Review Price £480.00
IntroductionWith the long overdue BlackBerry 10 OS now a thing of reality, RIM has officially unveiled its first BlackBerry 10 handset, the BlackBerry Z10, a 4.2-inch touchscreen toting device that is tasked with rivalling the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5.
Wrapping its new BlackBerry 10 OS within a stylishly designed, specs impressive package, RIM, with the BlackBerry Z10, has seemingly given its new iOS and Android rival the best possible platform from which to grow. Read on for our hands-on BlackBerry Z10 review to see how the first BlackBerry 10 handset lines up to first impressions.
BlackBerry Z10 DesignAs the poster child for the new BlackBerry 10 OS, the BlackBerry Z10 design needed to be a step away from the stoic and standard black candy, intercut by an expansive touchscreen display, that currently makes up much of the smartphone market.
On this front, the handset falls slightly short. Although the BlackBerry Z10 design sees the handset line up as an undeniably attractive addition to the smartphone sector, on first impressions (and that's what counts on a retailer’s store front), the BlackBerry Z10 design is much of the same with a black, rounded edged slab of plastic wrapped around a large, touchscreen interface.
As well as being easy on the eye, at just 9mm thick, the BlackBerry Z10 is comfortable in the hand, with the flat, textured back panel offering a reassuring amount of grip without being unnecessarily coarse, slick or in anyway troublesome in the hand.
Helping ensure that the BlackBerry Z10 form factor is largely unblemished and not tainted by multiple physical controls or connection ports, the BlackBerry Z10 features no physical home button, instead relying on its touchscreen credentials and interactive bezel utilising BB10 OS. Maintaining the sleek, stylish form factor, the BlackBerry Z10 design features just two physical controls, the customary on/off turn lock switch and the equally familiar volume toggles.
Far from detracting from the otherwise svelte design, the physical BlackBerry Z10 controls are well placed and sized, slotting securely and discreetly within the handset's body in sensible, top right locations that, based on first use at least, ensures against infuriating accidental presses. In a similar vein, the 8-megapixel rear-mounted camera can be found on the handset's upper left corner, reducing the risk of stray fingers invading snaps when holding the device in either a landscape or portrait manner.
BlackBerry Z10 OSArguably the most interesting area of the handset, the BlackBerry Z10 is the first device to come pre-installed with the new BlackBerry 10 OS and as such is packed with a raft of previously unseen and unexplored features.
On first impressions, the BlackBerry 10 OS found on the BlackBerry Z10 is simple, elegant and pleasant to use with the intuitive BlackBerry Flow UI giving an almost layered effect to the handset’s user experience.
Whilst the off-screen swipe controls and lack of a physical, or even touch based, buttons is slightly awkward to use at first, during our brief initial hands-on time with the BlackBerry Z10, this quickly became an intuitive extension of the user experience, allowing us to quickly and seamlessly zip through multiple open applications and features.
Still requiring some polishing, the BlackBerry 10 OS can at times throw in an odd moment of slightly irksome clunkiness with the multitasking features mean the process of opening an app from the main menu results in an automated fast skip between homescreens before the programme pulls itself open from the existing live tile.
Making a largely strong first impression, our hands-on time with the BlackBerry Z10 was not enough to fully immersive ourselves in the BlackBerry 10 OS and this is an area we will have to explore in further detail in our upcoming full BlackBerry Z10 review.
BlackBerry Z10 ScreenWith the BlackBerry Z10 screen the handset’s focal point, and a considerable step away from the former QWERTY heavy BlackBerry handsets of yore, the BlackBerry Z10 plays host to a large, pleasing 4.2-inch LCD display with a 1280 x 768p resolution and 356 DPI image density.
Slightly larger than the iPhone 5 screen, yet considerably smaller than the display on the Samsung Galaxy S3, the BlackBerry Z10 screen takes a happy middle ground with 4.2-inch size offering a large amount of visual real estate whilst still fitting comfortably in the hand.
Compatible with the usual collection of multitouch controls such as pinch to zoom, the BlackBerry Z10 screen is extremely responsive, pairing well with the handset’s zippy 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor to offering, smooth, fluid transitions between menus, home screens and app listings.
Whilst we have as yet not had opportunity to fully explore the BlackBerry Z10 screen’s ability to handle video playback, on first impressions, the BlackBerry Z10 suffers from slight motion blur with fast moving content resulting a minor ghosting effects. This will require further analysis in the upcoming full BlackBerry Z10 review.
Another area where the BlackBerry Z10 screen appears to have hit a stumbling block, is in its brightness settings. Although used in challenging lighting conditions, the BlackBerry Z10 screen, which also proved somewhat reflective, was slightly lacklustre in its brightness, leaving us constantly wanting more, even at its highest setting. Continuing the knock-on effects of the BlackBerry Z10 screen brightness concerns, the handset’s contrast ratios have, on first use, appeared slightly muted, failing to hit the punchy highs of rival Android handsets which feature Super AMOLED displays.
BlackBerry Z10 CameraAnother sign of BlackBerry’s move into specs impressive, luxurious and high-end handsets, the BlackBerry Z10 plays host to an 8-megapixel rear-mounted camera that is further complemented by 5x digital zoom, an integrated LED flash and 1080p Full HD video recording capabilities.
Sampled in far from ideal conditions, the BlackBerry Z10 camera failed to impress on first use, struggling to produce sharp, vibrant images with well-balanced colours when shooting in a dull environment under weak, artificial lighting. An unfair test, the BlackBerry Z10 camera requires broader, more in-depth use before full judgement can be passed.
One area where the BlackBerry Z10 camera pleased from the off, however, is in its BlackBerry 10 enabled timeshare features. When shooting images of people, this BlackBerry 10 camera feature allowed us to skip back from our captured snap to find the perfect moment of subject movement, avoiding closed eyes or blurred motion for the perfect snap.
BlackBerry Z10 VerdictUndoubtedly a strong launch platform for the new BlackBerry 10 OS, the BlackBerry Z10 is clearly a device that has been built around the operating system and shows BlackBerry’s efforts to fit in with a market tilting constantly to oversized, touchscreen heavy and sleekly designed handsets.
More than easy on the eye, although the BlackBerry Z10 is aesthetically pleasing, it is far from unique. This is not where the handset, on first impressions at least, comes into its own, that honour can be saved for the BlackBerry 10 OS within.
Simple and elegant to use, the BlackBerry 10 OS is, although slightly confusing at first, quick to draw the user in and a welcome and pleasing alternative the iPhone restricted iOS and raft of middling Android handsets around.
Stay tuned for the full BlackBerry Z10 review set to land in the coming days.
Latest Deals From Ebay
9 bids View Item
1 bids View Item