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BlackBerry Z10 smartphone: Bloggers, tech sites praise hardware, mixed on software

Early testers don't see Android, iPhone users making leap to BlackBerry 10 in big numbers

By , Network World
February 01, 2013 10:02 AM ET

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Lack of apps, and in some cases lack of quality, creates an "app gap [that] can't be denied by even the most steadfast BlackBerry supporter," he writes. He was not happy with battery life. "In real-world use, I found it hard to get through a standard day without the Z10 running dry," he writes. "[T]here's no way to monitor battery performance beyond a basic visual icon, and no detailed battery info in system settings." The phone heats up to a point significantly warmer than his iPhone 5 or Nexus 4.

An exhaustive review at the BlackBerry fan site CrackBerry, by Kevin Michaluk, is enthusiastic about almost everything. "Thinner and lighter [in smartphone design] doesn't always translate into better -- at the end of the day it's about how it feels and I think BlackBerry's team nailed both the look and feel of the Z10," Michaluk writes.

BB10 and its UI is a "fresh" experience, he writes. "I wouldn't call the BlackBerry 10 UI complicated, but there's definitely more of a learning curve associated with picking up the BlackBerry Z10 phone compared to the iPhone, for example, but it's well worth learning. After a day or two on the BlackBerry Z10, if you go back and try and pick up an older BlackBerry, an iPhone, or anything else for that matter, the experience just seems antiquated."

A comparison of pictures snapped with the Z10 and four other popular phones revealed the BlackBerry's camera at best matching and more often lagging the others. But, Michaluk concludes, "the BlackBerry Z10 will do a decent job meeting the photographic needs of most everyday users."

On battery life: "under normal use it looks like it should *hopefully* / maybe be able to get through the day, especially if you're around WiFi or in areas with strong coverage." Of course, "power CrackBerry users will always keep a spare [Z10] battery handy," he writes. The spare battery is $33 and the battery charger, which can charge the phone and the spare battery at the same time), is another $48.

There's an extensive treatment of BlackBerry Hub. "It's much more than a unified inbox," Michaluk writes. "If you're a heavy communicator, you're going to find yourself living in the Hub. It can bring in all your emails and notifications to one spot where you can interact with them."

The level of detail here lets Michaluk explore some of the "odd" behaviors that other reviewers found confusing or irritating and that he himself is "still getting used to." One example: "When you leave the Hub, it stays where you left it," he writes. "Sometimes this is great. Sometimes it's really annoying, as when you come back to the Hub you have to backtrack." Another example: "When you leave the Hub, you default back to Active Frames. When you're in an app and gesture into the Hub, then leave the Hub, you go back to the Active Frames view rather than the app you were in."

"With the BlackBerry Z10, I can finally start walking around with just one device in my pocket without feeling like I'm missing out," he concludes. "BlackBerry 10 retains the best features of the BlackBerry of old, plays catch up in the OS and apps department to the competition, and with features like Hub and Flow actually push the smartphone experience further."

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