Blackberry’s Back..Alright!

Yes, I just referenced a Backstreet Boys song title for my post title, but I think it mirrors the sentiment that many reluctant smartphone users have had for years. Many BlackBerry owners seem to have reluctantly migrated away from the BlackBerry platform in search of a phone that could simply “do more” for their lives.

As time went on, it seemed BlackBerry would fade away into the pages of smartphone history.

Wrong.

BlackBerry is definitely back with a vengeance pending the release of their new BlackBerry Z10 phone, and they have a nifty new operating system to boot.

No more buttons
The first thing you may notice when looking at the BlackBerry Z10 is that there is no keyboard, no home, and no back button, and not even a menu button! The touchscreen is actually capable of doing everything you’d do with those buttons by just a few swipes of your finger. Want to jump from one app to another? Simple!  Just swipe up to “Pause” your current app (or you can close it now), then swipe over to find your new app and touch to open! You can even “Peek” at an email while using a different app and decide to answer now or wait until later.  Here’s a video explaining the “peek” feature:

Sleek and sexy
The boxy design is also gone, and the phone looks almost identical to the Iphone 5. It is lightweight and the touchscreen senses touch on almost the entire face of the phone. The Z10 even has a mini HDMI port for you entertainment junkies.  All in all, it’s a slick looking phone.  There are some really cool cases and holsters out there too if you want to look unique.

Cheese
One of the coolest things in phone tech is the Z10’s camera with Time Shift technology, which allows you to take a picture and rewind time in the photo to ensure you have the best facial shot of the person in the pic. Jaws have dropped when I have shown people this awesome trick, and rightfully so. The zoom feature doesn’t work when time shifting, but the camera also does HD video and takes better pictures than any phone I have had so far.  Here’s a video showing the time shift:

BBM
Even the tried and true BBM has gotten a face lift and can now do a video chat similar to Apple’s Face Time..but what makes the BBM different is the ability to share your screen, even while video chatting.  I tried it myself and the phone I used to record myself doing the BBM video chat had a crappy camera, so the video didn’t turn out right.  Here’s another YouTube video showing BBM:

Keyboard upgrade

The keyboard is remarkable on the Z10.  In my opinion, BlackBerry not only fixed the issues with the current touchscreen keyboards of Android and Apple, they also improved it.  The keyboard learns from the user and intelligently suggests words, giving the user options of “flicking” the word onto the screen while they type as well as suggesting words on the space bar.  The autocorrect feature only had one flaw when I used it, it changes “..” to “mm” for some reason.  Other than that, it was perfect.

APPS

In a world of smartphone app addiction, some may be wondering, “What about apps?  Does it have a decent selection?”  Yes it does, and it’s growing everyday.  The Z10 comes with Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn already installed, and there are a pile of new apps being added to the BlackBerry World App Store everyday.  It has just about everything I need (bank apps are light, but I’d imagine the smart ones will be developing soon).

Any Negatives?

There are a few negatives with the BlackBerry Z10, so don’t go thinking the phone is the best thing since breathing.  The first gripe is that the battery life isn’t that great…in fact, with heavy use (like most users), I can drain it in just over 5 hours (which is a little better than an Iphone), and I was really hoping to find a BlackBerry with all day battery life.  The second gripe is that the phone takes a little getting used to because Blackberry reinvented the functionality most smartphone users were used to..this is not necessarily a bad thing, just don’t get pissy when you accidentally close your browser 5 times while changing apps.  The third gripe is that the webpages in the browser show up really small and double tapping to enlarge doesn’t always work.  I want fast browsing and the “pinch to zoom, unpinch to enlarge” thing doesn’t cut it for me.  The final gripe is that all notifications have the same vibration, if vibration is enabled.  Personally, I like a different vibration for emails than texts or social media, but so far, I haven’t found any way to change this vibration and it is a drag.

I’d show you some pics, but other than modeling in a mirror or taking crappy webcam shots, I can’t do that because the old phone I had is no longer working.  Hopefully the videos I included in this post will give you some good visuals.  All in all, I really like this phone.  BlackBerry really pushed out some new innovations and I am glad to see they’re back in the game with a quality new product.

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