BlackBerry Storm Review

BlackBerry StormI’ve had my BlackBerry Storm for 72 hours now and I think I’ve gotten familiar enough to write up my thoughts to share with some Twitter friends that wanted to know what I think of it, especially in comparison to an Apple iPhone.

First off, I’m not here to say whether or not the BlackBerry is better or worse than the iPhone. I don’t care about technical specs. Oh, and Apple fanboys, don’t bother. I work on a Mac all day long and love it. I just can’t justify the added expense and diminished cell coverage inherent in the iPhone to get a little extra emotional satisfaction from a device. My judgement criteria are purely selfish and apply to my personal situation and needs for a cellular device.

I was skeptical when I walked in to the Verizon store. But the 30-day return policy convinced me to try it, knowing I could always cancel and switch to AT&T to get an iPhone. Here, in descending order of importance, are the reasons I decided to keep my BlackBerry Storm and not trade it in for an iPhone at the end of my contract this coming May:

Service & Reliability

Advantage: Verizon. I have been 99% happy with Verizon since I got my first cell phone in 2003 after graduating college. I’m a consultant with two offices and no landline at either. So my cell phone is my one and only phone line. It just has to work. I can’t risk dropping calls with clients or not having sufficient service to send and receive emails at critical times. While I’ve never had AT&T service, my family does and several friends in Richmond do, most with iPhones. They complain about the lack of cell coverage in various parts of town and actually described dropping that many calls as “embarrassing”. This would be unacceptable.

Email / Calendar

Advantage: Tie. iPhone and BlackBerry have sufficient native email and calendar apps that sync with my Google Apps service very well. Again, these just have to work.

Mobile Internet

Advantage: iPhone This is an important feature for any internet marketer. I frequently have to search for something or look at a client site from a mobile browser while out of the office. The iPhone’s Safari browser is superior to the Storm’s, hands down. But, the Storm’s browser is surprisingly strong (much improved over previous BB’s) and performs all the basic functions I need, although without as much “sizzle”.

Cost

Advantage: Storm As any self-employed person can tell you, every incremental dollar spent comes straight out of your take-home pay. As a long-time Verizon subscriber, I got a $100 credit towards a new phone because my “New Every Two” discount kicked in. Add the $50 main in rebate and I got the Storm for about $100, compared to the $199 iPhone.

Keyboard/Typing/Input

Advantage: Tie Despite some negative press about the Storm’s clickable touch screen, I actually find that I can type more accurately and just as fast as I can on my wife’s iPod Touch (the keyboard of which gets some negative reviews as well). It takes a little practice, but I don’t see a compelling reason why either phone is superior. It just depends on your taste.

Apps

Advantage:iPhone The iPhone wins this hands-down, based purely on variety. But even iPhone users will agree that most of the available apps are crap and not worth it. I have found all the basic apps for a BlackBerry that will keep me connected and entertained while on the go, so I’m only really missing out on a few games and time wasters. Currently I have installed: Flickr, Facebook, Google Maps, Google Sync, YouTube, TwitterBerry, WeatherBug and there are plenty more out there that I haven’t installed yet. Plus, the BB AppCenter is going to keep expanding and will offer a lot more variety in the coming months/years.

What do you think? Did I miss anything?

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