Podcast Episode 025: BlackBerry Storm Review!

By Kevin Michaluk on 8 Dec 2008 01:27 am EST
CrackBerry.com Podcast

Hey CrackBerry Podcast Listeners! Yup, you're not seeing things. We actually for realz recorded a show this weekend! I'm not sure where November went, but it has seriously been over a month since we last recorded a CrackBerry Podcast. To make up for being off the air for wayyy too long we did something special for Episode 025...

Since the release of the Verizon BlackBerry Storm I've been getting bugged daily for an update to my Pre-Release BlackBerry Storm Review. I held off writing it when the Storm launched as it was pretty apparent an OS upgrade would be coming soon (which it did). Now that the update is out and I've put a couple of weeks of BlackBerry Storm use under my thumbs, the time seemed more appropriate to now put my thoughts out there for those who care to know them. Lots has already been written about the BlackBerry Storm - so instead of reading yet another Storm review you can listen to this one. We cover it all straight up in this 90 minute show... the good, the great, the not so great and even the ugly. Take a listen and we hope you enjoy the show! 

Listen to CrackBerry.com Podcast: Episode 025

Show Details:

  • Recorded: Sunday, December 7th, 2008 @ 3:00pm EST
  • Show Length: 1h29m31s
  • File Size: 51.4MB

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Topics: Podcasts

Reader comments

Podcast Episode 025: BlackBerry Storm Review!


I just wanted to leave a comment and say that I really do like the storm and the reviews everyone has done here but for what its worth I send a lot of emails and text every day.

Between text and emails i clear at least 150 a day and I am still loving the phone. I have heard and read a lot of comments that say the phone is for people who dont email or text a lot but for me its worked wonders and I am just as fast on this phone as my other ones (about 35 or 30 words a minute).

my only issue with the phone is i dont know how well it will hold up long term but thats what insurance is for :D

That's awesome!

Glad to hear you're pounding through your emails/text on the Storm like a champ.

Now for my question... Are you using SureType or the Full QWERTY in landscape for these messages? Any other tips for new Storm users so they can get up to speed fast??

Cant wait till you do a podcast on the release of the 8900!!! I guess since you guys got a little long winded with the Storm you didn't have enough time to talk about it :-)

I know you guys are the experienced Blackberry users but for us newbies, we don't know the difference. This is actually my first smart phone (came from the Razr bunch) and I can see that there are some bugs and lags but I personally love the Storm. I've been looking at the Iphone but didn't buy one for a number of reasons. One being that I didn't want to leave Verizon, another is the lack of a decent camera (can't see why they Apple couldn't add a video camera), another is because everyone else has one.

I've had it for about 9 days and I'm pretty efficient with it. As a first timer, there wasn't a learning or, maybe more specifically, a "re-learning" curve in using the device. I don't see the problems that all of these reviewers are having with the keyboard. Everyone has their own personal preferences and they shouldn't harp on something they're not accustomed to. They all sound like they're whining like a bunch of spoiled babies, making big deals out of little things. I'd probably have a hard time going to an Iphone after using this for a while.

I think once all of the software bugs are worked out the phone will be very good. With the addition of a new Blackberry App store, it will be exceptional. All of the little quirks that you mentioned in the podcast don't bug me. Without a doubt the Storm 2.0 will be better (aren't they all) but this is still a great device.

I'm not sure if you listened to the whole episode, but THAT IS EXACTLY the point we tried to make and get across.

How much you like/love/dislike the BlackBerry Storm is largely based on how you arrive at it. It comes down to what you're used to. Coming from the Razr bunch, your comments are exactly what I would expect (and we do say this on the show). If you're going to review a device, you do need to point out the little nitpicky things - or else you're not doing your job. But, it's also important to put them into context. Do those little things matter? Who will they matter or not matter to? In your case, the little things are not mattering at all. But if you had used a BlackBerry Curve or Bold for the past few months and then moved into the Storm, do you think you'd have the exact same opinion you do now? Maybe... Maybe not. You can't accurately dish it out until you've tried everything for a while. Keep that in mind. And also keep in mind (as we say in the show) that every single review you read is just that - a single review by one single person. I think the Storm is a device people need to use and draw their own opinions on. It'll be the perfect device for many. And for others it won't be. That's why it's so great that there ARE so many BlackBerry form factors. If the Storm ain't for you, you can still get the BlackBerry experience in a flavor you like.

