Ten things to know about BlackBerry 10
Published Saturday, February 2, 2013 7:00AM EST
BlackBerry finally unveiled its new mobile operating system after several delays and missteps. Should you trade in your Bold for a new handset? Here are 10 things to know about BlackBerry 10.
When can I buy a new phone running BlackBerry 10?
You can get the touchscreen-only Z10 on Feb. 5 in Canada. Our friends south of the border will need to wait a while longer – March, actually.
If you want a new BlackBerry phone with the traditional physical keypad, keep waiting. The Q10 won’t be released until April – and you’re best off with a device that has a large screen to take full advantage of the new system.
What’s the keyboard like?
The virtual keyboard is one of the best out there. It’s large and the autocorrect gets your intended typing right most of the time.
Speak several languages? They keyboard also adapts well to different dictionaries.
How does the screen compare to the iPhone 5’s?
The Z10’s 4.2-inch screen is slightly wider than the display in Apple’s latest smartphone. The BlackBerry screen, on paper at least, is sharper. The Z10 has a pixel per inch density of 356 compared to the iPhone 5’s 326 ppi.
What’s the app selection like?
Although the company formerly known as RIM claims BlackBerry World has more apps than any other operating system at launch (70,000) – the selection still seems quite limited compared to the hundreds of thousands of titles available in competing app stores.
BlackBerry World is littered with simple apps that cost money – and it’s tough to find good, free apps. Flickr Sync, for example, costs $1.99 and all it does is let you access photos on your Flickr stream. The Flickr app for the iPhone, meanwhile, is free. And it actually lets you upload images to the photo sharing service.
Yes, you’ll be able to creep friends on Facebook and kill time playing Angry Birds, but the BlackBerry app ecosystem feels like it hasn’t hit puberty.
Thorsten Heins said during the launch that Skype committed to the platform, but their app (and others) are yet to appear in BlackBerry World.
How long does the battery last?
After a few days of testing, the battery charge lasted through approximately 15 hours of moderate use. The Z10 does have a removable battery, so you can swap out for a new one after the original unit loses the ability to keep a charge for more than a few minutes.
What kind of charging port does it have?
The Z10 has a micro-USB port, so you can charge it with many accessories and chargers used for newer BlackBerry phones (and some Android phones too). It also has a micro-HDMI port for sending media (video, presentations) to a TV.
Is the camera any good?
The Z10 features an 8-megapixel camera on the rear with an LED flash. It captures images that are vastly better than anything a previous BlackBerry phone would’ve snapped.
The iPhone 5’s camera is still better when it comes to challenging low-light situations, though it doesn’t have Time Shift.
That’s the feature which lets you go back in time, so to speak, to grab the best expression from your photo subjects to eliminate blinks, weird smiles and double-chins. Ok, maybe not the last blemish, but you get the idea.
Is BB10 on the Z10 fast?
Yes. The BlackBerry Z10 is equipped with a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor and 2 GB of RAM. If you don’t speak in clock cycles, just know that those are respectable specs.
But those aren’t details to put this phone at the front of the pack on the smartphone autobahn.
Is BB10 stable?
It’s much better than what many BlackBerry users are used to. During testing, I encountered some lags and unusual behaviour (keyboard wouldn’t appear) and had to restart the phone a couple times. The operating system also seems to need a few moments to boot up – even after the phone appears to load up the home screen and icons.
What’s the best new feature?
Multi-tasking? Nope. Video chat? No, though screen sharing is cool. However, the BlackBerry Hub wins this category for providing a one-stop-shop for glancing at what’s new in your life. From emails to Facebook notifications to upcoming calendar events, the Hub is a well-thought out portal to get all your digital updates in one place.