Blackberry Z10: First Impressions
Blackberry, formerly known as Research in Motion, is trying its best to recuperate lost customers and make a comeback with the release of Blackberry 10 and its two flagship phones – Blackberry Z10 and Blackberry Q10. The Q10 is expected to release next month but the Z10 is slowly making its way around the globe, starting off with UK, before heading into Asia and Canada and now into the US next week. The device is selling strong, with many stores reporting that they sold out within a few days.
|Specs at a glance: BlackBerry Z10|
|Screen||1280×768 4.2″ (356 ppi) IPS touchscreen|
|SoC||Dual-core TI OMAP 4470|
|Storage||16GB NAND flash, expandable via microSD|
|Networking||802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC|
|Ports||Micro USB, Micro HDMI, headphones|
|Camera||8.0MP rear camera, 2MP front camera|
|Size||5.12″ x 2.58″ x 0.35″ (130 x 65.6 x 9 mm)|
|Weight||0.30 lbs (135.4 g)|
|Starting price||Rs 39000|
|Sensor||Ambient light sensor, GPS|
|Other perks||Power adapter, case, screen cleaner|
Having had a Z10 review unit (courtesy of Blackberry) for 3 days now, I present to you my first impressions of the Z10:
Build quality of the Z10 is top notch. The body is made of polycarbonate but it’s neither too heavy (like the Lumia 920) or cheap/light (like the Galaxy S3). The phone has rounded corners and the back is made of softly textured rubberized plastic that provides a fine grip. I am totally loving the build quality. This is plastic construction done right!
The Z10 has a 4.2″ 768×1280 IPS four-point touchscreen with Touch-on Lens technology. The screen size is neither too small (3.5″) or insanely big (5.0″) and the display is very bright and vibrant. The 356 ppi pixel density makes images and text look clear and crisp and the Touch-on lens technology makes all the content look like its sitting on top of the display.
While I didn’t spend much time with the camera in the first 3 days, I managed to take a sample shot. The 8 megapixel camera is very good but there’s nothing spectacular about it. The colors are vibrant and the image is sharp but it tends to lose detail when zoomed in. My full review will include more samples, along with shots clicked using my Lumia 920 for comparison purposes.
OS and Performance
Navigation around the Blackberry 10 OS is done mainly through touch-based gestures and I find the implementation a hundred times better than other companies did on their OS’s, like Apple (iOS) and Microsoft (Windows Phone). You can swipe up a bit from the bottom to take a “peek” at all the notifications and then swiping right will take you to Blackberry Hub, which is an unified inbox containing all your mails, Facebook messages and notifications, Twitter mentions, calls and a lot more. There is no home button. Infact, there are no buttons on the front side of the device. You can swipe up from anywhere in the OS to go back to the home screen, which contains thumbnails of all the running apps (which also show relevant information) and shortcuts to all the installed apps. Other mobile OS’s like Android and Windows Phone have an internal consistency which helps new users along the way but on Blackberry 10, there’s nothing like it and the gestured-based navigation will take some time to get used to.
While using the Z10, I never felt any lags or hiccups which ruin the app and OS experience. Navigation was fluid and I could multitask between several apps without the OS slowing down. For example, I was running Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp in the background while playing Angry Birds and there was no drop in the game’s FPS. There is plenty of RAM on the Z10 so you shouldn’t worry about closing apps running in the background, unless they’re not required or eating too much battery.
Apps & Games
Commonly used apps like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc comes pre-loaded with the Z10 while the others can be downloaded from Blackberry World. All the apps I use (Whatsapp, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc) and games (Asphalt 7, Angry Birds, etc) are there in the store so I haven’t had the lack-of-apps feeling yet while using Z10. While browsing the store, I found that there are many crappy apps floating around but then even iOS and Android app store have loads of crappy apps. I was surprised to see that the Youtube app is merely a shortcut to Youtube’s mobile website and I couldn’t find an alternative in the store. I hope YouTube or some third-party developer releases a proper YouTube app. The mobile website isn’t bad but having an app is just more convenient.
The battery life on the Z10 is very good, especially after the recent OS update. The Z10 comes with an 1800 mAh battery, which is quite lower than my Lumia 920’s 2000 mAh battery and Galaxy S4’s huge 2600 mAh battery but you can expect a full-day moderate usage without the need of plugging in a charger or replacing the battery.
Overall, after 3 days of use, I am totally loving the Z10. I have to say, Blackberry is back in action. I have even kept my Lumia 920 aside for sometime and I am using the Z10 as my daily driver now but will it make me throw away my 920 forever? The full review next week will reveal the answer.