BlackBerry is on something of a comeback in 2013, and its first showpiece for the year is the Z10 smartphone. The Z10 has a 4.2 inch touchscreen, and runs on the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. It should also be noted that this is an all touchscreen phone – by this I mean that the keyboard is also touch, there are no physical keyboard buttons.
There may not be any physical keyboard buttons, but the touch keyboard has some nice smarts built in. If you are often correcting an incorrectly hit key, the system will learn and correct the errors automatically. Additionally it will also learn commonly used words, and incorporate them into text as you begin to type those words. Also on the keyboard is a Voice Control key, that lets you dictate text rather than typing.
BlackBerry made its name as a business device, and while it does retain an ease of integration with business, it also has some ‘personal’ touches. For security, setting under BlackBerry Protect allow you to locate, lock or wipe data on the handset and the SD storage card, even remotely. Using the Z10 for business and personal use? Then BlackBerry Balance could help you separate those two parts of your life.
Synching the data on the Z10 and your computer is managed by BlackBerry Link, software that is available for both PC and Mac computers. This software allows you to toggle to view the data that is on your computer, and what is on your BlackBerry device.
There are plenty of pre-loaded apps on the Z10 (listed in the specifications below), but in the likely event you want to make your phone more personalised, there are more apps, plus music, games, and more, available via the BlackBerry World Storefront, the new name for BlackBerry App World.
The BlackBerry Z10 is available from Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi and Fone Zone, or from Optus and Telstra retail and online stores. In fact Telstra has given the Z10 its Blue Tick accreditation, meaning it recommends the device or rural handheld coverage.
The BlackBerry 10 interface
This official video provides a quick overview of navigating the software. Watch all the way through, and access other BlackBerry ‘How To’ videos.
“We are confident that Australians will love the new BlackBerry Z10, running on the new BlackBerry 10 platform, because it offers users something they will have never experienced before,” said Thorsten Heins, President & CEO, BlackBerry, in Australia for the launch. “This revolutionary new platform continuously adapts to you. Every feature, every gesture, and every detail is designed to keep you moving, whether at work or at play.”
Having spent some time now with the BlackBerry Z10, I can report that it is a well-built device, with an excellent screen, and good speakers. Old-time BlackBerry users won’t be thrown too much by the new OS, and new users are run through a series of screen to help familiarise themselves with both the Z10’s hardware and software.
BlackBerry Z10 specifications
- Size: Height 130 x 65.6 x 9 mm (H x W x D)
- Weight: 136 grams
- Screen: 4.2 inch touchscreen, 15:9 aspect ratio, 1280 x 768 resolution, at 356 PPI
- Operating system: BlackBerry 10
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor with 1.5 GHz dual-core CPUs (Qualcomm Snapdragon processor not available for model STL100-1)
- Memory: 2GB RAM, 16GB Flash. Expandable memory via microSD, up to 32GB.
- Ports: USB 2.0; Micro HDMI for connection to HDTV or projector
- Battery: 1800mAH removable battery. Up to 10 hours talk time (3G), up to 13 days standby time
- Main camera: 8 megapixel auto-focus camera. Flash, continuous and touch to focus, image stabilisation. HD video recording. 5x digital zoom.
- Front camera: 2 megapixel fixed-focus camera, image and video stabilisation, 3x digital zoom, 720p HD video recording
- Image formats: BMP, WBMP, JPG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, SGI, TGA
- Audio & video formats: 3GP, 3GP2, M4A, M4V, MOV, MP4, MKV, MPEG-4, AVI, ASF, WMV, WMA, MP3, MKA, AAC, AMR, F4V, WAV, MP2PS, MP2TS, AWB, OGG, FLAC
- Audio & video encoding/decoding: H.264, MPEG-4, H.263, AAC-LC, AAC+, eAAC, MP3, PCM, Xvid, AMR-NB, WMA 9/10, WMA10 professional, WMA-LL, VC-1, VP6, SPARK, PCM, MPEG-2, MJPEG (mov), AC-3, AMR-WB, QCELP, FLAC, VORBIS
- Pre-loaded apps: BlackBerry Hub, Contacts, BlackBerry Browser, BlackBerry Calendar, BBM, Text Messages, BlackBerry World, BlackBerry Remember, Docs To Go, Pictures, Music, Videos, Story Maker, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, BlackBerry Maps, Games, YouTube, Voice Control, Weather, Clock, Calculator, Compass, File Manager, Box, BlackBerry Connect for Dropbox, Print To Go, Smart Tags, Settings, Adobe Reader, Phone, Camera/Video Camera/Time Shift, Setup, Help, SIM Toolkit, Search
- Security: Password protection, screen lock, and sleep mode. BlackBerry Balance offering dedicated profiles to keep work and personal data separate and secure
- Networks: Quad band LTE 3, 7, 8, 20 (1800/2600/900/800 MHz); Tri band HSPA+ 1, 5/6, 8 (2100/850/900 MHz); Quad band EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
- GPS: Assisted, Autonomous and Simultaneous GPS. Pre-loaded with BlackBerry Maps application. GLONASS Support
- NFC: BlackBerry Tag with NFC technology enables communication between BlackBerry smartphones and other NFC-enabled devices with a tap
- Sensors: Accelerometer, magnetometer, proximity sensor, gyroscope, ambient light sensor