What Do I Think About The BlackBerry Z10?

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What Do I Think About The BlackBerry Z10?

by MGD King April 26, 2013 3:50 PM

BlackBerry Z10 - Click To EnlargeThere are plenty of reviews of the new BlackBerry Z10 available but I wanted to take a few minutes and post about my personal experience with it. I've been using different BlackBerry devices where I work for years and while there were some duds in the group (remember the Storm?) there were some great devices. My personal favorite was the BlackBerry Bold 9930. The only thing that prevented that device from being perfect was that it wasn’t 4G capable so when news started surfacing about the Z10 I knew that it had a lot to live up to. Plus, BlackBerry is already under pressure to try and stay afloat as a business, but that’s already been well documented elsewhere so we all know that the pressure is on to deliver a device that can compete.

Where to begin?

When I first took the device out of the box I thought "hmmm... looks like an Android device, or maybe an iPhone?" due to the similar thickness and overall size of the device being very similar to the iPhone and Samsung Android devices. But what set it apart initially was the 4.2" screen because it looked a little larger than what I've seen on other devices. Overall, it has a very sleek and smooth style to it. After unpacking the contents (which wasn't much), the second thing I noticed, which is a welcomed surprise, is that you can replace the battery if it ever goes bad. That is one thing that has bothered me with recent devices is that you can't replace the battery in them. Nice to see that BlackBerry left the ability to do that with this new device. I wish that more device manufacturers would see the benefit from a consumer's standpoint.

Once I powered up the device I experienced my first WOW!!! The 1280x768 resolution is so sharp and detailed thanks to the 356 pixels per inch display! While a little dark out of the box, adjusting the display brightness made the screen really stand out. By far the best screen I've ever seen on a phone, or any hand held device for that matter. I couldn't wait to get some high resolution images on it to see what they looked like. The detail is amazing! Makes me wonder what else I've been missing on my old BlackBerry. I use a Motorola Droid 4 for personal use and the screen on the Z10 is superior by far. Immediately I noticed how smooth the screens change when scrolling or when apps open or close. Very nice and refreshing and made me feel like my Droid 4 was bogged down and sluggish. I opened the demo video that came with the Z10 and couldn't believe how nice it looked. Big thumbs up for putting this much effort into the display BlackBerry!

Battery Life

I've read on some reviews how the battery life wasn't that great on the Z10. Granted, these were reviews from the February/March timeframe when the device had just been released in Canada and the UK before there were any OS updates. However, my experience has been that the battery life is phenomenal on this thing! Without Bluetooth or Wi-Fi radios running it holds a charge for 2+ days if I don't use it, but what fun is that, right? When I use it regularly (e-mail, web surfing, text, few apps) it lasts all day long. I always keep a charger close by and plug in whenever needed, which on average is as often as I would have to plug in my Droid 4. If you find that you're using the battery quickly, you can always carry and extra battery with you and swap it out or use an external battery to get you by. But for my general use,  I don't have any issue with the battery life.

Touch Screen Keyboard

The failure of the BlackBerry Storm's attempt at a touch screen keyboard is legendary so the fact that BlackBerry was trying again must mean that they have put considerable effort into the R&D of how it should work. Verdict? Homerun!!! They nailed it! This has got to be the best touch screen keyboard I've ever used, and it feels like I've tried them all! And it doesn't matter if I'm typing in portrait or landscape: it just works! It works so well, in fact, that I find myself typing in portrait mode more often than landscape which is not something I've ever been comfortable with.

The Camera Eye

One of the Z10's coolest features in my opinion is the camera. Its autofocus is quick and all you have to do is touch anywhere on the screen and ZAP! Picture captured! The image quality is remarkable given the lens that's capturing the photo. Click on the image of the car on the left to see the results. The 8 megapixel camera takes images at 3264x1836 resolution so it's going to be big (you may need to press the ESC key after viewing to close the photo). The 2 megapixel camera takes images at 1600x900 and even though they're smaller, the quality is just as good.

The Z10 shoots MP4 video at true 1080p (1920x1080) at 30fps (frames per second) while the front facing camera shoots 720p video (1280x720) also at 30fps. I wanted to post a video that was taken with the Z10 but the enormous size of the MP4 file is more than you would want to download. 

You can also take screen shots of the device by pressing the volume up and down buttons on the side at the same time which are also the resolution of the screen, 1280x720 pixels.

