Review: BlackBerry Z10 Launches in U.S.

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Last night I attended the Hollywood launch party for the BlackBerry Z10, the new flagship phone from the company now known as BlackBerry instead of RIM.

I’ve had just a little bit of hands on time with the phone (still using it to see how it all works) but here are my impressions so far:

  • I love the form factor. It’s very iPhone-esque. It has a great in-hand feel and is just rubbery enough so you don’t drop it easily.
  • The screen is bright and easy to see and use. I particularly like the unlock animation which sort of looks like what happens when you turn on the defroster in your car – the lock screen sort of melts away.
  • The operating system has some remnants of the original BlackBerry, but it’s pretty much all new and something all users will have to learn. Basically, instead of a home button you swipe up from the bottom to access your recently used apps and app icons. Another swipe from the left to right will bring you to your email, now stationed in something called the Hub, which puts all of your accounts into one universal inbox.
  • The Time Shift feature is pretty neat – it captures a few frames before and after you take a picture so you can then adjust it to get the perfect smile from your subject. However, this only works without the flash.
  • The keyboard is quite easy to use…the predictive text works well but I don’t really find myself “swiping up” to complete words.
  • Some big name apps like Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare and LinkedIn are built in or pre-loaded into the phone, but the app library definitely isn’t as thorough as Android or Apple. You will find yourself wanting more – blockbusters like Instagram just aren’t there. The good news – this can change over time.
  • BlackBerry Z10 launches on AT&T this week, Verizon Wireless next week for about $200.
  • Overall it’s a solid design and the operating system shows a lot of promise but it’s going to be an uphill battle for BlackBerry to convert current Android or iPhone users.

I gave away two copies of The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct video game for PS3, signed by actor Norman Reedus who plays Daryl on the hit TV show. As a bonus, I thew in an ear necklace for the winners.

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