Research In Motion (RIM) is no more, continued alive BlackBerry. The aggregation that played a key allotment in the acceleration of the smartphone is attractive to a new operating arrangement and new branding to accomplishment it from the apathy in which it has afresh been languishing.
BlackBerry has bet the acreage on the new QNX-based BlackBerry 10 OS and launched two handsets to spearhead its renaissance. The keyboard-equipped Q10 has yet to hit the market, but the touchscreen-only Z10 is accessible to buy in the UK now — from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3UK and Carphone Warehouse, amid others. The UK saw the aboriginal retail availability of the Z10 on 31 January, with BlackBerry's home breadth Canada afterward on 5 February and the US accepting to delay until March.
The BlackBerry Z10 is a minimalist handset. Its 4.2-inch, high-resolution (1,280-by-760-pixel/355ppi) awning extends to the abounding amplitude of the chassis, and has actual baby top and basal frames. There are no advanced buttons, and alone a brace elsewhere: the on/off about-face sits in the average of the top edge, and there's a aggregate rocker with a axial aphasiac button on the right-hand ancillary (pressing and captivation the aphasiac key additionally initiates articulation control). As far as connectors are concerned, the angle aperture is on the top, while the left-hand ancillary carries a Micro-USB anchorage and a Micro-HDMI port.
he Z10 measures 65.6mm advanced by 130mm abysmal by 9mm blubbery and weighs 137.5g (that's 2.58in. x 5.11in. x 0.35in. and 4.85 ounces if you prefer). That makes it acutely bigger and added than the 4in. iPhone 5, whose basic statistics are 58.6mm advanced by 123.8mm abysmal by 7.6mm blubbery and 112g (2.31in. x 4.87in. x 0.3in. and 3.95 ounces). Like the iPhone, the Z10 is accessible in both atramentous and white — the closing actuality the added beautiful livery, in our opinion.
The attenuate and chiffon textured backplate lifts to acknowledge MicroSD and Micro-SIM slots, and the disposable 1,800mAh arrangement (which is rated for up to 10 hours allocution time and 13 canicule on standby). The artificial body is about a little black — added metal would accept helped the aesthetics and fabricated for a tougher handset. Still, it feels almost adequate in the hand, and block neatly into a pocket.
The BlackBerry Z10 is powered by a dual-core 1.5GHz processor accurate by 2GB of RAM. That's a acceptable anamnesis complement, and a affection that no agnosticism contributes to the phone's actual bland performance. There is 16GB of centralized storage, with added accommodation accessible via the MicroSD agenda slot.
The Z10 is the aboriginal BlackBerry handset to abutment LTE connectivity (bands 3, 7, 8 and 20 in our analysis unit; added SKUs accept altered configurations). Tri-band HSPA+ and quad-band GPRS/EDGE are additionally supported. We ran our Z10 on EE's 4G (LTE) arrangement in the UK, which uses the 1800MHz bandage 3.
Bluetooth (4.0 LE), Wi-Fi (dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n) and GPS are all present, forth with NFC. The accepted arrangement of sensors are additionally included: accelerometer, compass, proximity, gyroscope and ambient ablaze sensor.
There are two cameras: a front-facing 2-megapixel fixed-focus assemblage with angel and video stabilisation, able of 720p HD video; and an 8-megapixel autofocus camera able of 1080p full-HD video. The capital camera additionally has a beam unit, angel stabilisation, a behind aflame sensor (for added low ablaze performance), a committed ISP and 64MB anatomy buffer, and supports a able multi-shot affection alleged Time Shift (of which added later).
A notable absentee from the blueprint breadth is an FM radio. These are by no agency ubiquitous, but abounding handsets do action them and we'd adopt to see one in this flagship smartphone.
BlackBerry 10 OS
The best cogent affair about the BlackBerry Z10 is that it runs the new BlackBerry 10 OS, an absolutely new operating arrangement that BlackBerry hopes will animate its fortunes. The BlackBerry 10 user acquaintance is congenital about three concepts — Hub, Peek and Flow — and is advised for one-handed use.
The Hub is an all-in-one inbox absolute email, SMS, BBM, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, agenda notifications and more. Peek is the arrangement for accepting a quick attending at the Hub: from any app, you can ambit the awning to booty a Peek at the Hub, and afresh baddest any specific communications beck or artlessly appraise a accomplished timeline. Tap and authority on a accurate advice and a aftereffect ancestor in from the appropriate of the screen, with bulletin options like reply, forward, banderole or file.
The third abstraction is Flow. This is the name for the arrangement acclimated to cross the accomplished operating system. Essentially you can get about application one thumb, with sweeps and swipes — including some that charge to alpha or end aloft the top and basal of the screen's glass.
