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BlackBerry Z10 | Users Review

By Edited Apr 27, 2016 1 4

Business Handset | Personal Device

I was one of the lucky ones. I was one of the lucky first consumers to get my hands on the BlackBerry Z10 and over the last 2 years I have managed to have a good time with all the updates and new BlackBerry 10 features.

I have been a BlackBerry user for four years and before I got this new handset I was using a BlackBerry Torch 9800 and the progress has been huge. Before we start talking about what I found, lets take a look at the BlackBerry Z10 specs:

  BlackBerry Z10
Weight 4.78 oz
Screen 4.2" 1280 x 768 pixels
Storage  16GB & micro SD up to 64GB
Camera

8MP Rear
2MP Front

Operating System  BlackBerry 10
Processor  1.5Ghz Dual Core Processor
2GB RAM
Connections 4G
Wi-Fi up to 802.11n (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz)
Bluetooth 4.0   
Other Notes Touch on Lens toughened glass screen

 

At the time, the BlackBerry Z10 was at the lower end of high-range in terms of specification. The problem is that it is not how fast your phone can be, but how the software uses it that counts.

BlackBerry 10 OS

The BlackBerry 10 OS was developed by the same team that built the QNX software found in many luxury cars and commercial systems. The company which developed it was bought by Research in Motion in 2010 before they renamed the company after the handset range.

BlackBerry Z10 Menu
This software brought a whole new way to manage your handset. With the exception of turning it on, there is no actual need for any other buttons. This means that because you can wake your phone up with the swipe of a finger, there is more room for the screen and that fast dual-core processor. You will notice some common features though; a grid based app menu for example.

At first the BlackBerry Z10 might seem a little cumbersome to hold with a reasonable screen but an enlarged bezel top and bottom; and this is is partly because the new, completely gesture controlled software; needs those borders to work. 

What is obvious though is that when it was brand new, this BlackBerry phone was slightly confused. This was developed as a business handset but with a very much a consumer orientated launch with Alicia Keys and the vast array of social and gaming apps on it's App Store. 

Over the last two years though BlackBerry 10 has developed into a bit of both worlds. Locked down features for bigger businesses and the Android Run Time (ART) so you can play Candy Crush Saga

Messages Replaced By The Hub

The BlackBerry Hub
One of the big changes to the BlackBerry 10 range is that your mailboxes and the "Messages" folder changes.  If you have already used an older BlackBerry then you will already have used the Messages system.

The replacement Hub can be found by swiping in from the left edge of the screen (or in the apps menu) and offers the usual range of mail and social media message options.

You can change almost any setting for all, or individual message accounts. 

Personalised Hub
If you want your business e-mail address to have a different alert to your Facebook notifications then you can. Even if you want to make your texts from the wife prompt a ringtone of the funeral march, you can program the phone to a granular personalisation.

Your Bonus for BlackBerry Hub

There are some great little features as part of the BlackBerry Hub with I know I sometimes forget about. 

  • Peek If you are watching a video or playing a game when a message comes in then you can use the swipe gestures to peek at your mailbox. Sound strange? Think of it as moving a Windows window to sneak a peek at Microsoft Outlook underneith it.

  • See Everything If you have a social network account on every network then being able to see as many of them as you can in one place is great. Integration is already in place for Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Skype and more. You can either have them all in the top-level index or look at them and filter them individually.

There is also something extra for those BlackBerry 10 handsets that are tied into their companies infrastructure using BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

  • BlackBerry Balance This new security feature allows you to secure the work side of your handset with encryption while offering a personal section for you to install Star Wars Angry Birds. 

    Your employer's network administrator will have complete control over your work side of the phone though. They can specify what you can or cannot do on the professional side of your phone or even remove your connection to your companies BES server and remotely wipe your handset.

No More BIS

If you are using an older BlackBerry then you will notice the loss of BIS (BlackBerry Internet Service) which would allow you to go on your phone networks BIS service through a computer and add new e-mail addresses or update signatures them. Now you have to do this from the handset which with a touchscreen and a long signature can be fiddly... or use copy and paste! 

This also affects the way your data is delivered. On older BlackBerry phones webpages and e-mails were compressed before they were transmitted to your phone. This means if you first move up from an older BlackBerry you will use more data. Like for like, I found my data use increase 300%.

 

BlackBerry 10 Apps

The new Z10 has brought with it a huge update for apps and programs. 

