BlackBerry Z10 Review
So what’s the hoopla surrounding this smartphone? Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that it’s all about the new experience with BlackBerry OS 10. Just imagining the time it took RIM, errr BlackBerry, to develop this new platform from the ground up really gave us high hopes in the fact that they finally have a modern touch-friendly interface at hand! Obviously, they took a gamble on this one, which is evident by the lack of BlackBerries released in the past year. In a world where it’s trying to achieve stardom over Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, the folks over at BlackBerry decided to put in some serious time developing and tweaking its new platform.
Visually, they’ve paid a great deal of attention in almost every aspect of the platform. So much so, that it boasts some neat looking transitions effects that sprinkle some love to the new UI – such as the cool fading effect when unlocking the device. At the same time, there’s just this consistent fluid performance seen throughout the interface that easily rivals its adversaries. Unfortunately, its personalization is pretty much on the same level as iOS, since we’re only given the ability to changes the wallpaper and the layout of the app panel. Compared to Android and Windows Phone, it lacks those personalizing elements to make the look and feel of the UI different between handsets.
Above all, there’s a steep learning curve seen with the new operating system, which might detract some people – even those who are currently using the last-gen BlackBerry experience. Specifically, the learning curve is mainly due to the new gestures in play, and the way they lay out the homescreen. So let’s take a quick look at some of these new gestures.
Looking at the phone, there isn’t a home button or icon that many are familiar with pressing that returns them to the homescreen. Rather, the homescreen is comprised of three distinct panels – the apps panel, active frames panel, and the Blackberry Hub. Swiping left/right at the homescreen will get you into any of them, but when you’re in an actual app, executing a swipe up gesture from the bottom bezel and then releasing your finger “minimizes” the app and places it as an Active Frame in the homescreen. Indeed, it’s BlackBerry’s take on the whole multi-tasking thing, which might not seem as intuitive as what’s seen on other platforms, but it nonetheless gets the job done.
Following on the same premise, you can get into “Peek View” at any time by simply doing the same gesture (swipe up from the bottom bezel), but this time making sure to hold your finger on the screen and not letting go. In this view, we’re given a quick look at the amount of notifications we have – though technically, you’ll need to traverse over to the BlackBerry Hub to actually see what they are. Honestly, the way BlackBerry 10 handles notifications isn’t as quick or practical, but instead, it seems like there’s more work involved.
Well, that leads us to the hardest gesture to master – the one that gets you into the BlackBerry Hub, which aggregates all notifications, emails, text messages, and missed calls. Essentially, it’s a swipe up from the bottom bezel, then while your finger is still touching the screen, you swipe right to uncover the BlackBerry Hub. As we’ve mentioned already, it seems like a lot of work is involved in just getting access to those notifications, but hey, that’s the way they decided to go. And finally, the last gesture involves swiping down from the top bezel, which will bring up different settings depending on what app you’re running. From the looks of it, the gesture basically replaces the familiar “menu” button function seen with last-gen BlackBerry.
We’re not going to go into great detail about the core organizer apps with BlackBerry 10 because their functions and layouts aren’t different from anything else. When setting up accounts, like Gmail, we’re given the option of also syncing our calendar and contacts, which is of course an appreciated feature to find. As for the core organizer apps, they include the following apps – Calendar, Clock, Compass, Docs To Go, File Manager, Print To Go, Weather, and BBM. With the latter, BBM now features video chatting, where users can also send content to one another with a presentation quality to it. Of course, it’ll please business and enterprise users more than anyone else, but at least it’s nice to know that video chatting is now enabled with BBM.
BlackBerry smartphones are typically known for their messaging prowess, especially when many of them employ some killer physical keyboards. Obviously, the Z10 is an all-touch device and relies on a new keyboard layout. No folks, there aren’t any gimmicky novelties this time around, but we’re pleasantly impressed that the on-screen keyboard works well. Not only is the layout ample, but it’s super responsive as well in keeping up with our rate.
Furthermore, we also appreciate the useful gestures in play with the keyboard – like doing a swipe down gesture on the keyboard to get access to its different layouts. Still, we would’ve liked to see some numbers and punctuations integrated into the main layout. In addition to its great auto-correct feature, BlackBerry has an interesting way of going about predictive text. Based on context clues in what you’re typing, different words will begin to appear over certain letters on the keyboard – so all you need to do is a swipe up on the specific letter to automatically throw the word into what you’re typing. As much as we appreciate this, we find out pace to be a little bit on the slow side, and quite frankly, we’re faster just typing the old fashion way. Alternatively, there’s also the voice control feature that allows us to speak our words. In our testing, it seems pretty accurate and somewhat faster than relying on the predictive text feature.
