Comparing the Competition: BlackBerry Z10 Review

blackberry z10About two weeks ago, my business gave me a BlackBerry Z10 and it is intended to replace the HTC One S. I’ve been running both devices side by side since then, so let’s see how the Z10 shapes up when used for business and productivity.

Firstly, let me say a few words about what I expect my business device to do. It needs to handle calls, texts, email, my Google Reader subscriptions and some web browsing. It also needs the ability to be able to view Microsoft Office documents and I don’t want to be worrying about recharging it during the working day, either. I expected the BlackBerry Z10 to be able handle my normal use without breaking a sweat and I was right, it’s a thoroughly competent device using a pleasing user interface.

This isn’t the place to go into the user interface, but it’s worth a few words at least. BlackBerry 10 works very like like a curious blend of iOS, Android, WebOS and even Windows Phone to give users a smooth, easily navigated interface based around swiping into the centre of the screen from the edge. It isn’t perfect as there are some curious little niggles, one being I don’t see an easy way to dial a number or add to my contacts from a received text message.

The keyboard, which uses SwiftKey technology, is excellent. It is fast, accurate and quickly adapts by learning what I often type. This is the Z10’s killer feature: the keyboard is industry leading. It’s as good as the hype.

The web browser is very fast and accurate and the Z10 has a 4.2″ 720p screen but unfortunately the Z10 cannot word wrap websites (beyond Reader Mode) and synchronise bookmarks. These two features are sorely missed. BlackBerry claim that BB10 has the best browser experience of all smartphones as it’s HTML5 and Flash compatible. I’m not so sure I agree, but it’s a very good effort.

Looking at specific tools in the device, BlackBerry Messenger, or BBM, integrates as tightly as GoogleTalk does on Android. BlackBerry World, the equivalent of Google Play, features more than ever before and whilst there’s been much press about the lack of content, it doesn’t bother me). The BlackBerry Hub is similar to the Android Notifications area.

That, for me, highlights the new BlackBerry. As a general purpose device, it works very well. BlackBerry have taken a giant leap and in many respects, it’s caught up with Android. Probably Android 4.0 rather than Jelly Bean, but without the same growing pains.

I have a discussion to have with my boss as to why I want to keep the One S, because that’s running Android 4.1.

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