1. Noremacam's Avatar
    Hello all. I used to spend a lot of time on WebOS Nation, and I even won a Pre3 in their contest, and I’ve decided it’s time to move on. I tried the Galaxy S4, which was absolutely bloated. I was shocked that it required so much more power just to equal the same fluidity as the (technologically) meager iPhone. Even worse, an update came out and relocked the bootloader prohibiting me from fixing the bloat(gee thanks Verizon!). I traded to a galaxy s3 and rooted and rommed for a while, and it was genuinely fun, but crash prone and frustrating. Maybe if Cyanogenmod gets a carrier supported phone in the US we’ll see less bloat and android can be as fun as it used to be, but I’m not holding my breath – American carriers love bloat.

    I wanted something different, but I didn’t want to be locked down like the iPhone, and android seemed like a lot of work just to get it the way I like it.
    Another thing is, I like eccentric user interfaces that challenge the norm. With Linux I loved gnome shell because it was exciting to throw out old paradigms(like minimize) to make a simpler desktop. When Windows 8 came out, I actually bought a copy, because I was thrilled at the aspect of learning a new paradigm in hopes that it would improve productivity once it was mastered(which was longer than I anticipated). I was later disappointed with windows 8, but not in the same “I want it the way it used to be” attitude that I see posted everywhere. Why buy 8 if you wanted 7?

    I like different.

    Enter Blackberry Z10. I didn’t have enough money to buy a new phone, so I bought a used one off of swappa.com. If you want to get a z10 they sell for a good price there, especially if you wait – someone will eventually post a price lower than the norm.

    This is to be my very first Blackberry phone. My device was in black and upon looking at it, it looked like a business version of an iPhone. It was slightly larger, and as a thin slab with rounded 90 degree corners it doesn’t seem to strive to have a unique identity. I do not see this as copying an iPhone, just that as a slab phone it can be hard to be *different*. Additionally, I find it a little difficult to hold in my hand primarily because I’m used to thicker phones like the Palm Pre 3, and I felt like it would be easier to drop it because of how thin it was. Thankfully I’ve yet to have that happen and I’ll eventually seek a case that may help improve the grip. Since I don’t see many people complaining about losing their grip, I’m going to assume this is due to my prior affinity for the thicker Palm Pre phones.

    Turning the device on, the first thing I noticed was there were no buttons – neither on the screen or below it. Instead you swiped through the dialogs. Interesting. I don’t have Wi-Fi at home as I live in the boonies where only satellite is available, so it was strangely satisfying to just swipe past the Wi-Fi dialog without selecting anything, nor pressing any buttons. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

    I went through the short gesture tutorials and it seemed easy enough, but it took me a while to get the mental picture of what gesture to use at what time. Blackberry seems to have a dual personality – one for the hub, and one for apps. It wasn’t until I understood that, that gestures started making more sense. While swiping between the hub and an app are easy enough. I can see where it would be less efficient to switch between two activities that are restricted to the hub – say writing an email and text messaging. This is not a typical scenario for me but it was something I noticed could limit efficiency.

    The system was very responsive – on par with the galaxy s4, even though the s4 has a quad core processor and a higher clock speed. This says a lot about blackberry’s decision to use interfaces built in C instead of java, and perhaps other underlying OS decisions – because it is certainly efficient. I did however note that when looking at ram usage from a fresh reboot – ~900mb was in use. This may explain why their first OS 10 phone has 2 gigs of ram, but it also says memory-wise it’s not as efficient as the iPhone that works with half that or less. This is not necessarily a bad thing – as having the hub available at all times and responsive certainly means it must stake a claim on a portion of the RAM at all times, but I did want to point out this tradeoff between the z10 and the iPhone.Update 1/27/2014: After spending the weekend with the phone, I've determined it to stay silky smooth in the majority of situations - so much so, that I question blackberry's needs for getting into the spec wars with other phones. It's so smooth, I'm not sure I'd appreciate the difference between quad-core and dual core. I can see it perhaps boosting web browsing a bit, and maybe improving gaming but I'm not sure the upgraded specs would be worth the upgraded price - it really is that good. I'm very pleased.

