The RIM BlackBerry Storm is making such a splash because it's the first touch-screen BlackBerry, and it's unlike any other touch-screen phone out there. The Storm features something called SurePress, which uses a suspension system that lies beneath the display, so that when you go to select an application or enter text, you actually push the screen down like you would any other tactile button.
Beyond the unique touch screen, the Storm offers dual-mode functionality for seamless world roaming, support for Verizon's EV-DO Rev. A and UMTS/HSDPA, integrated GPS, BlackBerry OS 4.7, a 3.2-megapixel camera, and more.
Sporting a black casing with silver accents, the handset is a bit blocky and heavy at 4.4 inches tall by 2.4 inches wide by 0.5 inch deep and weighs 5.6 ounces, so it feels a bit wide when you hold it in your hand and it'll make for a tight fit in a pants pocket.
The Storm is equipped with an accelerometer, so the screen orientation will switch from portrait to landscape mode when you rotate the phone from a vertical position to a horizontal one, left or right. However, we found that it takes a bit of time for the accelerometer to kick in, which got to be frustrating.
In terms in text entry, the BlackBerry Storm features a SureType keyboard when the smartphone is in portrait mode and then switches to a full QWERTY keyboard in landscape mode. When using the keyboard or selecting applications, you do a simple finger touch over the item until it's highlighted and then you press down on the screen to register the action.
Below the display, you get some navigation controls, including Talk and End/Power buttons, a Menu key, and a clear button. Unlike other BlackBerry models, there is no trackball navigator, which we missed for easy one-handed operation and item selection.
The BlackBerry Storm offers dual-mode functionality, so the phone switches automatically between CDMA and GSM networks to offer seamless international roaming--all while keeping the same phone number. A SIM card is included in the box.
The RIM BlackBerry Storm is equipped with a 3.2-megapixel camera with video-recording capabilities, as well a flash, auto focus, 2x zoom, and image stabilization. Unfortunately, we weren't particularly impressed with photo quality as colors looked washed out.
At $199.99 with a two-year contract (and after rebates and discounts), the BlackBerry Storm is a great value and definitely spices up Verizon's smartphone lineup. It will definitely give the Apple iPhone a run for its money, but as far as ease of use and Web browsing, the iPhone remains tops in those categories.