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BlackBerry Z10 Review

BlackBerry Z10

When it comes to snapping photos, BlackBerry makes it very easy to get access to the camera app. First, you can launch it from the lock screen by pressing and holding down your finger on the camera icon in the bottom right corner. Secondly, there’s another icon in the homescreen that’s also placed in the bottom right corner. And finally, you can simply launch it by clicking on the “camera” icon in the app panel.

Sporting a clean layout that’s predominately covered by the viewfinder, there are few icons or buttons littering its interface. Towards the right edge, there’s an icon in the upper right corner that enables us to switch between photos, videos, and its new Time Shift feature. Meanwhile, there’s another icon in the bottom right corner to get into some additional settings and shooting modes – such as burst and stabilization modes. It’s lacking some of the manual modes and comprehensive set of shooting options that other camera UIs offer.

Furthermore, there’s also some confusion at first when it comes to snapping photos. Since it lacks a physical or on-screen shutter key, you just need to tap anywhere in the viewfinder area to take a snap shot, which is instantaneous. However, there’s a small square box that acts as the UI’s exposure and focus level adjustment. Basically, you have to press and hold down on it to move the box around to a specific area – so yeah, the execution is a bit strange from what we’re typically exposed to. Finally, with the Time Shift feature, it buffers images prior you to snapping a shot, so that you can “travel back in time” to select the best faces from each individual in the shot – ultimately stitching together the perfect one.

Tacking along a very modern sized 8-megapixel auto-focus camera, its quality isn’t more spectacular than some of its esteemed colleagues in this category, but rather, it boils down as being average. Well, shots taken outdoors with plenty of lighting are decent enough to accept with their average details and subtle saturation with its color reproduction, which sprinkles a bit of vibrancy to its shots. However, depending on where you position its focus box, images can appear over/under exposed. Under low lighting, though, it’s noticeably more speckled looking with its fine details – while an overall graininess is more prevalent throughout the shot. Luckily, its LED flash seems to be potent enough to light up the scenery up to 7 feet away, though, colors appear more washed out in tone.

Likewise, we can say the same thing about its 1080p video recording quality – with nothing that really jumps at us. Needless to say, we like the average details it’s putting out, gradual exposure, and steady frame rate that it delivers. Despite those charming items, there are two specific distracting elements that pop up. First of all, artifacting elements appear and soften it details whenever the camera is transitioning from light to dark areas and vice versa. And secondly, the microphone doesn’t seem to handle the wind too well, as it picks up that and other noisy tones in the background.

BlackBerry Z10 Sample Video:


Taking a quick peek at the Picture gallery, we’re adept to notice the conventional layout it’s sporting, as images are presented in an all too predictable grid like view. Thankfully though, we’re given some expected functionality with it – such as being able to share them via BBM, email, text message, and even NFC. Moreover, we also appreciate the editing functions that are at our disposal. From cropping to selecting specific artistic filters, it seems considerably extensive than your ordinary picture editor.

Picture gallery of the BlackBerry Z10 - BlackBerry Z10 Review
Picture gallery of the BlackBerry Z10 - BlackBerry Z10 Review
Picture gallery of the BlackBerry Z10 - BlackBerry Z10 Review
Picture gallery of the BlackBerry Z10 - BlackBerry Z10 Review

Picture gallery of the BlackBerry Z10

Moving onward to the music player, we’re disappointed to see that its presentation doesn’t get the kind of love it needs to appear modern and spiffy looking. Instead, it’s boasting a boring looking style that doesn’t rival some of the cooler looking UIs seen with other Android smartphones – and even the iPhone’s cover flow mode. As usual, we’re presented with the album cover, track information, and on-screen playback controls. Even worse, when it’s minimized and placed in the Active Frames area, we’re not even given playback controls. For that, the mini player is only accessible in the lock screen after the volume buttons are pressed. Setting its volume to the loudest setting, its output is average at best – albeit, there’s a hint of strain coming out of it.

Music player - BlackBerry Z10 Review
Music player - BlackBerry Z10 Review
Music player - BlackBerry Z10 Review
Music player - BlackBerry Z10 Review

Music player

Hardly a shocker to us, the BlackBerry Z10 is equipped to play high definition videos with no problems. Aside from the swift and steady playback, it’s worth mentioning that it supports a wide array of video codecs out of the box – these include H.264, MPEG-4, DivX and Xvid. Sure, the sharp looking display aids the experience, but it doesn’t have the same wow factor as some other handsets. Also, it’s somewhat disappointing to know that there is no mini player feature that many other devices provide – like being able to play a video in the background while doing something else.

Video playback - BlackBerry Z10 Review
Video playback - BlackBerry Z10 Review
Video playback - BlackBerry Z10 Review
Video playback - BlackBerry Z10 Review

Video playback

Noticing that there’s a microHDMI out port on this guy, we gain quick and easy video out functionality with it – so when it’s connected to a high-def television, we’re given a mirrored experience. Totally a bummer, the homescreen isn’t optimized for landscape, so when it’s connected to a TV, you can only navigate in portrait. Then again, many of the apps offer landscape support, like the web browser.


Survival hinges on app support, right? Well, if you’re wondering about that, it’s worth mentioning that BlackBerry 10 currently has about 70,000 apps in BlackBerry World. Out of the box, the handset is preloaded with popular ones such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Foursquare, so it seems poised to have a healthy selection. However, when we compare those apps with the same ones on other platforms, they’re not at complete in terms of feature set. For example, we can’t delete a Facebook post that we accidentally published, which is something you can do with the iOS and Android versions.

As for some of the other third party apps, we weren’t too convinced by them either – such as the third party Pandora client in “Apollo,” which has some significant layout issues. Strangely, there’s a YouTube icon in the app panel, but pressing it doesn’t do anything else except to launch the browser and point us to the mobile friendly version of the site. Speaking truthfully, if these are the kinds of apps that users are going to be exposed to, BlackBerry 10 is going to have a difficult time trying to lure people on other platforms.

Twitter - BlackBerry Z10 Review
BlackBerry Z10 Review



We bet you didn’t think that BlackBerry has its own maps application, right? Well, they do! And boy is it dreadful! When it boils down to it, the app is superficial and lacks the depth of features that Google Maps offers – and to an extent, it’s lagging behind Apple’s home brewed maps app too. Sure, we appreciate that BlackBerry maps provides voice guided turn-by-turn directions, but it’s missing other much-needed features like transit directions, satellite/aerial view, and even walking directions.

BlackBerry has its own maps application - BlackBerry Z10 Review
BlackBerry has its own maps application - BlackBerry Z10 Review
BlackBerry has its own maps application - BlackBerry Z10 Review
BlackBerry has its own maps application - BlackBerry Z10 Review

BlackBerry has its own maps application

Becoming an integral part of any mobile operating system, voice control services are undoubtedly being used by many more people. Sadly though, BlackBerry fails to brings a reasonable competitor with its offering. So what can you do with it? Well, you can send a text, email, or BBM message. Additionally, you can call a contact, schedule an appointment, make a note, and even search things on the internet. Regrettably, it’s not “smart” as Siri or Google Now, such as giving detailed answers to general questions like “who is Michael Jordan?”

  • 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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