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Contributor
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎11-30-2008
My Device: Not Specified

My Storm Review

[ Edited ]
I don't expect much from a phone. Then again, maybe I do - I guess it's all in perspective. But I do expect it to function well, as a phone. It seems to me that practically all the reviews written about the Storm have looked at the gadget's neat new features and really gone into depth breaking them down - the touch and click screen, the accelerometer, the browser, the music and video players, the camera, etc. I haven't really seen a review of practical use of the thing as a phone. So here I go, and for those of you fans of the Storm out there, you might want to cover your eyes for a bit.

Talking on the phone
To be fair, I believe the Storm suffers the same issues as other non-flip phones of the same size. In order to hear someone, I can hold the phone in a normal position to my ear. But in order for someone to hear me clearly, I must shift the phone down so the microphone is closer to my mouth, and since the speaker is then far from my ear I cannot hear if someone is trying to say something in reply to me. This means that there can never be a true 2-way conversation. Now, I know there are those that will say: "People shouldn't be trying to talk while you're talking anyway - that's just rude." But the fact of the matter is that it happens to everyone and is often a normal progression of conversation. I've never had this problem with any flip-phone I've ever had. Of course, I'm sure using a Bluetooth device is also an alternative, but I don't always carry one with me and even so that's not a fix for the problem, it's an inconvenient workaround. Big difference.

The other major problem I have with actually being able to talk on the Storm is with the touch screen. During a conversation a menu screen is displayed with buttons for Speaker, Mute, Flash, and Add Participant. A couple of these buttons change based on whether you're already on speaker or if you have another person conferenced in already. While on a call, if the phone is pressed ever so slightly to my face just a bit too hard, I may end up activating any of these buttons accidentally. I can't tell you how embarrassed I've been when having personal conversations and my face ends up pressing the Speaker button for all to hear within several yards of me. Or when I accidentally press Mute and the person on the other end thinks I'm ignoring them when I'm actually responding, believing I'm participating in the conversation. And don't get me started on clicking the Flash button with my face accidentally.

The thing I perhaps like most about the Storm during a conversation is that it seems to cancel out my background noise pretty well. Other people can hear me pretty clearly while I'm talking even if I have fairly loud background noise, which I frequently do at work. But considering that I have to move the phone down to my mouth to talk into the mic so people can hear me, this wasn't much of a surprise.

Features
The Storm is a neat gadget. It can do all sorts of things, and it's really a pretty cool device. That being said, here is my take on some features that I have come to expect from even much less expensive devices that are lacking in the Storm.

Delete All - This feature should be available at every menu location where it is possible to have a lot of entries. The main locations for this are SMS, the Call Log, Messages, any of the Media subfeatures (Music, Videos, etc.), even Contacts. The ability to delete 150 or so SMS messages all at once, instead of one-at-a-time, is invaluable! Just ask me if I'm sure I want to do it to make sure I know what I'm doing...

Add SMS sender to Contacts - There is currently no option to add someone's number from a text or SMS message to your contacts, or update an existing contact. When people change their numbers and send a text with their new number it's nice to be able to just use the text message to add/update their number.

Call recording - There are many situations where recording your conversation with someone else is useful. I understand the legality issues of "wire-tapping", but there are many other phones out there that will at least record what the other person on the line is saying. I don't see any reason this nifty little gadget can't do the same.

Typing - What can I say? I just can't type as fast on that on-screen keyboard as I can with a button keyboard. And my accuracy is atrocious now.

Other Issues
While the touch-and-click rotating screen is perhaps a revolutionary and useful feature, I've found it has its serious bugs. Before the release of the newer OS, the accelerometer was extremely slow and clunky. That issue seems to be getting better, but I still have other problems.

As I mentioned above, the touch screen is too touchy during a conversation. But that's not the only thing. Sometimes the screen goes blank during a call - no menu options at all. You can still click the screen and push buttons that should be there, the buttons just don't display.

