BlackBerry 10 Review
Gosh, it still seems a bit mind boggling to know that BlackBerry has been pretty much non-existent in the last year, seeing that they’ve been proactively taking the time out to develop its new QNX-based BlackBerry 10 mobile platform from the ground up. Naturally, it’s a big undertaking in itself, much like any new platform, but as we’ve seen, it has to contend with the already existing platforms out there. To make matters worse, consumers have a minimum threshold in what they expect to see out of the experience, which is obviously version 1.0 at this point.
Regardless of that, BlackBerry has an established user base that’s been faithful all this time while patiently waiting – so at least they an existing pool to target. Google has shown us the complexity of its Android platform, iOS continues to be simplicity at its best, and Windows Phone aims to take the number three spot with its stylish appeal, but where is BlackBerry 10 going to fit in all of this?
The Visuals and Presentation:
Taking look at BlackBerry OS 7, which is running on the recent Curve 9315, it’s undeniably antiquated when pitted against its contemporaries. Luckily, the Waterloo based company threw out its antiquated design style and presentation in favor of one that’s gushing with a good balance between visuals and presentation. One part, BlackBerry 10 has a simplistic look similar to iOS with its app panel, yet, there’s more complexity with its layout, which gives the platform more depth. Sprinkling some pizzazz to everything, BlackBerry has done a tremendous job of throwing in a variety of detailed transition effects. From the way the animation of the app panel stack on top of one another, to the cool fading one used by the lockscreen, it gives some much-needed eye candy to a modern platform.
Beyond the glitz, we like how BlackBerry 10 incorporates a handful of gestures, which contributes to a higher learning curve from the onset, but once they’re mastered, it becomes second nature. At the same time, this heavy usage of gestures helps to give the platform its definition. However, we’re not too fond of how notifications are executed with the platform. At first glance, the thought of the BlackBerry Hub aggregating everything is great, but when it comes to accessing them, it’s a tiny bit of a laborious process – mainly due to the many gestures needed just to get to the BlackBerry Hub. From here, you can view everything in a unified inbox within the BlackBerry Hub, or simply check them out separately in the different categories. When it comes down to it, notifications should be previews that are quickly accessed, not this lengthy process with BlackBerry 10.
Rather than concocting something predictable, BlackBerry executes the task of multi-tasking differently. Again relying on gestures, the way it handles it reminds us of what was used by webOS, as a quick swipe up gesture from the bottom bezel “minimizes” an app and places it as an “Active Frame” in the homescreen. Naturally, switching is fast and simple with this routine, but at the same time, it would’ve been nice to see many apps take advantage of the Active Frames. For example, the weather app turns into a mini widget of sort – thus, providing relevant content at a glance in the homescreen. Meanwhile, other apps are simply in their “minimized” state.
lockscreen, which displays notifications, the clock, and date, it’s fairly benign with its offerings. Yes, you can launch the camera app at a moment’s notice in the lockscreen by pressing and holding down the icon, but it still would’ve been nice to give users the option to place additional content in the lockscreen – like weather information. And finally, that leads us to the platform’s personalization aspect, which is lagging behind Android and Windows Phone – though, it’s similar to iOS. Essentially, personalization is limited to changing the background wallpaper and rearranging the icons in the app panel. Needless to say, it would’ve been snazzy if there’s just some unique way for them to personalize the look more.
1. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)
Before i read this entire review i want people to understand that this platform and OS has just started therefore we CANNOT compare it completely to a FULLY CAPABLE AND MATURE OS such as android.......now with that in mind.......lets continue
2. wendygarett (unregistered)
I think bb10 is already matured, considered it's buttery smoothly and the os able to make snapdragon s4 dual core faster than a6 chips :)
they just need more apps, that's all :)
3. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)
yea apps may be the biggest thing concerned at the moment but i believe there are other minor things needed to "complete" the experience.......one would be more customization i suppose, but also, what may be relevant to some can be obsolete or irrelevant to others........either way we just need to sit back and watch them grow ........LIKE WE DID WITH ANDROID
4. wendygarett (unregistered)
You know what knight? If you anxiously want this device so bad... Ignore other, just get one... I'm fully support you :)
17. vanessa.deagan (Posts: 2; Member since: 28 Dec 2011)
It's not consistently smooth throughout the platform. I own one, have been using it since UK launch. It's very temperamental in the smoothness department. Sometimes it's very juddery/jittery.