Horizontal sweeps booty you from the Hub to an accessible apps awning that you can annal vertically, and afresh to the app tray with assorted screens of app icons on offer. Inevitably the gestures booty some accepting acclimated to, but the arrangement is decidedly able and almost intuitive. Our alone absolute complaint is the abridgement of a concrete 'home' button to booty you to the accessible apps awning or the Hub. All that across-the-board does become a little tedious.
Although this arrangement is presented as — and absolutely is — an absolutely new way of working, it has BlackBerry heritage. The old annal caster accustomed you to assignment through emails one-handed, and that's absolutely the abstraction actuality — admitting continued to admission assorted advice types as able-bodied as apps, and confused from a concrete ascendancy on the ancillary of the accessory to the touchscreen. It's absolutely in befitting with the BlackBerry appearance — and incidentally, as it's thumb-based, we ahead the awakening of BlackBerry Thumb.
The Z10's on-screen keyboard recalls the architecture of BlackBerry's accustomed concrete keyboards (which will alive on in the accessible Q10 handset): advanced argent strips abstracted rows of keys and the alone key tabs themselves actor the old concrete keys.
That's not what impresses us best though. There are two actual able things activity on here. The aboriginal is invisible: BlackBerry has congenital a additional keyboard below the one you can see. This learns breadth you hit the keys, and helps to advance accurateness over time. On my accepted Android handset I tend to tap the amplitude bar a little to the right, and generally hit the adjoining abounding stop by mistake. Presumably the BlackBerry Z10 will apprentice to atone for this afterwards a while.
The additional able affair is actual visible: as you type, the Z10 guesses the chat you're after, and offers suggestions aloft the abutting key you would hit. Across-the-board up from that key over the appropriate chat selects it. I begin this difficult to get acclimated to at first, but afterwards four canicule of application the Z10 it has become additional nature. I don't use it back accounting words of beneath than six letters, but it's a absolute time saver for best words.
There are added accurate touches. The camera's Time Shift affection shoots a cardinal of photos in quick succession, and afresh lets you adapt altered sections (peoples' faces, for example) to get the best blended picture. This is complemented by a video-creation app alleged Story Maker. Elsewhere, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) has been added to accommodate video calling and awning sharing, and there's a advantageous new app alleged BlackBerry Remember — a multi-featured agenda bacteria that can accompany with Evernote.
BlackBerry 10 is not backwards compatible, so the aggregation has had to alpha afresh with its app store, BlackBerry World. It has put a lot of accomplishment into this, with abundant accustomed 'port-a-thons' to advice developers abutment the new OS. The aftereffect is about 70,000 apps at launch, with affluence of big names mentioned at the all-around barrage event.
However, a acknowledgment at barrage is not the aforementioned as absolutely actuality in the app store. Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are all accurate by BB 10 apps, but Skype — billed as 'committed' to BlackBerry — was not represented in BlackBerry World back we checked. Nor was the Kindle app, amid others. If you're cerebration of switching to BlackBerry, it would be a acceptable abstraction to analysis BlackBerry World for your favourite apps first.
BlackBerry Balance, which is accurate on the new OS, fabricated a apathetic alpha but is apparent by BlackBerry as a key affection for both business users and consumers. Businesses can configure a locked-down 'Work' breadth of the handset — via BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10 — that users can't dabble with, and which can be accidentally wiped. Meanwhile, a absolutely abstracted 'Personal' breadth of the handset lets you do all the things you'd apprehend on an able customer device.
This is a actual accurate affection that should acquiesce bodies to backpack aloof one handset breadth ahead they'd accept appropriate abstracted phones for assignment and claimed use.
There are some cogent drawbacks with the Z10/BB10 admixture though. For example, although the Z10 can handle assorted email accounts, you can alone set up one Twitter annual and one Facebook annual in the built-in app. If (like me) you charge to adviser added than one of either account, afresh you'll charge to use a third-party app — which won't accord you the Hub integration. At the time of autograph there was no Twitter app accessible that allows you to log into added than one annual at a time. Moreover, the Hub alone displays Twitter interactions and not the abounding Twitter timeline. As a way of befitting an eye on Twitter, then, the Z10 is not an ideal platform.
More importantly, perhaps, for BlackBerry's ambition of application its customer fanbase, while Gmail is supported, there's no ability to acceptation Google contacts or agenda data.
The BlackBerry Z10 is a accurately designed, minimalist handset with a superb touchscreen and acceptable abstruse blueprint that accommodate LTE and NFC support. The new BlackBerry 10 operating arrangement delivers a acceptable user acquaintance already you get acclimated to it, although in our assessment it would account from a concrete home button.
There are some important niggles. I charge to adviser four altered Twitter accounts, but could alone set up one on the device. Also, Google agenda and contacts can't be alien — article that needs to be anchored bound if the Z10 is to abduction customer mindshare.
Early letters advance that the BlackBerry Z10 is affairs well, although no official abstracts are accessible yet. In the continued run, however, the company's affairs of advancement bazaar allotment are acceptable to depend on how businesses acknowledge to the new BlackBerry 10 OS ecosystem.