BlackBerry Z10 review

A BlackBerry PR employee demonstrates the new BlackBerry Z10 phone during the launch of the...

A BlackBerry PR employee demonstrates the new BlackBerry Z10 phone during the launch of the BlackBerry 10 platform at the Carlu in Toronto, Jan. 30, 2013. Ernest Doroszuk/QMI Agency

Mark Daniell, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

TORONTO - The Z should stand for zoom. The first thing you need to know about Blackberry’s new Z10 is that it’s fast.

The all-touch smartphone was one of two announced in Toronto on Wednesday by Research in Motion, the struggling Waterloo-based company. It’s available in Canada Feb. 5.

When I actually tried out the 4.2-inch device, I was able to run Angry Birds, Alpha Zero and Where’s My Water? at the same time. The apps remained open and nothing crashed.

More impressive is the BlackBerry Hub, which aggregates e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The Hub chronologically organizes your updates, but don’t worry, you can filter it just for e-mail.

The HD camera was another huge plus. Time Shift lets you adjust photos by a few seconds. But, a sad note for photo fiends, Instagram is not yet available for the Z10.

Apps are also a huge boon for the Z10. A slick-looking NHL Game Center gives users the usual news, game stats and video. But simple swipes between the three provided a unique, cascading flow. Similarly, MLSE are offering an app for the Toronto Maple Leafs and a separate app for the Toronto Raptors.

“We want to get people stuff they don’t get to see,” Michael Ball, manager of digital production, tells QMI Agency. In addition to news, scores and stats, the MLSE app will give users access to behind the scenes video, or, as Ball puts it, “fly-on-the-wall” content.

The company is also planning a TFC app in the coming months.

The Air Canada app lets you check flight status and customize your flight experience. But if you’re looking to book a flight, that feature is not yet available.

And if you are a Timmies fan, a new app uses the Z10’s GPS to point you to the 20 nearest Tim Horton’s locations.

It’ll even give you directions, nutritional info and the balance on your Tim’s card.

If social is your thing, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare come pre-loaded on the Z10. Sharing pics on social networks is easier, and scrolling on Facebook and Twitter is very fast. Photos appear crisp and pop on the page well. All this with one thumb.

Another new feature, BlackBerry Balance, lets users separate the phone's personal and business functions, so there will be no need for a work phone and a play phone.

When it comes to movies and TV, we all know that BlackBerry has been in the dark ages. The newly re-launched BlackBerry App World offers a host of entertainment content to change that.

The store resembles Apple’s iTunes, with an entertainment carousel that is programmed by BlackBerry. Movie rentals will vary in price - $5.99 for new releases; $4.99 for older titles. If you want to buy a movie, it’ll run you $19.99 and up. TV shows are download-to-own.

You can connect the device to your TV via a mini-HDMI cable and watch the content on the big screen. This is handy for gaming, too. So, if you’ve ever wanted to play Angry Birds Star Wars on a 55-inch Sharp, here’s your chance.

If you’re a Netflix person, though, you’re out of luck. The company is working to add the streaming service to its roster, but it will not be available at launch.

BlackBerry Story Maker allows you to create your own little movie with the Z10. You can choose the media (photos and videos), add some music, add titles and credits and when you hit done, it creates a little video. Very cool.

The touchscreen keyboard boasts thick fret lines that should satisfy the most fickle user. It’s also adaptive, so as you type, the device will hone in on your phraseology. If you have an -ism, the Z10 will pick up on it.

It’s also a good-looking device. The smooth front is almost entirely all screen, and the Z10’s soft-touch backing feels remarkably nice to the touch.

Let’s face it, Apple made us all self-conscious about our gadgets, so this was a must for BlackBerry. And after toting around an outdated Curve for the past four years, the Z10 puts me firmly in the cool club.

The BlackBerry Z10 will be available in Canada on Feb. 5 for $149.99 on a three-year plan. Here are some of the product specs.

  • Dimensions: 5.12 inches tall by 2.58 inches wide, and 0.35 inches thick
  • Screen: 4.2 inch, 1280 x 768 resolution at 356 PPI
  • Weight: 135.4 grams
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM, 16 GB (extra microSD slot supports up to 32 GB)
  • Processor: Dual Core 1.5 GHz
  • Camera: 8 megapixel, 1080p HD video recording (2 megapixel front facing camera, 720p video recording)
  • HDMI: micro-HDMI out port
  • Wi-Fi: Dual band 802.11 a/b/g/n, Mobile Hotspot Network: 4G LTE or HSPA+
  • Battery life: 10 hours of talk time on 3G


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