Digital Crave

Hands-on with the new BlackBerry Z10

Marc Saltzman
Digital Crave

View gallery

blackberry 10

You know the ‘ol adage -- good things come to those who wait – and if you’ve been patiently waiting on BlackBerry’s Next Big Thing, you’ll no doubt fall in love with your next device.

While not a perfect "10," the new BlackBerry Z10 -- available in the U.S. by March for $199 on 2-year contract -- does manage to impress, if my nearly two weeks with the phone is any indication.

Without abandoning what made BlackBerry so sought after to begin with –effortless typing, fast and reliable messaging, the best battery in the biz and rock-solid security – BlackBerry 10 adds a ton of new features you’ll care about, such as blazingly fast performance, smooth multitasking, smart cameras, a killer web browser, and much more.

In other words, this ain’t yo daddy’s BlackBerry.

To offer you a glimpse into BlackBerry 10, the following is a look at some of the coolest new features worth getting excited about - and then I'll share some areas of improvement, too.

BlackBerry Hub

Imagine you’re watching a video, browsing the web or playing a game and you notice that blinking red light on top of your phone. Instead of exiting out of what you’re currently enjoying, simply swipe up and then in from the left side of the screen to the right to peek into your BlackBerry Hub. Consider this your command center for all incoming messages, be it email, text (SMS), BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, phone messages, voicemail, app alerts and more. Once you peek into your hub, you can choose to reply or call, or let the screen snap back into place if it can wait. Accessible from any app on your BlackBerry 10 device, your convenient BlackBerry Hub can help you stay on top of what matters to you – and it’s just as swipe away.

BlackBerry Keyboard

While your friends fumble over words on their so-called “smart” phone – autocorrect nightmares, anyone? – your new BlackBerry device features the same comfortable keyboard you’re accustomed to. OK, so the BlackBerry Q10 with a physical keyboard won't be ready for April or May, but you’ll be able to type quickly and accurately on the Z10's 4.2-inch screen right from the get-go. In fact, the new virtual BlackBerry Keyboard learns how you type and cleverly adapts so you can write faster, and with the least amount of effort. Your BlackBerry will suggest words as you type and if you’d like to use them, simply swipe up on the screen and keep going.

View gallery

blackberry 10

BBM Video with Screen Share

By now you’re probably familiar with BBM Voice, which lets you chat for free with other BBM users anywhere in the world over Wi-Fi -- but what about video? Called BBM Video, you can easily switch from a BBM chat to a BBM Video conversation with a simple tap. Not only can you catch up with someone face-to-face using the BlackBerry’s front-facing camera but you can also initiate Screen Share, which lets the person you’re chatting with see what’s on your screen, be it a document, photo, video, game, web browser, and so on. Or tap to share what your rear camera sees. BBM Video and Screen Share works with compatible BlackBerry 10 devices over Wi-Fi, 4G or HSPA+.

Time Shift, BlackBerry Story Maker

All smartphones take photos, but only BlackBerry 10 devices have a Time Shift mode that captures a few milliseconds before and after you snap the photo. This allows you to scroll back and forth through time to select the perfect shot – perhaps one where your eyes aren’t closed and another, a split-second later, where your friend isn’t sticking his tongue out, and then combine them into the same photo. Once you’ve created the perfect shot by turning a couple of dials with your fingertips, tap to use Story Maker -- which lets you weave those moments together to create a movie in just a couple of swipes -- before sharing it with the world. BlackBerry 10 devices can also shoot sharp HD video.


We’re just scratching the surface on what else BlackBerry 10 devices are capable of. There’s also BlackBerry Remember, which lets you easily create, view and organize your interests, ideas and projects in one single location; BlackBerry Balance, to help you manage both your personal and professional lives on your one device (all your personal apps and info are kept separate and private from work data); a completely redesigned BlackBerry Browser that’s fast, powerful and versatile enough to handle whatever you through at it; and a new BlackBerry App World to browse and buy apps, music and videos, including handy app recommendations, easy sharing to social media sites or touch your NFC-enabled BlackBerry to another to exchange content with others.

View gallery

blackberry 10

And now for the not-so-good news...

If you’ve been patiently awaiting the launch of BlackBerry 10, but you prefer a physical keyboard, you're out of luck with the Z10 as it's touch-only. BlackBerry's Q10 -- which will have a QWERTY keyboard on the lower-third of the device -- didn't get a launch date. This will no doubt frustrate some. BlackBerry (formerly Research in Motion) should’ve had both options at launch.

