Research in Motion’s first attempt at a touchscreen phone confused and disappointed us. The original Storm’s clickable touchscreen didn’t deliver a particualrly smooth experience and it didn’t have Wi-Fi. RIM’s latest touchscreen device, the Storm 2, boasts an improved screen and Wi-Fi so it should be better. We’ve been testing it out to see if RIM has done enough to win us over.
What we like
The Storm 2 looks almost identical to its predecessor but there are a few subtle differences. It feels more refined, for example, and instead of having seperate keys at the bottom of the screen, RIM has integrated them into a single sheet of plastic. When you pick the the Storm 2 up it feels heavy in a good way and it looks stylish – its curved edges and metal battery cover give it a classy aura.
You’ll be glad to hear that the Storm 2’s clickable touchscreen works much better than its predecessor’s. Similar to the original Storm, the Storm 2 boasts a capacitive screen but in order to select something you need to click the screen in. The Storm 2’s screen clicks in gently and feels much more accurate than the original Storm’s screen. When you’re typing quickly the Storm 2’s screen doesn’t lag and overall the typing experience is acceptable but we’re still not huge fans of clickable touchscreens.
The email experience is good as expected and we really love being able to scroll through emails using a touchscreen. It’s also worth noting that the screen rotates from portrait to landscape mode a lot faster than on the original Storm and that you can still copy and paste by tapping the screen with two fingers. Other noteworthy features include 256MB of internal memory instead of just 125MB and it supports up to a 2GB microSD card.
What we don’t like
There’s no denying that the Storm 2’s touchscreen works a lot better than its predecessor but we still don’t feel it’s the perfect solution. When we first discussed the concept with RIM, we thought that it might be a good system for BlackBerry owners used to clicking physical keys but if you want physical keys then get a BlackBerry 9700. Ultimately we found the Storm 2’s screen frustrating to use compared to other touchscreen phones.
Equally disappointing were the Storm 2’s media offerings. There’s a lot less development happening around RIM’s touchscreen products than on certain other platforms which results in a lack of quality apps. Good apps do exist but we want to see a lot more in the future. The Storm 2’s 3.2-megapixel camera is ok but it’s not fantastic and we really would like to see RIM placing 3.5mm headphone jacks on the top of handsets instead of the side where it gets in the way.
If you own the original Storm and you like it but you want something a bit more refined then this is it. If you like the reassurance of a clickable screen, then this is the phone for you. But if you’re looking for an iPhone-like experience in a BlackBerry handset then this isn’t it. We think that the Storm 2 is an interesting product but it’s not the best RIM has to offer. What we’d really like to see from RIM is a phone with a capacitive touchscreen and a physical Qwerty keyboard, similar to the Palm Pixi.