And I also a agree with you - with the addition of the app store and a bunch of Storm specific apps, the experience will improve THAT much more.

Regardless, RIM is going to learn from the Storm and their follow-up touchscreen devices are going to be that much better.

The thing I'm most curious about now is whether or not we'll see SurePress on future touchscreens from them, or if they'll abandon the concept in favor of something else.

I cut out after about 50 minutes. Don't get me wrong, I completely appreciate your even handedness in you reviews. I mainly focused some of my remarks toward reviewers that just tore it apart. I think that they were right when they bashed RIM and Verizon for bringing a product to market before it was ready but come on. Maybe their expectations were so high that it was a let down. But even with the problems, it's not as bad as they make it out to be.

I was lucky enough to get my Storm on launch day. I'm a BES user so in the last few weeks I've pounded out more than a few messages on it. To quickly summarize my thoughts:

- i find sure-type in portrait view to be a better typing option for my large thumbs than qwerty in landscape
- even with the software update there's a bit of a lag as I switch between portrait and landscape (edit: but it doesn't bother me a whit)
- the integrated web browser is no Mozilla but it's the best yet on any blackberry and non-'mobile' versions of web sites are viewable now
- since I'm seldom far from a computer, the absence of wifi hasn't impacted me - 3G is plenty good for the times when I need to see something and I'm away from a regular terminal

I'm not an iPhone hater but I can honestly say that whilst the obvious parallels have been drawn, the market focus of the two devices is very different.

The blackberry is still the definitive business focused smart phone and i think it'll be a while before Apple does anything to take that away from RIM.

The iPhone is still the definitive multi-media focused smart phone and I don't think RIM has a chance of changing that; ever (not with the iTunes angle and the sheer appeal to the younger generation of the iPhone)

I watch movies or listen to music on my Storm as I take the train into chicago each morning. It gives me everything I ever had on my old Curve with the 'cool-factor' of the touch screen to enhance my multimedia experiences.

I'm a fan of the device. I am also a fan of my iPod. The two gadgets fit into my life and each serve their own purpose.

I look forward to the launch of the app store - I'm sure that there is a small army of developers out there with ideas to harness the Storm's capabilities and I will watch their offerings with interest.

Even without the app store though, the Storm is (when you get down to it) still a Blackberry - and it meets all of the demands that this Blackberry user has made of it.

Great podcast/review Kevin. I just ordered my Storm last Thursday and am excitedly waiting to get it. There were a few points where you scared me a little... especially the part about interoperating with the screen against your face while on a call. Didn't know about that!

In any case, it's ordered, and I am going to spend some quality time with it and decide for myself. There are trade offs, as you pointed out in the review, and I'll just have to decide what they mean to me. Using it in the trenches, day to day, is the only way to answer that question.

@Rynac - Thanks for your feedback about all the emails you write on the device. I assume that is in portrait mode with Sure Type? The time I spent with the demo in the Verizon store (about 2 hours) led me to believe that Sure Type was going to be much faster that QWERTY.

Hopefully I don't get a phone with hardware issues. I'm sure that any software issues will be fixed by RIM.

Cool! Enjoy the Storm!! Definitely report back with your thoughts (send em into podcast@crackberry.com or better yet - call in and leave us a phone message and we'll play it on the show).

Re: the ear thing. It's SurePress - so basically you need to actually push in on the screen with your ear for an accidental press to happen. It's only been a problem for me while driving where I accidentally hold the phone just a little too tightly to my head. Though talking and driving will soon be banned where I live so I'll be switching up to all bluetooth soon enough and this issue will no longer be a problem by law!

I completely agree that the device people come from is very important to the perception of the Storm.


Enjoyed the review! The silicone case I bought with the Storm from Verizon won't allow the storm to move around if flat on the desk and pushing buttons. Again, thanks for all the hard work!!

