Blackberry Z10 Review
Positive:Great design and handset feels solid.
Negative:BB OS is full of glitches, phone freezes, randomly restarts, lack of apps and can't reply to emails.
Blackberry’s latest handset the Z10 is put to test for a user review after a month.
After so many years of success for Blackberry, previously know as RIM, they seemed to have misjudged their sustainability strategy and growth plan; Mobile phone industry is unforgiving when it comes to rapid growth, demand for something new, fresh and different. Over the years Blackberry users gradually switched over to Android, iOS and Windows Phone not because Blackberry stopped doing what they were known for( BBM and encrypted push emails), but because they failed to moveÂ withÂ the times.
I was a Blackberry user when it was solely targeted at business users with BES, then I watched Blackberry moved gradually towards offering consumer devices with BBM been the word on every teenager’s tongue or when they attended school every one of their friends have Blackberry devices; that was a great thing for Blackberry, but they failed to realise that they can only entertain teenagers or consumers in general for so long before their friends discover Instagram or Whatsapp as an alternative way to conduct their instant messaging activities.
Something that also seemed to have affected Blackberry is that they pride themselves in been able to provide emails or BBM for just little extra on monthly tariffs for data allowance, but when networks such as Three UK can offer All you can eat data allowance, that becomes obsolete; service providers can offer you an Android device because you can use Whatsapp with unlimited data allowance, less worry for users.
What’s inside the box:
Analysis aside or negative introduction aside, as a crackberry user (Blackberry addict), it was very exciting to see that Blackberry were making a “come back” , a device that does what every other smart phones did for couple of years while they were slrrping. So it goes, the launch event was great, they showed off the features and stresses the fact that it keeps life moving for users.
Opening the box, Blackberry still haven’t improved their packaging, although not important, that is where attention to detail starts, ask Apple users, how they feel when they open up their iPhone box, then ask a Blackberry user, leave a comment below about your findings. The usual stuff you get are present like your manual, USB cable with the 3 pin charging block for the UK, and of course the Blackberry Z10.
Design and Feel
If there is anything Blackberry got right, it is the build quality of the Z10, even though it is made of mainly plastic, it feels solid unlike the feeling you get when you hold a plastic Samsung Galaxy S3. Built with a removable back cover and battery, the back cover is every so easy to remove in order to get to the SIM card tray or insert your memory card.
On the back is a prominent silver Blackberry logo, top left corner the 8MP, 3264 x 2448 pixels camera with autofocus and LED flash. The right side is the volume rocker with the mute button awkwardly placed in between it. On the left side is the microUSB port for charging and transferring of data as well as Blackberry Desktop data communication; next to it is a mini HDMI port so you can couple it with a bigger display. The screen sports a 768 x 1280 pixels, 4.2 inches size with 355 ppi pixel density, meaning sharp texts and gorgeous display for viewing videos and playing games.
At theÂ bottomÂ there are no buttons present and on the top is the power button and a 3.5mm headphone jack. As a gesture based device, there are no home buttons or anything buttons present, which is interesting, it gives it a stealth look. On the front is your front facing camera and light sensors. The front facing camera is 2MP camera that can shoot 720p videos at 30fps, pretty impressive especially when you do video chats. To help with low light videos you also get video stabilisation.
The Blackberry Z10 feels nice to hold in hands, very natural and easy to use with just one hands with size made in proportion. Â The power button is still at the top making it awkward to operate whilst holding with one hand. Â The LED notification is placed at the top right of the screen, I found that useful for letting me know when I have new notifications after having it on silent throughout meetings.
The biggest update and the main thing that Blackberry has been working on for years in order to get back in the smartphone game is their new or refined OS, a lot of the OS is still ultimately based on previous version and previous Blackberry users would be really familiar with it, especially any Blackberry Playbook users. Â What defines the BB10 OS is how it lets you interact with your device, with no buttons present, a lot of interactions are gesture based.
