BlackBerry Z30 Smartphone: 5-Inch Display Proves Big Isn't Everything
Priority Hub lets users dictate which contacts and conversations are priorities—specifically, or using generally rules like:"Include everyone with my same last name." Yet the software is also good at figuring out on its own what's a priority for the user. While I may get five emails in five minutes, if I go into a 30-minute meeting, I may emerge to 40 new emails. Priority Hub lets me see at a glance the most important ones—instead of hunting for them amid coupon offers, newsletters and Facebook messages. Another efficiency-minded 10.2 upgrade is the ability to see from the locked screen not only how many unread emails and missed Tweets or alerts one has but, by lightly tapping the icon, read the sender and subject line of those emails, as well as the full Tweets and Notifications. Still another is a yellow bar that appears at the top of the screen, when a user is doing anything other than looking at the Hub, to show that a new message has come in. Tapping on the bar to answer a text (and it's clear who the new correspondence is from, not just that there is one) will deliver a user to the text app. When it's a BBM that comes in, though, a user can answer it without leaving YouTube, LinkedIn or whatever he or she is looking at.The Z30's antenna is another unique feature. BlackBerry acquired Paratek as it was readying BB10, and the Z30 is its first device to benefit from that company's technology. While most devices are calibrated for a few conditions, the Z30's Paratek antenna can retune itself on the fly, adjusting to the coverage situation, for a better user experience. There are also other small, nice tweaks to the OS—like, when sharing a photo, the ability to tap the automatically generated image of the contact one shares images with most often, saving the two steps of tapping email and then filling in the contact. BB 10.2 is, overall, a more thoughtful, efficiency-minded version of an already good OS. But unless you really, really have your heart set on 5 inches of digital real estate, it's one you might wait and enjoy on the Z10. Or on whatever, if anything, arrives in 2014. Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.
Hardware benefits specific to the Z30 are its battery, which, grown to accommodate the display, can last through 24 hours of mixed use, according to BlackBerry. I didn't time it, but it was also never an issue, lasting through two days of light use before I plugged it in, though even then it wasn't in the red.