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BlackBerry Z10 review

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

Maps

The BlackBerry Z10 comes with its own mapping and navigation solution simply called Maps.

BlackBerry Z10 review

The maps themselves have been provided by TomTom, and while they give a pretty good account of the lie of the land, it's not as polished as the excellent Google Maps.

There are far fewer features as well with just the standard map view available, no satellite overlay, no street view, no flyover, no public transport information – but at least it knows where places are.

We found the lack of train stations highly frustrating as we tried to the nearest one while out and about in London.

Visually the maps are not quite as impressive as Google's offering, with the images not looking overly defined – especially when you zoom out.

Opening the maps app was one of the few occasions where we noticed the Z10 struggling a little, as we would have to wait several seconds for the application to load up and locate us.

Once located the BlackBerry Z10 was able to keep track of our position well, even in built up areas where GPS sometimes struggles to reach.

The Z10 also wasn't the smoothest when it came to panning and zooming around the maps, with it needing a second or two each time to render the new image which made for a slightly jilted user experience.

BlackBerry Z10 review

There is live traffic information shown by coloured overlays on the roads to show the flow of traffic, with green being good, orange average and red highlighting delays.

This information is really useful, especially if you're planning a trip, and coupled with the route planner you can see exactly what the traffic is like on the roads you'll be driving.

It's not just the maps the BlackBerry Z10 offers though, as with Android and now iOS, BB10 also offers free turn-by-turn navigation.

It's a lifesaver if you end up getting lost, but beware that a data connection is required to load the map so it may struggle in you're up a mountain.

Apps

Apps were the big talking point in the run up to the launch of BlackBerry 10, with BlackBerry assuring everyone that had loads of developers creating applications especially for the platform.

BlackBerry Z10 review

Sadly the app offering in the newly renamed BlackBerry World is hardly inspiring.

BlackBerry says it has over 70,000 applications in the store, but it certainly doesn't feel like there's anything close to that number in there at the moment.

While 70,000 doesn't sound like a lot especially when you consider the likes of Android and iOS boast over 700,000 each, BlackBerry reckons it's the quality not quantity in BlackBerry World which makes all the difference.

That may be the case, but we'd question the quality which currently resides in the store, with a lot of big name developers and companies missing.

During the launch event BlackBerry said that WhatsApp and Skype were both fully committed to BlackBerry 10.

We had to wait over two months for WhatApps to finally arrive in BlackBerry World, and as for Skype - well your guess is as good as ours when it comes to finding out what's happened to that app.

We had hoped that since it was formerly announced at the end of January 2013 a deluge of apps which frequent the likes of Google Play and the App Store would arrive for BlackBerry 10, but alas that hasn't happened yet.

BlackBerry Z10 review

Of course BlackBerry will point towards the vast number of apps which are in the store and the speed at which it has managed to build its catalogue, but the reality is that a lot of apps we use every day are simply not present - a few examples are Spotify, The Trainline, Shazam and various BBC and Sky apps.

BlackBerry Word itself isn't our favourite app store in terms of design and navigation, with a confusing list of various apps, music and videos on the main page making it difficult to digest all the information.

You can refine your search by categories which goes some way to working out what's on offer and if you slide from the left of the screen accross you can filter by apps, games, music and videos.

In terms of pre-installed applications we're pleased to report BlackBerry hasn't gone overboard with the BlackBerry Z10.

The Remember app is BlackBerry's answer to Evernote (whish is another high-profile absentee from BlackBerry World) and it can even sync with the popular note taking app to ensure all your favourite shopping lists safely make the transition over to BB 10.

BlackBerry Z10 review

You can also share content such as pictures and videos to the Remember app if you want to make a note alongside a photo you've just snapped.

The app itself is pretty straightforward, with the ability to tap out a message as well as attach a file or audio clip to it.

DocsToGo is a great application for the business minded out there who may need to finish off a word document, spreadsheet or presentation while on the train to a meeting.

The full blown app enables you to fully manipulate your Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, although the 4.2-inch display on the Z10 is a bit on the small side for viewing a complicated spreadsheet.

Games is a hub for your gaming activity on the BlackBerry Z10 and works in a similar way to Apple's Game Center. It logs all the compatible games you play on the handset and any achievements you unlock.

BlackBerry Z10 review

You can add friends who are also playing on their BlackBerry handsets, compare progress and even challenge them to a showdown.

The Newsstand app, as you may have guessed, is a store for magazines and newspapers which you can purchase and read on the Z10.

An innovative slider along the top of the app enables you to scroll through different categories, while covers of the magazines available are displayed in a pleasing thumbnailed layout.

If anything we wish BlackBerry World took its design cues from Apple's Newsstand, since we preferred the layout there and navigation was much easier.

Single issues seemed to range from around £1.99 to £6.99 depending on publication, but there didn't seem to be any sign of a subscription service – perhaps that will come later.

Voice control lets you bark commands at the BlackBerry Z10 for when you can't be bothered to use your fingers.

It can be activated by holding down the central key lodged between the two volume switches, or you can tap the relevant icon in the app list.

BlackBerry Z10 review

We're not talking Siri levels of controls and questioning here, it's a far simpler offering, enabling you to say things like "Call this person", "Text that person" and "Make a note to buy milk".

As long as we spoke clearly then the Z10 had no trouble understanding what we were saying and was more than happy to carry out our orders - who's a good phone?

We probably wouldn't use this function day to day but we can certainly see its advantage in certain situations, such as driving.

Smart tags is an application that enables you to group together a bunch of information which can then be transferred onto an NFC tag, made into a QR code or passed directly to another NFC-enabled handset.

Instead of handing out a business card you could create a smart tag with all your contact information on and then share it via NFC to the phones of people you meet with.

You can save the tags you send so you can use them again and you can also save any you receive from other people.

The smart tags app enables you to easily create tags as well as mange the ones you've sent and received.

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
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Backlight TechnologyLED
Operating System VersionBlackBerry OS 10
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density355 ppi
Height130 mm
Width65.6 mm
Depth9 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time312 Hour
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