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BlackBerry 10 review - BlackBerry 10 features, performance and gripes

FREE with BlackBerry handsets

Manufacturer: RIM (BlackBerry)

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

BlackBerry 10 is the new OS for BlackBerry phones. Here's PC Advisor's BlackBerry 10 review.

We continue our BlackBerry 10 review with a look at apps and media, the browser and camera, and a couple of minor gripes.

BlackBerry 10 review: BlackBerry World - apps and media

At the BlackBerry 10 launch event BlackBerry said that there are 70,000 apps in the new BlackBerry World app and media store, and that all major movie and music labels will be supporting the platform with media sales. It also said that all major apps are there, or will be, including Skype, Kindle and Angry Birds. This was... how can I put this?.. disengenuous.

Skype and Kindle may be coming, but they aren't there yet. Neither is YouTube, although BlackBerry 10 comes with a native YouTube 'app' it is merely a shortcut to the mobile website.

Apps is going to be a huge challenge for BlackBerry 10. It is unlikely ever to catch Android or iOS in terms of sheer numbers of apps, but it needs to provide the main ones. The announcement suggests this is in hand and BlackBerry is not using the Windows Phone 8 argument that Responsive Design and HTML 5 will mean apps become less important than mobile websites.

There are a lot of apps in BlackBerry World. We could install BBC iPlayer, for instance. And the pay-for apps such as Angry Birds Star Wars are cheap - around 75p seemed standard.

The media selection seemed pretty good too. A large selection of music albums from big name artists is available from around £5 (Coldplay) through £8 (Rihanna) to £10.50 (Mumford and Sons - I know, where do they get off?)

And there are movies that you can rent or buy, although with similar inconsistency over price. It is a strange world in which Best Exotic Marigold Hotel costs £8.99 to buy and Prometheus £15.99 to buy and £3.99 to rent.

BlackBerry 10 review: Browser

BlackBerry 10The BlackBerry Browser in BB10 is a typically cut-down mobile web browser. It has its URL bar at the bottom, like the mobile version of IE10. We've read reports that Flash support is built in, but in our tests when we were faced with Flash video a warning message told us we needed to install Adobe's software. And there is no Flash app in BlackBerry World.

We tested the BlackBerry Browser's Javascript speeds in the SunSpider 0.9.1 Benchmark, and the Z10 turned in a slow time of 2085.ms (other test runs were closer to 1700ms). This is slower than the iPhone 5, Lumia 920 and Nexus 4. It's worth pointing out that this is not a test of web-browsing speed, and we found the BlackBerry 10 browser plenty zippy enough.

A settings button bottom right gives you access to - amongst other things - a Reader mode, which strips out the copy from the site at which you are looking, letting you read articles without ads and menus.

BlackBerry 10 review: Camera app

The BlackBerry 10 camera app is up there with the best on modern smartphones. You launc the camera by hiting an icon at the bottom of every home page, or the lock screen. You can take a picture by tapping anywhere in shot, and options include selecting the aspect ratio, using auto flash or manually switching the flash on and off, as well as scene modes.

There's also a feature called 'Time Shift'. This takes multiple shots of a person, allowing you to zero in on their head and select the best smile. You can do this for multiple people in the same shot. It works well, but is very similar to Best Face on Samsung phones and Smart Shot on Nokia's Lumia phones.

BlackBerry 10 review: gripes

BlackBerry 10One problem with this OS is the amount of space it demands. On our 16GB BlackBerry Z10 no fewer than 4GB were taken up by the OS. That's twice as much as Windows Phone 8 - our previous hog of the year.

We're also disappointed that you can't 'see' BlackBerry 10 phones as storage devices when they are attached to Windows PCs via USB. We love the way that Android lets you chuck music and video files into your phone.

BlackBerry 10 Expert Verdict »

Compatible BlackBerry handset
  • Ease of Use: We give this item 8 of 10 for ease of use
  • Features: We give this item 9 of 10 for features
  • Performance: We give this item 8 of 10 for performance
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

With BlackBerry 10 BlackBerry catches up with rival smartphone OSes in terms of features. It looks good, and despite having to learn a new way of navigating, we think it works in an intuitive way. Combined with good handsets it prove popular with people who currently use two phones, but the whole platform may struggle to stand out in a crowded market.

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