So many manufacturers have been blindly aping the iPhone’s way of doing things recently that it seems innovation has gone out of the window. RIM, however, has had other ideas.
Its new Storm has a 3.25in, 360 x 480 “clickthrough” screen – where it acts as a giant button, while remaining touch sensitive – an evolutionary step over plain old touchscreens.
It’s an interesting approach. And while we found it awkward at first to touch the screen to highlight and then push down to click, we quickly got used to it.
In particular, typing on the onscreen Qwerty or SureType keyboards (the configuration changes depending on the way you hold it) feels more natural than on the iPhone. It’s a great compromise, although hardware keyboards are better.
Elsewhere, the Storm is an extremely high-quality device. The brushed-metal rear panel is a big improvement over the Bold’s cheesy leatherette back, and the whole thing has a classy feel.
Strangely, there’s no Wi-Fi adapter, but the rest of the core hardware is as it should be. There’s a 3.5mm headphone socket and a Bluetooth stereo gateway thrown in.
As with the Bold, battery life is excellent. In our real-world tests the Storm managed 89hrs 21mins. It’s an impressive result.
There are some small drawbacks. As with the Bold and HP’s iPAQ you can only read and edit Office documents, and browsing the web isn’t as slick as on the iPhone or Opera-equipped phones.
You don’t get much storage in the box, either. But these aren’t enough to put a major dent in the Storm’s scores.
The only reason it doesn’t walk away with an award is that the Bold has a slightly more complete feature set and is better to type on.
For the full Labs round-up, be sure to check out the magazine.