Emailing hasn’t changed much with the BlackBerry 10 experience, though, accessing them is still a process on its own. Instead of seeing an email icon or something in the app panel, you’ll need to once again get into the BlackBerry Hub to access them. When it comes to the layout and functionality of the email experience with BlackBerry 10, we don’t find it as comprehensive as Android’s Gmail experience – but hey, it still gets the job done.
Processor and Memory:
From what we’ve seen in the past, BlackBerry’s set of smartphones were never sporting hardware that were deemed as cutting edge, but at least this time around, they’re able to bring to the table something respectable. Running behind the scenes, there’s a dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus processor coupled with 2GB of RAM that’s calling the shots – so it’s the same chipset used by many of today’s flagship devices. Far from being as intimidating as a quad-core processor, it’s effective enough in giving the handset one consistent performance in everything. From basic tasks to more complex things like gaming, we rarely find the BlackBerry Z10 exhibiting any signs of sluggishness.
Sure, it’s tagged as offering 16GB of internal storage, but that translates to 9.9GB of free storage space out of the box. Luckily, its microSD card slot is ready to accepts cards up to 32GB in size to supplement its internal tally.
Internet and Connectivity:
Many might forget that the BlackBerry Z10 is the first BlackBerry smartphone to feature 4G LTE connectivity, so it’s something worth noting. With our unit running off of AT&T’s LTE network, it’s able to load complex pages in a jiffy. Even better, the BlackBerry 10 web browser delivers a phenomenal experience, since it’s able to handle even the most multimedia intensive sites with little effort. Not only does it offer instant page rendering on the fly, but that same lovable and consistent fluid performance is also witnessed with its navigational controls – both pinch zooming and page scrolling. Heck, even sites with heavy Flash content are handled fairly well. Displaying a great amount of finesse, the only thing lacking are secondary features. For example, there’s a button to switch between opened tabs, but it would’ve been nice to see some other gestures that would accomplish tab-switching as well.
In the US, carriers that will be offering the BlackBerry Z10 will have their own specific variant – with 4G LTE connectivity in tow as well. Similar to its contemporaries, the Z10 is armed with all of the connectivity arsenal we’d expect to find nowadays – such as aGPS, Bluetooth 4.0, 5GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, mobile hotspot functionality, and NFC.
1. Nikolas.Oliver (banned) (Posts: 1574; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)
As usual Johnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
V here....jokes aside
looks like pa has a new intro animation?
36. drdaly (Posts: 37; Member since: 09 Nov 2012)
I think that's not correct,
John V looked so biased as he was just telling cons not fairly reviewing the new entry of the anticipated Z10, also didn't give BB credit for their effort which they deserve by the way.
Really was upset from this review :((((((
37. John.V (Posts: 92; Member since: 27 May 2011)
Did you check out the conclusion? I applauded them for the visual appeal with BB10.
67. loyals (Posts: 129; Member since: 10 Nov 2012)
@john v ..... u let all the applications open and stated battery life....QNX is real time os , if u dont close, they will be active only..not like ios or android where the apps go into hibernate mode....try to do battery test with apps closed
39. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2047; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)
John V gave credit in the ending stating that the experience was good & fresh as compared to some other platforms !
BlackBerry did do a good job with BB10 , but it should have been a little more comprehensive & complete as they had more than a year to develop the platform .
41. John.V (Posts: 92; Member since: 27 May 2011)
Dead on with that statement! You share my sentiments.
43. Nikolas.Oliver (banned) (Posts: 1574; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)
Always love johnnnnnnnnn v's reviews, especially the "hey guys johnnnnnnnn v here from phonearena" and his smile lol
47. JohnnyBravo (Posts: 105; Member since: 02 Dec 2012)
one year may seem like a long time, especially talking phone years, but for an OS to fully show its capabilities it usually takes a couple years. I believe this is a nice solid start. I will wait until they come out with their first huge upgrade then decide if I want to go back to BB.
The only thing Im really disappointed at are the hardware materials. I thought BB hardware was premium?
65. cripton805 (Posts: 944; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)
A tip for future reviews. I came here to see a phone review. I felt as if this was a comparison to everything available in the market instead of directly focusing on this product. I want to know what YOU think about the product. Not how it stacks against the competition on every little thing. You repeated plenty of times how "it gets the job done". You can do that on those individual VS. battles you guys have.
