BlackBerry’s betting it all on the new Z10. With a 4.2 inch screen and nary a keyboard to be found, it’s a firm shove into the future for Waterloo’s tech magnate. All signs so far point toward a successful start, if retail sales numbers in the UK and Canada are to be believed. But what did some of the finest publications in tech have to say? Let’s dive in with a review roundup.
CNET: The bottom line: Though it’s not quite enough to draw committed iPhone or Android owners, the BlackBerry Z10’s modern design and features give BlackBerry fans what they’ve hungered for.
CNET liked the Z10’s ergonomics, deeming the handset to be more comfortable to hold than the iPhone 5. The clarity and brightness of the display, along with the solid call quality appeared to please them as well. However they weren’t pleased with the build quality of the device, the limited camera options aside from Time Shift, and poor maps implementation.
The Verge: “And that’s where I end up. The Z10 is a fine device, well made, reasonably priced, backed by a company with a long track record. But it’s not the only device of its kind, and it’s swimming against a massive wave of entrenched players with really, really good products. Products they figured out how to make years ago. Products that are mature. The smartphone industry doesn’t need saving.”
The Z10’s hardware garnered praise from The Verge for its minimalist design. Also noteworthy was the praise for the BlackBerry 10 virtual keyboard and the overall snappy performance of the Z10 in general. BlackBerry 10, however, proved to be a mixed bag with criticism being handed out for the poor experience they’ve had with apps that use BlackBerry’s Android emulator, some missteps with BlackBerry Hub, and poor battery life.
Crackberry: “With the BlackBerry Z10, I can finally start walking around with just one device in my pocket without feeling like I’m missing out.” … “The BlackBerry Z10 had to come out of the gates as a solid first device, and it is. It’s the BlackBerry experience we love, taken to a whole new level. Is it perfect? Not yet. But BlackBerry 10 in a not-quite-yet-perfect state is still light years ahead of the BlackBerry devices we have been using and loving for years.”
Crackberry, in contrast, loved Blackberry Hub. They also enjoyed the build quality and design of the phone, as well as the touchscreen keyboard’s functionality and response. The fact that BlackBerry 10 is entirely navigated via gestures was also applauded. The visual design though, was not….they wish BlackBerry had gone further in that regard. Being power users, they missed the granular control over settings that prior versions of BlackBerry OS had.
Engadget: “BlackBerry’s BlackBerry Z10 is genuinely a pretty nice phone.” “Nothing in the Z10 stands out as class-leading”…”The BlackBerry faithful who’ve been waiting patiently for something more modern will flock to this (and its QWERTY-having cousin) in droves, but there simply isn’t enough here to woo those consumers who have already made investments in Android or iOS. Too little? Maybe. Too late? Sadly.”
Engadget enjoyed the secure feel of the phone, thanks to its soft-touch plastic back, but felt that the device was bland and not high-end feeling. They also had grievances regarding the Z10’s call and speakerphone quality and was unimpressed by BlackBerry App World’s selection, price, and app quality. Performance was deemed ok but boot time was unacceptably slow.
SlashGear: “Unfortunately – and you just knew there’d be an “unfortunately” – a huge step isn’t enough to make BlackBerry 10 a must-have. Yes, BlackBerry has itself a good OS, but the mobile industry has more than its fair share of “promising but dead” platforms, each with clever ways of addressing smartphone complexity, and yet each failing along the way.”…”Thorsten Heins & Co. have done an admirable job dragging BlackBerry out of its bad old habits, but BlackBerry 10 still has a long way to go before it’s anything more than a reasonable alternative to Windows Phone in the smartphone little leagues.”
Last but not least in our roundup, SlashGear took a look at the Z10 as well. While they happy with the Z10’s ability to keep a signal,. TimeShift and Storymaker editing apps, and the on-screen keyboard, they were less than enthralled with the BlackBerry Hub and Peek usage paradigms. The Z10’s battery life also proved problematic and they too wished for a more expressive external design.