Friday, February 8, 2013

Blackberry Z10, one week in. (post 500 for the blog)

Well its been a week of learning, experimenting and a fair bit of complaining here and there. But to be fair there has also been a lot of show and tell, mainly to willing participants. I have made a few little opinions known, and review style blog posts over the past week, but I thought I would try and wrap it all up in one little parcel of info, along with any other things I have found along the way so here goes.

If I skimp on detail it is because I have already covered the topic in an earlier post, so am not going to go on and on about the same thing.

Biggest question and talking points first.

Battery, far from spectacular, but seems to manage to get me through a working day at least. Example of the day, I unplugged the Z10 from its charger at 9am this morning. Its now coming on 6pm and I have 25% left. Make of that what you will. Todays usage has been pretty average for a working day for me.

Setting up, this has been a real bone of contention for all it seems. From the hardcore right through to the average users. When we all got our devices I think it was safe to assume everyone expected it to be a simple 'device swap', 20 minute job, but this is FAR from the case.
BIS no longer used, so email accounts dont automatically load and popular. Device swap not 100% nor easy to find, so lots of problems transferring contacts. The nightmare dragged on. Its fair to say that most struggled with these parts, and were unimpressed by the complexity of it.

Browser, I have spoken about this today on Crackberry and discovered I am not the only one with a little gripe about it. Speed of the browser is indeed on par with the other OS's out there, if not a little faster, full Flash support, silky smooth scrolling. My gripe is the lack of a decent double tap to zoom function, with it being mile apart from the competition on this matter. See examples below.

Apps, I think most will accept there is a shortfall of some key apps out there, WhappsApp, Skype, Spotify etc are all absent. Some are 'committed' to BB10 but this gives no indication of when we can actually expect them to appear officially.
Sideloading, this is the option most are going for, with a huge bunch of apps rapidly being converted to BAR files and prepared for sideloading onto the Z10 direct from Android and the Play Store. For me, having the lovely Google Maps on my phone is a must, so I was pleased that its a problem free port over to BB10. WhatsApp seems to work, but cannot populate its contact list. Sky News also works nicely. So on the app front there is hope yet.

Camera, another topic I have been deep in discussion about over on Crackberry. Early impressions from people doing reviews was that it was terrible. However with a little experimentation from myself and others it was found that all was not lost. Its far from horrible, simple to use, some great results if you actually bother to try and get them. I am delighted so far with the results of my efforts.
Some comparison shots between different devices showed that it was far from the worst out there, and actually out performs others in certain areas. Plenty more on this topic earlier in my blog. Camera scores well in my books.

Call quality is superb, as to be expected of a Blackberry, always has been and I hope this continues to be the case.
Messaging text and BBM are again faultless really. Nothing I have come across yet has caused me any issues anyway. Prompt delivery both ways of all formats, including email.

Getting to know BB10, this has been an interesting journey so far, and is FAR from over yet. With settings hidden all over the place, small glitches with how things behave when set in certain ways, and some of the native apps having different behaviours, there is a lot to get used to. But in general, for day to day use, its gone pretty well, and already I am finding myself wondering why gestures are not working on the Galaxy S2. Its become second nature to peek when a notification comes in. All in all its not a bad OS at all, and I think it lives up to the hype that preceded it.

Notifications, lets pop back to them 'quickly'. I mentioned that peek is great for when a notification comes in. Its almost a blessing in disguise, but doesnt quite cut it for me. You see before Peek came along, that cheeky little process where you can slide your current app out of the way to check what had come in, we had this great little thing called an LED ! It was a simple thing that with a little app called BeBuzz, could be customised to flash any colour or 2 colours for numerous different notifications. From individual contacts, right through to different apps. So popular was this behaviour, that Blackberry decided to write it straight into the new BB10 OS, because they KNEW how important it was to people on the go etc.
Im joking of course, there is no such setting, in fact there are very few easy to set settings for notifications, and certainly no individual sounds for each email account for example.
As I have blogged before, the notifications are one of THE biggest let downs of the whole of BB10. Surely as a business tool alone, the power user needs to know whats coming in, even when the phone is not in your hand. Its all very well being able to Peek, but if im not holding the phone, then how am I meant to tell.
As I have said before, come on Blackberry, buck your ideas up, there are SO many people ranting, blogging and posting on forums about this.

Case or no case? For me a simple answer, no case. I dont see the point of taking something thats been designed to be nice in the hand, then slapping a case over it. People dont walk about constantly dropping everything they carry, so why keep dropping your phone. Besides, I have insurance, so if the worst should happen its all going to be ok. After spending a week jumping in and out of my pocket, onto desks, tables and other hard surfaces, all is well, and its not chipping or scratching like some other popular black handsets out there of similar appearance.

Native apps, these have come under a lot of criticism due to their pretty poor usability, Twitter feed sharing is limited, Facebook cant get a straight timeline, Social Feeds has disappeared, Calender sync is terrible compared to OS7, with Google calenders importing new events but failing to export them to anything else. Again fingers crossed we will see some development there for the next update to the OS which will put it all back on track. There are other glitches like sometimes some lag in rotation of the screen, calender is a little twitchy at the moment about new events.
Then there is my biggest question, which now I remember I will go and test, but... On the homescreen or any other screen thats not an audio app, the volume rocker being pressed shows the speaker volume going up or down, then to vibrate, and eventually mute. Just like Android does.... Difference is, it seems to have no baring on anything, let alone profiles. Hmmm.

So bullet points.

Great feel
Smooth OS and operation
Nice touchscreen
Great keyboard
Nice browser
Good camera (reviews all aside)
SD card expansion
Active panes work nicely with some apps

TOTALLY different OS to what BB users are used to
Poor quality device swap
Stripped down notifications
Still glitchy OS
Functions missing from native apps, or apps missing completely

All that said and done. Blackberry have done enough to convince me that BB10 shows hope and is a positive future for Blackberry users. With the Q coming soon I am sure I will find happiness once again, but the Z is a great handset for the touchscreen lover. I will be retaining the services of both I am sure.

Now my wish list.

Dear Blackberry.
Please can you address the following.

Return social feeds
Allow proper customisation of notifications again
If Bell are not making BeBuzz please make your own
Sort the double tap browser zoom
Make Facebook's newsfeed work properly
Sort calender glitch and sync
Tell WhatsApp to get on with it
Beg Spotify to get on board
Sort Twitter notification re-populating issue


  1. Nice write-up! JMD

  2. Nice Write up :)

    I'm just coming to the end of my 1st week with the Z10 and currently drafting my thoughts for a blog post lol

    1. Cheers. I look forwards to reading it. Make sure you post a link.
      Got my 2 week to do shortly lol

  3. Hi thanks its not quite as detailed as you write up lol (90% of it was written on the Z10). But here is my 1st week