first generation Storm look bad. That’s not meant to knock the Storm (well, maybe a little), but instead to compliment the Storm2.

The Storm2 is a great phone. In fact, it’s what the first generation Storm should have been.

Since the Storm2 is a direct improvement over its ancestor, let’s address some of the more popular “problems” of the Storm, and see if the Storm2 fares any better:

Screen scrolling and touch detection

In my earlier review, I found that default settings didn’t work well for touch sensitivity. In addition, screen scrolling rates were a little clunky. In order to fix the first problem, you needed to change the screen calibration. Annoying to novice users, certainly, but not a show-stopper.

The Storm2 solves both of these issues. Touch sensitivity is more precise, and screen scrolling is smoother and faster.

Performance, auto-rotate, application loading and closing

Performance on the Storm2 is noticeably fast. Note that I didn’t say “faster”, but “FAST”. It’s the fastest BlackBerry I’ve seen. It feels the same as the Google Android phones (like the Motorola Droid or the Droid Eris) in terms of overall performance. The first Storm was nowhere near this responsive.

This is probably the most noticeable (and most appreciated) improvement on the Storm2.


Some people were upset that the Storm did not have Wi-Fi. Complain no more: The Storm2 supports Wi-Fi.

The virtual keyboard

I want to make special mention of the virtual keyboard. The first generation Storm’s keyboard wasn’t great. I’m personally not a fan of virtual keyboards, because I find the error rate and input speed are both poor compared to physical keyboards. But not on the Storm2. The Storm2 is probably the best virtual keyboard I’ve yet seen on a smartphone. I was very impressed.

The Storm2’s virtual keyboard is an effective combination of simple on-screen keyboard with an intelligent predictive input. As you type, the screen prompts you with what word it thinks you’re trying to type. If it’s a long word, it may find it before you have time to type it. If it’s a word you misspelled (like typing ‘hekko’ instead of ‘hello’), the Storm2 knows this too, and will offer you the correct word.

This means you don’t have to do much backing up and correcting on the keyboard – you just keep typing, periodically slowing down to pick from the predictive input list. Even after typing for just a few minutes on the Storm2, I realized that this is a high-quality virtual keyboard. With (not much) practice, I could easily see my virtual typing speed equaling that of a physical smartphone keyboard.

Don’t just take my word for it. I gave my demo phone to “Ryan”, a coworker who is definitely a smartphone super-user. I made sure not to lead him to any of my opinions. I just handed him the Storm2, kept my mouth shut, and watched as he played with it.

He liked it. His thoughts included:

“This is the first phone with a virtual keyboard where I typed ‘My name is Ryan’ and have everything spelled correctly on the first try.”

“It’s more intuitive than the Eris.”

“It’s very user friendly.”

I agree, with the exception of the comment about the Eris. While both designs are intuitive, I personally think the Android interface is a little better (this really only applies to novice users).


The BlackBerry Storm2 is a significant and noticeable improvement over the first BlackBerry Storm. It’s so much of an improvement, in fact, that I now recommend against the Storm. Get the Storm2.

The BlackBerry Storm was certainly a different phone, requiring a more forgiving and patient user, perhaps moreso than other smartphones. The Storm2, however, widens its field of prospective customers with performance improvements and good tweaks to functionality and ease-of-use.

The easy way to say all this: The Storm2 is a fast, fun and friendly phone. I like it.

The BlackBerry Storm2 is available from Verizon Wireless for $180 and a two-year contract.


Key Features:

  • Smooth design and premium finish with sloped edges, chrome accents, glass lens and stainless steel backplate
  • Large (3.25”), dazzling high-resolution 480 x 360 display at 184 ppi
  • Capacitive touchscreen with integrated functions (Send, End, Menu, Escape) and new SurePress technology that makes clicking the display practically effortless
  • 3G and global connectivity support for making phone calls in more than 220 countries and accessing data in more than 185 countries (with more than 80 destinations in 3G)
  • Network Connectivity: EV-DO Revision A; UMTS/HSPA (2100 MHz); and quad-band EDGE/GPRS/GSM networks
  • Supports Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g)
  • 256 MB of Flash memory
  • 2 GB of onboard media storage and a microSD™/SDHD memory card slot with a 16 GB card included

Software Updates on BlackBerry Storm2:

  • Features BlackBerry OS 5.0, which includes typing accuracy and selection improvements, as well as usability and visual enhancements such as inertial scrolling, spin boxes that make it easier to set dates and times, gradient shading on buttons, and more use of animation
  • BlackBerry ® Browser is improved with faster JavaScript and CSS processing as well as support for Gears and BlackBerry Widgets
  • Customers running BlackBerry ® Enterprise Server 5.0 will gain the ability to set follow-up flags, manage e-mail folders, access remote files (Windows Shares), forward appointments, view calendar attachments, and more

Additional Features and Specifications:

  • 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus, Image Stabilization (IS), flash and video recording capabilities
  • Premium and easy-to-access phone features, background noise suppression technology, loud distortion-free speakerphone and face detection (proximity sensor) that prevents accidental clicks and blanks the screen while the customer is on the phone
  • Media player for videos, pictures and music, plus support for BlackBerry Desktop Manager for both PCs and Macs, and BlackBerry ® Media Sync, for easily syncing Windows Media ® Player music with the smartphone*
  • 3.5 mm stereo headset jack and dedicated volume controls
  • Bluetooth ® (v2.1) capable with support for Secure Simple Pairing, hands-free headsets, stereo headsets, car kits and other Bluetooth peripherals
  • Built-in GPS for maps and other location-based applications, as well as photo geotagging; and Verizon Wireless’ VZ Navigator SM service is pre-loaded
  • V CAST Music with Rhapsody
  • Access to BlackBerry App World™, featuring a broad and growing catalog of third-party mobile applications developed specifically for BlackBerry smartphones, with categories including games, entertainment, IM and social networking, news, weather, productivity and more
  • Support for Verizon Wireless’ Mobile Broadband Connect tethering service
  • Removable, rechargeable 1400 mAhr battery that provides up to 5.5 hours of talk time or up to 11.2 days of standby time

BlackBerry Storm tech support, software tutorials and other information

Verizon phone tech support

Verizon smartphone setup guides, tutorials and FAQs

BlackBerry Support

BlackBerry Storm support, tutorials, knowledge base and software downloads

Verizon BlackBerry information

Verizon BlackBerry software update downloads (including downloads of BlackBerry Desktop Software and VZ Access Manager – your Verizon cellphone number is required)

Verizon mobile phone portal (visit this mobile-formatted website from your phone for device information, news, entertainment, applications and support)

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