    The gestures were pretty straightforward to use. I found the up bottom bezel gesture very satisfying as this was the WebOS way of doing things. The J hook for getting into the hub worked most of the time, but it seems the developers were afraid to let people accidentally get into the hub so the gesture seems to require more accuracy than it needs to. Occasionally I would find my thumb running out of runway for the 90 degree turn, and the hub would start to peak out only for it not to open. I also noticed that while the keyboard is out during text messaging, the swipe from the left doesn’t respond as easily when you try to go back to the rest of the hub. I found I had to close the keyboard and then it would easily let me move back to other portions of the hub. I suspect the developers didn’t want users to accidentally go back to the hub in the middle of texting and were overly judicious in interpreting the gesture. When I updated to the latest leak, it became more responsive, but not perfect.

    Using the priority Hub, I noticed there was no way to get my Gmail’s priority inbox into there. In fact, the priority inbox doesn’t show up in the email portion of the hub either. I used this religiously on android to get notifications of emails I cared about, while ignoring the mass mail that I generally want but don’t need notification for. I suspect with the priority hub only arriving in 10.2, it’s probably not very fleshed out and I’m willing to assume this could become part of it in a future update. Until then I see priority hub as of limited use to me.

    I love that the device comes with its own file manager. Not only that, but I love that it works with cloud services, just like they were another drive. What moron decided that mobile devices didn’t need file management? Clearly not blackberry.

    The browser is fast and renders correctly. Benchmarks have suggested its slower than other browsers, but I don’t feel it. This is primarily because while pages are loading, the browser still feels responsive to touches and panning. I remember when android came out it benchmarked much faster than the iPhone browser, but while the browser was working it was extremely unresponsive so the iPhone felt faster even though raw benchmark numbers suggested otherwise. Blackberry seems to have gotten the best of both worlds. It’s both responsive and fast, just not master of both. I noticed the default search engine was Bing, but when I went into the settings I could only find an option to reset the search engine – but not select a search engine. This made no sense to me, and after exploring the app menus, I gave up and had to google a tutorial. The place to change the search engine made sense in retrospect, but it’s a shame I had to turn to a tutorial to figure it out. It certainly wouldn’t have hurt to keep the search engine choice next to the location to reset it to default.

    Bedside mode is great. When you set bedside mode the screen dims very low and displays a clock and you can move the cursor around that clock to set the alarm. This felt very natural and much better than any android clock application I had ever used. The fact that the brightness is so low made it great for my bedroom as my wife is very sensitive to lights in the bedroom. Even charging lights on other phones can be enough to keep her awake, so I consider bedside mode very well executed, and I’m even considering buying a dock for this phone to take fuller advantage of this feature.

    The onscreen keyboard has gotten a lot of attention in other reviews, some claiming it as the best onscreen keyboard they have ever used. My experience has validated that point, but not in any large way. Accuracy is good and coming from the android keyboard, I found it an improvement but only barely. I found that I typed way too fast to stop and look at the words hanging above the keys, but having them above the next key at least give you a chance to slide up from that that key you were going to press anyways, so it makes the most sense to me. Still, my fast typing prohibited making use of that feature unless I wanted to slow down, which is a tradeoff I haven’t experimented with yet. Overall – better than the others, but not so much that it’d be a make or break factor in choosing a phone.

    Blackberry link worked just as advertised and made it very easy to transfer content to my phone or from my phone. Indeed, the plethora of methods for getting data on and off my phone were greatly appreciated. This can be done via wired, Wi-Fi, or even cellular connections. Sadly my lack of home internet prohibited me from giving these features a good workout. Additionally there’s mass storage mode to allow you to transfer files to/from the device with computers that do not have blackberry link. It seems blackberry really invested time in making sure you can get data onto and off the device as easily as possible and giving users as many ways to do it as possible, including even cloud services. Android and iPhone both do not have this flexibility, and so this is a big win for those who want to use their phone an uber-flexible replacement for their thumb drive.Update 1/27/14: After using this phone on the same wifi network as my computer, I discovered my computer automatically adds two new drives showing both my internal storage and SD card from my z10 - automatically. This is so easy I seriously will miss this if I ever switch phones again. On the reverse side, being on the same wifi network as my laptop makes my laptop's files available as a "drive" in the z10 file manager. When android and iPhone don't even provide a file manager, the usefulness for this cannot go understated.

