Blackberry Z10 Review Roundup: Phoenix Rising or Swan Song?

By Shem Pennant,

Blackberry-Z10

Very much a fallen angel, it’s rare to hear Research in Motion’s name mentioned these days without “troubled” preceeding it. So much so that they’ve rebranded. But this wasn’t always the case and as the BlackBerry manufacturer’s legions of stubborn fans can attest, they were once at the top of their game. So how does their new flagship phone the Z10 fare in the Samsung and Apple dominiated smartphone landscape? Is the superfast 4G handset another mess like previous touchscreen attempts? Too little too late? Or have the Blackberry Faithful finally been rewarded for their patience?

Here’s what some of the pros had to say

Ars Technica: “It’s not good enough for the Z10 to be the best BlackBerry phone ever”

For a company that has never really made a phone like this before, the actual hardware itself pretty much nails it. At this point, the modern smartphone’s form factor is “a rectangle with a screen on front” in the same way that a laptop is “a screen with a keyboard attached,” but BlackBerry has gone and made themselves a pretty nice rectangle.

Trusted Reviews: “On the hardware front BlackBerry hasn’t done much wrong.”

The BlackBerry Z10 only has am 1800mAh battery so it was never likely to impress when the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S3 have 2100mAh units. But it still put up a pretty good fight, lasting a day without too much bother… Perhaps more importantly, those used to the long battery lives of older more conventional BlackBerrys may be alarmed by the single day life of the Z10, but such is the way of most modern smartphones.

Cnet: “The Hub is fractionally easier than opening different email, text or social apps”

It doesn’t look particularly nice, rendering your stream of social missives as an unattractive wall of text. Tapping on individual messages shows them in a plain white box on a grey background that leaves much to the imagination in aesthetic terms.

T3: “This is one of the best touchscreen keyboards we’ve seen.”

The moment you start adding accounts the Z10 will actively sweep your emails and texts, learning the language you use and creating a catalogue of common phrases. This means that when you start typing it’ll intelligently predict words that only you’re likely to use.

The Verge: “Frankly, it’s a better smartphone than I expected from RIM at this stage in the game.”

The problem with the Z10 is that it doesn’t necessarily do anything better than any of its competition. Sure, there are arguments that could be made about how it handles messages or the particulars of its camera, but no one could argue that there’s a “killer app” here. Something that makes you want or need this phone because it can do what no other phone can do. That’s not the case — in fact if anything is the case, it’s that the Z10 can’t yet do some things that other devices can. Or at least, can’t do them quite as well.

Update, check out our unboxing of the Z10’s sister phone, the new Blackberry Q10: