CNET First Look
RIM BlackBerry Storm 2 (Verizon Wireless)CNET gets a preview of the upcoming RIM BlackBerry Storm 2 for Verizon Wireless. See what's hot and what's not in our First Look video.
[ Background music ] >> Bonnie Cha: Hi I'm Bonnie Cha Senior Editor at CNET.com and today we're taking a first look at the Rim Blackberry Storm 2 for Verizon Wireless. As you might have guessed this is the long awaited successor to the first Blackberry Storm which wasn't exactly a success due to all the bugs and performance issues. There were software updates that fixed a number of the problems but still that's not really a good way to leave a good impression so there's a lot of questions about whether the Storm 2 will be better and for the most part it is but there are a couple of issues that worry me which I'll talk about later. At first let's take a look at the design of the phone. Just at a glance there's really no major differences between this and the original Storm and they're even the same size. However what you can't see is the new SurePress technology that sits under the display. If you remember on the first Storm there was a mechanical suspension system underneath the screen that created a click when you were typing or opening apps and the display would actually press down. Well on the Storm 2 [inaudible] replaced that suspension system with an electronic one. The technology is really neat because even though the screen doesn't physically move except for around the corners here electronic activators below it still give off that clicky feel so it seems like you're pressing an actual button. The navigation controls below the display are also integrated with the SurePress instead of being separate buttons now. There are a couple of advantages to the electronic version of SurePressed. First you don't have to apply as much pressure when typing and it also allows for key roll over and multi touch. So for example if you want to capitalize a letter while typing a message you can now press the shift key and the letter key at the same time whereas before you had to do it separately. There's also a multi touch support for copy paste so all you have to do is place 1 finger at the beginning of text and then place your other finger at the end of the selection which is really convenient. I definitely like the SurePress interface better than the previous version but it still doesn't feel as precise as some of the other touch screen smartphones. There are numerous times when I try to select something from a list menu and I end up picking the item below it and you do get a full QWERTY keyboard in both portrait and landscape mode. I almost always went to the landscape keyboard since I found it easier to use and more precise than the previous Storm's but I still made multiple mistakes on it so it take some practice. The smartphone does offer a predictive text and auto correction to help though. The Storm 2 does add some welcome features. The most notable in my book is the built in Wi-Fi. Verizon has always been a little stingy when it comes to offering Wi-Fi in enabled smartphones but they're slowly changing this and we're glad to see it on the Storm. It also works on the carriers EVDO REV A network and it is a world phone and chips with a Sim card so you can make calls and get 3G data overseas. Bluetooth and GPS are also in there. The phone also has double the memory with 256 MG flash memory and 2 GB of on board memory. It is also running the updated version of the Blackberry handheld software which is version 5 and it brings a number of improvements to the browser, Blackberry maps and other applications. As far as general performance I'd say the Storm 2 is faster than its predecessor but the phone did automatically reset itself on me twice. I found that it's only when I'm trying to use the Bing Program so it might be this app specifically that's causing the problems but the phone's GPS is really slow. I used VZ navigator to get root calculations and it was just really slow and the GPS would often timeout so I almost found it useless to use. Verizon didn't release pricing or a release date at the time of the shoot but we think it'll come out in November for around the same price as the original Storm which is around $200 with a 2 year contract. At this point I'd say you should wait to get more information about Verizon's other upcoming smartphones including the Samsung Omnia 2 and the Google Android devices before making a decision on the Storm 2. It is an improvement over the first Storm but it just doesn't really knock my socks off at this point so better to stick around and see what else is coming up the pipe. [ Background music ] >> Bonnie Cha: I'm Bonnie Cha and this has been your first look at the Blackberry Storm 2 for Verizon Wireless.