Customer Review

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Storm? is it worth it for the new user?, December 9, 2008
This review is from: BlackBerry Storm 9530 Phone (Verizon Wireless) (Wireless Phone)
The Storm? is it worth it for the new user?

In a nutshell the answer is yes. As a non blackberry user I will say no matter what device I picked up it would take both time and effort to get it both setup - synced and also get used to the interface.

The Blackberry platform in general is very business oriented. This is not an issue for me as I have a business lifestyle and multiple email accounts across multiple companies as well as a couple personal ones I like to check daily. Thou I will admit I am somewhat jaded by my IPod Touch I have because my previous Verizon phone really only could be used for calls and not much else - well it supposedly had other features but in general they were all so terrible I just gave up and decided to get the Touch to solve my multimedia needs where as the phone would remain a phone.

I went into my purchase of the phone with an open attitude and the knowledge that more than likely I would be in for some hiccups in software as we early adopters should get used too.

It all began at 12:01 on the day it was released where I hit the refresh button to find that the Verizon site was broken. (Awesome Start) - Let me clear the air on this issue thou I am not usually a wait in a line or wait up till it releases kind of person - I just happened to be up late and said what the heck I will buy it now... well buy it I did approximately an hour later when the site finally started to offer the unit in their shopping cart. Scheduled for FREE next day delivery I awaited the arrival of the phone.

So no phone arrived but I did get a nice follow up email that explained that due to demand (and for what we found out later was a small firmware labeling issue) the phone would be delayed till the 8th. Well the short of it was that Verizon must have burned the midnight oil on the release because it showed up 3 days early on the 5th and now it is up and running. But lets look at setup for a minute because for the new user its, well, less that perfect.

So let me save new users some time and headaches. If you use outlook - Go there now and take a close look at your contact list - And let me be clear that if you use multiple contact lists it could be an issue. I have not yet found a way to sync multiple contact lists from outlook to the phone (I have to be missing something major - so if you know how please pass it along) I fixed this by just copying the contact to the main contacts folder and then the nightmare began. So you think your contacts are nice and full of information right up till you sync the phone - then you find out how just putting in someone's first name and phone can get a tad bit confusing. So the motto would be fix your contact lists and update them before you sync for the first time, or sync and be prepared to make changes later.

_____________________________________________________________________

Tip#1 - If you are a Gmail user you can download a slick free app from:
[...]

Info:

Synchronize the built-in calendar and address book on your BlackBerry® with your Google account over the air!

Get your Google Calendar events to your device
Synchronize your Gmail contacts
Be alerted for upcoming appointments with sound and vibration using your BlackBerry's native calendar
_______________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

Tip#2 - The Blackberry Desktop Application

Info:

Amazingly with some previous nightmare desktop sync applications under my belt the new interface / sync application really works well - Just make sure that you follow the instructions for setup and follow them closely.

_______________________________________________________________________

The above tip after a bit of messing with Gmail and cleaning up my outlook contacts really helped speed along the contact update process. Thou I have been just testing using Google Calendar I have also found a way to sync Google Calendar to Outlook and Outlook to my ACT database and thus in a perfect if the internet aligns properly and all the syncs work it should be updated in all locations. That syncing process in an entire article in itself.

Negatives so far:

Phone on the first version of software was slow and in some cases really just did not want to play well when using some aspects of the interface.
Latest version that was released fixed many of those issues
Accelerometer is still - well - lame at best and they really need to get that software worked out - sometimes it works and other times it just does not want to work at all. It is slow to react and the transition from portrait to landscape just is terrible (Oh wait I mean utilitarian) IPod Touch and Iphone you have Storm beat for sexy interface. Yet in most cases the Strom really does get the job done. I also want to mention that the accelerometer really seems to have the most issues when transitioning from a lying flat position, like on your desk to a vertical then portrait or landscape view. Might just be me but in most cases it takes time for it to figure out where in the air it is... Almost like you startled it out of bed and it needs a second to ask itself: "Where am I?"
There have been complaints online about the light leakage around the screen and it is definitely apparent. You can see it and if you are in a dark room it looks like a picture frame. This is clearly a build issue that will not be fixed easily. It can be diminished by just dimming the screen but mine like to auto dim etc and in the end it a fight to fight it so I just deal with the small light leakage issues. The screen in general is really nice - just play the video sample that comes with it and you will see the quality. I for one do not spend much if any time watching movies on my phone and if I do its short and I just will not care about overall quality.
I want to set this negative off from the rest because its related to the cases provided so far - They are horrible. You have the options of the silicon case or some of the leather cases that go on your belt. Yeh ummm... Leather is not my style so I opted for the silicon case and I have to say that the first version of these are not designed well. The case is flimsy and I do not know how people test cases but its a touch device - If you touch it it gets fingerprints and you will need to wipe the crud off at some point - with the silicon case that fits like a floppy flyer you will more than likely wrap the case around the back of the phone when you go to wipe it off. They REALLY need to make better case options and I hope for the aftermarket to catch up with that aspect of the Storm. First version blows but its all you can get so get something or be careful and forget the case.
Let's move on to applications:

Overview:

Here is where in my opinion the Storm has a ton of catching up to do and might never actually be able to pull it off. With the IPod Touch you have access to ever app you can ever imagine and most, at least the ones for things like Facebook, Myspace, Flickr etc are so much better on the Apple platform it is just sad. Not to say that RIM did not try to get something for us to use as they do have an App Store - It currently has 9 Aps in it and 4 of those are IM clients (Man do we need a good all in one free IM application). In general all the aps are greatly limited and for the most part make me not even want to use them as I am more worried they will not allow me to do what I want or they are so hard to use that its easier to wait till I get to a laptop or desktop to check. There are also multiple work arounds for almost all the aps by just using the mobile versions of the sites. So do not despair if you need your fixes - with the new browser and some patience you can always get to do what you want if you are willing.

RSS Readers:

I am a huge fan of RSS feeds - I think the advent of Google Reader added to my daily things to do has haled the time to stay on top of current issues and events. How bummed was I that I was using what could be called a beautiful interface on the IPod Touch to now be relegated to the more "Utilitarian" version for the normal mobile user.

You can see the Google interface here:

[...]

When logged in you will see your feeds. To me this view is less than desirable as I monitor a ton of feeds and this just shows the top of latest.

If you go here: [...]

Then you get a list of your actual subscriptions and it is much easier to use. There are still too many steps and adding a Star to items is less that perfect but maybe Google already is designing a better mobile interface more like the one supported for the Iphone and IPod. (Let Us all hope)

There are definitely many more application out there but for the fear of breaking the new device I will keep it minimal for the time and get used to the email deluge each day. Setting up initial email is interesting especially if you have multiple accts you want to monitor. That said - figure out a strategy or simply load each account separately and it will not be a much a nightmare as forwarding all your accounts to one acct then having twice as much email to look over at the end of the day. Trust me on that one... Having 400 emails in the morning done - then moving to a mobile day to look at the Storm and see 400 unanswered emails is not the way to start a Monday.

Visual Voice Mail:

This is one added service I suggest you get. It really is nice to be able to do all the items you can from the application. Its more money but worth it in my opinion.

TwitterBerry (For the Twitter User:

Links: [...]

In Summary (At least up till this point):

I am pretty happy with the device in general - there are things I would love to see released now and I know I will have to wait for but eventually all the applications will catch up, the case options will catch up and my fingers will figure out how in the heck to use the Blackberry Sure type keyboard (That is the strangest thing I have ever used)

I will go up against the critics that compare it to the Iphone of today as the Iphone of today is multiple software revisions and an entire model revised. Will there ever be a large an application store, I highly doubt it, but for most the aps will be in place that they need. At least at my place of work playing games is somewhat frowned upon when trying to talk to customers.

So if you are looking for a nice phone that can also give you decent media player options with most if not all of the standard blackberry options then this is definitely a phone to look at.... but as always - hit the store and pick it up... and play with it first, but understand if you are not used to on screen touch typing it will take time to get used to the interface.

On that note and something I have refrained from talking about till now is the Touch / Click interface. The internet has been buzzing with negative about it and I will stand my ground saying I actually like the interface yet I do not like at least up to this point the software based around the interface - It is so close to being good - I think in another tweak or two of updates it might really get refined. As for the click the screen - I rather like knowing that I clicked it. You must get used to how the unit operates and expects input or you will fight it for days. Read the manual - it actually gives allot of pointers for how to make this transition much easier.

More to come as I use it more - Unlike allot of the reviewers out there that pick it up for 5 minutes then voice their opinion - I will be using mine daily for everything I can get it to do without melting down or causing me to mortgage my home to pay for the bill.
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Location: Danville, Ca United States

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