14. RiseAgainst94 (Posts: 281; Member since: 03 Mar 2012)
Starting to sound like WP7/7.5. Smooth but lacks apps.
33. TylerGrunter (Posts: 1057; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)
Why can't we? As a consumer we have to chose how to spend our money, and therefore is not that we CAN compare the new OS with some other platforms, is that we HAVE TO compare in order to take the decission.
We don't have to cut slack off some OS just because it's new! If it's new they should try to build it BETTER than the current ones, if not... why even bother to make a new OS? Why should the world need a new WORSE OS than the current ones?
5. cocote177 (Posts: 16; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)
They have to be compared, because these three OS are fighting for mantaining or even increasing the market share as it increases exponentially
6. rusticguy (Posts: 2828; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)
Ok if we leave 100 variants of same app what exactly is the platform missing essentially? For corporate executives presence of billion apps matter the least. All they want is productivity tools. They don;t play angry birds as they have no time i am sure for such things. So billion apps is just a number for even me who uses Android phone. I don't have more than 30 odd apps downloaded.
7. Risky_KillMoves (Posts: 5; Member since: 17 Jan 2013)
As a BB fan I can agree a great deal with this review, bias possibly a tad but does make focal points in reference to other OS's maturation but in the long run BB should have stayed up to par with where the competition is going in terms of the camera performance in general. The camera on mobile phones is now the biggest contender in terms of social media so a lot more focus could have been there. Personalization should have also been a major focus as well especially when looking at it as to iPhone users jailbreaking phone to do such and Android users using custom roms and the many UI features different manufacturers ie: Samsung, HTC bring to change the Android platform.
Now I do have faith in the BB team that is driving this platform now, they are driven by feedback from customers and the blog sites to improve their product so with whatever their plans are to bring those improvements to BB 10 it could be a massive change like Blackberry Playbook 2.0 update.
But for a fresh and brand new platform this OS is way further ahead than iOS, Android and Windows. It could be just because where technology is now and other platforms have already paved the way but hence BB did also say that QNX would be epic, multi core device would be the future and data consumption will be the key in succeeding in the future of mobile devices. Blackberry is truly on to something.
8. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)
agreed @ risky :)
9. semipro1337 (Posts: 67; Member since: 01 Oct 2012)
Im sick of hearing about the "year" that BB had to create this new platform. Lets be clear here, 1 year isn't enough time to make sure all the features you want are in the release version, its barely enough time for building/testing/fixing
iOS usually has yearly updates that include "thousands of new features and bug fixes" yet they leave their UI the same, add no real useful functionality to it, brag about how it will be available for 3rd gen devices and up, but take no responsibility for the poor performance.... Don't you think in that "year" apple had they could have made iOS run just a little bit better on old hardware?
Also, I am not a BB fan, an iPhone fan, and Android fan or a Windows Phone fan. They all have their places and customers. I use a iPhone 4s for work, and I would much rather use a Blackberry Bold because its business oriented, better messaging system. Theres nothing about an iPhone that says its a professional device for use in Government like the job I have. Android is the same way, its great but no purpose for business that a Blackberry cant already do.
ok lets light up the reds....
10. DerryAhmad (Posts: 245; Member since: 05 May 2012)
Hmm.. I feel the review is quite lacking.
- No Peek ?
- No Story Maker?
- No BBM ? Voice Chat, Video Call?
- No Screen Sharing using Video Call?
- No Picture and Video Editor?
- No ability to port Android apps?
Those are some great features of BB10 and I'm quite disappointed that they're ommited from the review while focusing on the more 'average' looking features such as the Organizer.
Also, about Time Shift Camera:
"Likewise, it’s not as cool as having a panoramic mode or Google’s Photosphere. "
I do think the Time Shift is more useful than Panoramic Mode or Photosphere.
