BlackBerry Z10 in-depth review: Good phone, truly great OS

BlackBerry's new smartphone has a superior display and navigation, making it a device worth checking out.

By , Computerworld |  Mobile & Wireless, BlackBerry, blackberry 10

The browser also lets you easily save a page as a bookmark or a home screen icon by clicking a dot below the Web page to open a window and then clicking either "Add to home screen" or "Add Bookmark." It just works. Bing, Google or Yahoo can be set as default search engine.

At the launch event, BlackBerry officials barely mentioned the improved browser, but I think it's something the company should be emphasizing.

For this review, I did all my browsing page load trials over Wi-Fi, but also found the browser worked remarkably well over 3G wireless from AT&T. I wasn't able to test LTE capability in the Z10 because AT&T hasn't launched LTE in the Virginia market where I live.

Keeping in touch

BlackBerry 10 makes use of BlackBerry Messenger, a text messaging service that's especially popular in Europe, to provide video chats and screen sharing. Unfortunately, it only works over Wi-Fi, 4G LTE or HSPA+ (but not 3G). I tested both video chat and screen sharing several times with a colleague using a Wi-Fi connection on my end and an LTE connection over his, and was impressed with the features' speed and ease of use.

Matt Hamblen chats with CIO.com's Al Sacco using the BlackBerry Z10.

Video chat is possible with many new smartphones, but the BB10's approach aims for simplicity, and achieves it by letting you set up a screen share with one touch of a button. Once in the video chat, you can access screen-sharing almost instantly with a single icon.

Separating work and play

One feature that could make or break the new OS is BlackBerry Balance, a dual persona separating work and personal data. It works with the new BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 software that runs on servers behind the corporate firewall.

Balance will allow users and IT to separate work apps and email and other data from personal apps, email, music, video and other data -- right on the OS. Each separate area can be reached from either "work" or "personal" icons on the touchscreen display, but emails and messages from both personas can be mingled in a common inbox, if you want.

The advantage of Balance to IT is to be able to strip away work-related data from the smartphone via the server if needed; for example, if a file is seen as too sensitive to reside on worker's Z10 phone, or if a worker leaves and wants to keep personal data on the Z10 after all the work data has been wiped away.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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