The new Verizon BlackBerry Z10 is the first handset from RIM, now renamed Blackberry, and is also the new handset to run their new Blackberry 10 operating system. Its been a well-known fact that the Z10 as well as the new OS is the company’s proverbial last chance of survival. It’s no secret that BlackBerry has been struggling the last few years, with the company even admitting this in more than one press conference.
The Z10 was introduced in the US in late March for around $200 with a 2-year contract through Verizon, ($599 off-contract). It sports a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 4.2-inch 1280 x 768 display, 16GB of internal storage and 2GB of RAM. At first glance, the BlackBerry Z10 is a little bezel-heavy with a sizable gap above and below the screen. It measures a reasonable 130 x 65.6 x 9mm (5.1 x 2.6 x 0.4 inches), however, and weighs in at 137.5g (4.85 oz). The weight gives it a good feel in the hand.
On the back, Blackberry has included an 8-MP camera with a single LED flash. The rear backplate can be removed easily by placing a finger in the indented speaker grill to access the internals. Underneath the hood you’ll find microSIM and microSD slots, with the microSD slots capable of supporting cards up to 32GB in capacity. Combine this with the already decent 16GB of internal storage, and you have a lot of memory to play with. The removable 1,800mAh battery provides lengthy usage time, and allows you to replace a dead battery with a fully charged one.
On the rear cover itself includes the NFC pad, which enables the Z10 to interact with other compatible wireless devices. On the right-hand side of the Z10 includes the familiar triple button setup, with volume rocker switches separated by a central key. This middle key controls voice control activation and playing and pausing music. On the top, you have a power/lock key button and a 3.5mm headphone jack, while on the left there’s two connectivity ports. The keyboard is metal, which is pretty sharp, and the keys are well positioned for easy typing. Rounding out the hardware features is a microUSB port alongside a miniHDMI port. This enables you to connect the BlackBerry Z10 directly to a TV.
While the Z10 is mediocrely impressive, the Blackberry 10 OS is a different story. Blackberry designed the new OS10 so enterprise IT managers could have a smartphone that they can control but that workers won’t reject as outdated. BlackBerry has always been a stable, secure and reassuring brand for business. For consumers, however, it’s much harder to explain why they should switch to BlackBerry 10. The Hub is good for messaging, but Android and Windows Phone have similar features. BBM is nice, but pretty similar to Skype, Google Talk and FaceTime. Peek and Flow is not as easy as the name sounds. In fact, it’s rather difficult to flip between the Hub and apps. Android and Apple’s iOS do a much better job in this regard.
BlackBerry 10 isn’t horrible. Rather, its a first generation of a new OS that is trying to compete with the likes of Android and iPhone. Couple that with the fact that Google has a huge array of devices at every price point, Microft has Office/Xbox/Exchange integration, and Apple…well…has a sh–t-ton of apps. For the average consumer, the Blackberry Z10 is a unique product, and a good one for emailing, calling and texting. But BlackBerry 10 is not compelling enough to part the seas between Mountain View and Cupertino.
Check out the video review of the new Blackberry Z10