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  1. ad19's Avatar
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    Default Gizmodo - BlackBerry Z10 Review: Not Good Enough

    Well, nothing out of the ordinary from Gizmodo.

    BlackBerry Z10 Review: Not Good Enough
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    Gizmodo is ********. That's my scholarly opinion. /ha!
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    BlackBerry Z10 Review: Not Good Enough
    Kyle Wagner
    Everybody knows what's at stake for BlackBerry. The Z10 is its shot to stop its considerable bleeding and shut everyone up. But launching a brand new OS with brand new hardware isn't easy. And it's even harder to match expectations when both have been delayed again and again.
    What Is It?
    A touchscreen smartphone from BlackBerry—the first to run the BlackBerry 10 operating system.


    Who's It For?

    Old fashioned BlackBerry users who are ready for a land bridge between their old world and the new.

    Design
    The design of the Z10 itself is more spare than strike. It's got all the right lines—similar to the iPhone 5's—but it's a much noisier design than you see from Samsung or Apple or even HTC these days. The texture change from its comfortable back plate to the plastic sides to the frame the display is mounted in—there are a few too many things going on for it to really feel elegant.

    On the software end, BB10's look is modern in its animations and fluidity, but miles behind in general design. Its icons look dated, and its fonts, while readable, don't exactly scream modernity.



    Using It
    Hardware
    The Z10 is a perfectly inoffensive device. It's thin, light, and its screen is fairly sharp. But the display isn't quite as bright as others, like the HTC 8X or the iPhone. That owes partially to the relatively muted color palettes on many of BB10's icons, but it's also evident when trying to read an email in the daylight. There, though, its bolder, utilitarian typefaces make up for readability.

    Performance-wise, apps loaded fast enough—the Facebook and Twitter apps both perform similarly to their equivalents on iOS and Android, and leaps better than Windows Phone—and slowdown is almost nonexistent. The only time it cropped up was when jumping in and out of voice commands. Those, sadly, are even more unnavigable than Siri and Google Voice Actions.



    The software keyboard got a lot of hype, especially about the struts between the horizontal rows of keys and it's a decent keyboard to type on. At first, the struts on BB10's keyboard seem like they could be an anachronistic holdover, an attempt by BB10 to just look like a BlackBerry keyboard, even if it can't perform like one. Using it, though, the additional vertical space helps avoid some of the most common phone typos, like accidentally hitting (or not hitting) the space bar.

    The autocorrect is especially non-intrusive most of the time. But while the suggested text options on individual letter keys seem like a neat trick on a demo screen, when you're typing at speed, you'll rarely know where to swipe from for a certain word as soon as you need it. That's pretty representative for a lot of the OS, actually.

    Software
    You're not used to using a phone like you use BlackBerry 10. Everything is gestures. Literally everything. There is no physical home or navigation button. To go home, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. To see notifications swipe up and hold, then continue swiping to the right. It's deeply disorienting when you first start using the phone, and there are zero visual clues to tell you what to do. Once you get the hang of it, it's easy to pick up, though.

    "Home," by the way, is not a typical home screen. It's all your recently opened apps, in tile form, some of which turn into widgets. That home screen gives BB10 the single best implementation of multitasking of any mobile OS right now. The gesture for that is intuitive and the tiles are responsive. But it's an imperfect solution to a home screen. There's no place to just revert back to easily where you know where everything is.



    In place of the traditional home screen to centralize your experience, BB10 has the BlackBerry Hub, which contains all your messages, IMs, contacts, calendar events, and notifications—the real guts of any BlackBerry experience. And it's all integrated extremely deeply—you can make a new event from a contact card, and that contact is automatically emailed, and added to the calendar event—so you never have to leave the hub. But while in theory it is a universal inbox that handles all your needs, it works out to function a bit more like a junk drawer. Because everything is in there in a way that isn't all that delineated, you'll feel like you have to root around for stuff more often than it just smacking you in the face. You'll swipe over the Hub looking for notifications and still be in the BBM portion of Hub, or the last email you were reading. It's a general inconsistency of what you're getting—are you opening the Hub menu, or a single app's settings (both of which are accessible from the left side)?

