RIM BlackBerry Z10 Review

By on January 30, 2013
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The new BlackBerry 10 based Z10 is finally here. Was it worth the wait?

Good: Superb built-in apps, great form factor and fluid in operation
Bad: OS needs more polish and has a v1.0 feel to it, Camera is strictly ok.
Price: AED AED 2,599. (In the UAE, the BlackBerry Z10 will be available from 10th Feb 2013)
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

It’s no secret that over the years, many BlackBerry users have switched to the iPhone or Android based phones. Some even to Windows Phone. But there is still a very dedicated and vocal group that has patiently stuck with the platform and the moment of truth for these hardcore fans is finally here as RIM launches their first BlackBerry 10 OS based phone- the Z10. Is this latest BlackBerry based on an entirely new platform worth the wait? That’s what we’re here to find out today.

Before I get into the review, let me tell you a bit about my Smartphone history as I believe that plays a very important role for anyone evaluating any new platform. My first experience with Blackberry was with the Curve 8300 almost seven years back. Ever since then, I’ve always had a Blackberry. Over the last few years, the BlackBerry shifted from being my primary device to a secondary one but its always been there. I primarily use the iPhone as my main device although I do switch to an Android or Windows Phone based device when something new comes along. So I was certainly excited when the Z10 landed on my desk as I’ve always had a soft spot for BlackBerry.

Like most modern phones, the BlackBerry Z10 is a slate that somewhat resembles an iPhone due to it’s minimalist look. Following the footsteps of the BlackBerry PlayBook, RIM has chosen to not put any buttons on the Z10 and instead rely on swipes for getting around. Measuring 130mm x 65mm x9mm and weighing around 125g in your hand, the BlackBerry Z10 feels much lighter than you would assume. Although the plastic body does not feel as premium to hold as the iPhone 5, it still feels very solid and well constructed.

The back cover snaps out, somewhat like it does on the Samsung Galaxy S III and, is very flexible though it has a bit of a rubberized finish giving it a pretty good grip on the phone. On the top you have the power/lock button along with a 3.5mm audio jack while the right side has volume buttons as well as a convenience key that, at the moment pauses media or switches to a Siri like voice recognition app. The left side has USB and mini HDMI connectors allowing you to charge the device or easily connect it to a display while an 8MP camera with a flash is expectedly placed on the back.

The BlackBerry Z10 has a 4.2” screen enclosed within a bezel that is also covered with glass. The slightly larger sized screen than the iPhone 5 continues to be very usable with one hand which I certainly prefer over gigantic screens that require both hands. Right above and below the screen you have two pieces of matte plastic giving it a somewhat similar look as the iPhone 5 from the back. Over the course of a week I noticed some marks around this area- they’re not exactly scratches but more like scruffs. Above the screen sits a front-facing 2 megapixel camera as well as the notification LED that BlackBerry is famous for. The speaker grill and the mic reside at the edges of the glass panel.

Specs-wise, RIM has loaded the BlackBerry Z10 with a dual core 1.5GHz Qualcomm MSM8960 SoC which is the Krait based SnapDragon S4 with the Adreno 225 GPU. RIM adds 2GB RAM to the device to keep things moving fluidly on the 4.2” screen which has a resolution of 1280×768 pixels that roughly equates to a PPI of 356- higher than the iPhone 5. You get 16GB of storage built-in along with a hot-swappable MicroSD card slot. The only area where the Z10 disappoints as far as specs are concerned is the exclusion of LTE in the Middle East. While other parts of the world will get an LTE device, we will be restricted to 3G/HSPA connectivity. Other radios present on the Z10 are Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi.

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Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

  • Hermilla

    Comment about background processes is technically incorrect, other mobile OSes do support running applications/tasks in the background.

    The YouTube app suspending playback is intentional, why would a video application continue playback when not displayed? If you test Chrome for example, you’ll notice it loads pages while running in the background.

    • ajaffarali

      A lot of times, I’m watching a podcast or a documentary on YouTube and I would like the audio to continue while I check my mail or calendar and then come back to it. None of the other phones allow me to do that.

  • Nuwanda

    Quick question – what are boot times like? I know my 9780 takes (always did) way too long than a phone should!

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