BlackBerry has always been a favorite with businesspeople, whether they use it to send emails, messages or presentations, or even if they use it for those quick last minute “Oh my God, I forgot to call…” phone calls. A BlackBerry is at your side, always. The BlackBerry Storm is just another in a long line of BlackBerry smartphones and that legend continues with the Storm 2 9550, which is distributed by Verizon, or unlocked for a hefty price. What is it that makes the Storm line so great-or not so great? Let us look at the Storm 2 9550 and see how it stacks up to the rest of the infamous BlackBerry line and its predecessor, the original Storm.
Design, Look & Feel
The BlackBerry Storm 2 is a nice little phone to hold in the hand. Because it only weighs 5.64 ounces, it is light enough to continue holding while making long business calls. In addition, because it is only 4.43 inches long by 2.45 inches wide by 0.55 inches thick, it is easy to hold in the hand and not a burden for those who do not like speakerphone. As for its display, it is a 3.25-inch diagonal TFT with a resolution of 480 pixels by 360 pixels displaying over 65,000 colors. While this is not as advanced a screen by most modern standards, it is still not bad.
This is a Transmissive touchscreen display using BlackBerry’s SurePress technology. This allows your finger to move as a mouse would so no more double typing letters and you can open every application or menu item as if you are clicking a mouse. This technology comes in handy because there is no physical keyboard but a virtual QWERTY keyboard only. I think the best thing about the SurePress enhancements for the Storm 2 is the way it sounds/feels when you press buttons; it sounds/feels as if you are pressing a regular keypad, and clicks the same way. This keyboard supports multitap abilities (copy & paste baby!) as well as landscape and portrait position holding which is nice to have.
User Interface & Operating System
Other enhancements include better video support for recording and playback, streaming support, better voicemail and messaging functions, longer battery life because of overall energy saving support functions and others. The OS available for Storm 2 by default is now also available as an upgrade for the original. While the Storm 2 is now a part of the Adobe Open Screen Project, supposedly allowing the Adobe Flash player to work on it, it is still quite lacking of proper support. YouTube is playable, but just barely, which is one of the downfalls of this smartphone.
This is the part that everyone usually comes to see. They all want to know how wireless and Internet-abled is the Storm 2. The Storm 2 is the Wi-Fi enabled Storm, unlike its predecessor. It uses the standard 802.11b/g infrastructure mode and is Bluetooth v2.1+EDR1 enabled. It also allows for a dial up network, should you need it. As for the band it runs on, while it is in fact a Verizon smartphone, it is a quad band and runs on the GSM, GPRS and EDGE network as well as the single band UMTS/HSPA network and the double band CDMA Ev-DO network as well. If you were to have the ability to purchase this as an unlocked model, you could port it to any carrier and it would work.
The Power Behind the Storm
So what is it that is running the Storm 2? Well, to start the battery is the usual Lithium-ion, but at 1400 mAhr, it is quite powerful and lasts seemingly forever. While specs say it will last from 5 to 6 hours, depending on which network you are using, in reality it will run for about 20 minutes to an hour longer but it depends on what you are doing with it, of course. Standby time is up over two weeks.
As for the processor, this Storm is using the same as its predecessor, a 528 MHz, which is not so great when you consider the amount of applications most people will be using the smartphone for. However this Storm, because of the enhancements in the OS and other features, seems to run faster, which is a huge improvement over the previous one.
In addition to this, this Storm 2 has an upgraded memory stash as well. The original, which used 128 MB flash memory was hardly enough to save all of my email (yes, I swear it’s true!) not to mention my music. However the Storm 2 has double that, 256 MB, which is still quite small, but much better than before. It also has a 2 GB multimedia card as well; again double of the size the original used.
All the Extras
As for its other features, there are not too many noticeable improvements over the original BlackBerry Storm. Its camera is a 3.2 megapixel that includes a flash, auto focus and a 2x auto zoom, as well as stabilization. While it does record video, the frame rate is low so do not expect too much in the way of quality; it does support MPEG4 H.263, MPEG4 Part 2 Simple Profile, H.264, WMV formats, though. The audio is better and supports MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA and WMA ProPlus formats for playback and has the standard 3.5mm headset jack.
The Storm 2 BlackBerry smartphone comes with a host of features, including the ability to sync with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, which the original could as well however the Storm 2 has the added benefit of email management, which the original did not. This allows business users to access their Microsoft Exchange and other emailing and business functions in real time, which is probably the best part of this Storm 2. Other software includes an attachment viewer, BlackBerry Internet Service and an interface built in to download apps form the BlackBerry App World.
What this smartphone lacks is most social networking, solid Flash player support and other abilities that most people have come to take for granted on newer smartphones. However, it makes up for these losses with the concerted effort to finally make good on the promise that the original Storm would be a ground breaker, which it was not. While this Storm 2 is no ground breaker either, it is certainly better than the original. It is available from Verizon on contract and prices will vary by area and promotion available. However a base price for an unlocked model is $475 and a two year Verizon contract and phone is $99, though would save my money for a better performing smartphone.
BlackBerry Storm 2 Features
BlackBerry Storm 2 Technical Specifications
Verizon: Storm 2 BlackBerry OS 5.0 Enhancements
Verizon: Storm 2 BlackBerry Software Download & Support