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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.

One of the best things about BlackBerry 10 is it’s integration with different types of accounts. You can add your corporate and personal email accounts, social accounts as well as dropbox and evernote account allowing you to quickly get started with your phone with pretty much all you need as a business user. Following account setup, I found some of the built-in applications on BlackBerry 10 superior to the ones bundled with iPhone or Android platforms. Three apps that I particularly liked are Contacts, Calendar, the Browser while universal search is probably the best I’ve seen in a mobile device.

When you add social accounts such as Linkedin or Facebook or Twitter, thanks to RIM’s acquisition of Gist, the Contacts app pulls all the data from these applications and gives you a really rich and visual look- you can see your contacts profiles, updates etc. without requiring a third party application. The Calendar is also really nice and increases the size of dates on days you are busier. Also with meetings, you can easily pull up data related to the contacts you’re meeting- stuff like their linkedin profile, updates by them on social networks as well as a history of your communication with them.

Lastly, the browser is super fast and managed to pull up all pages we threw at it with ease and speed. The sunspider javascript benchmark completed in 1412ms which on paper seems a lot slower than the 909ms it takes the iPhone 5 to complete the test but when I tested loading similar sites on both these devices connected to the same Wi-Fi network, I consistently got pages to load faster on the Z10. Switching between browser tabs is also very fast on BlackBerry 10 and the 2GB RAM certainly helps in not having to reload tabs when you’re coming back to them.

Coming to the bread and butter of BlackBerry- the two areas where the Z10 needed to excel in is typing and communication. As far as the keyboard is concerned, well, it’s simply the best keyboard I’ve used on a touch-screen phone. Not only are predictions incredibly accurate and swiping them up easy, but just typing in general is freakishly accurate. As far as emails and communications is concerned, BB10 is built on a solid platform but one that can use a bit of tweaking. You still have the awesome universal inbox which brings messages from all your applications but it’s been renamed to the hub. And through a quick swipe up and then right, you can peek into the hub when you get a new notification. This is a superb touch that allows you to see all our activity without actually exiting the application you’re in. It works well most of the time but I did notice that during gaming, it’s a hit or miss affair.

There are other things that also need more polish- for example moving between emails when you have a message open is not possible- you have to go back to the inbox to move to another message. Also when viewing emails, there is simply no need for three buttons at the bottom to reply, reply all and forward. Instead RIM could have just used one key for all three and allowed things like delete or arrows to move between messages. Deleting an email is also a bit of a chore where you need to hold on that email and then select the trash from the bottom of a menu. This makes the email client less efficient than the one found on OS 7.1 devices but since these are all software features, I’m hopeful that RIM is listening to feedback and looking to add them in firmware releases.

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About

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

Comments
  • 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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