BlackBerry Z10: Cameras

The Z10's main camera is 8Mp with an LED flash, BSI (back side illumination), a dedicated ISP (image signal processor) and a F2.2 lens. The rear camera can record video in up to Full HD 1080p quality.

So far our photos seem alright, but nothing more. You can select anywhere on the touchscreen to focus and then take a picture. The Z10 has a mind of its own with this method but fortunately you can use either volume button to operate the shutter. Here's a sample image from the Z10 (click to enlarge).

BlackBerry Z10 sample image

There are much higher quality cameras available on the market; the iPhone 5 and Nokia Lumia 920 are two that spring to mind.

The main show off feature of the Z10's camera is Time Shift. By taking numerous snaps in one go, you can adjust the whole image or individual elements like someone's face. It's a nice feature but don't be fooled into thinking it's new; the Nokia Lumia smartphones have a similar thing called Smart Shoot.

We like the editing software built in to BlackBerry 10 which allows you comprehensively edit and tweak your pictures. You can crop, rotate, adjust settings like white balance and add Instagram-style filters and borders.

We tested out the front facing 2Mp camera by having a video chat in BBM Video (a new feature of BlackBerry 10). The camera shoots video in 720p quality and we thought it looked pretty good.

BlackBerry Z10: Software

The Z10 is the first smartphone to launch with the all new BlackBerry 10 operating system. The firm decided to build a new OS rather than adopt a third party one such as Android or Windows Phone.

As we mentioned earlier, the Z10 has no physical buttons or touch sensitive soft keys for navigation so everything is done with gestures. Depending on your previous experience this can be a bit baffling.

BlackBerry 10 has quite a lot in common with the PlayBook OS; navigation is similar but the layout is different since the screen is portrait. We found it a little confusing at first but it really doesn't take long to learn the gestures and get acquainted with where everything is.

There is a main home screen which is blank until you launch an app. Once you have, open apps are shown in small windows with four on the screen at any one time with the most recent at the top. We would have like a way to rearrange the windows or pin favourites so they don't move off the screen.

Tapping an app opens it and swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen navigates back to the home screen. Apps always remain running unless you hit the small X button to close them.

A traditional app menu sits to the right of the main home screen so is only a swipe away. Swiping from the top of the screen brings up phone settings or options if you have an app open.

BlackBerry Z10 Hub

Last but not least is the BlackBerry Hub which sits to the left of the main home screen. This is an all-in-one inbox and notification centre for all your accounts – email, text messages, calls, voicemail, BBM and social networks. It shows everything in one feed but you can select individual accounts if that gets too confusing.

In BlackBerry 10 you're never far away from the Hub, and we like that. Swiping from the bottom of the screen minimises what you have open and shows you notifications on the left - the number of new emails for example. You can then choose whether to open the Hub by swiping to the right, swipe back down to return you your app or go straight up to head to the home screen.

Another big feature of BlackBerry 10 is the keyboard. The more you use it the better it can predict which words you need to construct your sentence. Suggested words are spread across the keyboard and choosing one involves flicking it upwards with a satisfying swipe. So far we really like it.

BlackBerry World is the new name for the app store and at launch it has 70,000 apps to choose from, according to the firm. There are also games, music and movies on offer while magazines are available from the BlackBerry Newsstand.

The Z10 has apps like Facebook and Twitter pre-installed but there are some big names missing from BlackBerry World. Amazon Kindle, Skype, National Rail and Whatsapp are just a few although BlackBerry says many of the top names are 'committed' to getting apps onto the store.

It still seems that developers very much prioritise the Android Google Play Store and the iOS App Store, and we can't blame them.

Overall we like BlackBerry 10, after a short amount of time getting used to it, it's very easy and simple to use. Although there we've not seen any lag yet the slow animation time on transitions can give a sense of lag.

BlackBerry 10 is good, however it doesn't go beyond what is already available in the form of iOS and Android. It has merely caught up and presented similar features in an alternative way.

For a more detailed look at BlackBerry's new operating system take a look at our BlackBerry 10 review.

BlackBerry Z10: Battery

The BlackBerry Z10 has a removable battery pack with a capacity of 6.7Wh (1800mAh), lower than most. BlackBerry says it will last up to 13 days on standby and 10 hours talk time.

We got about what we expected from the Z10 which was no more than a day of battery life. It's a shame that it’s a smartphone that you'll have to charge every night, many of the top smartphones last a couple of days. We were hoping it might be an area where BlackBerry could offer something more.

Specs

BlackBerry Z10: Specs

  • BlackBerry 10 OS
  • 4.2in (768x1280)
  • 1.5GHz dual-core processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB storage
  • microSD up to 64GB
  • 8Mp rear camera (1080p video)
  • 2Mp front camera (720p video)
  • dual-band Wi-Fi
  • 4G LTE
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • NFC
  • Micro HDMI
  • micro USB
  • 66x130x9.2mm
  • 135g

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