BlackBerry’s first touchscreen phone had a controversial ‘clickable screen’. Has the email master got it right second time around?
When BlackBerry launched its first touchscreen phone, Storm seemed like the right name after the brouhaha of controversy it blew up.
The clickable touchscreen was a genuine innovation, but was an acquired taste and the Storm curiously lacked Wi-Fi. Both of these features, and more, have been addressed in its sequel, the Storm2.
New improved Storm
It’s immediately obvious that the Storm2 is a huge improvement. The accelerometer quickly jumps to attention, there’s improved texting smarts and, most importantly, Wi-Fi, so you’re not dependent on your network’s coverage to have a chance of speedy internet surfing.
The extra hardware has been squeezed in without bloating the case – the new phone is sleeker and more comfortable in the hand than its predecessor, and the touchscreen is different.
When the phone is switched off, there’s no movement in the screen because the clickability is only activated when the phone’s on. This means that when it’s in standby with the display dimmed, it feels more solid and secure.
The piezo-electric display also now allows you to click two places at the same time, and multi-touch allows for much faster typing. But for fans of ‘hard’ QWERTY keypads will still find it slow by comparison.
The joy of text
Still, texting is certainly better, if not perfect. You can choose from full QWERTY keyboard, phone keypad with three letters per key or the BlackBerry SureType two letters per key layout.
But while the iPhone and Android keyboards show you which letter you’ve pressed by displaying it above your finger, the Storm2 still highlights the key as you press it with a blue glow, making it harder to see what you’ve pressed.
Strong media powers
Away from these niggles video playback is excellent, with pin-sharp, bright and colourful images zapping quickly across the screen. The 3.2MP camera is decent, too, with geotagging and image stabilisation options and an LED flash.
When it launched the Bold, BlackBerry used a system that fuses the display to the glass screen, making for vivid results and that technique is used here as well to impressive effect.
BlackBerry also introduced a novel way to use web screens via finger touch, with a virtual mouse pointer to pick out smaller details. That’s here, too, and continues to work well.
Old school OS
Sadly, though, not enough thought has been given to updating the BlackBerry operating system. The web browser is way behind the competition, and onboard mapping is poor.
So should you upgrade? BlackBerry says many improvements (for example the texting and accelerometer) are down to software changes and current Storm users will be updated in due course.
But if you need Wi-Fi and have given the new clickable screen a test run, the Storm2 is certainly worth a look.
Blackberry Storm2 review
If you want a Blackberry, make sure you get one with a keyboard