Or how about the fact that, for some reason, the screen rotates during a phone call and goes on speaker. When this happens there is no button option to take the call off speaker, and no option to do so even when you press the Menu button. It's gymnastics to try to get the screen back to Portrait mode, let alone take it off speaker.

Let's talk about GPS and Wi-Fi for a minute. I read the specs for the Storm before I purchased it so I never expected it to have Wi-Fi. Verizon's 3G network has been great for web browsing. I can understand, and have indeed experienced, instances where Wi-Fi would have been nice, but lack of it hasn't really effected my overall productivity yet. And we all know that Verizon loves to make you pay for VZNavigator. While use of Google Maps would be an excellent thing, again, I knew going into the purchase that Verizon isn't really wont to unlock the GPS functionality entirely. Another "nice-to-have", but isn't really necessary for functionality.

So....
The other reviews I've seen have extolled the Storm's technology and it really is a revolutionary gadget. In terms of moving technology forward, I believe Blackberry is taking large steps. And no new technology comes without the price of learning from a market testing trial-and-error period. We have to learn to expect that new advances will always come with some period of time before the technology can be perfected. But we must continue to make advances.

That being said, functionality should not be sacrificed for the sake of a few neat new things. If a device is not functional it is useless for its intended purpose. The Blackberry has traditionally always been more than just a phone. And for most of the features that it contains other than a phone it works pretty well. The camera, the music player, the LCD screen for video playback, the Docs-to-Go and email features all prove the device's versatility and work pretty well. But the phone functionality of the device is extremely lacking and has a long way to go before I can consider it appropriate for my needs.
Message Edited by stryd3r on 12-19-2008 10:01 PM
Contributor
Posts: 35
Registered: ‎12-19-2008
My Device: BlackBerry Curve 8330

Re: My Storm Review

Appreciated this review and I'm just curious. After all of this, if the opportunity emerged, would you opt out of using this phone for another?
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Forums Veteran I
Posts: 2,036
Registered: ‎12-04-2008
My Device: 8900

Re: My Storm Review

Well written review.
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Contributor
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎11-30-2008
My Device: Not Specified

Re: My Storm Review

Yes, I'm actually opting to return this device and will be getting a phone.  I had an LG VX8350 for a while and loved it.  Now I'm thinking about trading this in for an LG Decoy.  Having a functional phone is more important to me than having a lot of neat things on a device but a dysfunctional phone.
Forums Advisor I
Posts: 595
Registered: ‎11-29-2008
My Device: Storm2 (9550)
My Carrier: Verizon

Re: My Storm Review


stryd3r wrote:


Delete All - This feature should be available at every menu location where it is possible to have a lot of entries. The main locations for this are SMS, the Call Log, Messages, any of the Media subfeatures (Music, Videos, etc.), even Contacts. The ability to delete 150 or so SMS messages all at once, instead of one-at-a-time, is invaluable! Just ask me if I'm sure I want to do it to make sure I know what I'm doing...

Message Edited by stryd3r on 12-19-2008 10:01 PM

You can select one item in a list and then using another finger select another item further down the list and it behaves like a "shift-click" would on a computer and it'll select all messages between the two points.  After they are all selected you can hit "Delete" and it will delete all of the selected messages. 

Regular Contributor
Posts: 168
Registered: ‎11-24-2008
My Device: Blackberry Storm 9530

Re: My Storm Review


stryd3r wrote:

Add SMS sender to Contacts - There is currently no option to add someone's number from a text or SMS message to your contacts, or update an existing contact. When people change their numbers and send a text with their new number it's nice to be able to just use the text message to add/update their number.

 

This is possible.   It's probably not "clicky" easy like you're expecting, but it can be done.

 

From the text message with the phone number.

 

Touch the phone number in the message.

