The new BlackBerry 10 based Z10 is finally here. Was it worth the wait?
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.
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.