The new BlackBerry 10 based Z10 is finally here. Was it worth the wait?
Wrapping things up, RIM equips the Z10 with a 6.8 Wh battery that has a capacity 1800mAh. Purely on paper, that appears a bit lower than the one found on some Android devices, but this is a BlackBerry and you know that it will last you longer than competing devices. In the one week I had with the device, the battery always lasted me till the end of the day. One particular day, I forgot to charge it at night and didn’t get to see the red icon on the battery until the afternoon.
Overall, there are some brilliant touches to BB10 that make you wonder why they aren’t part of every phone- for example, when you are in your inbox and use the volume key, the media control functions show up in the volume box on the screen allowing you play/pause/skip whichever media application is active on your device without actually going into the application. However, there are many places that the Z10 feels like a 1.0 product. For example, the keyboard letters don’t turn into small or capital letters when you press the shift key and the accelerometer is not as responsive as the iPhone or Galaxy S III. And while you’re in landscape mode, certain swipes just don’t work. The home screen is also one that could use some work- you can see the notifications but you can’t actually tap on them to get to them right away.
All of these issues can be sorted through a software update and I’m sure RIM will address them sooner or later. The slightly more worrying bit for me was that on multiple occasions, when I moved out of a Wi-Fi zone and into cellular territory, the phone would just not connect to the data network. I could make calls or send text messages but I would not receive any email or use an app that required a data connection. I tried switching the airplane mode on and off but that didn’t help and only a reboot of the unit would bring the data connection back on. What’s worse is that on two occasions, a reboot did not bring the device back on at all and I had to do a battery pull. I have reached out to RIM over these issues and am hoping that they’re just restricted to my particular unit.
In the end, the biggest challenge for BlackBerry 10 lies is with third party applications. I’m sure RIM is trying their best to get the bigger applications on their new platform but this will continue to be a challenging task. Case in point is the Microsoft/Google war where even a giant like Microsoft is having trouble getting Google Apps on their platform. And last I heard, WhatsApp didn’t have an app ready for BlackBerry 10 which could be a big blow for current BlackBerry users looking to upgrade to BB10.
All in all, RIM has laid out a great foundation to build upon with BlackBerry 10. There are some great elements to it but then again there are places where work is needed. It’s definitely a must-have upgrade for current BlackBerry owners as long as their favorite applications make it to the new OS. But for people who have moved away to an iPhone or Android, I don’t think BB10 has enough to bring them back. At least not yet. That being said, I’m really looking forward to see what happens with software updates as well as third party apps on the BlackBerry 10 this year. That is, what will ultimately decide the fate of RIM.