A year of BlackBerry 10

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Today marks a year of daily use with my BlackBerry Z10, which I bought a couple of days after Koodo Kingston started stocking them. In my opinion, it’s still the best all-around smartphone on the market.

Physically, I think BlackBerry nailed the size with the Z10. It’s just big enough, is comfortable in the hand, and still has BlackBerry’s renowned durability.  After a year of constant use, mine still pretty much looks like new. I get about a day and a half on a charge and have a second battery just in case.

On occasion, I pop the SIM to either put in a Nokia 808 (amazing camera, audio recording, and battery life, lousy otherwise) or an Android 4.1-based Sony Xperia Ion that I own for testing. The 808 actually fares pretty well, but even though it is the pinnacle of Symbian OS, it’s still a creaking OS that just doesn’t cut it for me on busy days. The Android runs usually last about an hour before something frustrates me about the way it works, at which point I move back to the Z10.

To be honest, in light of the doom and gloom relating to BlackBerry’s future, I keep thinking of what I might move to next, but nothing else comes close. The Z10’s keyboard is an order of magnitude better than anything else, and all core apps (calendar, browser, hub, music, camera) are just about perfect. If my Z10 died tomorrow, I’m quite certain I’d replace it with another Z10.  The fact of the matter is that I’ve been using my Z10 daily for almost a year now and wouldn’t trade it for any other device.

The OS is fast and fluid, and the interface reminds me of the best aspects of webOS and BlackBerry OS. The whole experience is such a breath of fresh air after using Android and the platform is far more open to tinkering than iOS or Windows Phone.

BlackBerry App World is sparser than Google Play or the App Store, but it has everything I need. In fact, the amazing core apps cover off almost all of my daily needs, and there are plenty of solid apps for my occasional edge needs.

The browser is second to none, and even supports Flash, the OS is updated frequently and has solid refinements and improvements with each release. 10.2.1, a minor point release, not only adds direct Android APK support, but also overhauls quick settings, and has many other subtle improvements that make everything a bit more efficient.

After almost a year of solid use, my biggest gripe is the lack of an FM tuner, which is to say that I’m still very pleased with the purchase. I use the SD card constantly, the micro HDMI regularly for content purchased on the BlackBerry World store, the core apps are perfectly efficient, the device is snappy. Really, what’s not to like?

If you’re looking for an elegant, well designed smartphone that you can count on, I strongly encourage you to check out a BlackBerry 10 device. In my opinion, the Z10 or Z30 are the best options. Yes, physical keyboards are faster for on-the-go typing, but for every other use that I can think of, the big screen combined with the absolutely amazing software keyboard in BlackBerry 10 make the slate devices a far better choice.

OK, I’ll stop now. Really, though, you ought to check it out, and if you’d like to know more about why I like BlackBerry 10 so much, check out this post that I wrote after using the device for a week. A year later, I stand by everything written. For me, I’m not surprised that BlackBerry 10 is working out so well for me.  After all, it’s QNX! In a phone! With a refined and elegant UI! These days, you can easily pick up a Z10 any day on ebay for a few hundred bucks, and, thankfully, you don’t need BIS/BES or any special data plan anymore.

GoSaBe Blog - Feb 9, 2014 | BlackBerry, GoSaBe News