When BlackBerry released the Z10 earlier this year (read our review), there was certainly a lot of expectations behind it. Would it save the company? Was BB10 an OS that could be considered a worthy challenger to the market? Would developers finally look at the BlackBerry as a serious platform for their apps?
Fast forward to the present day, and a some of those questions still remain unanswered. The Z10 certainly created a significant amount of buzz when it launched, but just how good of a phone is it? I moved to the Z10 from my ancient BlackBerry 9800, and having had the phone for a month now, I can say one very blatant thing: hardware-wise the Z10 is a great phone, but the software needs some serious work. Here are my observations:
The Hub is great, but has mood swings
Seriously, the Hub at times can be the most infuriating thing ever. My phone will ‘ding’ with an alert, and when I unlock the screen I can’t actually see any updates in the Hub. So I’ll madly switch from app to app until I discover that the Hub has woken from its coma and now shows me the alert. It’s also infuriating that I have 300+ Twitter mentions in the Hub and no way to clear them without clearing each one. Someone please tell me there’s a quicker way to do this – whatever happened to ‘Mark All Read’?
BB10 is refreshing but needs to be more intuitive
This is especially evident in the email app. Although my BlackBerry 9800 was an ancient device, it allowed me to swipe between emails without having to go back to my Inbox, which is a feat that seems beyond the abilities of the Z10. It’s also super annoying that I need to dig through a sub-menu in order to find the delete option, which is one of the most popular things you’d want to see when managing your inbox.
The apps are there, but they need serious work
I spend an equal amount of time between the Facebook and Twitter apps on the Z10 and they never seem to want to update. I have to keep going into each app and manually refreshing to see the latest updates. Not to mention that selecting tweets in the Twitter app sometimes needs the precision skills of a surgeon. And yes, it’s great that apps like WhatsApp are finally on the BB10, but even this can be a bit painful to use at times.
Voice control is laughable
I have to say that I found the Voice Dialing feature of my old BlackBerry to be a lifesaver when I was driving, so naturally I expected my Z10 to offer the same level of competence. But the Z10 can do more than just dial numbers; it can tweet, BBM, SMS, email and do a host of other things, all with the magic of your voice. Unfortunately, this turned out to be a hair-pulling exercise I had to either scream at my Z10 or speak so slowly like I was talking to a four year old. But when the Voice feature does work, it’s quite handy to be able to send a quick SMS or BBM when navigating the perils of Dubai’s highways.
You won’t miss the keyboard
One of my biggest reservations before jumping to the Z10 was whether or not I’d be able to adjust to using an on-screen keyboard after having bashed away at a physical keyboard on my older BlackBerry. But while my first few days of typing were rather messy, I soon adjusted to the on-screen keyboard, and it in turn adjusted to my typing methods. Pretty soon I was able to type quite comfortably on it, and though BB10 suggests words that you can ‘swipe’ upwards to insert, I rarely used this feature. But I do have to point out that while typing may be smooth, selecting and manipulating text can be a complete pain, and downright infuriating at times.
I’m still pulling out that battery
Yes, it seems like the tried-and-tested ‘battery pull’ method of resetting your BlackBerry will carry through to the Z10. Though most freezes are due to rogue apps rather than the OS itself, I did find a few instances where my Z10 would lose all connectivity to BlackBerry services with Etisalat, and only a battery pull seemed to bring it back to life. What’s hilarious is that when I first called Etisalat customer care to report my Z10 wasn’t working, the first reply I got was “Sir, have you tried pulling out the battery first?”
So there you have it, my few pointers about the BlackBerry Z10. I’m still going to be using the Z10 as my primary phone, and hope that further OS and app updates will trickle through to make the BB10 experience as polished as BlackBerry have promised it to be.
Do you own a BlackBerry Z10? Love it or hate it? Share your thoughts in the comments below!