BlackBerry fans who've been yearning for a touch-based handset à la iPhone now have one, but the BlackBerry Storm might not be the smart phone of their dreams. We found the Storm awkward to use for everyday data-entry tasks, and its clickable touch screen made typing feel like a lot of work in a way that typing on a hardware keyboard (or on the iPhone's software keyboard, for that matter) never did.
It's too bad, because the Storm has some nice features and makes a great first impression. Encased in shiny black with silvery accents on the front and a removable matte metal cover in the back, the Storm is shorter, slightly narrower, and somewhat thicker than the iPhone. It packs support for Verizon Wireless's fastest network (EvDO Rev. A), and has a GPS receiver and Bluetooth, but no Wi-Fi.
Phone call quality was solid, and we were very impressed by the audio quality of MP3 files heard through the bundled earbuds. The Storm's 3.2-megapixel camera outshines the iPhone's, too, not only in megapixel count, but with regard to its autofocus and flash.
But people who were hoping for a credible iPhone alternative fortified with BlackBerry's traditional strengths as a mobile tool for corporate travelers will likely find the Storm a letdown. When it comes to touch interfaces, Apple still has no peer.