- In a market already flooded with touchscreen devices, abandoning the one thing which makes BlackBerry unique – its keyboard – is a massive gamble, but it’s clear that change had to happen. Mobile users are now accustomed to large displays, touch interfaces and massive, well-stocked app stores. BlackBerry had to evolve and adapt rather than attempt to consolidate its rapidly-shrinking share of the pie. However, is the Z10 – along with the BB10 OS – simply too little, too late?
- The design of the Z10 is about as far removed from previous BlackBerry devices as it’s possible to get. The designers have clearly taken plenty of inspiration from Apple’s recent iPhone offerings, with plenty of rounded edges and straight, clean lines. The phone’s 768×1280 pixel 4.2-inch screen isn’t likely to trouble the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Google Nexus 4, but it’s slightly larger than the one seen on the iPhone 5 and is easy enough to interact with without getting finger strain. Above and below the screen are two large plastic chunks which make the phone longer than it really needs to be, but the Z10 is hardly a monster handset.
BlackBerry Z10 specs
- Dimensions: 130 x 65.6 x 9mm
- Weight: 137.5g
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon S4
- Processor: Dual-core 1.5GHz Krait
- Graphics Core: Adreno 225
- RAM: 2GB
- Screen: 4.2-inch Super LCD 2 768×1280 pixels (355 ppi)
- Storage: 16GB internal, microSD card slot
- Camera: 8-megapixel with 1080p video recording, front-facing 2-megapixel camera with 720p video recording
- Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n dual-band, Bluetooth v4, 4G LTE support
- Other Features: 3.5mm headphone socket, NFC chip, Removeable battery
“BB10’s reliance on obtuse gesture commands is something of a double- edged sword: once committed to memory these finger swipes allow you to move around with relative ease, but it’s not particularly intuitive”
“BlackBerry World suffers from the same problems that its Windows Phone equivalent does; there’s a real lack of content when compared to the iOS App Store and Google Play”
BlackBerry Z10: the verdict
As much as its creators would like it to be, the Z10 isn’t going to be the phone to tempt Android and iPhone owners away from their respective platforms. What it does, it does very well – but there’s little here which is going to be genuinely new or surprising to anyone with a modern touchscreen smartphone.
BlackBerry’s previous preoccupation with physical keys means that it is now effectively playing catch-up with its rivals. BB10 is a start, however – and the Z10 a good platform for BlackBerry to build on in the future. Ditching the keyboard could end up being a cathartic process, and if the firm follows through with its intention of pushing its new software onto more powerful and desirable devices, we could see the renaissance the Canadian veteran so badly craves.