I loved the podcast for several reasons. For all the hype and furor over the Storm, the original Crackberry Kevin himself, didn't pull his punches. I can tell that the Storm will not be his phone of daily use. What I have wondered about Surepress is just how many clicks can you expect out of the Storm? The thing about all the extras on cars is that they are just one more thing to break. What happens when your power windows go out or your heated seats. Just one more thing to fix. You want it first and foremost to do what it is supposed to do. With a car its just to get you from place to place. Do you like just using a button to get your windows up and down yes, do you like your rear to be warm when you get in, sure. With the Storm I have had no problems making calls, no problems sending out e-mails, and web browsing has been acceptable(while maybe a tad too slow). So yes the Storm does what I NEED it to do. Going back to the clicks, how many can you expect before it starts to slip? That is my worry, just like my worry with the trackball. What happens when it goes out. I think the trackball is alot better fix then if they screen goes out on the Storm. I also stopped by an AT&T store today to check out the Bold, which is an awesome BB, and I decided to play with the Iphone. I marveled at how easy it was to open apps. Maybe with the Storm they could give you the option to set certain things to a click or just a touch. The phone app would always be a click, but say opening your apps folder, just to speed up the process you could set it to a touch. Not open the apps just open the folders to be able to get at your apps easier. Some might say just put it on your home screen then, but I don't like a cluttered homescreen. I have compartmentalized all of my apps. I've created an Office folder which has my davitz in it with the memopad, an e-mail folder that has my inboxes and the compose app. I have left the the messages inbox alone so that if I want to scan my messages I can do that easy.

FYI, you can hold down the Alt key for a sec, and then you can quickly press !?!!??!!?!!!, cause it's locks to that keyboard... try it out :)

Haha. Yes. VERY True. Can scratch that as a gripe. And I was aware of the keyboard lock. Though it did actually take me a few days to realize it was there - which is why I vented on it. But it's still one of those little things that slow ya down.. an extra tap to release it vs. just holding down the alt key on a physical keyboard then letting go.

I love MY storm...I think its a pretty good device and the blackberry platform is second to none...

But you missed the fact that while there are two other devices I think I would like more (Curve 8900 and Bold)...they are ONLY available on GSM right now.

For those of us unwilling to leave Verizon the storm is the top of the line blackberry for us. When the others drop on Verizon I think we'll see fewer Storm users, but until then, the Storm is nicest device for us.

Thats what Craig was talking about. If you turn off dial from home-screen then using the keyboard on the homescreen will launch applications. The option used to be in the phone app. I think the reason it opens the phone app is because thats what BlackBerry's have always done.

Would there be any way to get a text summary of the podcast? Or at least some sort of time indexing to the review? Hell, an entire CD can only be 80 minutes.

I especially liked the Heineken example-- totally agree that it depends on what you used prior to the Storm.


Nice podcast on the Storm. I was lusting for it but have only had my first BB Curve for a few months. Glad now I couldn't upgrade yet. Will wait for the next generation.
Good luck with job hunting Craig.

I too Love my Storm. I'm enjoying learning and discovering everything about the Storm. This podcast was very good and I feel that it was very honest too, from a Blackberry pro. During the podcast Kevin mentioned that he was not sure about the future of the sure press.

I hope that the sure press stays. Like a lot of the other features in the Storm, it is a base for many promising improvements over the years to come and I know that it will lead to many uses in future applications.

On other touch screen phones we only have the option to touch a link on a solid glass in order to activate the program that we desire, which leads to many wrong selections. However, the Storm enhances the whole touch screen experience by not only allowing you to almost always make the right selection--the Storm provides three distinct actions on the screen.

1. the traditional touch
2. the new hover
3. the Storm Sure press

I feel that as RIM and other developers start to use these actions on their programs we will experience a whole new world in touch screens that will probably be copied by other manufactures but always remain dominant on our Storms...

the storm is just another genre in the BB Platform. not an iphone killer.just as the Bold and Pearl Flip are different genre of the BB Platform. i think every addict will be able to enjoy the storm. and the jaVelin is sick

I was listening to the podcast today on my Storm while flying from Boston to Washington, DC. All the nuances you mention in the podcast, I agree with. Light around the screen, movable screen, etc. Coming from Palm OS and many Treo's, it's a big change for me, but the Storm is fun no doubt.
Two things: You mentioned that you can swipe the keyboard for it to close. I tested, while listening to the podcast, and also found that you can swipe up (in most apps) to bring up the keyboard. Awesome for text, email, facebook, browsing, twitter, etc.
The pixels you see about every 1/8" on the touchscreen are common. On the Treo, they are every 1/16" or so. I noticed it on the Storm yesterday for the first time in bright sunlight. It made my instantly think of the Treo screen, but there are far less touch pixels (or whatever they are called) on the Storm.

