The BlackBerry Z10: Ten Out Of Ten?
After many months of delays, RIM (or BlackBerry as it is now known) finally launched its BlackBerry 10 operating system and two new BlackBerry phones last week. The BlackBerry Q10 is a QWERTY-fied mobile that looks very much like the BlackBerrys of yesteryear, although the handset that really got people talking was the full touchscreen BlackBerry Z10.
So, just what is it that makes the BB Z10 stand out from its predecessors, and does it have the potential to be as successful as top mobiles from the likes of Apple and Samsung?
Before the device is even switched on, it’s easy to see that the BlackBerry Z10 is a far cry from any BlackBerry ever before encountered. The handset’s design is sleek and understated, and looks a bit like the iPhone 5. A 4.2-inch multi-LCD display dominates the front of the device, and there’s no physical keyboard in sight. This is because BlackBerry has decided to do away with the QWERTY and jump on the touchscreen bandwagon (more on this later), a sure sign that the company is moving with the times.
Digging into the BlackBerry Z10’s features, it’s clear that BlackBerry 10 is a bit different to other operating systems. BlackBerry says the BlackBerry 10 intuitive user interface is designed to make multitasking really quick and easy, but how does it achieve this? Instead of having a traditional homescreen that users would naturally return to when opening apps and areas of functionality, users pull in screens for each feature they want to use, layering them on top of each other. This means you can quickly switch between apps you are using without having to keep returning to a static homescreen each time.
Of course, with all the applications running at once you’re going to need adequate power, and so BlackBerry has equipped the Z10 with a 1.5GHz Qualcomm dual-core processor. Navigating the BlackBerry Z10’s features is a smooth and lag free experience, even when it’s challenged with taking on multiple tasks.
The touchscreen keyboard on the BlackBerry Z10 is really intuitive too, learning which keys you sometimes hit off-centre and automatically correcting this for you. The predictive text functionality is really simple to use as well – it suggests words it thinks you are typing and presents them just above the letters they begin with on the keyboard. A quick flick motion over the words inserts them into the text message, email, or whatever it is you’re typing.
For business users, BlackBerry has resurrected the BlackBerry Balance functionality that had previously featured on BlackBerry OS 7. BlackBerry Balance allows users to split their user interface into two profiles to keep work data separate from their personal stuff. These profiles can then be switched between with press of a button. BlackBerry Balance keeps everything that needs to be separate in its rightful place on the one device, meaning users don’t have to fiddle with two handsets and manage two phone numbers for work and play.
BlackBerry Messenger has always been a hugely popular feature and BlackBerry 10 takes the free instant messaging service to the next level, with the added bonus of BBM video calling and Screen Share functionality. Now you can use BBM to video call contacts in a similar way to FaceTime on iOS devices, and the additional Screen Share feature allows you to show the person you are calling anything that is on your screen, without stopping the conversation. For example, you could share a screenshot of an outfit you want to buy, or a slide from a business presentation for work with whoever you’re calling.
Time Shift is another BlackBerry 10 highlight, and adds a raft of extra functionality to image capture. This camera feature allows users to isolate sections of the photos they have taken and then rewind them a few frames. This comes in especially handy for group photos where one person may have blinked just as the picture was taken. Instead of having to take another photo, the user can simply select the face of the person who’s blinked and rewind a couple of milliseconds until their eyes are open. You can then merge this frame into the shot to create the perfect image.
So, with all the new innovations offered by BlackBerry 10, does the BlackBerry Z10 have a chance at reaching the top of the mobile leaderboard? Only time will tell, but judging by the features mentioned above we think it stands a pretty good chance of success.