Initial experiences with the BlackBerry Z10

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I’m composing this post on my new BlackBerry Z10 that I picked up yesterday. I’ll post a more thorough review after I’ve used it for a bit. However, thus far I’m very impressed. The device is fast and fluid, feels great in the hand, and has the best on-screen keyboard I’ve ever used.

The built in apps are great. Right away, the calendar, contacts, and music player are better than anything I’ve found on Android. The calendar is the single most important app for me. I use it constantly, and it is a source of frustration whenever I use an Android or iOS device. I’m pleased to report that, while I don’t like it quote as much as Palm’s practically perfect calendar for webOS, it’s close. This is very high praise for me.

They seem to have gotten so many of the details that are important to me right on BlackBerry 10. The browser is fast and works exactly as I expect, the core PIM apps are great, docs to go is bundled and seems to be very well integrated into the OS.   Dropbox is baked in and appears to be available to every app.

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The BlackBerry Z10 running a few apps

Multitasking is very well implemented in BlackBerry 10. Apps really can run simultaneously, as they would on a desktop machine. The Palm Pre managed this with 256MB of RAM and a slow, single core processor. That the Z10 does so as well as it does with 2GB of RAM and a much faster dual core processor should come as no surprise. Still, the entire experience is far more satisfying and fluid than I’ve ever experienced on a phone. The Galaxy Nexus running Android 4.2 I’d almost as fluid but it still doesn’t match the Z10.

The BlackBerry Hub, which had the potential to be a mess, appears to live up to the promise of an all-in-one inbox and central dispatch that really is a simple flick away.

As with the PlayBook, still my favourite tablet, by the way, BlackBerry 10 seems to borrow inspiration from webOS. This is great, as Palm had so many great but half finishes ideas.

Universal search on the Z10 thankfully works as expected. Something that I still haven’t seen from Android or Windows Phone.

The Z10 has a microSD slot. My 32GB card of music dropped right in and worked. The Z10 immediately found all of my music, something that my Motorola Defy Pro seemed to be incapable of using either the bundled TuneWiki or Play Music. Last week I took an hour out in search of an Android MP3 player that saw my music, let me play it , and didn’t have a ridiculous UI. After a half dozen false starts I settled on WinAmp of all things. That’s right, with hundreds of thousands of apps out there, the best I could find was a port of a 15 year old windows player. No thanks.

Android may have a plethora of apps but part of this is because the core offerings are so terrible. The Z10 may not be able to be everything to everyone on day one, but if you’re looking for excellent, fluid core functionality, it seems top notch to me.

Many of my purchased PlayBook apps have already been ported to the Z10. They appear in My World; I didn’t have to purchase them again.

Thus far the only apps I’m missing are an Instapaper client, and KeepassX reader. Both already exist for the PlayBook, so I imagine they will be coming to the Z10 as well. The platform is only a week old.

I don’t want to gush and I think a few solid days of use would be a good idea before drawing any conclusions, but so far I am just thrilled with the new BlackBerry Z10. I didn’t think I could warm up to an all-screen device, but they’ve proven me wrong. The keyboard is top flight and the extra screen real estate is a welcome change compared to the Defy Pro I’ve been using for the past few months. I’m quite optimistic that RIM has a real hit on their hands with the Z10 and BlackBerry 10. For a long time I’ve been saying that QNX could indeed save RIM. I’ll admit that when the delay was announced in 2011, I thought that they might be too late for a recovery. Initial use of this device and OS have convinced me that they did the right thing.  RIM clearly learned from the initial PlayBook launch debacle and wisely chose to avoid repeating that mistake.  The result is an incredibly well thought out and executed combination of hardware and software. I look forward to the return of the BlackBerry as a going concern. I think they might have a hit here.

GoSaBe Blog - Feb 10, 2013 | BlackBerry, Hardware, Web Standards