As with all of BlackBerry’s line-up of handsets the messaging support on the Storm2 is exemplary. Despite being around for such a long time, there’s still nothing really to touch BlackBerry’s push email system in terms of speed of delivery, ease of use and relatively light demands on battery power. Naturally, there are a number of ways you can set up the handset to pick up email, but we used it with a Gmail account and getting this working was a piece of cake - all we had to do was start the email set-up wizard and enter the user name and password. Around 10 minutes later messages were being pushed to the phone.
In our experience, the cameras on most touchscreen phones tend to be pretty poor, but the one used here is better than we’ve come to expect. The resolution of 3.2-megapixels isn’t exactly earth shattering, but the camera does at least have autofocus as well as an LED flash to help you take pictures in low-light environments. The camera captures reasonably accurate colours, and as long as there’s a decent amount of light flooding into the sensor, images aren’t too noisy either.
The big news on the connectivity front is that BlackBerry has finally added Wi-Fi support, something that was desperately missing from the first Storm. In other areas little has changed as the handset still has quad-band and HSDPA support. In the box there’s also a software guide to using your Storm2 as a broadband modem for your laptop - something that’ll cost you a fair wad of extra cash if you want to do the same thing on the iPhone. Naturally there’s also Bluetooth 2.1 and onboard GPS.
Battery life has always been a strength of BlackBerry devices, but unfortunately the Storm2 isn’t quite on a par with Blackberry’s more traditional messaging devices. We got around two days out of it, which puts it pretty much in line with other touchscreen phones, but certainly not ahead of them. Call quality was first rate, though, so we’ve no complaints in that department.
The Storm2 is a decent update of the original handset. However, touchscreen smartphones have moved on considerably since the Storm first appeared and the Storm2 feels more like a device that fixes faults rather than an upgrade that elevates the Storm into a position where it can really challenge competitors like the iPhone. Perhaps next time around BlackBerry needs to be less obsessed with its clickable screen and more focused on closing the gap to its rivals.