Dimensions: 5.12 x 2.58 x 0.35 in
Weight: 137.5 g
Os: BlackBerry 10
Processor: Dual-core 1.5 GHz Krait
Storage: 12GB, expandable via micro SD
2g: 2G Network GSM 850/900/1800/1900
3g: HSDPA 850/900/1900/21 00
Screen: 768 x 1280 pixels, 4.2 inches (~355 ppi)
Camera: 8 MP main, 2mp secondary Battery: 1400mAh
• Great keyboard
• Does what a business phone does exceedingly well
• Sub-par battery life
• Lack of apps (for the moment)
If you love BB, or want to give the platform a shot, the BlackBerry Z10 is a great way to go.
At this point intime, top-tier mobile phones have more power than they need. We have phones that carry multiple-core processors, gigabytes of RAM and higher clock speeds than I had in my college laptop. The battle then, happens in the realm of the OS and just how pretty the devices are. I have had my fill of candybar phones with large screens running this or that version of Google’s Android OS. As I was contemplating this last week, BlackBerry sent me their latest flagship device, the BlackBerry Z10. The Z10 is of particular note, as it runs the beautifully revamped BlackBerry 1 0 operating system. Blackberry hopes to regain a solid foothold in the smartphone market with the new phone and OS combo, and though they have a few more tricks up their sleeve, the performance of the Z10 will certainly dictate how they intend to move forward.
I really love what they’ve done with the Z10. There’s no other word to describe how it looks apart from “handsome:’ It looks like a phone for which you have to dress up and look sharp to be seen holding, otherwise, you’d be doing it a disservice. It demands you look as sharp as it does. It’s a nice combination of smooth lines and gentle curves. The Z10 we got for review was the sleek black model that would look great paired with your favorite business attire.
The simple, elegant design of the Z10 is highlighted by the complete absence of buttons on the front of the device. There isn’t even a single softkey to be seen. It’s just a beautiful plain front with the BlackBerry logo. The left edge has the microUSB port and miniHDMI port, the right edge has the volume buttons and voice control button ant at the top edge is the power button. I fell in love with the Z10 the moment I took it out of the box. It feels solid, even with a plastic back, and is one of those phones you’re going to be holding a lot, just because of how it fits your hand.
The heart of the Z10 is of course the BlackBerry 1 0 OS. It has been redesigned to be sleeker, prettier, and with support for a full touch screen. Right off the bat, you’ll notice just how beautiful the redesigned OS is. There are no buttons on the front of the device, not even soft keys. To head to the home screen, all you need is a quick upward swipe from the bottom. This takes you to a screen with the last eight launched apps. This is very useful, as the apps that see a lot of play time are usually within that one screen. Swiping left takes you to the app drawer, where all the other apps are located.
One of the most useful features of the OS is the Hub. It should be familiar to those who have used BB before, and it more or less remains the same. At the Hub, you can see all the alerts and notifications from BBM, SMS, Email calendar and social networks. These can be filtered by type, so as to trim down what you see on-screen. It’s as useful as ever, and on the full-touch BlackBerry Z1 0, gets a nice upgrade. From any active screen, you can make an inverted “J” swipe to peek into the hub without launching it. If you see that there are no new notifications that interest you, just let go and you remain at the same window you started with. Dead simple, super usable. I used this more than any other unique feature of the OS, and the execution is so slick, I can’t imagine anyone else handling it differently. The lock screen bears the same level of usefulness, giving you updates on missed notifications that you can find in the Hub.
Of particular note is the BlackBerry 10 keyboard. In a word, it is smart. In two words, it is very smart. Prediction is present and very accurate. On top of this, it allows a quick upward swipe to complete a word mid-type. Say you are typing “Magazine:’ Once you hit the “M” key, probable words that start with “M”float above the next letter. For example, above”i”would be”Minute;’above”u”would be “Mustard;’ and above “a” would be magazine. Hitting the next letter in the word you want then swiping upwards completes that word. These options change as you input more letters into the word. It’s simple, efficient and it learns as you use it. The execution puts it at least at par with some of the aftermarket keyboards on competing OSs. The camera is also pretty amazing. Though it has a little trouble with focusing in low-light, sufficient lighting produces wonderful, clear and crisp images. Hit the link or scan the QR code below for a few samples. The phone is not without a few shortcomings though. Firstly, there is a slight lack of apps available for the device. Some of the important ones are present, such as Dropbox, a useful email client and Facebook, while some more popular ones, such as lnstagram and Skype are still in the works. I believe it is only a matter of time before these apps come to the OS, so if you are willing to be a little patient, it’s worth the wait.
Secondly, there is the matter of battery life. The Z1 0, when connected to mobile data, uses battery power like nothing I have ever used. During one event last week, I decided to use the Z1 0 as the main device for checking email, making posts and updating the site, and from the time I left the office until the event ended some four hours later, it was on the brink of death. Perhaps it was due to the notifications, conditions of the cell sites in the area or something else, but further tests had similar results. Without data though, it worked for a full day, but the power of the OS is constant connectivity. I can only imagine how much faster the battery will dry up on LTE.
Overall, though my initial infatuation with the device has waned, I’m still a fan. It’s just so pretty, and little details like the Hub execution, wonderful keyboard and impressive camera put it right up there with some of my favorite phones of all time.
First published in Gadgets Magazine, June 2013
Words by Ren Alcantara