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Review: BlackBerry Z10 for Verizon Wireless

Form Performance Basics Extras Wrap-Up Comments  51  

Feb 8, 2013, 3:12 PM   by Eric M. Zeman
updated Apr 7, 2013, 4:19 PM

The Z10 is the first smartphone to run the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. It's a dramatic re-write for BlackBerry, and is now available from Verizon Wireless with LTE 4G.

Is It Your Type?

Verizon's variant of the BlackBerry Z10 differs little from those of AT&T and T-Mobile USA. If you strayed from your beloved BlackBerry over the years because you coveted the large screens of popular Android devices, the Z10 may be the BlackBerry that gets you to return to your smartphone roots of old.

Body

The BlackBerry Z10 is a conservative slab that still manages to exude the essential qualities of the BlackBerry brand. The most popular BlackBerries of the past decade had QWERTY keyboards for typing. The Z10 doesn't, but that doesn't make it any less a BlackBerry.

If there's one device in BlackBerry's historical lineup that the Z10 resembles, it would be the PlayBook tablet. Trust me when I say this makes sense in its own way. The PlayBook was actually BlackBerry's first stab at a brand new operating system. In fact, PlayBook OS and BlackBerry 10 are based on the same QNX core. This is why it doesn't surprise me to see PlayBook design cues and features on the Z10.

It’s a simple rectangular block. There aren't any artistic flairs or other flashy materials or lines in the Z10's design. It looks a bit like the PlayBook would were it shrunk by two-thirds. The front is mostly glass, but has plastic bands above and below the glass that frame it a bit. The glass runs all the way to the side edges and forms a sharp right angle. The sides are flat enough that the Z10 can stand on them unassisted. The battery cover encompasses the entire back surface. The angle between the back and side surfaces is not as sharp as the front, but it certainly isn't gentle or curved.

 

Verizon Z10

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The overall impression left by the Z10 as you hold it is good. The quality of the materials is good, but short of excellent. The build quality is also good, and also short of excellent. It is made mostly of plastics, and you can tell. The back surface has a dimpled pattern to it and a soft-touch finish. It is not a slippery phone. The size and weight are decent. It's not light, nor is it heavy; it's not too large, either. It fits in jean pockets without trouble, but the shoebox shape makes it easy to feel when you're out for a walk.

There are no buttons or controls on the front of the Z10. The user-facing camera and sensor array are barely visible in the bezel surrounding the screen. The Z10 includes both microUSB and microHDMI ports, which are positioned on the left side. There are no ports on the bottom.

BlackBerry was sure to include its triple-action button on the right side of the Z10. It’s basically a volume toggle with a user-defined action button in the middle. I found this button to work well. Both the up and down buttons have good travel and feedback, and the center button does, too. If you're worried you won't be able to tell which is which, fret not. The design is such that it is easy to figure out what you're pressing.

The screen lock button is on top, positioned smack in the middle. Thanks to the flat shape of the top surface, the lock screen button is easy to find and use. The feedback is quite good. The standard stereo headphone jack is next to it.

The battery cover peels off without issue. Underneath, you'll find the removable battery (something not all modern phones can claim to have), a slot for microSD cards, and SIM card slot. The battery, which is long and narrow, needs to be pulled in order to get at the SIM card slot, but the microSD card can be swapped at will. The Z10 will (eventually) have a replacement battery cover that allows it to charge wirelessly (the pins are evident on the chassis). If you look at the inside of the battery cover, you can clearly see where the NFC antenna is, buried under the stylized BlackBerry logo.

In all, I'd rate the Z10 hardware as very good. It could be a little better, but not by much.

 

Body

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

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Comments

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Subject Author Date
Rich mike87 Feb 11, 2013, 1:33 PM
Buddy just got one Tofuchong Feb 10, 2013, 1:45 PM
I Just Can't Get Excited About This One. MadFatMan Feb 11, 2013, 9:19 AM
So its a 3G phone? Not LTE? insider. Feb 10, 2013, 11:47 AM
I always wanted a good reason to go to Blackberry. sic Feb 9, 2013, 7:12 PM
Review marufio Feb 9, 2013, 9:28 AM
  • Re: Review by CaptainPlanet   Feb 9, 2013, 1:59 PM
    • Re: Review by T Bone   Feb 9, 2013, 4:22 PM
      • Re: Review by Jellz   Feb 9, 2013, 7:02 PM
        • Re: Review by T Bone   Feb 9, 2013, 8:49 PM
            (more replies...)
    • Re: Review by Tofuchong   Feb 10, 2013, 9:26 AM
Z10 and Mac h_aguilar84 Feb 8, 2013, 8:16 PM
 
 
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