Over all, enjoying the device though need a bigger battery, or more optimization. BT stereo, GPS (BB Maps), phone, and email...killed my battery in under 4 hours. Kinda sucked since I needed the GPS to get me from the airport to hotel. Had to pull over after the battery finally died, to ask for directions (old schoolin' it).

Great review! I really do like the lengths of these really long podcasts. Also, I think it'd be cool if the Crackberry.com podcast feed had the Crackberry.com Podcast logo in it so my software would grab it. Maybe I'm just doing something wrong.

I just finished listening to your review and I thought you were right with almost everything you said. Let me first say that if someone listens to this review and does not currently own a BB Storm then I believe they will not buy this device(maybe there should have been a disclosure for newbies). It was a terrific review and everything was true, but focused way more on the negatives than the positives. I can see why this is the case because most of us already know all of the positives that the BB software can offer and there are a group of items that become that much better with this device. On the other hand the Newbies have no clue what the BlackBerry software can offer and now only know the couple things this phone does better than other BBs. The main item that should be focused on with this phone is the potential of this platform and how hindered it is because of the current software. I would have liked to hear you talk about what possibilities there might be in the future because of software fixes(you did do this a little). There are so many little bugs that the BB software has currently and will be fixed. I really think that the hardware is solid with a couple minor issues as pointed out in the review. In a business sense though, I think what RIM did was somewhat genius by launching the product too early, with what we all know was pretty much Beta software. The consumers using these phones will end up finding way more glitches with the software in a couple weeks than RIM will find in a year (Kinda like outside Consulting, but free). With the intial software(beta) that came loaded on the phone there was a lot of press reviews. There were good reviews and bad reviews in regards to the storm, but we all know that any press is good press. I think you are wrong about one thing though in that RIM will follow up with another device quickly like the iPhone 2G to the 3G. The phone itself is solid and has more than enough under the hood to be an amazing phone, what needs the work is the software. I feel that if they make a move like that then they will lose a lot more consumers because the consumer will feel like they wasted money on the first one. As for the SureType, I think it will stay due to the market niche and having something different from the competitors(I do like this as well). My point really on this is that the software once completed will allow the phone to reach it's capabilities and that your review is a perfect review for CrackBerry Abusers and not Newbies.

I on the other hand have been a BB abuser for many years now. I started with the BlackBerry 7130c and moved to the Pearl then Curve and now the Storm. I had a bit of an advantage before the Storm came out though. I went swimming with my curve not realizing it was in my swimsuite pocket and that killed it. I then purchased the LG Dare to try and prepare myself for the touchscreen Storm. The Dare has even worse pixels on the screen and are a lot more viewable. Going from the Dare to the Storm was night and day. I liked the Dare, but it lacked the smartphone capabilities. I really didn't feel there was a large learning curve for myself on the storm, but could see there being one for others. I love the device the way it is now, but I know the fixes will make it that much better. I guess I'm against the grain a bit from other BB abusers and really feel this is my #1 device like the way most of the newbies feel...

Great Review and I enjoyed listening!!!

......very sad to hear about Craigs job loss. I own my own business, and if i had enough users on my BES i would talk to that guy in a second. Listening to Craig throughout the podcast and knowing that he lost his job just put a damper on the whole thing, Good Luck Craig!


I was listening to this for the second time (once before I got the storm, and once after). I heard you saying that when typing something like: "Hi!?!?!?!?!?!" you have to click alt before every single ! and ?. Actually, I found that if you hold down the alt key for a couple seconds, it locks it into alt so you now have the ability to type !?!?!?!?!?! without having to click the alt key each time. This works the same for capital letters and caps lock.

Hope that helps!