13. REYNER (Posts: 187; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
exactly!! that's what im looking forward too!! im quite disappointed..
12. thealphageek1 (banned) (Posts: 942; Member since: 02 Feb 2013)
I no longer take any reviews done by this Site seriously anymore. They omit way too many features and functions of the handsets being reviewed so that their favorite ones look good as opposed to what they are reviewing.
15. REYNER (Posts: 187; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
with all due respect to Phonearena i guess they we're able to highlight some of the things that lacks the BB10 os like "eye-candy designs in music player or gallery" and some customization stuff. and the lack of apps but Phonearena also failed to give credit and show where the os exceeds like, video chat, time shift, screen sharing as well as picture editor. yes those features may not be as new as it looks to BUT., taking consideration that BB10 os is just a new platform built from scratch i think it's still worth considering. and i also think that this BB10 os 1st version is way better than the 1st version of ios or wp7 BB may not be able to give something new or extremely stunning feature but that fact that they we're able to catch up at some point is worth noticing.
16. jellmoo (Posts: 704; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
Again, this reeks of bias. Sure, list all of the issues with the device and offer critique about what needs work and where they can implement improvements. But to completely gloss over every area that stands out? To ignore just about every innovation that BB10 brings?
This "review" went over the surface, found things to nit pick, and then didn't dig any deeper than that. This is as bad as the Z10 review and is incredibly disappointing. If you can't offer subjective feedback that covers every area of the platform and offers true criticism of weaknesses and accurateness reflects areas of praise, then seriously, don't bother.
I'm not even a BB fan, but I wanted to read an honest, thorough and in depth review of this platform from a site that I respect. With these reviews I seriously have to question that level of respect.
18. semipro1337 (Posts: 67; Member since: 01 Oct 2012)
lmao author not posting anything in defense of the criticism in these comments.... wonder if it would be the same if it were an iOS review, would be be standing up for his review? That just proves that this site is biased, there hasnt been a new article posted in hours, im pretty sure he hasnt even read these comments....
19. John.V (Posts: 92; Member since: 27 May 2011)
Oh I read everything, trust me. Good or bad, I always get a good laugh out of them. Anyway, I had some high hopes with BB10, which I wrote about in another article. To tell you the truth, I was hoping for more with the platform, since I had a preview of it over at CES. As I said, it's going to be hard to swing users of other platforms to this, since there's going to be a huge trade off. For example, it's voice control service isn't close to Google Now or Siri. Making matter worse, BlackBerry Maps is actually worse than Apple Maps. I like how they've polished thing up to make it a very inviting modern platform, but like I said, it has a long road to catch up with the competition. True, we can't expect everything out of a v1.0 platform, but still, when you're trying to compete in this market, you really need to go all out or go home. Hopefully they'll be able to quickly expand its development in a timely manner.
20. protozeloz (Posts: 5381; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
This! ^ A winner these days is not the device that goes on pair with the competition, but the one that outclasses them, with nothing special to call the attention of the consumer(aka something groundbreaking) this is just another good OS in a market full of OS's this would have been great if released at least a year ago
21. jellmoo (Posts: 704; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
Dude, it's nice that you are getting a good laugh out of the comments, but the comments you are seeing are indicative of a problem in your reviews. It's fine that you see a lot of issues that need work, or that BB10 may not be ready to play with the big boys. That's great. But there needs to be a lot more context for an actual review to have any real merit.
There needs to be a greater level of detail, and some explanation for what you are pointing out. For example, on the Z10 you completely gloss over the battery life, even indicating that you haven't run any real tests on it. Then in the Cons section you list Terrible Battery Life. If that's the case, demonstrate it. Give examples. A purely subjective response without any data to back it up leaves me wondering how you qualify these things.
As for BB10 itself, listing all of the issues it has when compared to iOS or Android is a good start, but what about what it does well? Where is the info on the new keyboard? Where is the info on BBM? Where is the info on TimeShift. All they get is a passing word, and then another explanation of what is wrong with BB10 as a whole. It is an incomplete picture.
