This has definitely been a long time coming here on G Style. The last full review we have done for a Blackberry phone was in August of 2010 with the Blackberry Torch 9800. I still had some love for Blackberry then and was just fiending for something new that I was event excited about using Blackberry OS 6. But as you can see, the last review was more than 2 years ago. Blackberry fell out of favor with us here at G Style and sexier iOS and Android devices began to dominate the scene. But now we have 2013, RIM now just Blackberry, Blackberry 10 out, and its first device the Z10 upon us. Is this Blackberry’s shots for a come back, or will this device go the way of the Palm Pre….
I will not pretend like I don’t like this Blackberry hardware. I have read some other reviews and honestly I believe the Z10 is a great piece of hardware. Granted from the front it does look like an iPhone 5, but even though I’m not a fan of the iPhone, I do know it is a sexier looking device, so if the Z10 share some looks in that department, I can’t see a problem with that. On the back is a nice textured back cover that is also slightly rubberized and I always love a device that has some rubberized feel to it. You also have the Blackberry logo there in the center as well. Going back to the front, I like that it doesn’t have too much going on. A simple Blackberry logo along the bottom of the device and that’s it. Now this is the unit that was given at the launch event on January 30th, so hopefully this doesn’t change when it comes out to retail in the US.
To wrap on its looks the sides are very minimal with only a volume rocker on its right side with also a small button in the middle that is a play/pause button. On the left side is inputs for mini HDMI and the micro USB. The Z10 also comes in Black or White. So it comes the basic colors we see now a days, but I wish there was some more color choice. Even the iPhone is rumored to be coming in multiple colors for the next version. Black or White is cool, but if it came in a couple of options that would have been nice too.
Under The Hood
Of course we can really talk bout what is under the hood without first diving into Blackberry 10. A wonderful departure from the Blackberry OS of old, Blackberry 10 is an excellent step in the right direction. Fast, responsive, and full of visual flair. This is what Blackberry needs to make using a Blackberry cool again. Just some of the OS buzz word I’d like to throw around would include Blackberry Flow, new experience where features and apps work together seamlessly and share your train of thought to help you complete tasks faster and with ease. Blackberry Peek, where you can simply peek into the BlackBerry Hub from any app with just a swipe, and flow effortlessly in and out of your messages and conversations. Blackberry Hub, an centralize location for all your messages and connection with various apps on the device.
As for the device itself, the Blackberry Z10 is packing 4G LTE, 16GB of internal storage with a microSD expansion slow (handles up to 32GB cards), has an 4.2 touchscreen, 8MP camera on the back, 2MP for the front cam. While I won’t say it is on the cutting edge spec wise, it is definitely some decent specs for Blackberry first entry back into the relevancy game.
I’ve been using the Blackberry Z10 for about Blackberry Z10 for a week and few days now and this is definitely a different beast from RIM of old. The Blackberry Z10 is attractive and performance wise a contender for that 3rd spot in the mobile platform game. I say 3rd place because while the Z10 is definitely a great device, I don’t see it taking over any market share from iOS or Android. But I do already like using Blackberry 10 more than I do Windows Phone 8. If I had to picture that 3rd spot for mobile platforms right now I would give it to Blackberry 10.
But Blackberry 10 isn’t without its weak points. While on the device itself I haven’t found anything I didn’t like while using it, the app game for Blackberry 10 weak. Blackberry likes to say it has some 70,000 apps in its App World, the apps it does have in it catalog remind me of what they had when I had the Blackberry Playbook. Most of the apps are no name apps that I wouldn’t use mixed in with a few okay at best apps. Definitely missing is the top-tier apps that I have on Android. Also a concern is newer apps that have just come out for Android could take even longer to come out on Blackberry 10 if at all (some of these include Simple, Square, Google+, Tumblr). And this is what leads to my one and only major gripe with Blackberry 10 and the Z10 right now. The apps, if Blackberry can get some major support from the top-tier and popular apps then it would definitely have a shot!
But all is not lost for those who want to go ahead and purchase when it comes out. Blackberry 10 has the ability to run Android apps, granted that have to be repackaged first I’ve found the repackage process quite easy so far. Using this method I’ve so far have been able to install and run Tumblr, Facebook Pages Manager, Square, and Pulse. Your mileage may be different, but there is definitely ways to get some apps you use on Android over to your Blackberry Z10 device if you are willing to do a little research and leg work.
All in all the Blackberry Z10 is a sexy device and I definitely keep it on me for us. While I’ll have a tough time converting back (at least so far) from Android, this will definitely be the second phone in my pocket and has already taken the place of the HTC Windows 8X phone that use to be that secondary device.
The Blackberry has many strengths I like, tons of features I already enjoy and will continue to going for, and a few weaknesses mainly being the apps. The browser is good not perfect (but then again what browser is), the OS fast and responsive. If Blackberry can start getting some of those top-tier apps in the App World but time it launches in the US and going forward, I think they definitely has what it takes to be the 3rd mobile platform of choice for users here. Truly Blackberry’s road to redemption starts here!
What are your thoughts on Blackberry 10, and the Z10? Do you think it has a shot?