Next, BlackBerry World offers a notable number of downloads for a new platform — as high as 70,000 — but they’re not as easy to find and they seem to be more expensive compared to the same apps on another platform. For example, why does the game Babel Rising 3D cost $2.99 when it’s $0.99 cents on Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play? And where’s Netflix? Instagram? Flipboard? Prices for media are comparable to other stores, however: The Dark Knight Rises is $4.99 to rent or $19.99 to buy, for example, which is the same as iTunes and Google Play.

Finally, there are some stability issues: BlackBerry Z10 froze on me twice over the past week — so I had to remove the battery from the back in order to fix the issue. This reminded me of this reboot “game” on my old BlackBerry Torch and Curve. Sigh. Hopefully they'll iron out these problems with a software update.

Overall, BlackBerry 10 is one heck of a device. But it's not going to be easy for BlackBerry to regain the kind of market share they once enjoyed. Give it time, however, and it'll likely win back customers and gain some new ones.

Plus, it would be remiss not to mention iPhone, Android and Windows Phone users who’ve purchased software (such as apps or media) or hardware (like cases or speaker docks) over the past few years might be reluctant to leave all that behind. In other words, investing in a smartphone goes beyond the four corners of the device itself. Windows Phone users can start a Word document on their phone and continue it on their PC, while Apple users might use iTunes and iCloud to manage all their content. BlackBerry desperately needs to build and sustain a viable ecosystem to help lure people back to the platform.

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • 11 things Linda McMahon will totally do as new head of the SBA

      Since truth is stranger than fiction in 2016, a wrestling magnate is now a vital part of the next presidential administration. Is the finish scripted, though?

      The Street q
    • Husband who hasn’t had sex in years asks, ‘Is this normal?’

      Hi, Carolyn: Should I be worried that my wife and I have had no sex for literally years? I am guessing it is at least three years. Not even heavy make-out sessions. It just seems that my wife has no interest. I am afraid to broach the subject for fear of a negative answer. We don’t sleep in the same bed anymore either. I am a big snorer and chose to sleep in the guest room. It’s fine because she is a light sleeper and I am happier that she is getting her sleep. I do use a CPAP but it does come off sometimes. The no-sex thing just happened over time. We have both gained some weight but we are not obese — we could both lose 20 or 30 pounds. Is this normal or should we seek help? J.: Should I be

      Washington Post q
    • UPS Driver Who Spotted 'Call 911' Scrawled on Package Helps Save Captive Woman

      A 3-year-old child was locked in a room of the house during the ordeal.

      Inside Edition
    • Microsoft is serving up Windows 10 tablets for $49 and $59, but only on Friday

      As part of Microsoft's 12 Days of Deals, Microsoft has slashed the prices of Windows 10 tablets and 2-in-1 PCs. This particular sale is for Friday only, offering two tablets with $49 and $60 price tags, and 2-in-1 PCs starting at $179.

      Digital Trends
    • These pics of Nina Dobrev dressed in silver will finally convince you to give body suits a chance

      We’re all about trying new trends, but one that has us a little hesitant is that one-piece body suit trend. We get…

      Hello Giggles
    • Dear Abby: Unhappy cancer patient looking forward to death

      DEAR ABBY: I have terminal cancer and a five- to seven-year life expectancy, despite undergoing intense chemotherapy. I have accepted this and will not undergo further treatment. I eagerly await death. I am divorced with two grown daughters who despise each other and have vowed to never associate with each other again. Therefore, I cannot look forward to family outings or get-togethers. I am forced to choose who to be with for each occasion. I recently bought a T-shirt that says: “In Memory of When I Cared.” When strangers see it, they laugh and say I truly can’t mean that, but they are wrong. When I tell them this is how I truly feel, they say they will “pray for me.” I understand why they feel

      Chicago Sun-Times q
    • The Flash Is Introducing A Justice League Character For Season 3

      The CW's comic book universe got bigger than ever recently with the mega-crossover between Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow, and the Girl of Steel's addition to the superpowered ensemble was every bit as exciting as we could have hoped. The Flash is going to bring yet another hero from the world of the Justice League to the show when Season 3 returns, as star Carlos Valdes has revealed fans will get to see the live-action debut of Gypsy in the near future, and she will play a big role for his character specifically. DC Comics fans will be familiar with Gypsy. Not only are we going to get to see Cisco getting more comfortable with his Vibe talents, but we're going to get a brand new (to the show) hero to help him along with his trans-dimensional powers.

