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BlackBerry Storm (Verizon Wireless)


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It’s not the innovation that’s lacking, but the execution. The BlackBerry Storm offers more than just a breakthrough touchscreen interface; its feature list reads like the typical iPhone owner’s wishlist. This smart phone sports spoken turn-by-turn GPS navigation, the ability to run third-party applications (like instant messaging) in the background, a sharper camera that can record video, the ability to edit Office attachments, and cut-and-paste functionality. Most important, the Storm boasts rock-solid data and voice reception on Verizon Wireless’ Rev. A network, plus 3G data roaming overseas (when you sign up for the proper plan).

However, this device isn’t without flaws. The Storm is larger and heavier than the iPhone 3G and it lacks Wi-Fi. Also, typing accurately on the clickable screen at a brisk pace is a challenge. And at least for now this device’s selection of apps pales in comparison to the Apple’s App Store. The real question, though, isn’t whether the Storm is better than the iPhone 3G. It’s whether RIM’s first touchscreen phone is good enough for BlackBerry fans looking for something cooler or for everyday consumers who desire a versatile work-and-play smart phone. It will be, but the Storm is not there yet.

Design of the BlackBerry Storm

You’ll definitely notice the BlackBerry Storm in your pocket. Measuring 4.4 x 2.5 x 0.6 inches and weighing 5.5 ounces (versus 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.5 inches and 4.7 ounces for the iPhone 3G), the Storm is bulkier and heavier than we would like, especially since it has a smaller display (3.3 vs. 3.5 inches) than the iPhone 3G. But it certainly looks and feels like a premium smart phone; it has a smooth, black, tapered design with silver trim and a brushed-metal battery cover on the back. Overall, the Storm feels sturdier than other touchscreen phones we’ve tested, but some may be turned off by its heft.

RIM includes the typical BlackBerry buttons below the screen, including dedicated Send and End keys, a BlackBerry/Menu key, and a Back key; all are large and responsive. Above the display are two buttons flush with the Storm’s casing: a lock key and a mute key. The right side of the Storm houses a 3.5mm headphone jack, volume buttons that are easy to find by feel, and the camera launch key. On the left side you’ll find the microUSB port and voice dial/recognition button. The microSD Card slot is located beneath the battery cover, but you don’t have to remove the battery to access it.

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