Review: BlackBerry Storm
The Storm's display is frickin' gorgeous. It simply looks fantastic. Indoors, outdoors, wherever you happen to be, it is beautiful. The icons and graphics are razor sharp. Everything is very bright and clean. Even in direct sunlight, you can see all the graphics and read all of the text. This is truly one of the better displays I've ever seen on a mobile phone. Yes, I am gushing about it, it is that good.
I received my Storm review unit at an event in NYC yesterday. Taking the bus home, I watched the signal indicator the whole ride home. Signal strength varied, as you might expect. Traveling past Giant Stadium, the Storm had five full bars. Further out it was down to one bar. Sitting in my home in northern New Jersey, the Storm is pulling in three bars of EVDO signal from Verizon's network. Another Verizon phone I have on hand has five bars here in my office compared to the Storm's three. Phone calls I made were not dropped, and the Storm was able to make and receive calls in our "vault" test.
RIM knows how to make a phone ring so you will hear it. My favorite BlackBerry ringer is the "Classic Phone" one. Use that one, and set the Storm's volume all the way up and you'll never miss a call. The sound pierces your skull and makes you want to scream, "For the love of all that's holy STOP RINGING!" Other ringers can be just as loud, but don't have the same cut-through-the-crowd effect. The earpiece was loud enough for me. I set it to about 60% of the way up and had no problems hearing the people with whom I was speaking. I imagine that if you put it all the way up, you'll be able to hear people in coffee shops, airports, bus stations and other noisy places just fine.
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Call quality was better than average. I didn't hear any hissing, crackling, popping or other crazy noises. I didn't hear any complaints with the few people I called about how I sounded, either.
One thing I notice, though, was that Amtrak's automated attendant had a hard time hearing ME through the Storm. Good old Julie (that's the software's name) said to me "Sorry, I didn't get that, would you mind repeating?" more than usual.
I've only had the Storm for about 24 hours. The phone came with a 25% charge that I ate through quickly by the time I went to bed. I left it plugged in all night. After seven hours unplugged, the battery is drained by 20%. I've been using it heavily to send emails, browse the web, testing the messaging service, Bluetooth, camera and more. After eleven hours unplugged, the battery was drained by 40%. We'll offer a final report on battery life after we spend more time with it.