    Finally – Apps. I rely almost entirely on my cellular connection for all of my data, so some apps that people crave for their blackberry leave me indifferent – apps such as Netflix, YouTube, and other video sites. One of the things I genuinely missed from my android phone was MineCraft pocket, and there’s no commitment from the developer to port it either. I was able to find a 9gag app for my daily funny picture binge, but unlike its android counterpart, it often crashed while bringing a picture to full screen. I’m not a heavy app person, so not much in the store appealed to me. Additionally, loading the blackberry store on a 3G connection is a very poor experience – worse than it needs to be. It gives no indication that it’s loading and instead looks like a broken page, with large swaths of black where pictures of apps would be. Update 1/27/2014: After spending more time with the app store, I am finding a lot to be desired. If you're an app heavy person and think sideloading android apps will fill your needs, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.

    I next transferred over the android version of 9gag to the device and it was more reliable, but slower than on a genuine android device. Attempted installing a few other android apps with little success. I could not get Mint Finance, Firefox, or Google Maps to work. Others in the forums were more successful, so I may invest some time researching that.

    Overall, the Blackberry Z10 was a mixture of emotions, from excitement to try something new, to minor frustrations with the gestures, and to excitement again once I found something (like file transferring) that was way ahead of the competition. It’s really hard at first glance to explain why a blackberry Z10 is better than the others. For the most part, blackberry just *works* without massive tinkering. Blackberry Z10 proves that unique interface designs are not dead. When most phones just want you to look at specs and how many apps they have, the blackberry focuses on doing what a smartphone’s primary tasks are better than the competitor and it succeeds in minor ways. I find the Hub/App paradigm genuinely useful, and I wasn’t really sure there was another way to do a notification center until blackberry proved me otherwise. It’s lack of my favorite apps unfortunately deadens my excitement and makes it a hard sell to those who have formed a dependency with those apps – even if the OS is better. I suspect Blackberry just needs to find more niches to fill. I suspect if blackberry put hardcore development into the camera, it would attract a LOT of customers(myself included), because the camera plus the file sharing options I’ve mentioned would be such a powerful combination.
    Last edited by Noremacam; 01-27-14 at 08:05 AM. Reason: fleshing my review out further
    01-23-14 12:48 PM
  2. kthhrrsn's Avatar
    This is an excellent review! It's always good to hear a fresh perspective. I've had my Z10 for nearly a year, and it took no time for me to get used to the hub. I really enjoy not having to open various apps to see what's going on.

    As far as gestures, I got quite used to them when I purchased a PlayBook a couple of years ago (at least). I now view phones with buttons as antiquated and wouldn't enjoy owning one.

    In time, I think you will come to love the keyboard and the fact that you can swipe words. Over time, it'll learn how you type and you will literally only need to type the first 1 or 2 letters of a word to get a suggestion. Swiping up after the 2nd letter when you're typing an 8 letter word is a real time saver. And you can typically finish a sentence by swiping. Saves a ton of keystrokes.

    Keith H. Posted via CB10 on Z10.
    01-24-14 11:26 PM
  3. ATMJOE's Avatar
    Thanks that was a great overall review.

    CB10. BlackBerry Z10
    01-24-14 11:56 PM
  4. Farris Poole's Avatar
    Thanks for this. I'm getting ready to upgrade from my really tired Samsung Stratosphere & I've read at least 50+ different reviews of the z10, HTC1, and Moto X. This by far the best review of the z10 I've seen. In fact the best review of any of the three.

    I hope someone can help me out with one question about the phone. Out of ALL of these reviews, not one has mentioned how good the phone is as a (wait for it) phone. Or if they did, they spent so much time on how good the phone is as a camera that I couldn't catch the part about the phone part.

    Still your very thoughtful review has been very helpful. Particularly your take on test speed vs perceived speed. I've wondered about this but haven't seen anyone discus it 'til now. I'm a human (most days) not a clock so I'm more concerned with my perception.

    Again, thanks much for your insights. I'm leaning a little further toward the z10.
    01-25-14 02:23 AM
  5. BBUniq01's Avatar
    Thanks for this. I'm getting ready to upgrade from my really tired Samsung Stratosphere & I've read at least 50+ different reviews of the z10, HTC1, and Moto X. This by far the best review of the z10 I've seen. In fact the best review of any of the three.

    I hope someone can help me out with one question about the phone. Out of ALL of these reviews, not one has mentioned how good the phone is as a (wait for it) phone. Or if they did, they spent so much time on how good the phone is as a camera that I couldn't catch the part about the phone part.

    Still your very thoughtful review has been very helpful. Particularly your take on test speed vs perceived speed. I've wondered about this but haven't seen anyone discus it 'til now. I'm a human (most days) not a clock so I'm more concerned with my perception.

