Hands-On: BlackBerry Z10 and Q10
Jan 30, 2013, 12:53 PM by Eric M. Zeman
Here is a first look at the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 smartphones. Both phones run the new BlackBerry 10 platform and will reach U.S. carriers in mid-March.
BlackBerry, which used to be called RIM, announced two new smartphones today, the Z10 and the Q10. Here is a quick look at the Z10.
The Z10 is the monoblock touch phone that has a 4.2-inch screen. Think of it as a PlayBook Mini. It has a simple design that's very reminiscent of the PlayBook with its corners and edges. It is conservative, which is what we've come to expect from RIM and its devices. It certainly doesn't look cheap, and the overall impression it leaves is a good one in terms of overall appeal.
RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said the Z10 and Q10 aren't made of plastic, but that's what the materials feel like to me. They have a plastick-y feel, there's no doubt of that, but if they are made of plastic, it is good plastic. The manufacture, fit and finish all felt solid, which is something we've nearly always said of BlackBerry devices. These weren't manufactured in some chintzy, hole-in-the-grand plant.
Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.
I found the Z10 comfortable to hold and use. It doesn't sacrifice one-handed functionality for a too-large screen. It measures a hair under 10mm thick, and is thin enough that it will slip easily into pockets. It is lighter than I expected it to be in the hand.
The screen measures 4.2 inches, a measurement that RIM said it will use in future touch screen devices, and includes 1280 x 768 pixels. It is an LCD panel and looks good. It has a high pixel density and I didn't see any individual pixels in my time with it. It is plenty bright and colorful, as well. It's a very good screen.
The buttons on the outside of the device could be much better. I particularly didn't care for the volume toggle on the right edge. It had a cheap feel and travel and feedback weren't that good. The screen lock button, which is on top, had a better feel to it. The Z10 has a headphone jack on top, and both microUSB and microHDMI ports on the left edge.
The user interface is of course BlackBerry 10, which is brand new. For a brand new UI, it looks extremely polished and quick, though some of the gestures needed to control it take time to learn properly. We'll detail BlackBerry 10 in a separate post.
If you want to know if the Z10 hardware is better than the iPhone or a Galaxy S III, all I can say is that the hardware falls in the middle of the two: not so good as the iPhone, but a smidge better than the GSIII.
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