Hands-on with the official Verizon update for the Blackberry Storm

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Great news: The Blackberry Storm is finally usable. Most of our issues with the phone were resolved with the first official Verizon update for the Storm. It’s now a quality phone that’s worthy of the BlackBerry name.

As of Sunday, May 31, the update is available via either directly from the support section of VZW.com or from an OTA download. We downloaded the update over the air yesterday and it took about 2 hours for the 19MB update – the servers were probably running at full capacity. Once it finished downloading and installing, we were instantly pleased.

The phone is finally quick and responsive. The entire system feels noticeably faster. It no longer takes 5-7 seconds for the phone dialing app to load. Even the web browser seems to load pages faster. However, the auto-rotation of the screen still isn’t as quick as we would like it but it’s better than before. We still wish there was a way to disable this entirely though.

Even the camera is quicker. Now, the picture is displayed almost instantly when the shutter button is pressed verses the 5 second lag on the old firmware. Picture quality doesn’t seem upgraded though.

One of the biggest and most welcomed changes however is the new text selection mode.  A little box appears around the selected text that can be easily slid one way or the other to modify the selection. Previously, it was a frustrating task to select text for deletion or copy and paste. It took a steady fingernail to select the desired text.

Overall, the update transformed the phone. It took the Storm from one of the worst phones ever made, to a quality BlackBerry. We just wish it hadn’t taken Verizon seven months to update the phone. RIM has issued leaked numerous firmware updates ever since the phone launched that greatly improved the stability, but this is the first one Verizon has picked up. Never mind that, the BlackBerry Storm is finally worth your time and money.

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