105. depeche (Posts: 60; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)
This device is brand new and has a brand new OS; this has to be factored into the review.
When compared to past BB camera's this has to be the strongest to date.
Just because all other devices are 4.5" or more does not make this 4.2" screen inferior.. come on, it is larger then the iPhone 5's screen..
13. MONUQ (Posts: 31; Member since: 26 Jan 2013)
PA take it in +ve note.....
but u need to have fresh experts for reviews of phone.....
Bcoz old reviewers are biased to well published platforms.....
62. Raymond_htc (Posts: 430; Member since: 06 Apr 2012)
Sorry but you are pathetic. Flaming on R.I.M Day and night. :) I think i need to sell you a product called ''Life''.
4. windroid (unregistered)
7 out of 10... not good :(
15. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3013; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
Taking into consideration that Blackberry took a long time, the OS does seem a bit too subtle. But, since it's in stage 1, i can forget about that. I actually did like the design (better than the iPhone 5, if i must say)...
And i know what people will say about BB10, it'll be what WP7 was to Windows.
5. TerryCrowley (Posts: 184; Member since: 31 Jul 2011)
Blackberry is finally done. Maybe now they'll give it up.
21. SleepingOz (unregistered)
That's rude dude but yeah, BB10 is meh..
106. depeche (Posts: 60; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)
I disagree! which do you prefer Window Phone or Blackberry 10?
107. Xtasy (Posts: 272; Member since: 13 Jan 2013)
Your a complete dum ass... I wish I can smack u over the head
6. wendygarett (unregistered)
Huh? The design is not good?
guess that only technobuffalo manage to rate that high lol
12. Nikolas.Oliver (banned) (Posts: 1574; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)
maybe jon rettinger is a bb fanboy?
38. John.V (Posts: 92; Member since: 27 May 2011)
Check out the Dec Alpha units. The Z10 looks like a slight variant of it. For a launch device, I was expecting more, since design aids in fostering attention.
91. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2047; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)
Again , Z10 must have have been a good & fresh looking as the platform . Blackberry need to be relevant again and a slabby phone with not real good looks wont help them . Thats what John V is trying to say .
7. godzeus (Posts: 1; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)
I just see a repeet of what happened with Storm 2. They brought something new to the table and it failed. U can't expect people to change how they handle touch screen phones. This is something that needs a whole lot of time to do and can't be done over night. Personally I had high hopes for WebOS. Not sure I can't get suckered into thinking the same again.
Check this; yesterday I just bought a new phone and went with Sony because Samsung had the (most used) back button on a side where it is uncomfortable to go one handed. That all said i do hope this makes it. Not like they can afford another blow.
8. jellmoo (Posts: 692; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
I am loathe to say this, but this review oozes a certain level of bias, almost like the reviewer was delightfully looking for issues to pick apart.
Now, I'm not necessarily saying that this phone deserves a higher score or that it is an amazing piece of hardware, but the language used here doesn't do an honest review justice.
Add in the fact that some of the review items (such as battery life) aren't even completed and just assumed, and I have to wonder at the validity of this entire piece. I have to admit that I am a little disappointed here. I expect more from phonearena.
49. xtremesv (Posts: 236; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)
I agree with you. Other sites test a device for more than a week to make a throughtful review. This one seems rushed.
11. joeyrants (Posts: 6; Member since: 25 Apr 2012)
Everything seems fine except for the battery life. It seems really weak compared to its competitors out there. The best smartphone battery life I've ever gotten was from the Lumia 920. I managed to squeeze a little more than 25 hours on that thing on one charge with average usage (no gaming though).
Truth be told, I was expecting a lot more from BB. Something with really innovative hardware. Though I wouldn't go as far to say that this phone is disappointing, it was a little underwhelming (maybe my expectations were too high).
17. duwiegeneral (Posts: 48; Member since: 07 Dec 2012)
also the fade that occur when unlocking is on my lumia 800 nothing new there pa
20. fervid (Posts: 173; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
I really liked how they went with the interface and could have put up with any shortcomings since it is pretty much iPhone + Windows Phone with speed/power/ease of Android. But, no Gorilla Glass and weak Battery killed it for me. Sell your RIM/BlackBerry stock while you can!