    Again, thanks much for your insights. I'm leaning a little further toward the z10.
    I make daily calls on my phone and call quality has been very good. And I am in an area where it can be rural in some parts. As for the camera, I have been happy. There is a long thread in the forums that has photos taken by the Z that u can check out.
    My Z10 Review-img_20140119_155522.jpg

    BB Uniq BB Bold -Z10 with 1925
    01-25-14 01:18 PM
  6. stevovr's Avatar
    My z10 is first and foremost my phone. It does that job very well. Excellent call clarity.Fortunately it does everything else very well also.

    Steve/Boanerges Performance
    andy957 likes this.
    01-25-14 03:41 PM
  7. Noremacam's Avatar
    Thanks for the comments! I feel more validated writing the review. I really love my z10, minor nuisances and all.
    01-27-14 08:07 AM
  8. GreenCopperz's Avatar
    Great review and thorough. Had my Z10 since launch in Canada. My only gripe has been with Link not working on my Windows 7 PC. The rest of what you wrote has been on par with my belief and looking forward to this week's update. Glad you're liking the phone.

    Posted via CB10
    01-27-14 08:21 AM
  9. Noremacam's Avatar
    Farris, to answer your question, the Phone of the blackberry is great, but little stands out. It does favorites, dialpad, and contact search in its interface very well, but also near identical to others. One feature it does have over others is the ability to create notes from within the phone app, which, if you setup your account for it, can then be synced to evernote. I've never used this feature though. I imagine it quite useful for lawyers and medical professionals where notes can be critical, but for the typical user, that may not matter.
    Last edited by Noremacam; 01-27-14 at 08:34 AM. Reason: fixed typo
    01-27-14 08:34 AM
  10. boltz82's Avatar
    A very well thought out and honest review. It is always nice to hear reviews from individuals that are not biased. I agree in much of what you wrote. I hope that you continue to enjoy your new phone and welcome.
    01-27-14 10:22 AM
  11. anon5759238's Avatar
    Thanks for this. I'm getting ready to upgrade from my really tired Samsung Stratosphere & I've read at least 50+ different reviews of the z10, HTC1, and Moto X. This by far the best review of the z10 I've seen. In fact the best review of any of the three.

    I hope someone can help me out with one question about the phone. Out of ALL of these reviews, not one has mentioned how good the phone is as a (wait for it) phone. Or if they did, they spent so much time on how good the phone is as a camera that I couldn't catch the part about the phone part.

    Still your very thoughtful review has been very helpful. Particularly your take on test speed vs perceived speed. I've wondered about this but haven't seen anyone discus it 'til now. I'm a human (most days) not a clock so I'm more concerned with my perception.

    Again, thanks much for your insights. I'm leaning a little further toward the z10.
    BlackBerry has a built-in note taking option when you're making or receiving a phone call so you can take notes during a call or after.. I find that feature handy as heckfor phone calls.

    Swordsmanship Channel C000C9AF6
    01-27-14 10:34 AM
  12. Noremacam's Avatar
    Great review and thorough. Had my Z10 since launch in Canada. My only gripe has been with Link not working on my Windows 7 PC. The rest of what you wrote has been on par with my belief and looking forward to this week's update. Glad you're liking the phone.

    Posted via CB10
    BB Link seems to treat the drives on my phone as shared folders that are then mounted to a drive letter. Not knowing anything about your situation, my money would be on an issue with the windows firewall prohibiting bb link from making the connection.
    01-27-14 10:43 AM
  13. CyberMan2013's Avatar
    An alternative to "My favourite apps" - the search function! Definitely an over achiever! Try it. It remembers your favourite Apps automatically.

    Posted via CB10
    01-31-14 08:34 PM

Similar Threads

  1. Can the NSA Spy in on my BBMs?
    By bounce007 in forum BlackBerry 10 OS
    Replies: 118
    Last Post: 01-30-14, 10:51 AM
  2. Syncing Z10 with Outlook contacts/calendar
    By cwl13 in forum BlackBerry Z10
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 01-24-14, 10:21 AM
  3. Getting a Z10!
    By Bballbenb in forum BlackBerry Z10
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 01-23-14, 06:16 PM
  4. AT&T z10 - If I unlock do I get updates?
    By sevoman in forum BlackBerry Z10
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 01-23-14, 02:14 PM
  5. How do I open Kindle ebooks on Z10?
    By Bv Raman in forum BlackBerry 10 Apps
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-23-14, 09:45 AM
LINK TO POST COPIED TO CLIPBOARD