    You can get to everything quickly, sort of, but it doesn't always make sense the way you do. For instance, when using BlackBerry Hub, you can always swipe down from the top of the screen to display your new few appointments. Handy! But random. It's more like knowing your sunglasses are always in your left-hand cup-holder than knowing that the cup-holder is always on your left-hand side.

    In a lot of ways, BB10 feels like older iterations of Android. You always feel connected, like you can do more or less whatever you need or want to, if you could only remember how. BB10 is a powerful OS; it just hasn't figured out how to be thoughtful yet.



    The Best Part
    The speed. No, the gestures aren't intuitive, and that's going to be a problem for a lot of users. But once you figure out exactly where everything is, how it works, and how to get where, you can zip around from app to app, task to task with admirable efficiency.

    Tragic Flaw
    You're on an island. Unlike every other major OS right now, BlackBerry does not feel fully integrated in the way that others do. It's not just the lack of apps that Windows Phone faces. It's the lack of in-house services in BlackBerry's stable. Microsoft, Google, and Apple all have their own cloud service. They all have deep desktop integration, be it with Office and Google Docs, or Apple's OS X Notes and Reminders stuff. You can sync Safari, IE, and Chrome to their desktop counterparts' bookmarks and tabs. None of that stuff is as baked-in and evident on BB10.

    This might not be a huge problem for the traditional BlackBerry user. But we've come to this point because what's right for the traditional BlackBerry user is no longer what's right or good for everyone else in the world. For them, most ironically, it will feel like BlackBerry 10 lacks the infrastructure of its competitors.

    This Is Weird
    During testing, after being totally drained and left uncharged for a few hours, the Z10 totally refused to start back up, despite hours of charging. It returned to life overnight, but over an hour plugged into a computer, and 1.5 more plugged into its wall charger should be enough to wake any device up. This did not happen every time it was fully drained—more commonly, it would display a too-drained-to-turn-on icon for a few minutes before relenting and turning back on. But it was strange.



    Test Notes
    Call quality was fine, and the speaker is loud and clear even with both parties using speakerphone. The microphone for speakerphone mode isn't quite sensitive enough to be used from a distance of more than a few feet at a conversational tone. That's fine, though it seems like a sliiight step down from some of the Bolds.
    Battery life wasn't great—I rarely made it home at night without needing to charge it—which becomes a problem on weekends. That's an issue for a lot of phones right now, actually, iPhone included, but it felt especially pronounced here.
    Notifications can be a bit of a hassle. You'll see incoming notifications from your connected accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn when you swipe up and hold. But the read receipts for those do not push from the services themselves, so those will stay there until you manually press each notification in the Hub. Similarly, there is the familiar red LED to tell you you've got new stuff, but BB10 lacks an in-your-face pop-up notification for incoming texts or BBMs, even a non-intrusive one like Android's.
    BlackBerry Remember is supposed to work like an Evernote or Instapaper for literally anything on your phone—articles, notes, pictures, etc. But as unintuitive as the process turns out to be, it feels like a missed opportunity, just another feature that's interesting that will (probably) end up going unused.
    The browser loads pages quickly when it decides to accept your presses, but it seems to abort trying to load pages with surprising frequency—even with cellular data turned off and on the same Wi-Fi network as other devices. When it does load, though, it's lightning quick.


    Copy and pasting is actually pretty good on BB10. You long-press a word to highlight it, with tabs on each end to drag onto additional words. The dragging itself isn't as immediately fast as on iOS or Android, but if you're taking your time, it's more accurate. So it's a bit of a tradeoff, but probably a good one.
    Voice commands have a wide breadth of things they can do—send emails or BBMs, schedule appointments, take notes, or run internet searches—but in practice it rarely understood what I was saying to it. Even in a quiet room, it would simply ignore whole sentences of dictation. Accuracy is one thing, but taking in sound and deciding that none of it is actual words is another. Then, when it would accept the words as actual language, its processing time was significantly longer than Android's or iOS's or even Windows Phone's.
    The camera is extremely not good in low light, and only average or so in proper conditions. It gets annihilated by stronger cameras like the Lumia 920 and the iPhone 5, though.