Press the BB button

Pick copy

Go to your contacts

Open the contact you want to update

Select edit

Go to the location for that number (home, cell, work)

Press the BB button

Pick Paste

Save Contact

 

 

Like I said, I am sure what you're asking for is the ability to click on the number and have a Save As under the BB menu. I have found that BlackBerries are not a simple menu and at first I didn't like it, but I have found that the reason they did it without so many 'shortcuts' is to make the OS more powerful.   The options are greater but allows for more control.  

 

Also makes for a learning curve though...

 

Hang in there, use up your full trial and I believe you will come to love this phone!

 

Jamie

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Regular Contributor
Posts: 168
Registered: ‎11-24-2008
My Device: Blackberry Storm 9530

Re: My Storm Review


stryd3r wrote:

Typing - What can I say? I just can't type as fast on that on-screen keyboard as I can with a button keyboard. And my accuracy is atrocious now.


I too, didn't like the keyboards and hated the SureType, but over the last two weeks I have actually learn to love the SureType.  The more I use it, the better it understands what I 'normally' type.  For 'weird' conversations or when there is strange words, I just flip it over and use the full keyboard and then flip it back.   That's the great thing about this phone, with a flip of the phone you can have both keyboards.

 

I have found that having spell check on in emails helps alot.  That way when you miss a word and mispell it, it will catch it for you and you can fix it quickly.

 

Also, hovering your finger over a line will turn the blinking blue cursor to a 'clear' cursor which then you just slide your finger to the point you need to correct and fix the word.

 

Typing on the keyboard takes pratice...  You have to imagine a line in the middle of the keyboard...  any letter on the left needs to be touched by the left finger and any letter on the right of that line need to be touched with your right finger.

 

Again, over time you will see the beauty of these keyboards..   Give it the full trial..  

 

Jamie

 

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Regular Contributor
Posts: 168
Registered: ‎11-24-2008
My Device: Blackberry Storm 9530

Re: My Storm Review


stryd3r wrote:
Let's talk about GPS and Wi-Fi for a minute. I read the specs for the Storm before I purchased it so I never expected it to have Wi-Fi. Verizon's 3G network has been great for web browsing. I can understand, and have indeed experienced, instances where Wi-Fi would have been nice, but lack of it hasn't really effected my overall productivity yet. And we all know that Verizon loves to make you pay for VZNavigator. While use of Google Maps would be an excellent thing, again, I knew going into the purchase that Verizon isn't really wont to unlock the GPS functionality entirely. Another "nice-to-have", but isn't really necessary for functionality.


The Storm's GPS is not locked up in anyway.  I have BBmaps installed, Nav4ALL and Google maps and it pins me down plus or minus a few 100 feet.   My address is 227 Notre Dame and it tells me I live next door at 229 Notre Dame.

 

You can't expect the GPS to be pinpoint unless you're in the military.  Smiley Happy

 

Why buy anything from Verizon when there are and will be great Applications ou there for the Blackberry?

 

Jamie

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Regular Contributor
Posts: 168
Registered: ‎11-24-2008
My Device: Blackberry Storm 9530

Re: My Storm Review


stryd3r wrote:

That being said, functionality should not be sacrificed for the sake of a few neat new things. If a device is not functional it is useless for its intended purpose. The Blackberry has traditionally always been more than just a phone. And for most of the features that it contains other than a phone it works pretty well. The camera, the music player, the LCD screen for video playback, the Docs-to-Go and email features all prove the device's versatility and work pretty well. But the phone functionality of the device is extremely lacking and has a long way to go before I can consider it appropriate for my needs.

I don't think anything has been sacrificed.   I DO believe they released it with a bad OS.  I have installed the leaked version of .83 and everything is cleaner, zipped, more responsive.   As RIM releases more updates you will see a big difference in the overall functions of this phone.

 

I have used my phone for my business without a glitch..  learning curve yes.  I appreiate your review, but feel you're not giving the phone the learning time it needs since it's a new phone.  Again, use your full trial..  come to the forums here and over at CrackBerry.com and learn what this phone will do, play with it and I believe you will come to love this phone.