Swiping up minimises any app you are currently in, swiping down gives you your quick settings toggles or if in an app can be different based on that app. Blackberry Hub is a feature Blackberry shout about a lot as they call it the Hub that helps keep things moving, I would assume it makes life easier having all your notifications in one place but to certain extent it seems just like a concept more than anything. Â It seems a concept because some notifications still does not work well, for example marking a message as read does not update Twitter app and vice versa.
Other issue is that you have to swipe left or press and hold to reveal mail options for each message so someone like me whoÂ receivesÂ over 100 emails a day will have to do that for each, that does not make my life easier. Â On my iPhone all I would need to do was just swipe across and delete the message, where as on Blackberry Hub I would have to swipe left, whilst holding and select the delete button then repeat process for another 99 messages.
I like the idea of having all my communication methods in one place but if it means going through a longer process to do simple things, that equates to not been fit for purpose. Â For enterprise users, balance is a great feature whereby you can easily switch between been at home/holiday and been at work, its a great step towards solving businesses worries on BYOD.
With all apps minimised on the home screen, there was an issue with all that getting lost when your battery dies and you restart your phone after charging it up; again that is simple, the state of my device should remain the Â same especially when I resume to it from having a dead battery.
Blackberry Z10 Freezing
So far I am on my second Blackberry Z10 device after the first one refused to allow me to reply to any email messages, that was a strange situation because it allowed me to compose a new email to the sameÂ recipientÂ I could not reply to.
I spoke to Blackberry via Twitter and they offered no help, they even referred me back to themselves.
I ended up speaking to my service provider who kindly replaced it with a new one; the new one has been overheating, and freezes a lot when using the Hub. Â I have taken the battery out in most cases to resolve the issue but when you pay so much money for such a device, those problems should be least of my worries.
The camera quality on the Blackberry Z10 is above average; it delivered great detail in both colour and lighting condition handling. Â The camera interface is the easiest I have ever came across with menus uncluttered with so many options. Â You simply have option to chose between Video and Picture, if you need to change to font facing camera it is also easy to just switch it around. Â There is a feature called time shift, allowing you to take few seconds of photo in order to go back and change the face shouldÂ in-caseÂ your eyes were closed when you took the photo. Â Below is a video sample and picture taken with the Blackberry Z10.
Phone calls and Battery Life
Generally call quality was good, nothing to report here apart from the ease of use when dialling numbers; the numbers were big especially for those that usually need to wear their glasses. Â The logical flow of the menu to navigate through to your contacts and dial them was straight forward with ease of finding contacts also. Â Both myself and the other party could ear the voices clearly with noÂ interferenceÂ even when the signal bars drop from full to 3 bars in low network signal areas.
Throughout the tests even on both devices tested, battery lasted the whole day, however this was based on just regular used with emails, some internet browsing, Twitter and since Instagram was no present, I could’t really use it to the full extent to which I used my iPhone or Android device. Â However, having said that battery life wasÂ significantlyÂ good especially with the latest software update.
My experience with the Blackberry Z10 was disappointing, lack of apps was not a big issue as I had other devices that handled that, I acquired the Z10 to be able to handle allÂ businessÂ matters especially via email communication, but that was not up to the tasks with the inability to reply to emails, phone freezing and randomly restarting itself. Â I even had my first device replaced but both devices had the same issues. Â Blackberry still need to work on their device, as it still feels like a prototype and is not ready for the market we have today. Â Blackberry support was not helpful either, communicating via Twitter with their help channel was frustrating more than helpful see screenshot here:
Although this is my own experience with the Blackberry Z10, it does not mean thatÂ majorityÂ of people have the same experiences, it is still worth heading into your local store to try one out. Â Use it with theÂ returnsÂ policy in mind and if you experience the same issue you will have time roÂ exchangeÂ your device. Â The email issue could possibly be rectified in the future software updates. Â