BlackBerry Z10 review

The Z10 is a beautifully crafted device with excellent messaging capabilities.

  • Intuitive OS, Smooth performance; removable battery
  • Internet performance could be better; Lack of flagship apps on launch

Internet

BlackBerry devices have always been let down by a poor internet experience. Can the revamped browser on the Z10 banish the painful memories? In a word, yes. The 4.2in screen is a good size for web browsing in landscape mode and BlackBerry users will finally have some speed.

The BB10 browser has got all the features you'd expect private browsing, multiple tab support and double tapping for zooming in on text. There is one key differentiator which separates the BB10 browser from the competition. The browser has Adobe Flash integrated, so it will support all the content on the internet. This can be switched on/off by the user as well so if you're happy without it, you won't need to activate it.

BB10 Internet

Not only does the browser have this Flash support, but BlackBerry claims it has been developed specifically to make use of HTML5 standard so it's future-proofed. How fast is it exactly compared to other smartphone browsers?

We tested it using the Futuremark Peacekeeper benchmark and the BB10 browser scored a solid 315 in the test. This translates to swift real-world performance. Sites load up in a couple of seconds over both Wi-Fi and 3G.

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The score puts the BB10 browser ahead of other well established software such as Chrome (285), Opera (225) and Firefox (189). But it lags behind Maxthon (319) and Safari on the iPhone 5 which scored a phenomenal 907.

There is also an option to active "desktop mode" so you get the full version of websites as default.

Navigation

BlackBerry has included turn-by-turn navigation into the OS as standard and, whilst testing this out on the motorway, we found it to be particularly useful. When driving, the device gave plenty of warning before approaching exits. It gives about 500 yards' notice before approaching a roundabout, for example, so you can get ready to tackle the right exit.

However, there's no offline mode - unlike Nokia Drive - so you could end up lost if the data connection wobbles. TomTom supplies the mapping data, points of interest, and traffic information, so it should be reliable although further testing is required.

Camera

There is an 8-megapixel camera on the rear which has an F2.2 lens, autofocus, flash and image stabilisation. The camera supports 1080p HD video recording also.

There are a couple of interesting features built into the camera app. First up the Time Shift feature takes a multiple burst of pictures and allows you to cycle through the faces of individuals so you can choose the best picture. It is also possible to add effects to photos, bypassing the need to use services like Instagram.

Second is the Story Mode feature which allows you to create a short video presentation using videos, pictures and music directly on the device. It's a great little feature built-in and is easy to use. It'll mostly be used to create memories of holidays and days out, but it could have a potential business use case for more creative minds who are always looking to develop ideas on the move.

We've had a little pay play with the feature and here's what we managed to conjure up in a few minutes:

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