A cool feature built in to the device is the ability to edit pictures. You can resize, crop, add cool Instagram-style effects, change the colors and rotate the image if you're so inclined.

Other Features And Apps

Circus Maximus playing on the BlackBerry Z10 Media PlayerJust like any other smartphone today you can listen to music on the device, and the built-in media player looks refreshing compared to the clumsy player in my Droid 4. I really like how the album art is the main focus of the window! All of the primary controls are at the bottom for easy access.

BlackBerry claims to have over 70,000 apps available and is feverishly working on adding more every day which is good if they want to compete with Apple and Google. For those that say "well BlackBerry only has 70,000 apps" just remember that Apple and Google didn't have the hundreds of thousands of apps that they have at their disposal when they first launched. Give BlackBerry and their developers time as I'm sure there will be plenty to choose from within the next 6 months.

Battery LoverI downloaded two apps immediately upon setting up my Z10 and have found them to be invaluable. Battery Lover, an app that shows details about your battery's health such as % remaining, battery temperature, and any battery draining radios that may be active. BlackBerry should have made details like this available right out of the box but since they didn't this app is fills the my geeky need to know all that I can about my device's battery. I like to know exactly how much percentage of battery life that I have remaining instead of looking at a little battery symbol at the top of the screen. Call it a pet-peeve if you will.

One of my favorite features on any device is the ability to glance at my phone and see the current weather. A lot of times the weather geek in me finds it's just really handy to know what the forecast for the next few days is going to be. Or maybe I want to check the latest radar and find out when the rain will get here, or when it will move out. It is especially nice when sever weather strikes like it happens so often here in Middle Tennessee! On my Droid 4 I use AccuWeather's app and I was hoping that they would have one available for the Z10. To my surprise, not only was it available but I prefer the Z10's version of the app over the Android's! Maybe it's because of the screen size and detail, or maybe because it just flows better, but it looks awesome on my Z10! The only "con" to the Z10 version of the app is that it doesn't follow me wherever I go like the Android version does; I have to manually update to whatever city I am in at the time. Hopefully, Accuweather will have that capability added in the near future.

Browse This

I was very pleasantly surprised by the device's browser right out of the box! Sites display like they would on a PC, not like the mobile versions you see on other devices. If the text is too small to read, flip the Z10 to its side and then zoom in with the pinch technique. And, as an added bonus, the Z10's browser has Flash support! Fortunately there aren't as many sites that require Flash as there once was, but in the event you come across one that still uses it you can view it on the Z10!

Conclusion

With all of the positives that this device has I thought that there would be as many negatives to be said. However, after using this device for over three weeks I can honestly say that I can't think of any. Bluetooth support is good and easy to pair devices with, although I don't use many Bluetooth devices other than my Motorola HD10 headphones. If there was any negative things to be said about the device would be that it reboots a lot on its own. However, as annoying as that is, I have never had it reboot while using the phone, it has always rebooted in the middle of the night and occasionally during the day when I have it in my holster. I have found that it is kind of finicky about what apps are installed. I had BlackBerry Bridge installed so that I can link it to my PlayBook, but during troubleshooting I removed it which seemed to have helped out the reboot issue tremendously so I decided to leave it off. BlackBerry is rumored to be working on releasing the 10.1 software update but when it will be available to the general public is top-secret information apparently, especially considering that it will be released by the cellular carriers so who knows when we'll see it! Along with the rumored enhancements, I'm hoping that it addresses the issues with rebooting.

All-in-all this is a great device! Had BlackBerry released this device 2 or 3 years ago (like around the time that the Bold 9930 was released) they definitely wouldn't be in the financial trouble that they're in now. Will the BlackBerry Z10 be the killer of the iPhone or Android devices? No, not hardly, because in all honesty the Z10 isn't doing anything different that the other devices do, it just does some of it better in my opinion. I do see it, however, taking some of the market share away from the other two giants because now it offers the consumer yet another option when it comes to shopping for smartphones. So regardless of what you think about BlackBerry and their devices, if you're shopping for a new device, do yourself a favor, check out an iPhone, and Android phone, and a BlackBerry Z10. Arm yourself with as much knowledge about all the devices as you can because an educated consumer is a smart consumer, and ultimately a consumer that is happy with their purchase. If I was shopping for a new personal phone today, I would pick up the Z10 and I'd be thrilled with my decision!

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