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BlackBerry Z10 Review, Best Apps, and iPhone Comparison

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It’s been a week since the BlackBerry 10 launch and I’m neck deep into my new Blackberry Z10: learning the in’s and out’s of this fantastic little Canadian device. I think it’s only fair, as a reviewer, that I do three things to simplify the learning process:


1. VIDEO: BlackBerry Z10 Review: Freshly Educated Men x Reggie Ramone


2. The Good, The Bad, and The Recommendation

 

The Good


 
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Lets talk about the BlackBerry Z10’s Camera, because well, it’s not only my favourite feature but it’s the most innovative. The camera is 8 megapixels in quality and delivers fantastic photos straight out of the gate. I’m no photography nerd, but I do know a good photo with proper white balance when I see one. However, where the camera really shines is the software.

BlackBerry 10 introduces a new feature called Time Shifting, which allows you to take two seconds worth of photos, choose the proper frame, select a person ‘s face, choose the best face frame by frame, and stitch the photo together: thus building a photo that never actually happened. If this sort of logic doesn’t make any sense to you, watch the review and example video above, because well, it’s not only innovation for mobile phones – this is a whole new way of taking photos in general.

It’s a well built phone. Built with the same backing as the 9000 series, it’s sturdy, doesn’t slip out of your hand, and it feels very far from cheap. There’s nothing I hate more than cheap plastic on expensive cell phones.

Keyboard typing hasn’t been easier. Lets look at the facts: most existing BlackBerry users still insist on typing on physical keyboards and re-adjusting their antennas on their tube TV’s. To get these unfortunate time warped individuals to move forward with the future like everyone else, BlackBerry spent an exuberant amount of time figuring out how to make typing easier. With swipe being the common theme amongst Thorsten’s clap-heavy keynote, the use of swipe is prevalent in maximizing the onscreen keyboard: swipe to switch to numbers/symbols, swipe to backspace, swipe to choose a word that BlackBerry has somehow managed to envision you’re about to say. While I still haven’t fully grasped Android’s Swype, I find this a much more realistic way to type.

Integration. While this isn’t new to Windows Mobile and other OS users excluding the iPhone, I do enjoy having the ability to sync my Evernote, Dropbox, Box.net, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and basically any tech service that I use into the BlackBerry Hub. This allows a chance to do more work quicker and without hogging more app resources. And hey, uploading a Time Shift photo directly to Dropbox to share with all your device instantly is an immediate win.

 

The Bad


 
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Third party apps will hold people back from buying in. While 70,000 apps is an impressive number of apps for launch, it’s more of a number to sell you on than actual measure of quality. I haven’t found that many good apps that do basic things, like a solid RSS news reader. I mean, it’s not as horrendous as that thing Google calls Google Play, nor is it as bare as the Windows Mobile app store, but it does leave you wanting more if you’re coming from a perfect app store like the iPhone.

Interface isn’t as simple to pick up and play. I’ve showed my phone to at least a hundred people by now, and every one of them start by staring at the screen for 5 seconds, then proceed to swipe up to down, then left to right, then start tapping on the BlackBerry logo. It just isn’t as simple as a bar that says “Slide to Unlock”. At this point, I have to tell them, slide their finger up. Afterwards, they swipe to the right, bringing them to the row of icons and completely missing the awesomeness of the BlackBerry hub. They never open any apps but do like the tiled-and-running apps.

Needless to say, while I enjoy working within a full ecosystem, it does need a bit of tweaking in the user experience perspective. However, I’m sure it’s the first of many upcoming OS upgrades.

BlackBerry Balance is only meant for Enterprise. Which sucks, because this was a feature that really sold me. However, it’s become my most hated featured because apparently BlackBerry seems to think there are two types of working class people in the world: the jobless, and the corporate slaves. I fall in between, much like the majority of the damn earth, and thus I can’t access a “work” area of my phone. It seems as though BlackBerry 10 is only useful for companies that are BES activated, and fails to remember that people do freelance and work for small to medium size businesses. Massive oversight.

Nobody uses BlackBerry Messenger anymore. It’s like a ghost town on there. It’s like logging into ICQ or MSN 3 years after people moved on. It’s the same old people that never really grew out of the BBM roots. BBM is no longer the pick-up tool that guys used at the bars, and if they tried, it was like wearing bell-bottoms to a club. Maybe people will get back on it, but at this rate, it’s a sad state on that side of the world. So don’t think like you’re missing out. Yet.

 

The Recommendations


 
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Get more popular apps in the App Store. BlackBerry has made it known that they plan to get Skype, Instagram and Whatsapp, but they better do it soon. Things are looking kind of rough in the BlackBerry World app store.

I do, however, recommend that everyone download the following tested-and-approved apps:

  • Untapped: Check-in whenever you have a beer, like Foursquare
  • WordPress: Write your posts on the fly
  • TuneIn Radio: Music on the go
  • Flixter: Check your movie times
  • Google Talk: Surprisingly great chat app
  • The Bard’s Tale: The best game on BB10 right now
  • SoundNine: For all the SoundCloud users out there
  • Buffer: Schedule your tweets and Facebook posts randomly throughout the day
  • The Score: Still the juggernaut of all sports news apps

Sadly, I’m stuck unable to read my news as I’ve yet to find a suitable reader. I’m a bit pampered by using good Google Reader RSS readers like Pulp, Flipboard, Reeder, Pulse, and Feedly, but unfortunately Sophie Reader, which is supposedly the best one to get out there, reminds me of all things bad about news readers. Hurry up, damn it.

Open Blackberry Balance to freelance and small/medium business users. I need not stress the importance. BlackBerry: Don’t sell us on the idea then get shot down by the fine print. Open that shit up.

Change Bing to Google. This is more of a recommendation for current Z10 users. Since Bing is such a terrible search utility, you can change it when you’re typing in the search bar by pressing the Bing Icon and selecting Google. Thank me later.


3. BlackBerry 10 in iPhonese

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As a full-time and die-hard iPhone 5 user, I have my concerns with its vision and innovation. Thankfully, Apple’s competitors have kept them on their heals and will hopefully push Apple forward with creating new ideas and living true to its calling.

Now lets try to teach you what this BlackBerry 10 is, by comparing it to what you already know.

  • To unlock the screen, swipe up instead of swiping right.
  • The most recent app screen is the same as double tapping the home button.
  • No, there isn’t an Instagram. For now.
  • BlackBerry Hub is basically the Notification Center which doesn’t open a new app every time you try to read/reply.
  • No Whatsapp yet either.
  • BlackBerry autocorrect is just as smart as the iPhone autocorrect.
  • You have better and less expensive apps than anyone in the world so far.
  • BlackBerry Messenger’s Video is basically FaceTime but you can share your screen too.
  • Battery life is practically identical between the 5 and the Z10.
  • You know how smooth the screen moves when you operate an iPhone? BlackBerry is 90% there.
  • The Safari app is light years better than the BlackBerry still – but both still suck compared to the Google Chrome browser.
  • Your camera sucks compared to the BlackBerry Z10. Except the Panorama feature, which still kicks ass.
  • You MUST to be tired of your boring row of icons, right? I think Apple can think up something better in iOS7 too.

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1 Comment

  1. @BhuDeo

    February 9, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Great overview of the Z10. Still trying to figure mine out too.

    @BhuDeo

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