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BlackBerry Z10 Review

BlackBerry Z10

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.

The new UI of BlackBerry OS 10 - BlackBerry Z10 Review
The new UI of BlackBerry OS 10 - BlackBerry Z10 Review
The new UI of BlackBerry OS 10 - BlackBerry Z10 Review
The new UI of BlackBerry OS 10 - BlackBerry Z10 Review

The new UI of BlackBerry OS 10

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.

Gestures on the BlackBerry Z10 - BlackBerry Z10 Review
Gestures on the BlackBerry Z10 - BlackBerry Z10 Review
Gestures on the BlackBerry Z10 - BlackBerry Z10 Review
Gestures on the BlackBerry Z10 - BlackBerry Z10 Review

Gestures on the BlackBerry Z10

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.

Organizer apps - BlackBerry Z10 Review
Organizer apps - BlackBerry Z10 Review
Organizer apps - BlackBerry Z10 Review
Organizer apps - BlackBerry Z10 Review

Organizer apps

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.

On-screen keyboard of the BlackBerry Z10 - BlackBerry Z10 Review
On-screen keyboard of the BlackBerry Z10 - BlackBerry Z10 Review
On-screen keyboard of the BlackBerry Z10 - BlackBerry Z10 Review
On-screen keyboard of the BlackBerry Z10 - BlackBerry Z10 Review

On-screen keyboard of the BlackBerry Z10

BlackBerry Z10 Review
BlackBerry Z10 Review
BlackBerry Z10 Review

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.

Email - BlackBerry Z10 Review
Email - BlackBerry Z10 Review
Email - BlackBerry Z10 Review


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.

The BlackBerry 10 web browser - BlackBerry Z10 Review
The BlackBerry 10 web browser - BlackBerry Z10 Review
The BlackBerry 10 web browser - BlackBerry Z10 Review
The BlackBerry 10 web browser - BlackBerry Z10 Review

The BlackBerry 10 web browser

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.

  • Options

posted on 04 Feb 2013, 08:26 3

1. Nikolas.Oliver (banned) (Posts: 1574; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)

As usual Johnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn​nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn​nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
V here....jokes aside

looks like pa has a new intro animation?

posted on 04 Feb 2013, 08:53 24

9. Wiki_jaan (Posts: 704; Member since: 24 Jun 2012)

boring UI just like iOS

posted on 04 Feb 2013, 11:58 11

36. drdaly (Posts: 76; 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 :((((((

posted on 04 Feb 2013, 12:10 17

37. John.V (Posts: 99; Member since: 27 May 2011)

Did you check out the conclusion? I applauded them for the visual appeal with BB10.

posted on 07 Feb 2013, 02:32 4

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

posted on 04 Feb 2013, 12:28 8

39. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2072; 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 .

posted on 04 Feb 2013, 17:04 4

41. John.V (Posts: 99; Member since: 27 May 2011)

Dead on with that statement! You share my sentiments.

posted on 04 Feb 2013, 17:16 1

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

posted on 04 Feb 2013, 18:39 1

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?

posted on 06 Feb 2013, 00:33 4

65. cripton805 (Posts: 1485; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)

John V.

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.

posted on 28 Apr 2013, 18:10 1

105. depeche (Posts: 63; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)

I agree.
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..

posted on 04 Feb 2013, 09:19 4

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.....

posted on 05 Feb 2013, 09:19 1

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''.

posted on 04 Feb 2013, 08:30 4

2. zuckerboy (banned) (Posts: 898; Member since: 22 Dec 2011)

lol not z10 it is Z7 :D

posted on 04 Feb 2013, 08:37 9

4. windroid (unregistered)

7 out of 10... not good :(

posted on 04 Feb 2013, 09:20 9

15. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 4320; 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.

posted on 04 Feb 2013, 08:43 11

5. TerryCrowley (Posts: 194; Member since: 31 Jul 2011)

Blackberry is finally done. Maybe now they'll give it up.

posted on 04 Feb 2013, 09:40 2

21. SleepingOz (unregistered)

That's rude dude but yeah, BB10 is meh..

posted on 28 Apr 2013, 18:12

106. depeche (Posts: 63; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)

I disagree! which do you prefer Window Phone or Blackberry 10?

posted on 29 Apr 2013, 17:08

108. Xtasy (Posts: 284; Member since: 13 Jan 2013)

Blackberry 10 over anything lol

posted on 29 Apr 2013, 17:08

107. Xtasy (Posts: 284; Member since: 13 Jan 2013)

Your a complete dum ass... I wish I can smack u over the head

posted on 04 Feb 2013, 08:43 6

6. wendygarett (unregistered)

Huh? The design is not good?
guess that only technobuffalo manage to rate that high lol

posted on 04 Feb 2013, 09:17 1

12. Nikolas.Oliver (banned) (Posts: 1574; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)

maybe jon rettinger is a bb fanboy?

posted on 04 Feb 2013, 09:27 3

18. neutralguy (Posts: 1152; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)

bezels, bezels everywhere.

posted on 04 Feb 2013, 12:12 2

38. John.V (Posts: 99; 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.

posted on 26 Feb 2013, 13:10

91. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2072; 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 .

posted on 04 Feb 2013, 08:46 1

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.

posted on 04 Feb 2013, 08:50 16

8. jellmoo (Posts: 2035; 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.

posted on 04 Feb 2013, 09:20 3

16. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

I completely agree

posted on 04 Feb 2013, 19:10 1

49. xtremesv (Posts: 298; 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.

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PhoneArena rating:
Display4.2 inches, 768 x 1280 pixels (356 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera8 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus, Dual-core, 1500 MHz, Krait processor
Size5.12 x 2.58 x 0.35 inches
(130 x 65.6 x 9 mm)
4.85 oz  (138 g)

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