The new BlackBerry 10 based Z10 is finally here. Was it worth the wait?
Using your BlackBerry as a personal device for listening to your music and taking pictures works well. The 4.2” screen is large enough to enjoy watching videos but at the same time manageable with one hand. The apps for music and video are nicely laid out and you can use the universal search option to find music or videos on your device. Sadly podcasts don’t have a built-in app but I did find a good one on the BlackBerry store.
The BlackBerry World app store was adding applications each day while I was evaluating the phone and considering that this review was written before the device was officially announced, I’m sure that there is more to come. I did manage to download a few games and apps and the experience was pretty easy and fast. You will no longer have to wait for ages to install apps on the BlackBerry and hopefully no need to reboot when upgrading one either (there wasn’t anything that was updated in the few days I tested the device so can’t verify.) As far as games are concerned, I payed with Angry Birds Star Wars Edition and that played equally well on the Z10 as it did on the iPhone 5. The slightly larger screen size of Z10 made the experience better though.
Coming to the 8 megapixel camera, I’d say that that the shots we took form the Z10 were similar in quality to your average Android based phone but not quite as good as the iPhone 5, the HTC One X+ or the Nokia Lumia 920. Here is a comparison shot between the iPhone 5, the Galaxy S III and the BlackBerry Z10 in our office.
As you can see, the pictures look a bit washed out on BB10. You will get better shots out in the sun but as far as indoors is concerned, the camera quality on the Z10 is strictly average. Once you take a picture, you do have some tools to enhance or add effects to the picture that make it look better but it’s still not as good as the other device. A good feature is the time shift feature that we spoke about some time back that uses the Scalado’s technology to take multiple pictures and then shift frames in parts of the picture such as people’s faces so you always end up with a smiling group picture. Also fun is the Story Maker app that lets you create quick and fund videos by mixing different audio and video tracks on the fly and then adding some effects to the final output.
Social apps like Twitter, Facebook are bundled with BlackBerry 10 and look pretty much like their counterparts on other platforms. There is a YouTube app as well that is more of a mobile site browser for YouTube than an actual app. There is Siri like application that allows you to speak to your device for certain actions. Sadly this didn’t work too well for me and the app pretty much always had trouble understanding the person I wanted to call or text. The same sentence would work without issues on Siri.
Finally, a review of a new BlackBerry device will be incomplete without mentioning BBM and RIM has certainly added a lot of polish to the new version which looks pretty slick and offers audio as well as video chats- however, I couldn’t get any of that to work possibly because of our wonderful control of telcos to block any VoIP form of communication. That being said, BBM continues to be the best IM experience on a phone and that really hasn’t changed.