After being in news for several months the new BlackBerry 10 OS is finally launched and along with it the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone running the new OS. The handset is now available in the UK and has also been reviewed by all leading tech sites. Let’s tell you about what is being praised and what’s criticized about the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone.
The handset in shape feels much familiar with the design of an iPhone, but a different material used in the body separates it from the design of the iPhone. It is made of plastic, while the removable soft back-cover has a rubber finish sporting the BlackBerry logo in the center. The handset weighs only 138g and is only 9mm thick that makes this handset one of the best designed handsets in the market.
The volume keys are on the right and lock key on the top center of the handset. On the left there is a microHDMI port and a microUSB port for charging. The charging port could have been better placed on the top or bottom of the phone as using the phone while it is being plugged from the left makes it a little uncomfortable.
The display is slightly bigger than the iPhone 5 measuring 4.2″ diagonally. The resolution of 1,280 x 768 pixels makes it razor-sharp and delivers great quality in photos and video playback. The display is good enough to compete with that of any leading smartphone in market.
What’s the great thing to check out in BlackBerry Z10 is the new BlackBerry 10 OS that has new features like the Flow and Peek, BlackBerry Hub, Keyboard, BBM, BlackBerry Balance and Maps. Let’s talk about these features individually.
Flow and Peek is what combines together to complete the new user-interface of BlackBerry 10. BB10 does not have any home buttons or homescreens like you find as a standard in every major mobile platform whether its iOS, Android or Windows Phone. This may be considered as a plus point coming up with a new idea. You can peek in to the BlackBerry Hub by swiping right when at multi-tasking screen or by swiping up then right from any app. You have the option to peek into the Hub without switching away from the app you are using.
To use BB10 you will have to spend time first to learn the gestures you will be using to access the interface. The main-screen/multi-tasking screen or home-screen you may call it shows you the recently used apps in a two-by-two tiled grid, sliding up shows you four more recently used apps making up to a total of eight. On tapping one of the recently used app tile, you open the app right from where you left it. Opening an app that is not in the recently used apps list will add it to the multi-tasking screen removing the one that is oldest among the recent apps. And if that app is a browser then the session running will be terminated.
BlackBerry Hub is the feature that is being flaunted the most. Well, the feature is good but not great. It shows all the notifications at one place including emails, texts, Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn notifications. What it does not do is show notifications related to your friends’ posts on Facebook or tweets from the other people on Twitter. It only shows notifications related to you. The BlackBerry Hub is easy to use and gives you liberty to reply to any text, emails right from the Hub.
The new BlackBerry 10 Keyboard is the best feature included in BB10. It is easy to use and gives suggestions for next words efficiently and accurately. It monitors the whole sentence to suggest the next word. Suggestions appear on top of keys instead of a bar on top of the keyboard. With just a simple flick you get the word typed. Buttons are adequately spaced from each-other to tap keys with more accuracy.
BlackBerry Messenger is pretty much the same as before, with only an extension of video chat capability and ability to share your phone’s screen with other BB10 users. It works much similar to the social networks where you can set your status and a profile picture. You can see which of your BBM friends are online. The use of the BBM is much easier than many of the other communications app available on other platforms.
BlackBerry Balance does an amazing job separating your personal and work life by filtering the business and personal apps and accounts. Switching from work to personal or vice verse is easy by just swiping down from top and selecting the profile.
Maps app is disappointing just like the Apple Maps introduced in iOS 6. There is no satellite view of the Maps, no walking directions or public transport. You do get driving directions though, but in that too the maps loads very sluggishly sometimes. There is no landscape mode for the Maps app.
The camera of BlackBerry Z10 is decent that captures colors brilliantly outdoors, but fails to do a great job in low-light conditions. The LED flash does good for low-light indoor conditions without making the subjects appear too flashy or over-exposed. The camera is capable of recording HD videos in 720p and also 1080p with a bit of problem in exposing the high bright and black areas. The camera is complemented with the pre-loaded photo and video editor that can do most of the basic editing tasks like adjusting color, contract and cropping.
Performance and Battery
The performance of BlackBerry Z10 is snappy and without any lags. Switching from one app to another is smooth. Battery is a bit disappointment as it will only last a little less than a day on moderate use.
When one uses a smartphone he/she expects to install a bunch of apps of their choice, but with BlackBerry Z10 you won’t get that much choices as out of the 70,000+ apps available for the BB10 most of the apps are junk. Majority of the popular apps are not yet available on the BB10 platform including Evernote, Instagram and many more.
The BlackBerry Z10 is a great phone, but the user-interface is a bit quirky because of the 100% gesture-controlled interface which new smartphone users will find a little difficult initially. BlackBerry loyalists will definitely like the handset, but may get disappointed with the absence of popular apps that they would consider to use on the phone. Overall, the phone lacks the number of apps available while the performance is great and features are amazing. For business use, BlackBerry Z10 could be preferred by many over the iPhone and other Android smartphones.Video courtesy of CNET.co.uk