    • 7 Drugs Found in System of Hot Air Balloon Pilot in Deadliest US Crash: NTSB

      Pilot of the deadliest U.S. hot air balloon crash had 7 drugs in system.

      ABC News q
    • One Direction Star Louis Tomlinson's Mother Johannah Dead at 43

      Louis Tomlinson's mother, Johannah Deakin, has died after a battle with leukemia.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Michael Moore Says Trump May Decide To Quit Presidency

      “He may decide he just wants to quit before he even takes office,” the Academy Award-winning filmmaker said in an interview Wednesday.

      International Business Times
    • Sexless marriage worries husband

      Dear Carolyn DEAR CAROLYN: Should I be worried that my wife and I have had no sex for literally years? I am guessing it is at least three years. Not even heavy make-out sessions. It just seems that my wife has no interest. I am afraid to broach the subject for fear of a negative answer. We don’t sleep in the same bed anymore either. I am a big snorer and chose to sleep in the guest room. It’s fine because she is a light sleeper and I am happier that she is getting her sleep. I do use a CPAP but it does come off sometimes. The no-sex thing just happened over time. We have both gained some weight but we are not obese — we could both lose 20 or 30 pounds. Is this normal or should we seek help? —

      The Seattle Times q
    • Victoria’s Secret Apologizes to Customer Booted During ‘Shopping While Black’ Incident

      Victoria’s Secret has apologized to a woman who was asked to leave the store. A woman shopping at a Victoria’s Secret in the Quintard Mall in Oxford, Ala., says she was shocked and dismayed to be asked to leave the store. Traveling nurse Kimberly Houzah says she and a second black shopper were made to leave after a store manager caught another black woman shoplifting.

      Yahoo Style
    • People
    • 7 Things That Will Hide Your Holiday Party Sins (8 photos)

      Because no one needs to know. From Marie Claire

      Marie Claire
    • Surprise — Malika Haqq and Jersey Shore Star Ronnie Magro Are Dating!

      Jersey Shore‘s Ronnie Magro has found a new love in his life — and it’s none other than Khloé Kardashian‘s BFF Malika Haqq. The new couple met while filming season 2 of E! relationship rehab series Famously Single, which is set to premiere in 2017. The attraction quickly became a mutual romance,” Haqq, 33, and Magro, 31, told E! News. “Our support for one another through this challenging experience made us strong in a very short period of time.

    • Andy Reid and Jack Del Rio downplay Del Rio's evil postgame staredown of Reid

      Did you see that staredown by Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio at Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid after Thursday night’s game? All we needed was for JDR to hit Reid in the back with a chair as Reid flexed for the crowd in some “Hulk Hogan is the third man!” type drama. “Not at all, not at all,” Reid said with a laugh when asked if there was any bad blood, according to Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star.

      Shutdown Corner
    • San Jose teacher booked on charges of felony sexual assault with minor

      A San Jose high school community is in shock this morning, over the arrest of one of their teachers. Police accuse her of luring a student into a sexual relationship.

      KGO – San Francisco
    • Balloon Pilot Who Killed 16 in Texas on Drugs, Had Many DWIs

      The pilot of a hot-air balloon that crashed last summer in Texas, killing himself and 15 sightseeing passengers, had taken a cocktail of prohibited drugs before liftoff including the opiate painkiller ...

      Bloomberg q
    • Glenn Beck on Trump’s Boeing fight: ‘If America wants to go over the cliff, that’s fine. They can ... I’m not’

      When Glenn Beck thinks about some of the moves President-elect Donald Trump has made since the election — like picking a fight with Boeing, a Carrier Corp. union leader and, well, China — he shakes his head in disbelief. “I’m sorry, but if America wants to go over the cliff, that’s fine. Earlier this week, Trump attacked Boeing, calling on the U.S. government to cancel a deal with the aircraft manufacturer to develop of the next generation of Air Force One.

      Yahoo News
    • Chart shows exactly how Trump's tax plan could affect you

      While some richer taxpayers could benefit from Trump's proposed reforms, others may end up paying more.