As with previous incarnations apps are installed through BlackBerry World, and you can do this online as well, but as usual you will find some regular contenders pre-installed:

  • Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/FourSquare : Even though these major social apps have updates since the BB10 launch they have had both good and bad times. 

    Facebook and Twitter now look largely similar to their Android phone counterparts.

  • Maps : Navigation is back and the maps have been developed in conjunction with TomTom.

    I think the app is awful though, there is no consistency in the directions and instructions given, it can not keep up with the speed of travel and one of the basic features (a speedo) is not even offered. 

  • Story Maker : Never used it... Not even sure what it is mean to do!

  • BBM : Now with video calling through both Wi-Fi and mobile data.

    Thankfully if you are going to use this, the Z10 includes a front facing camera and the quality in a few test calls I have made have been really good over Wi-Fi.

    With the introduction of both BBM Channels (think Facebook Pages) and BBM for iOS and Android devices; the reach of BBM has increased further - and you can connect to both groups and fan pages, or simply just me!
BlackBerry Z10 Unlocked Cellphone, 16GB, Black
Amazon Price: $749.99 $109.99 Buy Now
(price as of Apr 27, 2016)

The HD Camera

Something which I am impressed with is the camera. You get now is a really good camera and a video recording capability of 1080p high-definition, and BlackBerry Link can be set up to copy your pictures across to your desktop either when you connect it via the USB or are in the same Wi-Fi network.

Over the various updates there have been new features added such as  HDR[2] (High-dynamic-range) and this basically means that using that setting; your BlackBerry 10 handset takes a picture at three different exposure settings and merges the picture to give you a balanced image. The only problem is making sure the picture you are taking stays still for a few seconds!

Third-Party Apps

There are an increasing range of third-party apps that are adding value to the BlackBerry 10 range.

Admittedly it was a very slow start but updates to the Android Runtime[5] mean that a range of Android Ports are now available through the Amazon App Store which BlackBerry have included as part of the update to version 10.3.1 of BlackBerry 10. 

There are now a huge range of third party apps though. Everything from apps to flash your notifications LED a different colour to fully fledged satellite navigation systems can be found on the BlackBerry AppWorld and as with other operating systems you can prompt your phone to install apps from it from your PC web-browser. App prices vary but are usually less than $5.

Conclusion

I like my BlackBerry Z10 but I understand why people don't.

The device is still having trouble standing up and oozing refinement, but as a package the Z10 will entertain both upgraders and new BlackBerry converts alike. The updates to the software continue, so it might be that those little reasons you have not got a BlackBerry 10 handset are short-lived and make the BlackBerry Z10 great.

I wouldn't buy a Z10 band new now though. If you are looking for a all-touch BlackBerry 10 handset then you should consider the more recent BlackBerry Z30 instead, it has significant hardware updates but if you have read all the way down to here then then the principles are still the same.

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Comments

Feb 14, 2013 2:44pm
mntivan4o
it's time blackberry took their chance. They were at the top once, and it's not too late get back their place
Feb 15, 2013 2:49am
darren-w-gray
Thanks for your comment. As I understand it, the primary aim of "the company formerly known as Research In Motion" is to recapture the business market. As I understand it there are some Governments that have already approved the security of the BlackBerry Z10 before the iPhone5; Apple must be kicking themselves.

The problem is that I think that the consumer market is going to suffer as a result. BlackBerry Enterprise Server was given a refresh, BlackBerry Internet Server was all but discarded!
Feb 15, 2013 1:19am
sherazkhan
Before release of Blackberry Z10, Android and iPhone were the most popular mobiles but now I hope that Z10 will have better competition with both of above.
Feb 15, 2013 2:50am
darren-w-gray
As I said above, I understand that BlackBerry are targeting the business and Government procurement markets at the moment as they are big buyers. I don't think Apple have quite managed it yet and Android is too open source to be that secure yet.
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Bibliography

  1. "BlackBerry 10.1 Now Available for BlackBerry Z10." BlackBerry. 14/05/2013. 30/06/2013 <Web >
  2. "High Dynamic Range Imaging." Wikipedia. 30/06/2013 <Web >
  3. "BlackBerry Ltd BBRY Q1 2014 Earnings Call Transcript." Morning Star. 28/06/2013. 23/07/2013 <Web >
  4. "BlackBerry Ltd BBRY Q1 2014 Earnings Call Transcript." Morning Star. 28/06/2013. 23/07/2013 <Web >
  5. "Android Runtime." Wikipedia. 25/02/2015 <Web >

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