The wraps came off the first smartphone running the new version of the BlackBerry OS today, and I was there for the big reveal. I even got some hands-on time.
There is nothing particularly special about the BlackBerry Z10. It's not the biggest or brightest phone on the market, nor is it the most powerful. But for the company formerly known as RIM, now called just BlackBerry, the Z10 is the most important smartphone in its history. Why? Because the Z10 represents BlackBerry's great hope for the future.
To be sure, this is a solid smartphone. It has a 4.2-inch 1280 x 768 display (356 pixels per inch), 2GB of RAM, and a dual-core 1.5GHz processor. It supports NFC and Bluetooth 4.0. It compares favorably with other smartphones on the market, at least on paper, but its spec sheet isn't pushing industry boundaries.
The BlackBerry Z10 weighs less than a third of a pound, making it one of the lightest available, and it feels it when handled. It's a bit thicker than other phones of its size and some tablets, notably the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini, coming in at about 0.35 inches thick. But that's a good thing as the added girth makes it comfortable to grip and hold.
It's textured rubberized backing also adds comfort, and is by far superior to the glossy plastic Samsung too often utilizes, and even the cool aluminum of the iPhone 5.
BlackBerry still retains its focus on utility with the Z10, as evident by the removable back panel, battery, and hot-swappable microSD card slot. Also present are a power button, volume rocker, speech-input shortcut button, 3.5mm audio jack and a microHDMI out. The microHDMI port is especially notable as other manufacturers had ditched it in favor of an MHL-supported USB output.
The Z10 feels good and solid, though it's mostly glass front might not survive as many drops as the BlackBerry Bolds of old without cracking.
Brighthand has a review unit for this new BlackBerry, so expect a review in the coming days. In the mean time, check out our BlackBerry 10 Hands-On Preview and well as the BlackBerry Q10 Hands-On Preview.
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