I have no vested interest in BB10 as a whole. Sure I hope it's good because I want viable mobile options, but I won't lose sleep over it if it turns out to be a poor platform. But as a review, you need to give the whole picture, not just cherry pick details and gloss over what doesn't interest you. It's possible to be critical, acknowledge strengths, and give a complete view of the product. That should be the goal of any product review, and I honestly feel that phonearena has fallen short here.
22. protozeloz (Posts: 5381; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
On the Z10 review he clearly says the battery life lasts around of 10 hours the only thing not tested was LTE... I don't know what other info you might want
And I don't know if we are reading the same review but here is the take on the keyboard
"Considering that BlackBerry 10 adheres to an all-touch experience, they made sure to do justice with the messaging experience. Even though there are going to be BlackBerries with physical keyboard (think the Q10), the layout of the on-screen keyboard does its best to emulate the look and feel of a physical one, which is evident by the silver space bars between rows. On one side, it’s nice to see that typing is smooth with the usual tapping of our fingers, but alternatively, the voice dictation service works rather well too. If you simply prefer typing, there’s also the platform’s new way of offering predictive text, which pops up words over specific buttons. Indeed it’s useful, but we find our pace to be slower – whereas typing the normal way, we’re faster, especially when it offers great auto-correction too!"
Also why would he go into detail with every app? What makes this services so special that they need to be explained individually
Now as a whole I think people are just trying to only see the eye candy of the UI instead of all the elements that act in it so I'll go a bit deeper
For example Many of its apps are android apps ruining on a emulator, they perform about 80-90% of how they perform in android, we can go on and on on how many things are bad with it but no review goes there, its just extensive...
23. jellmoo (Posts: 704; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
How does that actually answer anything about battery life? 10 hours? 10 hours of what? Random use? Video watching? Web browsing? Game playing? Phone calls? It's completely nondescript. And the LTE remains completely untested. How can you consider the battery life a major Con of a device if you don't actually test it and give any meaningful data to back that up?
And how does that section on the keyboard actually reflect anything? How does the keyboard work? How does it compare to other keyboards? What are the strengths and weaknesses of it? This was a major selling point of the platform, and it gets glossed over ridiculously quickly.
I'm not asking in depth detail of every app, I'm asking for a thorough review, so that it can help people make an educated choice regarding this platform. The questions on everyone's minds is how does this platform work? What's good about it? What's not so good? How does it function as a a basis for a device? How does it compare to other devices? What are the items I need to know? None of these questions are being answered here.
Whether people are focusing on the UI is an important point, absolutely. If that's all this platform is is sizzle with no steak, that's an important piece of information. But since I am left with far more questions than answers after reading this review, how am I supposed to decide that?
Why aren't these points being mentioned? Fine, I get it, you aren't a fan of the platform. That's all good. But all of these items need to be addressed in a review. This one looks like it was written as quickly as humanly possible to get it out before other publications got theirs out. I personally do not find this good enough.
28. protozeloz (Posts: 5381; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
I don't know how new you might be on the site but many users actually requested reviews to be short, PA is not the only one doing but I'll go with it since I've been here for quite a while
1. Battery life is usually measures in what PhoneArena considers moderate usage, witch is a few phone calls during the day, text message, web browser a bit and sync always on with social network... This is unless a phone has "extraordinary battery "as a feature then it gets another chart for heavy us sage
2. Maybe the vide helps?
3. If you see what the competition is offering you will understand where he is going, competition is light years ahead and PhoneArena cellphone smackdown will complete it
4. Is not that I'm not a fan of the platform, I have history to back Me up (playbook for example) they keep trying at things that are not fundamental.
Here is how things work
- Rumors and leaks gives you an idea of hours things will run
- Announcements will show us the new features
- Review will give us an idea of how things go And how beta things are
-Smackdowns will show us how the device stands against the competition
We are on number 3 but based on the review data you can tell how the device is doing... And is not so good
25. MC1123 (Posts: 1249; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)
the voice control isnt par to siri and google now? and you prefer apple maps than BlackBerry maps?!
i think im lost!
