• Worth the wait: Our review of the Blackberry Z10


    It’s been a tough 2 years for Blackberry users. Around 3 years ago, Android and iOS were really starting to eat into Blackberry’s market share. 2 years ago, Blackberry (then known as RIM) promised to deliver their next generation OS. Since then, the shipping date was postponed multiple times while Blackberry's market share plummeted.

    Heck, things got so bad that there was a point when I figured we’d never see the new version of Blackberry. Either RIM would get carved up and sold, or they’d go out of business, or maybe they’d even adapt another operating system.

    So, I’m really pleased to present to you my Blackberry Z10 review. The first phone running the new Blackberry 10 operating system.
    Body:



    While its body isn't made of aluminum like the iPhone 5, or even the glass enclosure of a LG Optimus G, the BlackBerry Z10 feels nice and solid. It does not flex or creak when you squeeze it. The textured back has a nice rubberized feel, providing a more secure grip with less slip.



    I like how the Z10 has a removable battery. The battery cover has numerous snaps on it similar to the Samsung Galaxy S III. Unlike some previous BlackBerry’s the Z10’s cover probably won’t get loose over its life.

    It has an understated look to it. It’s not excessively glossy-looking like the Galaxy S III. That said, with the exception of the back, the finishes could look a little richer.

    I find that the gap between the screen and the rest of the phone looks a little dated. Then again, it may be part of BlackBerry’s signature designs.

    Speaking of signature designs, many previous BlackBerry’s had a ‘slope’ on the forehead of the phone. This is missing from the Z10. The Z10’s speaker hole is shaped like the 9900’s. I like how the 9900 has some distance between the flash and the camera sensor. They’re side-by-side on the Z10 - this can result in more red-eye. Actually, aside from the button layout (3 on the side, one on top) the Z10 doesn’t pay much homage to previous BlackBerry models.

    The screen measures 4.2” with a resolution of 1280x720, which yields a pixel density of 356ppi. Indeed, it’s a very sharp screen. While the pixel density is higher than the iPhone’s (326ppi) having used both screens side-by-side there isn’t a noticeable difference in sharpness.



    4.2” screen doesn’t sound that much bigger than the iPhone 5’s 4” screen, but side-by-side there’s a big difference. Side-by-side, both are much smaller than the Galaxy S III. BlackBerry was trying to maximize screen size while making the phone easy to use with one hand.




    As far as thinness goes the iPhone 5 wins here but as far as I'm concerned, they're all thin enough.

    I was trying to compare the Z10’s maximum brightness with my iPhone 5, but I discovered that even though the Z10 lacks an ‘auto brightness’ setting it does have this feature. You just can’t turn it off.

    Still, my observation is that the iPhone 5 is substantially brighter than the Z10.

    Colour-wise, the Z10 is a bit warmer (red) than the iPhone 5. The Galaxy S III is much cooler (blue).

    Viewing angles are excellent. While the brightness changes a tiny bit, there’s almost no colour shift.

    I didn’t try it outdoors myself, but friends who have tried the same unit say it works well in bright sunlight.

    Overall, besides the sharpness and viewing angle; the Z10 has an adequate display.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Worth the wait: Our review of the Blackberry Z10 started by howard View original post
    Comments 30 Comments
    1. wirelessgal's Avatar
      wirelessgal -
      Great review Howard. I hope you're recovering well at home. BTW, Happy Chinese New Year!
      I tried the Z10 and it felt uncomfortable to hold. I wish BlackBerry made the corners more rounded, like the S3. Even though the S3 is bigger, the S3 is more comfortable to hold. I'm going to wait for the Q10. But I am very impressed with the new OS. There is a bit of a learning curve. Like you said, there's no back button, so that's something to get used to. It's actually better because you can close the apps instantly afterwards. The on screen keyboard is by far the best in the industry. I know they licensed through Swiftkey but made it better. I l love Swiftkey, but love what BlackBerry did to their keyboard more. My friend has the Z10 and we did a BBM voice chat and I was blown away by the call quality. It's clearer than calls over 3G! This is my brother's first BlackBerry purchase and he loves it. He put his S3 on the side. While I'm sad it didn't work out for me, I am looking forward to getting the Q10. By then, there will be more apps and some of the bugs will be fixed by then. Plus, I already have 2 full touchscreen devices. I want a physical keyboard device. Plus the Q10 looks amazing!
    1. HC - NO "i"'s Avatar
      HC - NO "i" -
      Folks,

