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BlackBerry Z10 review

Tasked with saving BlackBerry, can the first BB 10 handset deliver?

Our Verdict

Will it be supported for long? Maybe not... but the superbly low price makes this a decent alternative to the Android / iPhone monopoly.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 16 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 8 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 10 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 1280 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Great web browsing
  • Expandable storage
  • Decent camera
  • Messaging hub

Against

  • Plastic case not premium
  • Lack of apps
  • UI not for everyone
  • Some apps lack features

The BlackBerry Z10 was the first handset from the company formerly known as RIM, now renamed BlackBerry, to run its new operating system BlackBerry 10, and there was much more on the line here than simply making a few pennies – arguably the company's survival rested on the success of this device and the BlackBerry Q10.

It's no secret that BlackBerry is on the rocks, with the company even admitting that it hasn't been in the best shape of late, and the 4G toting Z10 was the start of what it hoped would be a successful revolution.

Since its launch in January the BlackBerry Z10 has received a few software updates which has seen things become more stable, plus the app store has also witnessed some new arrivals, so we've taken the time to update the keys parts of our review with the latest information.

In the UK the handset has witnessed a massive price drop since launch and you can pick up the Z10 free on contracts starting at £32 per month, while you'll need to fork out just £149.95 if you want it SIM-free.

Sporting a 4.2-inch 1280 x 768 display, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and lower price tag, the BlackBerry Z10 finds itself jostling for position with the Nokia Lumia 925, Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and iPhone 5C.

Lock eyes on the BlackBerry Z10 and you'll notice it's an unassuming slab of black glass and plastic that mimics the general aesthetical design of many a smartphone these days.

The Z10 is a little bezel-heavy with a sizable gap above and below the screen, and that's before we even get to the additional plastic chunks stuck on both ends of the handset.

BlackBerry Z10 review

It all seems a little unnecessary but luckily it doesn't make the BlackBerry Z10 overly cumbersome, with the handset measuring a comfortable 130 x 65.6 x 9mm (5.1 x 2.6 x 0.4 inches).

Weight wise the BlackBerry Z10 finds a happy medium – weighing 137.5g (4.85 oz), it's nowhere near as heavy as the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820, yet it's not as feather light as the iPhone 5.

BlackBerry Z10 review

The weight gives it a reassuring presence in the palm and while the chassis is distinctly plastic, the handset's heft at least restores some form of premium feel.

Around the back you're greeted with a textured plastic rear that is slightly rubberised, providing a decent level of grip.

BlackBerry Z10 review

There are only a couple of things to note on the back of the BlackBerry Z10: the 8MP camera with a single LED flash, sat in the top-left corner, and the shiny metallic BlackBerry logo in middle.

We were pleased to find that the rear can be removed easily by placing a finger in the indented speaker grill at the base of the Z10, enabling us to simply peel off the plastic.

BlackBerry Z10 review

Underneath you'll find microSIM and microSD slots, with the latter capable of supporting cards up to 32GB in capacity, although we've been told that a future update may see this support boosted to the 64GB variants.

This means you can build nicely on the already decent 16GB of internal storage, which will appeal to many who have been put out by the likes of the iPhone range and HTC One, which don't offer storage expansion.

BlackBerry Z10 review

An added boon is the removable 1,800mAh battery, enabling you to switch out a dead battery for a fully charged one if you're someone who likes to carry multiple power packs around.

On the rear cover itself you'll notice the NFC pad, which enables the BlackBerry Z10 to interact with other compatible wireless devices.

BlackBerry Z10 review

On the right-hand side of the Z10, anyone familiar with the BlackBerry PlayBook will instantly recognise the triple button setup, with volume rocker switches separated by a central key – used for playing/pausing music and activating voice control when held down.

Up top you get a centralised power/lock key next to a 3.5mm headphone jack, while on the left there's a couple of handy connectivity ports.

BlackBerry Z10 review

The metal finish of the keys gives the handset a touch of class - if not a little sharp when you catch your finger on them - and all are well positioned, enabling us to reach them easily when using the Z10 one-handed.

