Should I Keep My BlackBerry Storm?

Last month, I bought a BlackBerry Storm touchscreen phone.  As I get to the end of my 30 day return grace period (minus a $35 restocking fee….), I am trying to figure out if I want to keep it.  In essence, I am making a commitment to have this thing as my constant companion for the next couple of years….I need to be sure I like my new friend.


So here are my top likes and dislikes about the BlackBerry Storm – I’d really love to hear from other folks who have one and get your thoughts.

Top Things I Like About the BlackBerry Storm

  • It’s cool. There is no denying the coolness factor of a touchscreen phone and all the online capabilities it has.  It looks cool, it feels cool, it’s a little bit fun.  But it’s not as cool as an iPhone.
  • The screen is beautiful. It’s bright, its clear, and its highly readable.
  • The screen clicks. Another cool factor, and a highly functional one,  is the tactile feedback you get when you type on the screen.  Light finger pressure highlights the button, and a slight “click” confirms the action.  This alone may be the reason to keep the phone.
  • It’s easy to lock and unlock the screen. Keeps me from dialing people when the phone is in my pocket.
  • It works like a BlackBerry. If you already have a BlackBerry, then you will know how to use the Storm.  Unlike Microsoft, who decided that we all need to relearn the menu’s and shortcuts in the latest version of Microsoft Office, Research In Motion (RIM) has kept the BlackBerry Storm commands the same as always.  Love them or hate them, you know how to use them.
  • The phone is good. Clear, loud, works great.
  • The camera is good. 3.2 mega-pixels and its easy to use.  I think it is way better than the one on my old BlackBerry Curve.
  • Shortcut Menu. On the screen you get the whole collection of menu icons, and you can customize the top two rows of icons which becomes a shortcut to your most used buttons.  It’s not easy to customize, but once you do it you’ll be happy.
  • Speakerphone is strong.
  • Third party stuff. I bought a custom rubber case to protect the phone when I drop it (which is often), and a screen protector to prevent scratches.  The screen protector is fantastic – it’s taking the abuse from my keys and other items, and doesn’t seem to make it any less responsive.  If you’ve ever had a scratch on your screen you know how awful it is.  Verizon had a few accessories, but I found more at a lower price at the Cell Phone Shop.

Things I don’t like about the BlackBerry Storm

  • It’s a brick. The phone is heavy and large, unlike an iPhone.  A friend of mine who is the head of training for the Detroit Lions likes the way it feels, but he is 6’3″.   On the plus side, it feels substantial and you don’t feel like its going to break in your pocket or if you drop it.
  • Browser is slow and awkward. I understand there are third party browsers for the Storm, but I honestly don’t want to work that hard to find them.  BlackBerry should give me a kick ass browser that has been well researched and integrates with the rest of the functions on the phone seamlessly.
  • Browser doesn’t scale pages well. When I get on a text heavy page and need to zoom in to read the small fonts, in most cases the browser doesn’t scale the page to fit  the screen.  This means I have to slide left and right to read a paragraph.   Which really means I don’t read web pages much on this BlackBerry Storm browser.  Kind of defeats the purpose.
  • Browser doesn’t support video. I can’t watch stupid human tricks on YouTube with the Storm.  What am I paying for?
  • Icons are hard to move. In general, the user interface is hard to customize, including alerts, screen preferences, icon placement and so on.  The system should be highly intuitive for people like me who don’t want to read manuals or have to scrounge web sites to find little tips and tricks (which I cant read on the Storm browser anyway!).
  • Lots of little User Interface things that no one fixed. For example, adding a new phone number to an existing contact.  If I want to add an incoming call phone number to an existing contact, it takes a series of clicks and copy/paste actions which are silly.  All they have to do is give me an option when I want to save a new phone number to either create a new contact, or add it to an existing contact.  Things like this make me crazy because it’s so simple and I expect a big company like RIM to know how their customers use their products in real life.
  • Where are the apps? Maybe it’s not fair to compare the BlackBerry Storm to the iPhone, but the availability of third party applications is  one of the key differences.  A client of mine showed me some of her apps on her iPhone – she has the Shazam app that recognizes songs (and works great) and a fun app called Coi Pond that has fish on her screen with all kinds of customizations (how many fish, day or night, sounds, etc).  These apps are really cool and fun – where are they for the BlackBerry Storm?
  • Too many clicks. Back to the user interface,  they really need to streamline the number of clicks needed to make things happen.  While in the phone mode for example, once the call is connected the numeric pad goes away for some other options.  This now means I have to activate the screen, find the small “keypad” button, click on the button, and then input numbers or the # sign.  Its a minor thing, but the phone needs to work the way I work.

So I could come up with a lot more little things, but you see where I am frustrated with the phone.  Its cool, but not the coolest.  It works well, but not great.  I feel marginally more productive with this phone compared to the BlackBerry Curve, but I expected more.   And of course, I am locked into Verizon’s “sell your soul to us forever” family phone plan which means a major disruption and expense if I were to switch to AT&T to get an iPhone.

Anyone want to talk me out of returning it this week?

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11 Responses to “Should I Keep My BlackBerry Storm?”

  1. Dave Rigotti on January 28th, 2009:

    A few of my friends jumped the iPhone ship for and picked up the storm and absolutely love it.

