Overall, the SurePress screen could be advantageous for anyone who finds other touchscreens too fiddly or wants more feedback when typing, but the trade-off is that you lose some of the speed and intuitiveness of other touchscreen phones.
Browsing for trouble
We also appreciated the SurePress screen's clicking action when surfing the Web. Accidentally clicking links while scrolling around a page is a common problem with touchscreen phones, but the Storm 2's screen completely solves this issue. The same applies when flicking through menus and lists.
Unfortunately, the BlackBerry Web browser is so poor compared to the competition that we can't recommend the Storm 2 as a Web-surfing phone. You can install Opera Mini, but it's still not going to offer the Web-browsing chops of other touchscreen smart phones.
Despite a weak browser, the Storm 2's large, 83mm (3.25-inch) screen does make surfing the Web more bearable than it would otherwise be, and it looks fantastic when watching videos.
The Storm 2 is also a decent music phone, thanks to its standard 3.5mm headphone jack and straightforward media player. The BlackBerry App World is a good place to go browsing for video and music apps to make the Storm 2 even better. The 7digital app is free and great for buying MP3s on the go, for example. But paid-for apps do tend to be more expensive than on the iPhone or Android phones.
There's space for your videos and music on the Storm 2's 2GB microSD card, but it could fill up quickly if you plan on using the handset to replace your MP3 player, so plan to shell out for a bigger card.
The Storm 2 packs in the smart-phone features, including great connectivity, thanks to 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and HSPA for fast Web surfing over 3G, and BlackBerry Maps, although we prefer Google Maps, which you'll have to install yourself.
We didn't find the Storm 2 suffered from any of the crashes or sluggishness that plagued its predecessor, the BlackBerry Storm. There was the occasional pause when we launched a program or opened a new message, but nothing worse than we've seen on most phones, and we didn't find it irritating.
Happily, the Storm 2 doesn't skimp on call quality either. In our tests, calls were clear and loud, the volume was easy to adjust, and our friends heard us clearly.
The Storm 2 does a good job of taking everything BlackBerry-flavoured and packing it into a touchscreen handset. But the user interface isn't as glamorous as that of other touchscreen phones, despite the Storm 2's lovely, large screen.
Also, since the BlackBerry range's strength is reliable, secure email, we think the Storm 2 may have jettisoned the best part of the BlackBerry brand -- the easy-to-use Qwerty keyboard. Nevertheless, the SurePress screen is an innovative solution that should appeal to people too clumsy to use a traditional touchscreen. If your work requires the security of a BlackBerry, but you're desperate for a touchscreen, the Storm 2 could be just the ticket.
Edited by Charles Kloet