22. cornerofthemoon (Posts: 514; Member since: 20 Apr 2010)
Nokia has the best constructed phones these days. Samsung is still stuck in cheap plasticville. The iPhone 5 uses beautiful materials but go without a case for a couple of weeks and its a scratch-a-polooza.
24. champ_vl (Posts: 44; Member since: 31 Aug 2012)
I didn't like this review. It emphasizes on the downsides instead of the nice features it brings.
No mention of the quality apps it has compared to the Windows Phone or even that Android apps can be ported easily and run perfectly right out of the box on it.
Am I the only one around here who really thinks this is a very good phone and deserves some credit?
25. simplyj (Posts: 404; Member since: 23 Dec 2009)
7 out of 10? I don't buy this review. I would expect at least an 8.
26. daftastic (Posts: 87; Member since: 07 Jan 2013)
Wasn't this the guy who always reviewed the iDevices no matter what? It's that Polish guy when it comes to the Androids and Nokia, but iPhone? Whoo this guy's face would be all over it.
27. N-fanboy (Posts: 538; Member since: 12 Jan 2013)
Goodbye Blackberry, it was nice knowing you :'(
28. slaggyb (Posts: 191; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
John V is a complete joker.....drunk in Apple and Samsung Kool aid...from watching the video, it looks like he was forced to review the Z10...Nevertheless I already pre-ordered mine unlocked at full price waiting on its arrival on Wednesday ..PSA I currently own the Samsung galaxy note ii, the Samsung galaxy Siii, the Blackberry bold 9900 and the Nokia lumia 800 which I just upgraded to windows 7.8 and all phones are unlocked and unbranded.
32. shandesilva (Posts: 73; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)
sincerely hope you would post a much better, unbiased review once you get your blackberry :)
29. isprobi (Posts: 204; Member since: 30 May 2011)
Not really a good review. The unique features of BlackBerry 10 are not shown here. There is allot more to this phone that just another icon grid. What abut the Hub and Peek features? What about BBM Desktop Sharing over video? What about the Time Shift feature of the camera? What about the learning capabilities of the keyboard?
31. isprobi (Posts: 204; Member since: 30 May 2011)
OK. I did see the rest of the review and I guess it's pretty fair. I will buy one. But I am not sure if people who want lots of apps for every little thing will want a Z10. Those who want to get important things done effeciently should love this phone.
79. madpiyal (Posts: 108; Member since: 11 Feb 2013)
I think it will also be the most stable platform and the secure one. Even though companies are leaving Blackberry for other platform will eventually come back to Blackberry just because of security issues.
30. Darkrai (Posts: 7; Member since: 16 Jan 2013)
The interface looks for like the optimized verion of Meego.
#same old swiping and gestures.
34. drdaly (Posts: 37; Member since: 09 Nov 2012)
I think they did a huge effort,
Good job BB great effort to be done alone without any help from anyone, had the feeling that john V was very biased against the device i don't know why??
I think it's a late move for BB but good one as well, the finish had to be more premium they're not some Chinese phone maker BB is a well known Brand that has to bring the finest.
Also, this phone this software are a solo effort from one company we have to give them credit for that, give them a positive push to make improvements to this platform which by the way looks like a smart and decent one, and i really liked it a lot.. Those many gestures are cool ones :) & the size is optimum, screen is perfect with 365ppi, 2g Ram, speedy processor that fits the platform and acts very smoothly, many other cool features that should be given credit not to focus on cons like John V did out there ... :(((
35. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2047; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)
Don't like the review ?
Don't watch it !
John V has always & will always be one of the most unbiased & great reviewers out there .
Haters gonna hate !
42. imkyle (Posts: 1009; Member since: 18 Nov 2010)
I heard the battery downright sucks, but I think maybe a score of 8 would have been better then 7.
44. winter_hat (Posts: 106; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)
What's boring is not the BB10 UI, but slaves to iOS or Android devices posting their biased opinions thinly disguised as reviews. Actual PEOPLE that are using it are all raving about it being fluid, unique, and innovative. So, buyers, when in doubt, check actual user reviews.
45. winter_hat (Posts: 106; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)
Unbiased? Just the keyboard ALONE destroys everything in existence. Besides the prediction above the letter where your eye and finger are, it can predict words in 3 different languages simultaneously. And it has heat mapping that tracks your fat finger's errors and subtly adjusts the virtual location for often missed letters making you think all of a sudden you are great at typing. And more. That's just the keyboard. People who are thinking of buying, check the reviews of the people who've actually purchased this phone. It's stunning.
