BlackBerry Z10 Review
After the lean last year for the Canadian company BlackBerry (former Research in Motion), now we see a brand new flagship device aimed to compete on the high-end market – BlackBerry Z10. And, what’s more, we get a new BlackBerry 10 OS with it! This device with this system may become the straw at which Blackberry will clutch in order to survive. Considering the time the company needed to release a new device – about a year, we hope it will be good enough to satisfy the true BlackBerry customers (yes, there are such left!). Let’s see what does BlackBerry Z10 got.
To start with, BlackBerry seems to pay attention to the details. When you get your BlackBerry Z10 package, in it you will find (besides the smartphone) a microUSB cable, a wall charger, a pair of stereo headphones and the guides – all of them are commonly found in any smartphone’s box. BlackBerry, however, adds a sleeve case and a micro fabric cloth – things you would otherwise need to buy yourself.
The design of BlackBerry Z10 is nothing special – it sports an all-plastic chassis in a minimalistic style. In fact, it resembles to a certain extent iPhone 5 and LG Revolution and it seems to be an improved version of BlackBerry Dev Alpha that the developers saw earlier. The device feels solid and lacks surplus elements. It is slip-resistant thanks to its dotted rubbery back and 0.35’’ thickness and 4.9oz weight make it pretty comfortable and easy to fit in hand. According to the tradition, there are no physical buttons as everything needed is integrated in the OS, so what you can see on the body of the phone is a small microphone beneath the screen. The opposite side is where the notification LED, the light and proximity sensor, the earpiece and the front camera are located. The left brim provides a microUSB and a microHDMI that may turn useful. The right brim is where the aluminium control button can be found – in fact, between the Volume UP and Volume DOWN there is a third button that, when pressed for a long time, launches the voice control service or, if pressed for a short time, pauses or plays music tracks. The top brim offers the flush power button, the audio jack, and a microphone for noise cancelling.
The display of BlackBerry Z10 is 4.2’’ LCD with 356 pixels per inch. The sharpness and detail is tolerable and the colours are not bad – just like the viewing angles and the brightness. In fact, you won’t encounter problems when using it under the sun. However, the display is not from Gorilla Glass – it is hard to clean and feels like plastic. It is a magnet for fingerprints, too. To be honest, just like the design the display is nothing special.
The parts are tolerable, but the beasty Samsung Galaxy S4, Sony Xperia Z or LG Optimus G Pro will eat them for breakfast. The processor is Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus at 1.5GHz, accompanied by 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage capacity (9.9 available to the users). BlackBerry Z10 supports microSD up to 32GB, so don’t worry about free space. In addition to the traditional connectivity, the device is the first by BlackBerry that supports 4G LTE. All this is supplied with energy with the help of 1800mAh battery – which means a battery with a terrible life. The cameras are nothing special, the rear one is 8MP with F/2.2 aperture and captures Full HD videos and pictures, and the front one is 2MP. We won’t pay much attention to them, below you can see a video captured with the handset.
What’s the most exciting part of the device – its system – the QNX-based BlackBerry OS 10. Visually, it seems that the developers have used the year or so time for creating it and have made it perfect. The fabulous transition effects and shading makes BlackBerry Z10 look very cool and stylish, especially when combined with the fluid performance of the interface as a whole. The personalization, however, is brought to minimum – you can change the wallpaper and the app panel layout. This makes it look similar to iOS and certainly makes it rather different from Android and Windows Phone. Speaking of Apps, there are currently more than 70 000 apps in BlackBerry World. In addition to the apps designed specifically for the phone, there are Android-based ported ones. It seems that the owners will have pretty lot of fun with all these apps, right?
Now, we already told you there are no buttons and you will have to do everything from the inside. The home screen has three sections or panels – one for the apps, second for the active frames and third for the BlackBerry Hub. When you are in a certain app, swiping from the bottom of the screen to the top and releasing will minimize it and it becomes an Active Frame on the home screen. Certainly a big step towards multi-tasking, what do you think? Making the same gesture without releasing the finger will launch ‘Peek View’ and you will be buried into notifications. To launch the BlackBerry hub, swipe your finger from the bottom again, but without releasing it, swipe again to the right. To get to the settings of any app, make the last gesture – swipe from top to bottom this time.
To cut a long story short, that’s not exactly what we expected! The flagship of the company, according to the present standards, can be classified as a mid-range device, not as a high-end. However, it is something like a beginning and the performance is ok, but the next device should have a better design, really. And a better battery. And a better…Well, in fact everything should be better if BlackBerry want to be in the game again.