GesturesThis is the hallmark of BlackBerry 10; you will not find any buttons on the screen. Now let me point out something that I see being sold as a lie about BlackBerry 10, many reviewers say gestures are hard to learn. My take is if you cannot hold a car steering wheel and change gears at the same time then BlackBerry gestures are not for you, in fact it’s harder to ride a tricycle than it is to muster gestures. So those reviewers are probably smoking something.
Battery LifeThis phone sports a 2880mAh battery, this sounds like it’s not very much to go on but BlackBerry has one advantage, the Operating System and the Hardware are their own. This means hardware is optimised for use with the software meaning the Z30 will get all the work done using a Dual Core processor hence its power efficiency is above those of its peers in the 5 inch range. I am a heavy user & so I am impressed with how the Z30 has handled, to give an idea of how much my appetite for power is, I can get through 2GB of data within 3 weeks and this is limited to occasional download of whatsapp video like 2 times a week at no more than 5MB each, no Youtube and I do quite a lot of Wifi Hotspot, there are websites I use at work that are not accessible when using the LAN for internet. Wifi Hotspot consumes a lot of battery life, my Z10 was taking a beating in that regard and I was content with 5 hours from full battery to 0%. Within those 5 hours was at least one hour of Wifi Hotspot. On the Z30 I making it through the day, currently I have done 2 hours of Wifi Hotspot and battery is just below 40% with an uptime of 8 since I took it off the charger.
Network ConnectivityI work in an area of Sandton which is like a ditch, on low ground and far from the busy central business district. With my BlackBerry Z10 I could get good network coverage outside the work premises but once sat on my desk I would lose connectivity probably something to do with the building design or too much interference. So I had a perfect place to test out the endurance of the BlackBerry Z30 in that regard. I was eager to see how the Paratek Antenna would stand up to the notorious building. I am happy to confirm that I am getting all 5 bars of network service. So no gimmick, this technology really works in those headache places like basements and remote areas.
Camera PerformanceI have seen people frown on the BlackBerry Z30 for having an 8MP camera, often comparing it to the BlackBerry Z10. But like I saw, the megapixels are only half the yardstick to measure how good a camera is, much goes to the medium through which the image is viewed. The Z30 has an OLED display and images appear sharper, even those I took on my Z10 look much different once I had moved them to Z30. The image editor also comes with more options and enhancements.
BlackBerry 10.2 SoftwareThis is a major highlight of the BlackBerry experience, the 10.2 update to the operating system brings a lot of new features which I am still discovering so this will not be exhaustive:
Text EditorsWhen you are in any type form (text, email, BBM, Whatsapp..) and you select text an on screen pop up will show up with options to Copy, Select All or Share as shown below, yes you can share textlines to Email, BBM, BBM Group, Text Messaging and other Social Media.
|Text Editor - Copy, Select All & Share|
When you go to another type form and touch the empty space it will display the options to Paste, Selective Select, Select All or Share as shown below:
|Text Editor - Paste, Selective Selection, Select All & Share|
The above are the additions that came with the 10.2 update, the options for Bold, Italics, Underline, bullets, font adjustments, and text colour remain as on the 10.1 software.
The gesture based interface made things easy with Peak, in line with the motto #Keepmoving 10.2 update brings the feature to reply to BBM & Whatsapp and other social media from within any application or home screen, when the message comes in, you will see it at the top of the screen, you can tap on it to go to the application, tap the instant reply option to send a quick reply from wherever you are. Below is screen shot of a BBM reply straight from within the Settings Menu:
|Reply BBM, Text, Email, Whatsapp from Anywhere|
BBM Natural Sound
You probably have heard of BBM Natural Sound, I set out to make a test call, a BBM Voice call. It was amazing how the clarity of the call came through as if you are speaking to the person face to face. This is not only great for BBM Voice and Video, since the application comes with screen share, this will be an awesome way to share that awesome stadium atmosphere, that party and other events and make the people being shared with hear it as if they part of the proceeding. Think of a sales man selling a hi-fi audio system telephonically and the customer wants to know how the sound works out, they can have screen share with natural sound without having to be in loco. BlackBerry is built with business savvy users in mind, Natural Sound can bring Executives in different countries to speak as if they are in one room, no problems of distorted sound.
|BBM Voice & Video with Natural Sound|
This is a nice feature which allows you to see what is happening on the device, it has a Device Monitor which is like the Task Manager on your Windows PC and also View Default Apps which sets what application will be used for certain tasks such as opening maps will be dedicated to either of Google Maps, BlackBerry Maps or other application.
The Device Monitor is the best, it allows one to see how open apps are performing or those running in the background, suppose an application is leaking memory you can see how much it is using and also check those apps which run in the background which can potentially use up data. This is a great tool for diagnosing source of problems on the smart phone. Below is a screen shot of the Device Monitor:
|Device Monitor in App Manager|
So this is not a full review of all the specifications, I picked up additions to the features added on BlackBerry 10.2 update. There is still much to discover like how the phone adjusts to how you are consuming content for example if you receive a voice note on Whatsapp and play it with the phone on your desk or hands, the audio will come out of the loud speakers, when you move the phone to your ear piece it will recognise this and audio will come through ear piece without you changing anything. More hidden features will be unearthed and highlighted, thank you.