      I have taken a few snapshots outside this afternoon. And, I pick this two as quick comparison against a Samsung Galaxy S II GT-I9100. Both are set with the Snow / Beach scene mode for high contrast...

      BlackBerry Z10 (Click here for the original at 3264 x 1836, 5MP, 16:9)



      Samsung Galaxy S II (Click here for the original at 3264 x 2448, 8MP, 4:3)

    1. mikeo007's Avatar
      mikeo007 -
      Howard, thanks for the review.

      About the pictures above...why does the Blackberry photo look so washed out? There's almost no contrast in the snow and the shadows are almost non-existing.
    1. HC - NO "i"'s Avatar
      HC - NO "i" -
      mikeo007,

      Greetings.

      First, the Samsung Galaxy S II camera is able to grab more details than the BlackBerry Z10... perhaps the 8MP vs 5MP sensor. However, I would not write off the Z10 camera just yet. As I have mentioned, I have set both cameras to use the Snow / Beach scene mode. It seems to me that Samsung may have a relatively more aggressive algorithm to push the saturation higher (some may even find it over-saturated). So you and I may find the contrast with the Samsung one is more revealing (shown in the shadows) and the orange sled is more "pop" than with the BlackBerry one. But the green jacket and the blue tote are comparable with both.

      There maybe other contributing factors... perhaps the cloud was scattering the sunlight just around the time when I shot with the Z10 and clearing up when I shot with the Galaxy S II The monitor we use to display the photos may also have different calibrations, rendering characteristics. It is quite a personal preference... some like the more "contrasty" one and call the other "wash-out" while some like the more "natural" one and call the other "exaggerate".
    1. HC - NO "i"'s Avatar
      HC - NO "i" -
      Folks,

      Let me put up a few more photos.

      - 2 indoor snapshots taken by the Z10. Admittedly, I do not have a pair absolute steady hands when holding it...

      During the day by the window... (Click here for the original size)



      During the night... (Click here for the original size)



      - The neat packaging for the Z10...





      - The Z10 itself...



    1. fonemaker's Avatar
      fonemaker -
      Jeez, get that man a nail clipper! Yikes!
    1. Mann Incognito's Avatar
      Mann Incognito -
      Howard, nice review, very fair. Just wanted to point out that Balance will only work with BES. There is a definite learning curve with this phone but once you learn the gestures they're so intuitive that you try and use them on every other device you use!
    1. DerekToronto's Avatar
      DerekToronto -
      Samsung in general produce more eye pleasing colors. It depends what you want. Myself I like accurate colors in day to day photos. I can always apply filters later on.
    1. Fluid's Avatar
      Fluid -
      Great review Howard!! Probably one of the best I have read. Very much my style of review.

      I am so disappointed to see that yet again, the charging port is on the side of the device. I have adjusted really well to the bottom port on my iPhone, so much so that I don't know that I could go back to a device with it on the side. Such a small thing to nit pick, but huge for some people. I will often times talk on the phone while it is on a charger. With it on the bottom, it is so easy to do. With it on the side, so annoying.

      Again, great review, and thanks for the in depth pictures.
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      Quote Originally Posted by fonemaker View Post
      Jeez, get that man a nail clipper! Yikes!
      Lol you don't like my new hand?