  2. cassetti on January 28th, 2009:

    As an early adopter and a gadget geek. I am the first to admit I was excited by the Storm. Even though i am not a BB user and never will be, There is one thing i must say:

    Never adopt the first generation of any new technology. the Storm has 2 new technologies for bb, the raised buttons on the screen is totally proprietary for anyone to my knowledge. Course touchscreen is nice, but nothing new.

    The storm is proprietary, it will have issues, you will have issues that you can not overcome no matter how many software updates you get. Its the nature of the beast. Think of the storm a ‘beta’ test.

    Get rid of it and get something else. The iPhone is nice if you want a happy meal smart phone – works great, locks you down like hell (no way to upgrade battery, no stereo bluetooth support, no upgrading the memory, etc etc)

    I have the AT&T Fuze (HTC Touch Pro) – All i have to say is you know your phone has something special if all 3 major companies (AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon) are all selling variations of the SAME PHONE! Windows mobile phones are not for everyone – they require patience and customization to make them meet your needs. But until android comes out of my definition of ‘beta’ and we see it show up on a handful of phones, it will not be worth investing my time in exploring

    Just my $0.02

    I’m a gadget geek, and my vote is return it and get something else
    (Even the iPhone if you have your heart set on it, i purchased one for my mother since she is… technologically challenged… ha ha)

  3. Jen R on January 28th, 2009:

    Okay, I don’t have the Blackberry Storm, but I do have the Samsung Instinct that is also a touchscreen.

    I personally like it. Yes it is cool but most importantly it does what I need it to – it keeps me in contact with everyone via email, text messaging and phone calls.

    I also like the fact that it is a new gadget. And owning it and using it allows me to explore a new piece of technology that is in the hands of consumers more and more each day. That alone is valuable to me.

    So if you need a new phone, are willing to wait for updates on the software and the size isn’t a huge issue, then I’d say invite your friend in to stay awhile.


  4. Jessica Manna on January 28th, 2009:

    2 words – i phone (OK, I made that into two words!)

    Aside from being tied to AT&T, which luckily is good service in my area, the phone is the best piece of technology I own.

    Unlike most cell phones, it was designed by manufacturers not the carrier. That has done wonders for the usability, product design, features, etc. In fact, several of my hard-core windows friends that have poo-pooed on my Macbook for years (yes, they call it a “Crapbook”) have made the switch from their Blackberries and not only ‘like’ it, they are Raving Fans.

    Go Apple.

  5. John on January 28th, 2009:

    I have the Storm and somewhat regret the decision. Its far too slow, too “laggy” and frustrates the hell out of me. It hangs for too long and just typing a simple “yes/no” email or text can take minutes.

    Shame, as i love:

    1. the click screen – i have an iPod Touch and i’m continually backtracking as i accidentally click into things when i’m browsing. the +ve click on Storm is great for me.
    2. the interface/unit design – bright/clear screen, good layout/physically “pleasing” 🙂
    3. the email engine – very slick.

    I’m in the UK and mainly chose the Storm over the iPhone as its available on Vodafone (iPhone is on o2 network) which has better coverage for me.

    I also have an HTC WinMo device, but they’re still a way off being a consumer device.

    I’m hoping the lag issues are going to be solved with an OS release. But maybe i’m just kidding myself.


  6. Amanda on January 28th, 2009:

    I am having the same dilemma about the storm right now. I have only had it about a week and I loved it at first but I am wondering if I want to return it and wait to upgrade. I am running into alot of the same problems as you and I am also worried about the durability of the screen. I don’t like that its seperated to allow for the clicking-I feel like dust will get on there and ruin the software. It moves around a little bit also and I was moving it today to see how loose it really was and the screen totally froze the first time, then wasn’t as touch sensitive the second time. Let me know what you decide to do…I really can’t decide because I do love it-I just feel it could be better made.

  7. How I Nearly Missed the Sierra Mist | Loud Amplifier Marketing on January 28th, 2009:

    […] I took this photo with my BlackBerry Storm.  What do you […]

  8. Titus Gallagher on January 28th, 2009:

    Maybe they thought he was talking to his terrorist friend

  9. Deciding If My BlackBerry Storm Touch Phone Is Worth The Trouble | Loud Amplifier Marketing on January 28th, 2009:

    […] I took a chance and got one and became one of the early adopters of the phone.  You can read my initial review of the Blackberry Storm here.  And now I am having a classic case of buyers remorse (or as we marketers learned to say, […]

  10. A. I. Abdullah on January 28th, 2009:

    Keep it!

    The iPhone, no matter how stylish or flashy it may be, will never beat the BB.

    When I purchased my BB from Vodafone’s Malaysian counterpart, CELCOM, I was given a small pamphlet on ‘BB Storm VS iCompetitor. That showed me exactly what I’m buying in to.

    Apps are available via BlackBerry AppWorld. Download that and the worlds apps are yours for the taking.

    Also, the Storm has the exclusivity advantage. Every man and his parakeet has an iPhone. I laugh at those who bought in to the Apple BuZz. Posers. The BlackBerry Storm is a thing of beauty, and not many own one.

    You put your iPhone on the table, people look briefly. Put your Storm on the table, half the world would be looking.

    Good enough for ya?

  11. Ivory Iman on January 28th, 2009:

    My ipod 1G is our main iPod, Pda and a lot more, plus has also been from the time I discovered it. It still work on the most current iPod system software program, and any application I might want it to run. I’m using it to post this comment right now. It’s safe to point out it can be a lot more than only an “excellent hobbyist system” — it is really an excellent iPod