BlackBerry Z10 (Limited Edition)

I got the device as a BlackBerry app developer, and I have had the chance to test it for a while now. So I thought it was maybe time to write a review about it.

2013-03-29 10.45.31

BlackBerry Z10 Limited Edition (front)

2013-03-30 09.28.14

BlackBerry Z10 Limited Edition (back)

The Limited Edition — only 12’000 were made, and mine was #01002 — I received was a red edition. In stores, only the black or white edition is available for sale.

BlackBerry was previously a very esteemed manufacturer of phones and PDA’s, but lately it is considered as a minor OS. Less important than other operating systems like Android, iOS or Windows Phone. But in my opinion, it shouldn’t be considered as another minor OS. It is worthy in competing with the others. And in some cases, I find it even better than the others.

BlackBerry Hub

The most amazing thing you notice first when you start using the BlackBerry Z10 is the BlackBerry HUB. It is amazing how much information is collected in just one application. All of your social media accounts, mail accounts have a place in this special application. All your notifications, of every app you are using, are located in the app. With some crafty techniques BlackBerry enables users to filter out the information they really need. You don’t even have to leave the app you are currently using, to view this hub; you just have to use the correct gesture (move your finger from the bottom up and right) to view how many new notifications you got, and what they are for.

You can see all your notifications of your social media, for example Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and many others; in one place. No need to go through all these different applications to see what is new. All the action happens in the hub, you can directly reply to your messages you received from for example Facebook. Of course there is also the option to open the notification in the app itself, if you want to know even more about it.

Browser

Second thing you notice is the browser, which is terribly fast. It scores better than some desktop browsers on the HTML5 test. Even when you are just browsing the websites, you can feel the power behind the browser. Even sites which use a lot of CSS and JavaScript are no problem for this application. You don’t even feel that you are actually on a phone, the browser makes it feel like you are running these websites on desktop pc.

Keyboard

Then we have the keyboard. Some people wouldn’t care about a keyboard, because that can’t be that special worth mentioning in a review. But it is amazing how much you will be love this keyboard when you have used it for a while. The keyboard has some magnificant predictions of what you are probably going to say. It learns what speech patterns you often use, and will use this information to predict your next words. By a little flick of the finger you can then selected a suggested word.

Another rather similar thing I used rather often is the “word substituion” functionality. How many times do you have to type your email address or name when you are browsing the web or answering mails. In my case that is quite often, so it would be nice to have some way to be able to this really fast. That is where the word substition comes in play. The word substition lets you change some keyword you specified yourself to a full text. For example you can use “myver” to let the keyboard replace it by your complete version of the OS and the device you are using. So in my case, where I didn’t want to type my email address every time, I made a substition of the keyword “mym”, which would replace this by “my mail” address. I did the same for my name (myn) and some other phrases I often use. Of course the keyboard will only suggest this if you type this keyword, then it is up to you to actually use it, by doing a flick of your finger.

Gestures

For those who haven’t worked with a BlackBerry PlayBook yet (also a fantastic device by the way) will probably have to get used to using the device. For navigation no buttons are used (except maybe the occasional back button), it all happens through “gestures” on the screen, each with its own meaning. It works much faster than with a button, but you have to start by going through the tutorial so that you know the different gestures mean.

The BlackBerry Peek feature allows you to watch your new notifications without having to leave the app you are currently using.

Camera

The camera is also very good. It has convenient features such as the ability to recognize faces and to go back in time to when a person in the picture was smiling back. This is an amazing feature that has been copied to some other operating systems already. But none have the same functionality as on the BlackBerry Z10. Because the BlackBerry Z10 will recognize the faces in the pictures, and will let you change them all seperately from each other. This while tools on other operating systems will only let you go back in time for the whole picture.

Holding the device

A small drawback I found is that the device is that the device doesn’t always feels comfortably holding, since the edge of the device is quite sharp. But you will only notice this if you are holding the device for a long period of time. You can certainly solve this by one of the beautiful covers that are available for use (as I did).

Battery

The battery will last a long time, not only in standby, but also when you use it to call all the time. And this while my Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi and continuous data connection are turned on. The battery itself is better than other recent devices I tested.

Multitasking

You can use this device also for “real” multitasking. This means that the device will not pause applications when they aren’t actively used, but they just keep on running. This doesn’t mean that your phone keeps using battery, while you are not using the apps. The device will only pause the app while it isn’t doing anything useful.

On most other mobiles and smartphones, applications are paused if they loose focus. This is especially annoying if you are downloading files, or doing other things that take some time. Because then you have to stay in the device while that action is being completed. On some other recent devices on the market, files are paused when the application / browser loses focus, this is not the case for the BlackBerry Z10. You can safely play a movie while you just go to another app. The movie will continue playing in the background (and you keep hearing the sound) so that you can return if you just look further. This is useful, if for example you are in a boring piece of a movie and you quickly want to say something to someone on BBM.

Of course you can select for yourself how the phone should react when you lose focus of an app. You can choose between pausing the application, or keeping the application running. This is up to you to choose what you prefer. If you choose to keep applications running, you can run up to 8 applications together. This means that you can have up to 8 movies playing at the same time. This seems not a lot, but this is something that isn’t possible in other operating systems.

Conclusion

Overall I think it is a very good device and the perfect device for everyone who wants a fast, safe and easy to use device with a good battery life. The price is not very low, but it’s worth it!

Test Environment

Test device: BlackBerry Z10 Limited Edition (BlackBerry 10, version 10.0.10.648)
Time testing app: 1+ month

Also tested on BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha C (BlackBerry 10, version 10.1.0.1429)

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About

Belgian Computer Science student at Ghent University with scuba diving as a hobby and making applications as a passion.

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Posted in Device Review

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