 

There are still bugs out there like the 'you can't lock the phone while on a call'...  but RIM has always taken care of their users and I have no doubt they will fix this and other glitches in a timely matter.

 

Good luck with your decision but trust me, give your phone a real chance before turning it in.

 

Jamie

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Highlighted
Contributor
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎11-30-2008
My Device: Not Specified

Re: My Storm Review

[ Edited ]

Ok, let me address all the replies above.

 

Delete All

I had someone else tell me you can delete a bunch of messages by doing a shift-click type thing.  And this is what I have to say to that:

 

"I know I can delete multiple messages by highlighting and selecting. But have you tried deleting multiple screens of messages all at the same time? As soon as I try to scroll to the next screen the highlighting jumps around and I lose what I highlighted. Instead, it highlights an entirely new selection.

This is NOT a "delete all" feature, and is definitely NOT convenient.

Let's see, I have 150 messages (approximately 12 or 13 screens of messages) and wish to delete them all. Click the Menu button and select the Delete All option...

OR

Do it your way and highlight 12 to 13 screens of messages to delete them. Or try to highlight multiple screens of messages and have the selection jump around on you.

Which would you prefer?"

 

Add SMS Sender to Contacts

Ok, I see what you're getting at.  But there are cell phones a lot less complicated than this gadget where all I have to do is click on the Menu button and select an option to add or update the contact.  Again, a LOT easier.  Which would you prefer?  That long drawn out process you listed or a 2-click button/menu option?

 

Typing

There's just no way you can convince me that I can type faster on the Storm than on a regular cell phone with T9.  The screen doesn't respond to clicking as fast as I can type on it.  Even with word correction on it still can't keep up with my fingers the way a button can.

 

Also, in terms of accuracy, I know how to type, very fast.  The Qwerty keyboard on the Storm is designed so that you use the same hands for typing letters on it that you would on a normal computer keyboard.  The screen still doesn't always pick up my letters, especially if I have double letters in a word and click the letter twice.  I have to wait much longer on the screen to click a letter twice than I do on a regular cell phone.  And even cell phones have a button you can use to move a space to type the next letter.  Clicking two buttons on a cell phone to type a double letter is faster than clicking the same letter twice on the Storm keyboard.

 

The Storm's keyboard still has some stuff to get worked out.  I'm not saying that these issues won't be fixed, but right now it's extremely annoying and slow to use.

 

GPS

I've seen this be an issue of topics in several forums.  Some say they can't get it working with Google Maps and some say they can.  I definitely can get it working with VZNavigator and with BBMaps.  But it will not work with Google Maps for anything.  I've tried, I've contacted Verizon technical support several times, I've tried again... it just won't work.  Kudos if you can get it working.

 

Functionality Sacrificed

Yes it has been. As I mentioned in the first paragraph of my review, this is not a review of all the neat things the Storm can do.  It's a gadget and it does a lot of nifty things.  But to sacrifice ease-of-calling usage is unacceptable to me.  I've mentioned all the issues I've had while making phone calls, and those are just not something I expect from a phone.  I've been using this thing diligently, have wiped it a few times and have the .83 OS on it.  The phone functionality is simply not there.  It doesn't work well as a phone.  It does work well as a gadget with nifty things on it.

 

I know there is a learning curve with any phone.  But there are simply things that are built into other phones in terms of convenience that I cannot see any reason for a more complex device like the Storm not having.  It's preposterous.  Why go through gymnastics for the sake of a learning curve when the device can have that convenience built in with a few menu options?  Again, that's simply unacceptable.

 

Remember, I'm not reviewing the techy stuff in the Storm, I'm reviewing the phone functionality and convenience that other, much less techy and less expensive cell phones already have built-in that this device has no reason for lacking.

Message Edited by stryd3r on 12-20-2008 01:43 PM