Thursday, November 12, 2009

Storm2 Gets a Hands-On Review

Chris Ziegler from Engadget Mobile got his hands on a BlackBerry Storm2 and threw a no-holds-barred post up on the popular mobile blog this afternoon. The biggest addition that comes to the Storm2 is Wi-Fi, which could be reason enough to cause current Storm owners to upgrade. From what I gather, if you’re not an avid BlackBerry user or haven’t been bothered by the wobbly screen or user-interface lags you might not be able to tell much of a difference. However, it seems as if “the devil is in the details,” so let’s get to them.

One of the major complaints about the original Storm was its SurePress technology which consisted of a single mechanical switch mounted below the center of the screen. This mechanical switch would allow the keyboard to move up and down giving the user a feeling similar to clicking a physical key on a QWERTY keyboard. However, the location of the single switch lead to wobbly and inconsistent clicks the further away from the center the user pressed down. But was that inconsistency enough to keep RIM from bringing the SurePress technology to Storm2? Not exactly. SurePress technology for the Storm2 now consists of four piezoelectric mechanical switches mounted in all four corners of the screen. This modification helps the touchscreen clicks to feel more sturdy and accurate than the original; however, it leads to a harder click and a louder “thunk” when pressing the screen. According to Ziegler, you’ll need some pretty beefy thumb-muscles to avoid getting finger-fatigue while writing an email on the Storm2.

The appearance of the Storm2 is almost identical to the original Storm. The Storm2 has black chrome bezel, a tastefully rubberized back and overall sleeker appearance from the front. Also, the LED-flashin’ 3.2-megapixel camera of the Storm2 is surprisingly far better than the 5.0-megapixel camera of the original Storm – not something you’d generally expect with a loss in megapixels. When diving further into the software of the Storm2 the first thing to mention is that it will run BlackBerry OS 5.0. This software upgrade allows for internal scrolling throughout the platform, and an overall smoother experience from the device. Ziegler states with the 5.0 OS update, the Web browser is slightly improved but he’d take a “good Webkit browser over this any day, but the platform just isn’t there yet.”

Rewind to about this time last year and the mobile world was clamoring over pictures, rumored specs and release dates of BlackBerry’s first touchscreen device. Some guy actually got a tattoo of the Storm on his leg for crying out loud! The addition of Wi-Fi capability might win over some new users and lead current Storm owners to upgrade, but beyond that the Storm2 is merely a slightly-improved version of the original.

Click here to read the entire hands-on review

[photo credit: CrackBerry]

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