    Should You Buy It?
    If you should, you probably already know you should. BlackBerry 10 still excels at everything that BB has excelled at for years. Its utility for planning and coordinating and taking in and processing a massive amount of information is unchanged. And while there are a bunch of little and not little headaches, the foundation of the OS is promising enough that there's hope for the future, if you're debating jumping ship or riding this thing out. But then, you might consider just sticking to more familiar waters with the Q10.

    But for most people wondering about going back to BlackBerry? Well, probably look somewhere else. The experiences and services that BB10 serves up are comprable, and in a few ways surpass competitors, but not in any way that would make someone say, hey, I'm going to give up my Nexus or iPhone for this thing.

    BlackBerry Z10 Specs:
    Display: 4.2-inch 1280 x 768; 356PPI
    Dimensions: 5.13 x 2.58 x 0.38 in
    Weight: 4.86 oz
    Processor: 1.5GHz dual core
    Memory: 2GB RAM
    Storage: 16GB
    GizRank: 3.0
  4. Thunderbuck's Avatar

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    You know, I'm okay with this review. I think the reviewer might have benefited from another day or two using it, sure, but he highlights some of the best features. I don't agree that the gestures "aren't intuitive". They may not be what an iPhone/Android user is USED to, but that is more of an indication of how UNintuitive those platforms are. He also clearly didn't use the keyboard long enough to get accustomed to it, because after a few days it's insanely good.

    He does call Active Frames "the single best implementation of multitasking of any mobile OS right now," but seems to underestimate just how desirable that is.





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  5. tdaye's Avatar
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    That's funny. Remember this one?
    http://gizmodo.com/5979484/sorry-app...han-the-iphone

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  6. Masahiro's Avatar
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    Nice way to start out a review, by insulting "old fashioned" BlackBerry users. This is why Gizmodo deserves no respect as a tech blog.

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  7. TheStoof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunderbuck View Post
    You know, I'm okay with this review. I think the reviewer might have benefited from another day or two using it, sure, but he highlights some of the best features. I don't agree that the gestures "aren't intuitive". They may not be what an iPhone/Android user is USED to, but that is more of an indication of how UNintuitive those platforms are. He also clearly didn't use the keyboard long enough to get accustomed to it, because after a few days it's insanely good.

    He does call Active Frames "the single best implementation of multitasking of any mobile OS right now," but seems to underestimate just how desirable that is.
    That's the problem that I have with articles like these. There are so many pros that outweigh the cons, but they focus on one or two cons that are only true "as of now".
    Current phone: Q10/Nexus4
  8. allengeorge's Avatar
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    It does sound like there's a lot of polish yet to be done, and a lot of features (voice control, remember, etc.) that have to be fleshed out to reach their full potential.

    I'll still buy the Z10, but I can accept the fact that there are a lot of rough edges and unfinished corners in the OS.
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  9. dbmalloy's Avatar
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    Read the review and considering some of the slock reviews out there it came off not bad...I for one am not looking for glowing reviews that just rave about any device...you actually learn little from said reviews.... when I read a review pointing out a reviewers issues with a device...I find it interesting and in many cases informative.... think too many BB supporters and getting a complex from all the negative press...
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    Other reviewers of BB10 or WP8 approach the review with a certain amount of enthusiasm and hope. This reviewer didn't. He isn't interested in knowing what he doesn't know. Basically, he is in the wrong business. He regards BB users as old fashioned and yet it is he that is stuck in a paradigm. He ended up by referring to the Z10 as a "thing". This is review is just from "the I know where my bread is buttered" school of journalism.
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    How I read it : "If you like BlackBerry, you'll LOVE Z10".
    BB10/Z10 is clearly positioned - in purpose IMHO - to fit to some users, not all users (remember ? "people who DO").
    And that's exactly what this very first release of a brand new OS is about; get love satisfaction back.