The now standard microUSB port that features on pretty much every phone these days (bar the iPhone) is present, alongside a miniHDMI port. This enables you to connect the BlackBerry Z10 directly to a TV for big screen viewing.

BlackBerry Z10 review

There's no HDMI cable in the box so you'll need to pick one up separately, but there is at least a USB cable so you can hook the Z10 up to your computer.

The BlackBerry Z10 doesn't wow us with a new design, but it's a sturdy handset with a decent build quality and functional layout that makes it easy to handle.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported64 GB
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, GPRS, HSUPA, HSDPA, HSPA+, UMTS
SAR Value0.87 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedLTE 700, LTE 800, LTE 900, LTE 1800, LTE 2600, GSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourCharcoal Black
Operating SystemBlackBerry
Brand NameBlackBerry
Battery Talk Time10 Hour
Product ModelZ10
Screen Size10.7 cm (4.2")
Screen Resolution1280 x 768
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)137.5 g
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Backlight TechnologyLED
Operating System VersionBlackBerry OS 10
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCall Log, Call Timer, Conference Call
Pixel Density355 ppi
Height130 mm
Width65.6 mm
Depth9 mm
Radio TunerYes
ManufacturerBlackBerry
Product NameZ10 Smartphone
Processor Speed1.50 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass, Gyro Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Magnetometer
Manufacturer Part NumberPRD-49737-018
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.uk.blackberry.com
Marketing InformationMeet the BlackBerry Z10

Experience BlackBerry Flow
Introducing a completely new way to use your smartphone. A new experience where features and apps work together seamlessly and share your train of thought to help you complete tasks faster and with ease. Discover BlackBerry® 10, designed to keep you moving.

Create. Organize. Act.
Managing a busy project? Planning this weekend's party? The BlackBerry Z10 has the tools you need to get things done on the move. Group relevant photos, lists, messages and web links into one place with BlackBerry® Remember - then sync tasks with your Microsoft® Outlook® calendar. Plus, with Documents To Go™ and Adobe® Reader® built in, you can update spreadsheets, documents and presentations on the move.

Powerful, responsive, fast
Discover a BlackBerry® Browser with speed, simplicity, powerful page rendering and built-in sharing to your favorite social networks. Found something you want to show your friends? Send a link through email or post it to the social app of your choice - all it takes is a couple of gestures.

Over time, your BlackBerry smartphone remembers how you like to share - just another example of how BlackBerry® 10 adapts to you and fits your life.

Turn words into action
Send a BBM™ message, schedule a meeting, update your social networks, or open an app when your hands are full - just by using your voice.

Voice Control recognizes natural speech patterns, so you can talk naturally and always be understood. You can use Voice Control anywhere you can type, so it's easy to dictate a document, compose an email or search your smartphone.

One device for work and play
Use your BlackBerry® Z10 smartphone for work, and access email, apps and documents without compromising your personal content.

BlackBerry® Balance™ keeps your personal information separate and private from your work data. Switch between your profiles with one simple gesture.

Stay secure
You don't want to worry about whether your stuff is safe. BlackBerry is famous for ensuring your messages, photos, apps and content stay private.

Plus, with built-in features like BlackBerry® Protect™, a lost or stolen smartphone doesn't have to be the end of the world. You can simply lock or wipe your smartphone remotely so your data can't be accessed.

Capture every moment
Take great shots with the super-sharp 8MP camera, or switch to the front facing camera and be part of the scene. Crop, enhance and apply artistic filters, then use the Story Maker app to weave those moments together and create the perfect movie.

Display your masterpiece on the big screen for all to see. Simply connect to your TV via HDMI or tap 'Play on' to link wirelessly through DLNA. You can share with your social networks too just by using a few simple gestures.

Do more. Manage less.
Spend less time managing schedules and tasks - BlackBerry® Calendar makes managing your busy schedule simple.

When you create a new appointment, BlackBerry Calendar suggests who to invite based on your existing events and who you invited last time. It will even show you friends' recent messages and social updates - so instead of 'How are you?' you'll know to say 'How was your holiday?'
Limited Warranty1 Year