64. winter_hat (Posts: 106; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)
I also forgot space inference that puts spaceswhereyoumeant them to be. Mind you, I'm still just talking about the virtual keyboard. There are literally 4-5 major OS features that will have to be copied by Android/iOS. HAVE to be copied because they are so much better.
46. GeekMovement (Posts: 1505; Member since: 09 Sep 2011)
If anything they could have added a decent battery life to this handset, but now my excitement for this product has disappeared. I hope it's not the same with the Q10 even though the back design of that handset disappointed me despite their glass weaving technology or whatever. Could have been much better. I'm sticking with Android and going with the Xperia Z or Galaxy S IV most likely.
52. advcomputer (Posts: 1; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)
There are a few issues that I would like to address in your article;
That is typical BB and seeing how it came about from the corp environment that is to be expected
>>Terrible battery life
No better or worse than an iPhone 5 Like all Lion batteries, after 1-2 weeks of use will they start to get acclamated and give you better life. Worse case is that you have a 2nd battery that you can swap, again unlike the iPhone
>>Tough to remove smudges from the display
ZAGG screen protector will do fine for that, no?
Additionally it does REAL multitasking not just pausing like the fruit and google o/s. Itis much more secure than the others and is also FIPS certified.
I don't see any mention of NFC which again they have and icrap does not.
No real mention of BB Balance ./ Remember features and a whole host of others. So this is another crap phone arena article by John V, who does not do ANY research but rather comes up with trash and nothing to back it up.
You should be ashamed and so should PA for allowing you to post this garbage.
53. MC1123 (Posts: 1243; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)
what the hell is WP's customization?! it's resizeable live tiles? lol to that.. I prefer the iOS and BB10's changeable wallpapers than live tiles!!!
54. DerryAhmad (Posts: 245; Member since: 05 May 2012)
John V. points some good points in the review. But yeah.. the language is biased towards negative opinions.
Blackberry design are often has this understated (classic) look to it. Looks is subjective. But I do think the Black Z10 design is quite nice. Very corporate look. The White Z10 has the more 'young' look IMO.
Blackberry Hub (formerly Message) and Peek deemed to be incomplete,- While I view it as different. Peek is actually a really cool feat emphasizing on the true multitasking power of BB10 - peeking through notification without leaving your current activity.
Along with Peek, this is the true heart of BB10 multitasking abilities. The implementation looks like WP live tiles, but it's very different since each Frames is actually simultaneously running actively instead of just pausing. And managing your active frames could also mean personalizing your Z10.
Applaud for acknowledging Z10 keyboard as impressive. I think the Z10 virtual keyboard is the Best and most innovative touch screen keyboard among other platform's.
The review lacks one of the most important BB10 strength -Blackberry Messenger.
By far, BBM is still the Best messaging app that any OS has at the moment. Yes it's still exclusive to BB (like iMessage), but the features of BBM is unparalled, especially:
- BBM Voice
- BBM Video Call
- Screen Share using BBM Video Call
A nice battery life comparison with other top tier phones would be appreciated. The removable battery should also taken into consideration, especially Blackberry already provided further accessory like the Battery pack+charger.
Initially I didn't quite aware of this feature. But I think I'm gonna love this feat. An app that compiled all things that you should remember - Notes-task-Browser bookmark in a single app.
Story Maker and Video Editor
I really like the idea Story Maker, While the idea is not novel, it is nice for BB to have this app straight out on launching and is actually a native and integrated to the OS.
Android App portability
This is one feat of BB10 that most reviewers neglected. I prefer native apps any day than apps ported from Android store, but at least it's nice to have the option.
While I do think the OS is fresh and great, BB10 Ecosystem doesn't have a 'healthy' amount of Popular apps. I do think it's on par with the WP8 apps.
I don't care about the hunders of thousands of apps. Just get the most popular ones (in each region) available.
We've seen some popular ones 'committed' to the platform, eg. Whatsapp. Let's hope it won't arrived too long.
Other thing the Z10 could improve is Camera. I've seen several reviews and it seems the photos from the camera are quite mediocre, especially in Low Lights. Thankfully, Z10 has built in Photo editor and Time Shift that are quite nice photo editing tool. But yeah, I do think the camera could be better.
66. MC1123 (Posts: 1243; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)
i do hope that you all stop saying that the active frames of BB10 are similar to livetiles or widgets on WP or android coz its not! its a minimize window of the app so it is more similar to the short-life Nokia's only MeeGo Phone the N9!
but yeah! what you said is right!