    And while I've never been able to use an iPhone for anything but a phone call and I would probably get lost in Android (I prefer not commenting about W8, the only experience I had was on my desktop and resulted in an immediate downgrade), I can understand that if you've never heard about gesture, didn't get the focus trick and understand how to handle the hub properly, it might look confusing to explore all the capabilities of the 10. Yep, it can be polished, but for a first iteration ... I say: WOW (but obviously that's not the angle of this test).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunderbuck View Post
    You know, I'm okay with this review. I think the reviewer might have benefited from another day or two using it, sure, but he highlights some of the best features. I don't agree that the gestures "aren't intuitive". They may not be what an iPhone/Android user is USED to, but that is more of an indication of how UNintuitive those platforms are. He also clearly didn't use the keyboard long enough to get accustomed to it, because after a few days it's insanely good.

    He does call Active Frames "the single best implementation of multitasking of any mobile OS right now," but seems to underestimate just how desirable that is.
    In regards to your comments, this is the typical MO one gets from reviewers when they see something on the Z10 that is simply superior to Apple or Android. Multi-tasking is very important, can you imagine a computer without it? Of course not. Likewsie if it is so unimportant why has Apple changed its commercials to leave you with the impression that it can multi-task. They know its a weakness just like the keyboard. I disagree with the reviewers comments on the keyboard and the swipe functions. They are great and going back to a non swipe device is painful and limiting.

    The reality is that the Z10 offers a unique user experience that can take mobile computing in new direction. With QNX, we are moving into the post app area and to M2M functions. This is exciting and something that neither Apple nor Google are ready for. BB will have to work in the short term to enable a robust ecosystem of Apps and deal with the usual picky fixes. But one should never lose sight of the future.
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    Quote Originally Posted by THBW View Post
    The reality is that the Z10 offers a unique user experience that can take mobile computing in new direction. With QNX, we are moving into the post app area and to M2M functions. This is exciting and something that neither Apple nor Google are ready for. BB will have to work in the short term to enable a robust ecosystem of Apps and deal with the usual picky fixes. But one should never lose sight of the future.
    That's true, I agree. But this is not a "device evaluation review". We are now in the "get it in your hands" times; this is promising yet not implemented in full. The basement (plumbing) is here, yet invisible for most.

    BB stick to the plan: keep users, get users back. That's fine; the device is self-promoting for current and former BB users, let's enjoy that !
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    Saying that the gestures on BB10 are not intuitive is fair only if you also say that gestures on iOS / Android are not intuitive.

    Imaging walking up to an original iPhone and trying to figure out how to use it. You might accidentally discover that it's a touchscreen. Ok, you touch an icon. Then what. Oh, you can SWIPE? Oh. Touch and Swipe. How "intuitive". It's intuitive once someone tells you.

    Once you know the basics of BB10, it becomes second nature, unlike having to memorize combinations of home-button presses, iconography and application-specific workflows.

    The more standardizations that are imposed on the apps by the OS, the more intuitive the overall experience is. Being able to find and read a mess of buttons on a touchscreen isn't "intuitive". But that's what passes for intuitive in the minds of most people, certainly in the minds of laypersons tasked with writing technology reviews.
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    Gizmodo does raise some good points in the review, but where I disagree is with their conclusion. Obviously the Z10 is good enough for the many consumers that are buying it or it would not be selling well in the countries where it has been released.
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    Default Gizmodo - BlackBerry Z10 Review: Not Good Enough

    Quote Originally Posted by ad19 View Post
    Well, nothing out of the ordinary from Gizmodo.

    BlackBerry Z10 Review: Not Good Enough
    Why is the writer of this gizmodo article even comparing iPhone5 and androids with the first Gen bb10? Were the first gen iPoos and androids even capable of what the Z10 is doing? I am sure the z10 will go far ahead with regular updates... And with 11.... The poos and droids will not be able to touch the user experience.... Go on BB... You rock our world...

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    I agree with his main premise that the device is something you should get if you are a current BB user but not if you are new to smartphones or coming from something else...there are not real big overiding reasons to get a BB device at thsi point in time...doesn't mean it's not a good phone or OS but it does mean that it's not overly better in any one thing than any other device or OS...
    If it works for you, great...that is all that is important
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhrgvr View Post
    Why is the writer of this gizmodo article even comparing iPhone5 and androids with the first Gen bb10? Were the first gen iPoos and androids even capable of what the Z10 is doing? I am sure the z10 will go far ahead with regular updates... And with 11.... The poos and droids will not be able to touch the user experience.... Go on BB... You rock our world...

