BlackBerry Z10—Another Dark Monolith

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BlackBerry Z10—Another Dark Monolith

The BlackBerry is simply a black rectangle when the screen isn't on. There's nothing flashy here. But there is that red LED in the upper right corner. Yes, BlackBerry still includes its famous message LED.

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Home Screen Displays Basic Info at a Glance

The home screen on the BlackBerry shows you the basics. You see the time and date, your next appointment and how many messages of what type are waiting to be read. There are also details of what sort of signals are available and your battery charge, as well as an icon that will take you directly to the camera.

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The App Screen Emerges

BlackBerry follows its practice of providing icons for installed apps as it did in the previous versions, but in the case of the Z10, they cover the whole screen instead of just a row or two at the bottom. Most of the apps on the first screen are included with the Z10. You swipe the screen to the left to see more screens and more apps.

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The BlackBerry Hub Is Always Readily Accessible

The idea with BlackBerry 10 is to let your work flow. This means that you can slide any screen aside to see what's in the BlackBerry Hub, which is where you can have your email, BlackBerry Messenger and text messages collected, along with voice mails, phone calls and notifications. You can choose what you want in the Hub. To see it, you can just slide whatever screen you're on over a little for a look, or you can slide it all the way to access the Hub. When you are done, just slide the screen or app you were using back into place to keep working.

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QNX Delivers Real Multitasking in BlackBerry Z10

Yes, those are four open apps you see, and they're all open and running at the same time. You can switch between them at a touch, open and close apps as needed, and move the screens around to where you want them. BlackBerry 10 is a real-time multitasking operating system that lets you run in a split-screen mode, open multiple windows at once or run apps in the background while you focus on something on the screen. This is the most visible manifestation of QNX you are likely to see these days. But in reality, it's everywhere. QNX probably runs the computer in your car, perhaps the avionics on the airliner you're flying in, or any number of other systems that need stability and reliability along with multitasking.

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A Real Browser That Displays Real Pages

The BlackBerry Web browser doesn't force you to use mobile Web pages. And because of its high-resolution screen, regular pages are very readable as you can see from this incredibly attractive Web page.

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View From the Top of BlackBerry Z10

The top of the Z10 features its sleep/power button and the headphone jack. The headphone jack will work with headphones designed for the iPhone, as well as those designed for BlackBerry and Android devices. One quick push of the button and you put the BlackBerry to sleep; a longer push and you can power it down.

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The Bottom View

The only thing on the bottom is the slot that you use to open the back of the BlackBerry. The slot also serves as the Z10's speaker port.

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The BlackBerry Z10 Home Port

Here you see the USB and HDMI ports. Attach the USB connection to your computer to synchronize the device. You can also use it as a mass storage device.

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The Volume Key

You can turn the audio volume up and down with this button. In the center is a mute button. Some apps make use of this control in other ways, such as to start or stop a video and to rewind or fast forward a video. You can also configure what this control will do using the System Settings.

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The Back Has More Than Just a Fancy Logo

The BlackBerry logo on the removable back of the device is also the near-field communication antenna. In the corner is the 8-megapixel camera and LED flash.

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A Look Inside the BlackBerry Z10

The back cover of the BlackBerry Z10 snaps off so you can remove the battery, the SIM card and the microSD card. You can remove and replace the microSD card without turning off the device or removing the battery. But to get the SIM out, you need to pull the battery.

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Removable Battery Keeps You Charged Up

You can remove and replace the battery whenever you wish. This means that you can keep a freshly charged battery available, and it also means that when the battery eventually wears down, you can get a new one without having to send your device off for service.

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Z10 Works With a Fixed SIM Tray

The SIM card slides out from a fixed SIM tray. This is slightly unusual and can be a little tricky if you don't realize that the card slides into the actual tray rather than using a removable tray as is the case with many other phones. However, once you do it the first time, it's easy.

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