BlackBerry Z10. Is It Too Late?

 

One cannot overstate the importance of this phone. This, the BlackBerry Z10, is the device upon which the fate of BlackBerry (formerly Research in Motion) hangs. That's not to say that the company will disappear if the Z10 -- and the BlackBerry 10 OS that it contains -- is not a mass-market success. But if this phone does not do its job of extending the reach of the 'Berry OS beyond those die-hard loyalists who have clung on to their Bolds and Torches and Storms, it's safe to say that BlackBerry is in for some very hard times.

The company hasn't exactly bet the proverbial farm on this BB10 release, but with massive financial losses tempered only by job cuts, plus an absolutely tectonic shift among the executive leadership and corporate culture architected by CEO and President Thorsten Heins, the phrase "make or break" feels pretty apt. So, then, is this the phone that's good enough to woo buyers away from the Galaxy S III or the iPhone 5 or any of the other delicious devices on the other platforms? The short answer is that no, as of now it isn't quite -- but of course it's a lot more complicated than that. Join us as we explore.

As the PlayBook was an understated, professional-looking device, so too is the Z10 stylistically muted. Its dark, monochrome exterior is broken up only by a mirrored BlackBerry logo beneath the display, the chromed BlackBerry emblem on the back and a few matte-aluminum buttons around the rim. (Our review device, which included an AT&T SIM, is carrier branding-free, but we're told that will not be the case on retail phones shipping to the US.) These details fade into an overall appearance devoid of chromatic highlights. It's an appearance that from the front, it must be said, looks an awful lot like the iPhone 5.
That's not to say there was any creative inspiration going on here -- surely the Z10 was on the drawing board long before the iPhone 5 was revealed -- but the visual similarities can't be ignored. Still, where Apple's device presents an all-glass front, creating a clean, monolithic appearance, the front of the Z10 is broken up by horizontal bands that span the top and bottom.
These painted pieces extend across and meet the sides to form the rim of the chassis, components that give this phone a feeling of rigidity, much like the PlayBook before it. But, unlike that tablet, here the soft-touch exterior doesn't carry around the back of the device. The Z10 features a removable backplate, made of plastic and given a thick, rubberized, dimpled coating. It does make for a device that's easy to hold in one hand securely, with no worries about it slipping and falling, but it lacks the premium look and feel of the tapered carbon-fiber back on the 9900, and even the faux leather on the 9700. This is not a phone that says "prestige" in any way.


BlackBerry Z10 Specifications

 Design

Size

  • Height 130 mm / 5.12 in
  • Width 65.6 mm / 2.58 in
  • Depth 9 mm / 0.35 in 

Weight

  • 137.5g / 4.85 oz

Navigation

  • All-touch screen, with intuitive gesture based navigation

Keyboard

  • On screen BlackBerry Keyboard (portrait/landscape), featuring contextual auto-correction, next-word prediction, and a personalized learning engine that gets to know the way you type

Dedicated keys

  • Volume Up/Down, Mute, Lock (for Power On/Off)

Display

Resolution

  • 1280 x 768 resolution, at 356 PPI
  • 24-bit color depth

Screen size

  • 4.2" diagonal
  • 15:9 aspect ratio

OS & desktop software

Operating system

  • BlackBerry 10 OS

Desktop software

  • BlackBerry® Link software for your computer to enable synchronization of data and media

Performance

Processor

  • Dual Core 1.5 GHz

Memory

  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB Flash

Expandable memory

  • Removable microSD memory card – slot under battery door (Up to 64 GB)

USB Ports

  • USB 2.0 high speed port – allows charging and data synchronization of the device with a USB cable

HDMI Port

  • Micro HDMI for connection to your HDTV or projector

Power

Battery

  • 1800mAH removable battery

Battery Life

  • Up to 10 hours talk time (3G)
  • Up to 13 days standby time
  • *Note: Battery life claims are for Model STL100-3

Camera & video

Rear camera

  • 8 megapixel auto-focus camera
  • Back Side Illumination for better low-light performance
  • 5-element F2.2 lens
  • Dedicated ISP (image signal processor) with 64MB frame buffer
  • Flash, continuous and touch to focus, image stabilization
  • Enhanced Super Resolution Digital Zoom (5x)
  • 1080p HD video recording
  • 4 DOF (Degrees of freedom) video stabilization
  • Time Shift mode for pinpointing and adjusting individual elements of your picture

Front camera

  • 2 megapixel fixed-focus camera
  • Image and video stabilization
  • 3x digital zoom
  • 720p HD video recording

Multimedia

Image formats

  • BMP, WBMP, JPG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, SGI, TGA

Audio & video formats

  • 3GP, 3GP2, M4A, M4V, MOV, MP4, MKV, MPEG-4, AVI, ASF, WMV, WMA, MP3, MKA, AAC, AMR, F4V, WAV, MP2PS, MP2TS, AWB, OGG, FLAC

Audio & video encoding/decoding

  • H.264, MPEG-4, H.263, AAC-LC, AAC+, eAAC, MP3, PCM, Xvid, AMR-NB, WMA 9/10, WMA10 professional, WMA-LL, VC-1, VP6, SPARK, PCM, MPEG-2, MJPEG (mov), AC-3, AMR-WB, QCELP, FLAC, VORBIS

Apps

Pre-loaded apps

  • BlackBerry® Hub, Contacts, BlackBerry® Browser, BlackBerry® Calendar, BBM, Text Messages, BlackBerry® World, BlackBerry® Remember, Docs To Go™, Pictures, Music, Videos, Story Maker, Facebook®1, Twitter®1, LinkedIn®1, Foursquare®, BlackBerry® Maps, Games, YouTube®, BlackBerry® Newsstand, Voice Control, Weather, Clock, Calculator, Compass, File Manager, Box, BlackBerry® Connect for Dropbox, Print To Go, Smart Tags, Settings, Adobe® Reader, Phone, Camera/Video Camera/Time Shift, Setup, Help, SIM Toolkit, Search

Security

  • Password protection, screen lock, and sleep mode
  • BlackBerry® Balance™ offering dedicated profiles to keep work and personal data separate and secure

Alerts & notifications

  • Tone
  • Vibrate
  • On-screen or LED indicator

Voice input/output

  • Integrated hands-free speakerphone
  • Hands-free headset capable
  • Bluetooth headset capable

Network & connectivity

Network bands

  • Up to 4G LTE
  • Quad band LTE 2, 5, 4, 17 (700/850/1700/1900 MHz)
  • Tri band HSPA+ 1, 2, 5/6 (850/1900/2100 MHz)
  • Quad band HSPA+ 1, 2, 4, 5/6, (850/1700/1900/2100 MHz)
  • Quad band EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)

Wi-Fi®

  • 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz
  • 4G Mobile Hotspot

Bluetooth®

  • Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (LE)

GPS

  • Assisted, Autonomous and Simultaneous GPS
  • Preloaded with BlackBerry Maps application

NFC

  • BlackBerry® Tag with NFC technology enables communication between BlackBerry smartphones and other NFC-enabled devices with a tap

Sensors

Advanced Sensors

  • Accelerometer
  • Magnetometer
  • Proximity sensor
  • Gyroscope
  • Ambient light sensor