    Sent from my BlackBerry 9860 using Tapatalk

    Kind of a silly argument you are making...unfortunately it's not apple's or googles fault that RIM didn't release this device years ago....
    Most consumers go into a store looking to get a new phone and compare one to another, not one to what another might be in the future...
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    don't even acknowledge it, grain o salt.....bigger fish to fry, etc...
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    I wonder how long the reviewer had the phone for evaluation? I've had my Z10 two weeks and I haven't even scratched the surface of what it can do, even though it never leaves my side. As for the UI, yes it was a bit odd to start with, even coming from my two PlayBooks. But now, I don't give my swipes, gestures and typing a second's thought. It just seems so intuitive and natural. He probably has a good point about the deep integration with office functions; my inability to use USB to hook up to Outlook has annoyed me, and I have been forced to use cloud service (probably a blessing in disguise actually). By the sound of it BB still have a way to go on this front. Anyway, BB10 and the Z10 is a very promising start, and although iPhone and Android users may see no reason to jump platforms en masse, I for one am one very happy bunny. I have no doubt that this new platform will only get stronger and more versatile, whereas iPhone and Android are locked into operating systems that are struggling to go beyond where they are now (as I understand it, I've never used either, and am only going by what I have read).
  21. cgk
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhrgvr View Post
    Why is the writer of this gizmodo article even comparing iPhone5 and androids with the first Gen bb10?
    Because when users go into stores and drop a samsung Galaxy, a iphone 5 and a Z10 that is what they will do? This isn't some rigged game where everyone gets a prize - you live or die on what you put on in the market relative to what the competition offers not what you promise you can offer in the future.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cgk View Post
    Because when users go into stores and drop a samsung Galaxy, a iphone 5 and a Z10 that is what they will do? This isn't some rigged game where everyone gets a prize - you live or die on what you put on in the market relative to what the competition offers not what you promise you can offer in the future.
    i agree, the whole 1.0 argument is gettign played out and beign taken way to far now. yeha its still the first version of BB10 but it is a player in the game and its up against established systems. BBRYs main objective now is get the updates out fast, it already has a competative quality to it, now its time to tweek the bugs and make it that much better. make it feel even more BlackBerry like then it does now


    is it fair that a market that doesn't have the Z10 is choping up and writing reviews based on somethign that for their viewers isn't out yet? it really isn't BBRY should have released these devices to reviewers in the countries that it is out to market in, rather then bringing out a patch to fix the bugs and fill in the holes and have it go to waste in a market like the USA because tech bloggers have hacked it up to no end and spreadign the word that it doesn't compete so you shouldn't buy it
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    Quote Originally Posted by lipper2000 View Post
    Kind of a silly argument you are making...unfortunately it's not apple's or googles fault that RIM didn't release this device years ago....
    Most consumers go into a store looking to get a new phone and compare one to another, not one to what another might be in the future...

    +1, I dislike comments like this as this is not BBRY's first foray into mobile phones like it was for Apple and Android

    This is their entire BUSINESS for coming up to 15 years now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTiLeo View Post
    i agree, the whole 1.0 argument is gettign played out and beign taken way to far now. yeha its still the first version of BB10 but it is a player in the game and its up against established systems. BBRYs main objective now is get the updates out fast, it already has a competative quality to it, now its time to tweek the bugs and make it that much better. make it feel even more BlackBerry like then it does now
    Thank you for making this point.

    Please, for the sake of everything technologically good, refrain from comparing Z10/BB10 "1.0 to the original Apple device. It is an inane argument.
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    I was sorry to see this Crappy Review plastered and retweeted all over Twitter. US launch will be very interesting IF Blackberry can get the OS updates and apps to the phone in time. Unfortunately the General public may not know much about the updates. They may google BB10 and see month old reviews and come to a "misinformed" decision. From Wall St to Main St, gonna be an all out Smartphone War!
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