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BlackBerry Z10 review

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

BlackBerry smartphones have never really been seen as full blown multimedia devices, thanks in part to their small, low resolution displays, but the BlackBerry Z10 changes all that.

With an HD 4.2-inch display, sizable 16GB of internal memory with the option to expand via microSD and additional power under the hood the Z10 is ready to take on any type of media.

Using a microSD card is probably the quickest way to get content onto the BlackBerry Z10 as it circumvents the need to download and install the BlackBerry Link desktop before being allowed to drag and drop files when you hook the handset up to a computer with the USB cable.

BlackBerry Link enables you to sync and share your media files between your computer and the Z10 as well as backing up your data, just in case something untoward happened.

While relatively inoffensive and easy to use, we still prefer the method of simply dragging and dropping content between windows.

Music

BlackBerry Z10 review

There's no prizes for guessing where you need to head on the BlackBerry Z10 to listen to your favourite tunes – yep you've guessed it the Music app.

It's a pretty simple, no thrills application which shows you your library, most recently played tracks and playlists.

Music is displayed as album art thumbnails, which gives the application a tidy look, although album track listings sport an unassuming grey tone. There is also the option to shuffle all the songs at the top of the list.

The now playing screen has all your typical audio controls; play/pause, skip, scrub, repeat and shuffle.

Tapping the album art here will see it slide down and show the other songs queued in the particular playlist, enabling you to quickly jump to another track if you so wish.

BlackBerry Z10 review

Dive in the settings menu and there's very little to choose from with no sign of an equaliser. The only thing of note is the Play On option, which enables you to stream music from the Z10 to other DLNA enabled devices.

The major audio formats seem to be supported but we're still waiting to hear official confirmation from BlackBerry on all the types which the Z10 will be able to handle.

Sound quality seems to be perfectly acceptable as far as smartphones goes, but audiophiles will probably want something more from their music player.

If your music collection is a little thin on the ground then you can bolster your library by jumping into BlackBerry World where you'll find a music section powered by 7Digital.

The 7Digital library is a pretty extensive one, with most albums priced between £5 and £8, while single tracks are generally £1.

It's not the easiest store to browse, with a seemingly limited number of controls and a distinct lack of top lists meaning only a very small proportion of the library is actually on show.

Videos

BlackBerry Z10 review

Things are being kept simple on the BlackBerry Z10, with all things movie-related housed in the Videos app.

The video app is even more basic than its music equivalent, listing the videos currently stored on the Z10 which when clicked on take you straight into the player.

In the player the basic theme continues, with a play/pause key and scrub option the only things to play with other than the aspect ratio toggle in the top right.

The Play On option is present in the menu here, enabling you to stream the currently playing video to a larger screen, so you can share the movie with a group of people.

Video playback is pretty good, but the Z10 doesn't quite reach the heights of the iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S3 in terms of quality. However movies are perfectly watchable with pretty good viewing angles.

The soft touch back of the Z10 coupled with the rounded chassis makes it a comfortable handset to hold for extended periods, with one handed holding not a problem.

BlackBerry Z10 review

The additional bezel around the screen is actually a benefit here, as there's no worry of your thumb obscuring the screen.

BlackBerry World also offers various movies and TV series powered by Rovi, which you can either purchase or rent.

BlackBerry Z10 review

At launch the movie offering was pretty limited but we're pleased to say the library has filled out nicely with a decent array of films and TV shows to choose from.

Rental prices seem to be from around £2.99, while to buy and download a film to keep you'll need to fork out between £7.99 and £15.99.

TV shows seem to come in at £1.99/US$1.99 per episode, with no sign of a season bundle at the moment.

Photos

BlackBerry Z10 review

Last but not least photos are stored in the Pictures app, which is where you go to view all of your camera shots laid out in a series of thumbnails.

Annoyingly you can't create albums on the BlackBerry Z10, with the system forcing you onto the computer and the BlackBerry Link software to set this up.

It all seems rather unnecessary and an annoying hurdle that people shouldn't need to jump through for what is a pretty straightforward task.

A nice feature which is part of the Pictures app is the edit function, which enables you to choose from a whole range of effects to apply to your photos as well as tools to crop and rotate the image.

The way the effects have been implemented is a clever one, as you're able to drag each effect across the image to see how it will look before deciding whether or not to apply it.

BlackBerry Z10 review

It's such a simple system we found ourselves playing around with it a lot, and with 16 effects on offer there's probably something there which will take your fancy.

From within the editor you can also adjust the white balance, brightness, contrast and sharpness of an image. The whole system is pretty intuitive and it's a nice addition to have on the BlackBerry Z10.

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