After the intro, specs and photos that I shared about the BlackBerry Z10, let’s dive into the meat of the matter. What makes the BlackBerry Z10 a winner with me? What are the stuff that I still find irritating? What do I want BlackBerry to do to make the platform better going forward?
The Z10 Is A Winner
I have been a long time hater and basher of BlackBerry phones and most folks who follow my diverse interest for smartphones know this by now. I hated BlackBerry for a couple of reasons; the deficiencies of the browser, the limitation of the apps, the poor battery life (with the exception of the Curve 9320, a phone I have recommended time without number), hangs and reboots at will or won’t work until you reboot from a session of hanging. There was also the issue with the BIS service itself. But the Z10 is different, a winner with me.
The Difference Maker
Then I got the BlackBerry Z10 from BlackBerry. Before then, I had gone to the pre-launch event of the BlackBerry 10 and wasn’t impressed. But then, I was not given an opportunity to play with the phone. By the way, it was the Alpha Developer version and not the finished product.
As soon as I got mine and set it up, I was looking forward to the wow factor. I did not get much wow factors as I am used to very stable platforms (Android and iOS). But I was wowed by the leap that BlackBerry itself has made. There’s a huge gap between the older BlackBerry and the BlackBerry running 0S 10.
Fascinating, but not Earth Shattering
I am of the opinion that the early adopters of the BlackBerry Z10 are going to be folks that have been on the BlackBerry platform for a while and enjoy it for it’s uniqueness. They can still use BBM and they get a host of other perks that BlackBerry users have been deprived of– a larger screen estate, touchscreen that works, a virtual keypad that’s easy to use and swipe gestures that are intuitive.
The Z10 supports your emails and will synchronise your contacts and calendars if you have previously made them available from your email account. You can go ahead and add your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Evernote. These services are baked into the phone and work seamlessly.
The Tiny Annoying Clock
The Z10 is more stable and has a super processing power compared to the older BlackBerry. On the BlackBerry OS 5, 6 and 7, If you’re downloading an app, you’d have to go make a sandwich while the app is downloading as you won’t be able to use the phone while you do that. If you try, the phone will get stuck on you and it won’t budge, you will be presented with the tiny clock that tells you to wait, that the system is trying to process something. The case is worse if you try to download multiple apps. On the Z10, all that is gone. Plus the Z10has a 2GB RAM that allows the phone to be stable. On my Samsung GALAXY SIII, I can queue up multiple apps at once and they’d take turns downloading to the phone without standing in my way as I use the phone. This is possible on BlackBerry 10 now and that’s impressive. BlackBerry got me here.
I, like most normal smartphone users, do not fancy reading about specs. I just want to know what I can do and what I cannot do. The battery on the Z10 is 1800 mAh. I get a decent use from the Z10 throughout the day. I am plugged on to WiFi and only use mobile data when I am on the road. WiFi at home and at work. WiFi will normally extend the life of the battery for the whole day, while using Mobile data and being on H+ can impact the battery depending on how strong or weak the signal is. For details on what other specs are in the Z10, see the first article I posted about the BlackBerry Z10.
Documents and Office Tools
Box, Dropbox and Evernote works flawlessly on the Z10′s 4.2″ screen. It does portrait and landscape. One gets a rich text editing app pre-installed for free called; Docs to Go. You can store your office docs and file on Dropbox, Evernote, Box, view and edit them on the go and then continue work. That’s a kind of cloud sync at your fingertips.
Reading PDF files on the Z10 makes it look like a mini Tablet and made me start clamouring for a BlackBerry 10 PlayBook.
The downside of all these is that one of the hallmarks of BB is gone–data compressing. First the regular BIS is gone. There’s however dedicated data made available by the different network providers here in Nigeria. Like I said in a piece I once wrote, BlackBerry has granted the Telcos the freedom to create different proposition as they see it fit for their users. So they came up with the following MTN, Airtel (coming soon). I haven’t yet seen that of Glo, but Etisalat said their’s is coming soon. On calling MTN to ask for the code to use to activate the BlackBerry 10 data bundle, I was told that it isn’t available yet.
The BlackBerry 10 Browser
It scored a higher point in browser test and it is even faster than Chrome Mobile browser. While using it, I observed that it is speedy and the response rate was pretty impressive too. There’s also the ability to view a website that isn’t formatted for mobile view in readable form. When I tried a website on BlackBerry 10 browser and Android Stock Browser, the site I tested defaulted to the mobile site on the Android browser but not on the BlackBerry browser.
Camera and Photo
When you use the BlackBerry Z10 camera in broad daylight, you’re going to get good photos (not great). Once you come in doors and try to shoot photos, you’ll see that the BlackBerry Z10 falls short. It doesn’t perform well under low light. There’s a software that is claimed to have the ability to fix this problem. The update hasn’t been delivered to my own Z10 unit yet.
Comparing the BlackBerry Z10 with BlackBerry 9900 and 9790
I have used BlackBerry 9900 before now and I currently have a BlackBerry 9790 with me at the moment. For the whole of yesterday, I was using the 9790. A stark difference I observed was that I get frustrated typing on the 9790 at times. The screen simply freezes on me and I will type some text that would appear a minute later or I will be plagued every other time with the tiny black clock that’s always present when the phone is been used intensely. The phone hangs and I have to reboot it, but none of this is being experienced by me on the Z10.
Virtual on-screen keyboards always increase the amount of screen real estate that is available to read and use the phone. The screen of the 9790 is quite small. The 9900 is bigger, but has physical QWERTY keyboards that takes up a large portion of the screen and they can not be exited. The Z10 has a mighty full touchscreen of 4.2” enough space to read, play games and do other activities.
What I’m going to expect is for the Telcos to create a unique offering to those who are simply on the BlackBerry Z10 for its unlimited messaging made available via BBM/BIS on the legacy OS ( OS 5, 6, 7)
I will expect a special BBM bundle. Folks could even buy just that, and buy data for Internet browsing as they see fit. I also expect them to allow pay as you go data to use also. Imagine if all I want the BB for is BBM, then I can do pay as you use whenever I want to access the internet or just rely on WiFi.
Another scenario is; I rely on WiFi at home and at the office but I can do BBM because I’ve bought the BBM bundle. Booyah! I’m going to love this. Everyone wins. They could make the BBM bundle a little pricey or if I see that I need to use the web away from my WiFi, I can opt for Pay As you Go or get a data with ease.
Should you buy the BlackBerry Z10? This is a question you alone can answer. If you want the best BlackBerry out this right now, it is the Z10. Go ahead and get yourself one. If you want a bit of fresh air, or want to explore the world of BlackBerry for the first time, come on board and get yourself the Z10. If you are on Android or iOS, the Z10 may not blow your mind completely as there are still some apps that haven’t made it there yet. If managing, editing, sharing of documents in your thing and you are always doing emails on the fly, the Z10 will come in handy.
I expect BlackBerry to evolve the BlackBerry 10 quickly based on the feedback that the early adopters are supplying and hopefully they will be back in the game.
Chojare Pamela Agboga is a Legal Practitioner, Writer, Editor, Chartered Secretary and Administrator. She is currently working on her first novel 'Weekends are for Loving' as well as a devotional for women.