      Actually, it's a friend's hand.
    1. aphid's Avatar
      aphid -
      Thanks for the great review of the Z10 and BB10....has piqued my curiosity.
    1. DerekToronto's Avatar
      DerekToronto -
      Just received this oem ultra thin hardshell case. It has a lip to protect the front and it comes in red, white and black.
    1. HC - NO "i"'s Avatar
      HC - NO "i" -
      derektoronto,

      That is a good design hardshell
    1. DerekToronto's Avatar
      DerekToronto -
      BlackBerry always has this level of creativity in their cases and holsters.
    1. David Walcott's Avatar
      David Walcott -
      Get well soon, and love the review. I did not want to read the crackberry review because they are very biased. I still do not think I will get the phone when it comes out in the states. I used my upgrade for a one S and sold it. I use mostly ATT phones on Tmobile. I am running into a problem at work that some times the 2g signal is so low that I can not use my internet. I have a tmobile E73 so I might have to buy a used vibrant or galaxys 4g to get my android fix.
    1. RJE's Avatar
      RJE -
      Hi Howard. Moderator HF1 here. I like your review. It's the best one I've read to date. I am intrigued by the phone but I am using a Note ll and giving up that screen real estate is a tough thing to do. Naturally as a Canadian I want Blackberry to succeed and yes you're right, when it comes to choosing an OS, it's a tough choice. I believe the iPhone has peaked for now and Android wins big because it's on so many phones and the average buyer doesn't walk into a carrier to buy an Android phone. He or she walks in to get a phone and they choose the one that suits them. If they came in for IOS they came in for IOS. You know what I mean. I want so badly to try the OS, but what do I do with this Note ll, that I happen to like a lot?

      A question for you Howard. You have phones, obviously. Of all of them which would you pick as your everyday phone?
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      I think the Note 2 along with the iPhone 5 are the two top dogs that are available right now.

      I agree that iOS may have peaked. Apple really needs to up their game.

      If you're okay with the size of the Note 2 and the flexibility you both gain and lose with the large screen then I say stay the course and keep your Note 2.

      If you want to try the Z10 then get one and try it out for a few days.

      For me I normally carry an iPhone 5 and Galaxy S III. It would be an iPhone 5 and Note II but I already have the GS3 and it's similar enough that I'll just hang onto it.

      Quote Originally Posted by RJE View Post
      Hi Howard. Moderator HF1 here. I like your review. It's the best one I've read to date. I am intrigued by the phone but I am using a Note ll and giving up that screen real estate is a tough thing to do. Naturally as a Canadian I want Blackberry to succeed and yes you're right, when it comes to choosing an OS, it's a tough choice. I believe the iPhone has peaked for now and Android wins big because it's on so many phones and the average buyer doesn't walk into a carrier to buy an Android phone. He or she walks in to get a phone and they choose the one that suits them. If they came in for IOS they came in for IOS. You know what I mean. I want so badly to try the OS, but what do I do with this Note ll, that I happen to like a lot?

      A question for you Howard. You have phones, obviously. Of all of them which would you pick as your everyday phone?
    1. barathtv's Avatar
      barathtv -
      Thanks for the detailed review! I really like the design of this phone but I'm very hesitant to buy it as I'm afraid it will go the webOS way...
    1. Drug$toreCowboy's Avatar
      Drug$toreCowboy -
      I doubt it will go the way of webOS. There is too strong a user base for that to happen.

      For my part, I am very happy with my Z10. The review pretty much reflects my experiences with the unit. I would love to see more proper first-hand apps for the BB10, as opposed to those half-baked android ports.


      Quote Originally Posted by barathtv View Post
      Thanks for the detailed review! I really like the design of this phone but I'm very hesitant to buy it as I'm afraid it will go the webOS way...
    1. HC - NO "i"'s Avatar
      HC - NO "i" -
      Folks,

      Someone has asked me to compare photos taken with comparable, default settings...

      BlackBerry Z10 (Click here for the original at 3264 x 2448, 8MP, 4:3)



      Samsung Galaxy S II (Click here for the original at 3264 x 2448, 8MP, 4:3)