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BlackBerry Z10 Review

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The BlackBerry Z10 has a very peculiar construction that borrows from the company’s tablet, the BlackBerry Playbook. Instead of being completely covered in glass, a polycarbonate compound, or aluminium, it has rubber as its back cover. This allows for better grip and very simply, a unique option when it comes to the high-end smartphone market. Unfortunately the glass in front of the display is still prone to smudges.

BlackBerry Z10 BB10 review

The handset’s build feels strong as expected, but the rubber for me doesn’t do it, especially after feeling the HTC One, with its aluminium body. This is a subjective matter, as for example, I do like the rubber feel of my Playbook tablet.

BlackBerry Z10 BB10 review

For a device with a 4.2″ touchscreen and 137g in mass, it did not feel very heavy as the weight distribution is perfectly balanced.

The lack of buttons felt strange, with only three available: power/lock, and the volume rocker. A dedicated camera button would have been welcome.

BlackBerry Z10 BB10 review

The display itself isn’t as vibrant as the ones present on other manufacturers, but its HD resolution makes up for the loss by presenting content with clean detail.

Sound output from the smartphone is quite loud, and there is always a 3.5mm audio jack if the user prefer earphones instead.

BlackBerry Z10 BB10 review

The battery is removable, but curiously it only provides 1800 mAh in capacity, lower than other devices in this category. As a result, talk time is half of what is provided on some other high-end smartphones.

The camera present in this device has an 8 megapixel sensor, autofocus, LED flash and is able to capture full HD video. Additionally, it also provides geo-tagging, face detection and image stabilization, just like other smartphones in this segment. A new feature that differentiated BlackBerry 10 from its competitors was Time Shift, which allowed users to capture a number of pictures, and then easily choose the faces with the best smiles – this is now incorporated in many high-end devices, such as the Nokia Lumia 920 and Samsung Galaxy S4.

BlackBerry Z10 BB10 review

The images I captured ended up under-exposed, and in the darker areas, there is some minor noise. The biggest problem is the lack of sharpness when an image is viewed at full crop. For regular users, this camera is more than enough for daily photography, producing acceptable results. A software update could improve the exposure issue.

BlackBerry Z10 image capture sample auto

Image captured in automatic mode. Click for a full-resolution image.

The close-up image of the flower below is also under-exposed, but on the other hand, the handset was very quick to focus, and unlike the image above, this one is incredibly sharp.

BlackBerry Z10 image capture sample close-up

Image captured in automatic mode. Click for a full-resolution image.

The video, strangely, was over-exposed and when in motion, the device can’t capture very sharp frames. For regular users this will probably not be an issue, but for photography enthusiasts, there are better options in the market.

In terms of performance, the dual-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960 processor and 2 GB of RAM provided more than enough power, with a user interface very fast in terms of operation, as described in the next section of this BlackBerry Z10 review.

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By , Editor-in-Chief, Johannesburg office

Published on Jun 6th, 2013 GMT +2

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