After more than a week with the BlackBerry Z10, I’m convinced Apple needs to up its game.
Inmany respects, the BlackBerry Z10 runs circles around my iPhone 5. The industrial design of the device, the screen size and its new QNX-based operating system all reveal iOS’s age. At six, iOS is closer to age 30 in technology years. I summed up my feelings live during the BlackBerry Launch in New York City last week:
— Michael Hainsworth (@hainsworthtv) January 30, 2013
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1Time Shift Camera
The BlackBerry camera has three modes: still, video and Time Shift. Time Shift will take multiple shots over about a half-second. If anyone blinks — or looks off-camera — within that half second, you simply tap their face and “rewind” the image until the blink is gone. But what makes this particularly useful is you can use it for multiple people, and the BlackBerry 10 OS will blend all the faces into a single blink-free image. Great for Christmas gatherings, the office party, or the first day of school, it’s the kind of feature you would have expected from Apple.
The BlackBerry Hub is at the heart of the BB10 OS philosophy: you shouldn’t have to keep switching from app to app to keep up to date on everything and everyone. In the olden days, you knew that blinking red BlackBerry light was an email. Now it could be a Facebook notification, a Tweet mention, a LinkedIn request or a BBM conversation. Responding to a Facebook post doesn’t require launching the Facebook app. You can swipe up and to the right to “peek” into your hub when the red light blinks so you know if it’s worth dealing with right away.
Apple’s iOS contact manager is a joke. BlackBerry 10 has integrated social media and all your communications into Contacts. Then the magic happens: it cross-references your contacts and gives you the ability to Connect via LinkedIn to a Facebook friend, follow on Twitter that LinkedIn colleague, etcetera. Like iOS, birthdays are automatically pulled into the Calendar. And the “Activity” button reveals your contact’s actions on social — and with you.
BlackBerry clearly hasn’t lost sight of it’s early adopters: the suits. An alarm clock is a simple feature, but it’s elegantly designed. The “Bed Side Mode” can disable notifications while enabling the alarm. And after a few moments, the screen dims to keep the clock from becoming a night light. This is going to be a business traveler’s best friend and one of those “soft” reasons why fans of BlackBerry 10 are going to love their devices.
Forget anodized aluminum, the rubberized backing on the Z10 makes the device comfortable to hold. I live in constant fear of dropping my iPhone 5. I’ve deliberately dropped the Z10 on concrete and wood floors, and even had it skid down the ice at my neighbourhood rink. But all because I’ve deliberately dropped it. The backing described by critics as “cheap” beats the smooth and slippery surface of my iPhone any day.
Five Features I Hate About the New BlackBerry Z10
Photos from the BlackBerry 10 Launch
View my behind the scenes photos of the big launch in New York City on my Facebook Page.