26. DerryAhmad (Posts: 245; Member since: 05 May 2012)
It seems that you're comparing the BB10 features that other OS has (Voice Control vs Siri/Now, BB Maps vs Apple/Google Maps) but you omitted the things that BB10 excels. Why not compare BBM vs iMessage?
How about reviewing BB10 other features that you clearly ignored? Usefulness of Peek? Easy video making with Storymaker? The Novelty of Screen sharing?
We just want some objective review John, but your review just doesn't seem like one.
27. MC1123 (Posts: 1249; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)
there's a lot that BB excels like
BBM is the best! with screen share etc!
BB Balance, no iPhone and WP can do that while android its not really like the balance (prior to 4.2)
BB Peek. an awesome part of the BB10 experience!
BB Hub. i think the notification on android/iOS/symbian is good but being unified on the BB hub on BB10 is very awesome!
maybe its because they give BB Z10 just 7 coz they are new to the platform! which is so unfair on BB10's part! coz actually BB Z10 is a good and promising device and its just that its not about Z10 its about BB10 which it deliver a good performance even though a lot say that the specs are for mid-range (even me actually, the reason why s3 is such a turn down for high end android buyer, it may be the best android performer and also with all its internal but its just that its cheap looking PLASTIC)
so im waiting for what RIM (i mean BBRY) will show later this year! remember that there's a rumor that they are preparing
im looking forward to that! but just dont like that it will be a sealed battery though!
29. protozeloz (Posts: 5381; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
You say many things... But why does those features excel?
Why is peek better than any pull down notification bar?
Why story market beasts android and iOS offering for video editing?
31. DerryAhmad (Posts: 245; Member since: 05 May 2012)
Don't you think it's what the reviewer (John V.) should've done? Reviewing the OS features objectively?
By not neglecting certain key features?
32. protozeloz (Posts: 5381; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
Question is, are those features so important? Why are they key features?
34. DerryAhmad (Posts: 245; Member since: 05 May 2012)
Yes. Some of them are important.
BBM - deemed by many reviewers to be the best messaging app is (deliberately) omitted from the review. Why not compare it to iMessage?
Meanwhile Voice control which I think is a gimmick- not key feature- is being compared to Siri.
Sure, Voice Control is a novel feature for BB10.
But why didn't he review Screen Sharing as well? It's a useful and innovative feature of the OS. Not to mention it's one of the key features introduced on the launching of Blackberry 10.
Even the other article, "Blackberry 10 walkthrough" in this site give some explanation about Screen sharing
What about memory expansion? Ability to port apps from Android?
What I'm saying is the reviewer failed to give a descent review/explanation of the BB10 OS and the novelty it brings.
By reading this article, so many facts that can attract people from buying, or at least try, the OS/phone- is being ignored.
35. protozeloz (Posts: 5381; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
Like I said how phone arena works in some areas is a split section you will see many post regarding different aspects of the new device/OS and even comparison with other devices (see comparison with iPhone and galaxy)
Also they trend to not review the things they have already revised before like the BBM unless something actually occurred that's worth mentioning... BBM has always had a great experience
Memory expansion was talked on the Z10 review is not the OS that has it but the device itself so that belonged there
The ability to port apps from android? I'll review it for you: its crap, apps lag and fail to operate properly I don't think we need more reviews telling us that... Blackberry should be concentrating on dragging developers to build apps in their native code instead of running another OS on an emulator so they can try and piggy back on a much richer OS (in terms of apps ) its a waste of good resources and should be burnt with fire... We already saw it on the playbook
I personally follow John V on twitter and Google plus, believe me... if there was someone exited in all PA about the BB10 and Z10 was him, he wanted to try it so bad I don't think he would have missed something on purpose.
24. MC1123 (Posts: 1249; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)
so PA, you like Apple maps better than BlackBerry maps?
30. protozeloz (Posts: 5381; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
Guys I think you are being kinda hard on the writer... He is not the only one giving it the heavy sack... For those who want "detail" here are some other reviews