final rating

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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Reception and call quality No comments
  • Display No comments
  • Battery life No comments
  • Camera No comments
  • Ease of use No comments
  • Design and form factor No comments
  • Portability (size / weight) No comments
  • Media support No comments
  • Durability No comments
  • Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) No comments
Detailed review
The phone feels great to hold and has a very smooth surface all-around. The bottom row of buttons are now flush with the screen and function buttons are just a little more recessed so to avoid accidental pressing. The battery cover and external speaker have also been redesigned. Everything just looks and feels better.

The most notable change to the hardware is the improved SurePress touchscreen, which requires you to press the screen like a button to make selections. It may take some getting used to for many, but I believe this to be a superior input method versus a static capacitive touchscreen (such as the iPhone & DROID). Other new additions include WiFi, a 16GB microSD card, and improved device/application memory. The auto focus camera and video recording capabilities are also pretty good.

You will be right at home with the Storm2 if you've used any newer BlackBerry, but for many consumers this will be their first experience with one. Because of this, it would have been nice to see RIM implement a cleaner interface that is simple for non-business users (maybe include a "Basic" & "Advanced" mode). This is most apparent when visiting the "Options" menu on the home screen and native messaging apps. With lengthy text menus and sub-menus, this can leave many users scratching their head.

With that point aside, the OS is pretty straight forward. Once you learn the ins and outs, you'll begin to realize that tasks can be performed at an incredibly fast pace. For example, your favorite apps can be opened at the push of a button because of the customizable function buttons. If it's one thing RIM has mastered, it's the ability to create phones that efficiently multitask well.

BlackBerry's are known for having the best mobile keyboards around. So how does this phone stack up? I can affirm that the Storm2 has among the best touchscreen keyboards available (Trust me, I've used many!). SurePress may be the only barrier to entry, but everything from the auto-correction to layout is well executed. The ability to switch from a full qwerty keyboard to a simplified "SureType" layout is great for those familiar with the BlackBerry Pearl. Although the Storm2 has a great touchscreen keyboard, I wouldn't say it's a better alternative to physical keys... yet.

Similar to the points I brought up regarding the Storm2's OS, the media playback presentation leaves me wanting more from a flagship smartphone. Music and movie compatability are great, but I'd love to see a more innovative user interface. This is one area RIM needs to take cues from the iPhone. Thanks to the generous screen real-estate, movies and photos look excellent.

Another new feature is the support for OpenGL 3D games. The choices are slim, but 2010 will bring the best looking apps for the BlackBerry platform because of this.

Web browsing is one other area that can use improvements. Pages render slow (even with WiFi) and the recent switch to use Bing as the default search engine is plain wrong. Keep in mind that the web browser's performance is consistent with every BlackBerry on the market.

It was a rough welcome for the first BlackBerry Storm. With extremely buggy software and substandard hardware, it failed to deliver on the hype. With RIM's newest touchscreen BlackBerry, most people are saying this is what the first Storm should have been. And they would be right. If you're a Verizon Wireless subscriber looking for a phone that can handle business email/messaging but has the screen size to impressively display movies and photos, this may be right up your alley.

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It's hard to imagine years later, but I can honestly say that this phone satisfied all of my needs at the time. It also amazes me how far the BlackBerry brand has fallen in terms of sales and awareness in just a few short years. The blazing pace of advancements in consumer electronics is truly mind-boggling at times.