I know most of my posts over the past week have been devoted to the BlackBerry 10 OS and new Z10 hardware, but that's what is hot right now and it is an important operating system to discuss. I have now been using the BlackBerry Z10 for five days and have experienced quite a bit with the OS and device so I wanted to share 10 things I really like and 5 that I don't.
10 things I like about BlackBerry 10 and the Z10
BlackBerry 10 is a fresh operating system and pretty radical for BlackBerry. The hardware isn't revolutionary, but it is solid and on par with other high end black slab phones. Let's take a look at the 10 things I find most appealing:
- BlackBerry Hub: BlackBerry devices have always been focused on communications and BB10 provides an incredible communications experience through the BlackBerry Hub. I love how I can have several services set up and keep in touch with people in one central place on the phone that is extremely easy to access from anywhere with a couple simple gestures.
- No BIS/BES requirement: I could never be fully satisfied with a BlackBerry before because the BIS experience was not complete and my company doesn't have a BES. As I wrote this weekend, compliant and I can use it as my primary device if I desire.
- BlackBerry Keyboard: All platforms have great keyboards and lately I have been loving Swype and SwiftKey on Android. However, the predictive implementation on BlackBerry 10 is unique and efficient and I think I may have found my new favorite smartphone keyboard.
- BlackBerry Remember and Evernote: I am a huge fan of Evernote and like when it is integrated, such as with HTC Sense on Android. Evernote supported is provided in the OS and in the BB Remember application. However, I still want a full Evernote client eventually as well.
- Fast modern web browser: The web browser on BB 10 is a pleasure to use. It is fast, supports multiple tabs, and I haven't seen any limitations so far. It even supports Flash for those that want it. I would like to see syncing like I have on Chrome, but it's a nice mobile browser.
- Application manager/active thumbnails: The "home" screen with thumbnails that change content and serve as a task manager is slick. It works much like we have seen on and webOS.
- Documents To Go integration: Windows Phone has integrated mobile Office, but I find the Documents To Go product on BB 10 to offer more functionality with a better user interface. BlackBerry purchased DataViz last year and it is great to see the full version of Documents To Go, with Box and Dropbox storage access, on BB10 devices.
- High resolution display: I am a fan of high resolution displays and the 4.2 inch 1280x768 pixels resolution display with 356 ppi looks fantastic. I like that it is large, yet still helps make the device very pocketable too.
- HDMI out, microSD, removable battery: Some manufacturers limit the consumer with hardware, but on the Z10 you get to control how you watch media, how much memory your device has, and whether or not you wish to carry extra batteries to go days without connecting to power.
- BlackBerry Protect: I like that iOS and Windows Phone offer an integrated find and wipe service and was pleased to see the functionality of BB Protect. The easy website access and control of your device is important for security and peace of mind.
5 things I don't like
I don't expect a new operating system and hardware to be perfect and it isn't. However, as you can see in my list of five things below that bug me, there isn't much to complain about at this time.
- Lack of big name apps: BB10 hasn't yet launched on carriers in the US so the application story might change before the official launch. However, at this time there are not that many to choose from and I hope BlackBerry delivers on all the partnerships they have made with leading developers.
- BlackBerry World browsing and discovery: I didn't like browsing the app store on the PlayBook and I don't really enjoy it now on BB10. I find it easiest to just search for apps I want rather than browsing by category and getting lost in the store structure.
- Viewing next email: I tend to read email in blocks and thus like to move from one message to the next. On Android I simply swipe to get to the next message, but on BB10 I have to go back to the Hub and then select the next message every time and it is NOT an efficient means to navigate your inbox.
- BBM contact discovery: I am not a long time BB user and right now I just have one BBM contact, Kevin Tofel. It doesn't appear to be that easy to find friends in BBM, even those people you are already connected with on social networks or through your contact database. I would like to see better discovery through these types of networks.
- Camera software and quality: The camera software is pretty basic and so far photos look OK, but not great. I expect devices with cameras in 2013 to be able to replace my point and shoot and was hoping for a bit better optics in BB10.
There are still a number of things I want to test out before I post a more in-depth full review that I hope to get up before the end of the week or early next week. Since the Z10 is not yet out in the US, if there is anything you wish for me to check out and include in my full review please leave a comment and I will try to address your question.