Standout BB10 + Z10 Thoughts
If you know me, it’s been obvious for years that I’m not a big fan of the former Research In Motion or their line of products. I don’t care for tactile keyboards. I’ve never liked the OS. More importantly though, I don’t care for phones that literally freeze up on their users. I would cringe when people would tell me troubleshooting steps included “pulling the battery.” When the stock tanked and the company looked on the brink of destruction over the last year and a half my only thought was “justice.” The light at the end of the dark tunnel was Blackberry 10 though. While I knew I wasn’t going to be jumping ship from Apple (another company that doesn’t realize how much some of its users HATE them right now) I was hopeful for Blackberry. I wanted them to put together a launch that blew my mind. After all, they’ve had A LONG TIME to prepare this launch and know it’s make or break. What I came away with was this
The Hub, Flow/Peek, and Keyboard are cool.
Everything else? Meh…
Let’s get the good out of the way first. The Hub is sheer genius in terms of managing all of your applications on the fly. The UI is by far the most slick of all mobile Operating Systems currently on the market. It manages everything seamlessly. As Microsoft is so ardently trying to point out in their 1 billion dollar (*shudder*) ad campaign, it’s all about getting in and out of your phone as quickly as possible. The Hub not only does that, it’s done in a far less clunky manner than Windows 8, iOS and Android. Similarly, Peek/Flow work within the Hub so you can see what’s going on at any given point without having to open/close everything. Right now, users have grown used to opening an app and part closing to get to another app. There are obvious exceptions like how the Samsung Galaxy S 3 and Note II handle multitasking. However, for the most part it’s an “in & out” experience. Peek/Flow combined with Hub blew my mind in terms of handling everything on the fly. For people that are truly gogogo, they’ll jump at the opportunity to use this software. Good on Blackberry for taking the time to create a truly innovative experience. As far as the OS goes, I consider BB10 a step above any current mobile OS on the market.
To say I was impressed with the touchscreen keyboard would be an engrossing understatement. It looks to be fantastic in terms of predicting which words the user would like to use and also incorporating the ability to flick up the full predicted word without creating a cumbersome experience. That’s no small feat. Blackberry’s competitors will need to step up their keyboard game. The iOS keyboard is a joke. The stock Android keyboard is even worse. I’m a big fan of Swipe for Android but from the look of things, Blackberry 10′s native keyboard stomps on it with ease. I would figure developers in the Big 2 will be looking for a way to steal (or as Apple would say “innovate”) the keyboard functionality ASAP as it has clearly set a new standard.
That’s the end of my praise.
Let’s touch on the rest shall we?
4.2 inch LCD with a 1280 x 768 resolution and 356 Pixels Per Inch
Dual Core 1.5ghz processor
8MP 1080p Back Facing Camera. 2MP 720p Front Facing Camera.
I don’t care about whatever “ometer” twisty turny compass BS that gets thrown in SmartPhones nowadays so I’m not listing them. I just want to hit on the stuff that the average person would care about (aka is it fast?). Personally, I think the size of the display is perfect. I’ve always wanted one thing from a Smartphone; an HD display in as small a size as possible. The display and size of the phone is EXACTLY what I was hoping the iPhone 5 would be last fall. It should be noted that at 356 PPI, the Z10 is actually BETTER than Apple’s much ballyhoo’d Retina Display (326 PPI). The processor, RAM and Camera are nothing to write home about. It puts the Z10 on par with the high end phones that dropped last year. Sadly, that hardware will also be outdated by the time the Galazy S4 and iPhone 5S drop in the summer. I was shocked to see how small the battery was. Considering the amount of work that BB10 is going to have to do on a sustained basis, I can’t imagine that battery putting up nearly the kind of life the average “power user” is going to need. I anticipate a lot of “OMG MY BB DIES AFTER LIKE… 20 MINUTES (20 minutes being around 6 hours).
So in the end, Blackberry did something very right in their software and powered it with average hardware. I absolutely love BB10! It’s slick, smooth and brings a lot to the table that iOS and Android simply don’t have. The Z10 hardware on the other hand leaves the standard “Blackberry is still playing catch up” argument out there. For me the question always comes down to “should I buy it?” For all of the current Blackberry users who have been hoping for the Messiah, I wouldn’t argue against a purchase. It’s leaps and bounds above any model currently on the market under Blackberry/RIM. As for current iOS users on a 4S or 5 or Android users on a device released in the last 12 months? I can’t fathom dropping money to jump ship. The software will eventually be bastardized and replicated on iOS and Android respectively. The hardware would make for a lateral move if you have a decent phone.
BB users have fun with your new toy. Everyone else, there’s better ways to blow your money.
NOTE: this is not meant as a comprehensive review. There are Godlike sites like Mobilesyrup for that. I’m just a phone nerd dropping thoughts on yet another phone in a saturated market and what aspects of it actually caught my eye one way or another.
Questions/comments/constructive criticism is welcome.