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Design & Hardware

 The Blackberry Z10 has a premium look and feel to it and with its metal frame and rubberized back material feels great in the hand.

The Z10's main camera captures 8-megapixel images which was the standard pixel-count in last year's top end devices but looks a little underwhelming next to the 13MP sensors on 2013 flagship phones such as the Sony Xperia Z, Samsung Galaxy S4 or ZTE Grand S. However, considering most smartphone images are shared and/or edited at smaller sizes the Blackberry's 8MP are probably enough for most users and with its F2.2 lens the Canadian manufacturer follows the trend towards faster lenses on high-end handsets. The Blackberry's lens lets in a hair less light than the fastest F2.0 lenses, but the real-world difference is minimal. However, unlike some of the top-end competition, such as the Nokia Lumia 920 or the brand new HTC One, the Z10 does not come with an optical image stabilization system.

BlackBerry doesn’t quote the lens’s focal length equivalent, but in the EXIF data it is reported as 31mm equivalent. We’ve seen a general trend towards wider angle lenses on phones with quite a few 28mm-equivalents on the market. The thinking seems to be that people want to pack more into their shots, but the “best” focal length will vary according to a photographer’s preference. If you take a lot of portraits with your phone, a slightly longer focal length may work better.

The camera is mounted in the top corner, so you need to be a little careful to keep your fingers out of the frame.

The Z10’s camera and flash are located in the far top corner which makes it easy to get your fingers in the way when holding the device in landscape orientation.

The surprising lack of any hardware buttons on the front of the phone (mechanical or capacitive) stems from BB10’s gesture-based interface and means all attention is on the screen. At 4.2 inches, it’s on the smaller side by today’s pocket-IMAX standards, but it’s plenty big. The 1280 x 768 resolution works out to a very fine 356 pixels per inch at this size, a density higher than Apple’s Retina displays. It renders pictures and text tack sharp and remains visible in bright sun. 

The Z10’s design is conservative but elegant, especially in the old-guard black option. It’s also available in white, which we suppose is the new black. With its matte rubber back, neither one will look too flashy in your hand when taking a picture. 

 Apart from the power button on top of the device the volume rockers on the right are the only physical controls on the Z10.
 On the left you'll find two connectors - the familiar Mirco-USB port for charging and data transfer is placed next to a Micro-HDMI connector.

The Z10’s photographic ergonomics are good (for a phone). The critical contact points where your fingers meet the phone are a sandwich of three materials: a thin bezel around the screen that extends over the front edge of the handset, a plastic-sheathed steel body frame, and a soft, rubbery case backing that rolls around the back edge of the phone. The flat-to-rounded shape and the traction offered by the matte backing material make for a confident grip in shooting position.

Alas, the Z10 doesn’t have a “real” shutter button like the Windows phones we’ve reviewed lately. For people who want to press something mechanical, the camera app treats the volume buttons as shutters. These lie under your left finger and don’t have the advantage of a two-stage press for focusing and recomposing, but they’re better than nothing. 

Comments

Total comments: 26
write2alan
By write2alan (3 months ago)

I just picked up a new Z10 for $200 CAD with no strings attached and very impressed with the phone and its features. The camera is decent. The newest updated OS (Blackberry is Linux based) can run most Android apps. LOL....
Mr. Chen did listen and he should have done this years ago! Maybe Google didn't let them make their phones Android compatible at the time.

0 upvotes
eveningaccessories
By eveningaccessories (Apr 25, 2013)

I definitely like the camera shortcut. Who wants to fumble around when you're anxious to take a picture. My current camera delays until the focus is correct so I think that is good in a phone also. Limited options are good for me. Too many and I can't remember what's what.

0 upvotes
eveningaccessories
By eveningaccessories (Apr 25, 2013)

You've given a good description of the Blackberry. It looks very sleek, comfortable and functional. I would certainly consider buying one.

0 upvotes
eveningaccessories
By eveningaccessories (Apr 25, 2013)

Thank you for this review. Blackberry has always been through of as a serious phone but I guess lately has become less popular. Its good to see them get back in the running. A good camera should help.

0 upvotes
Tom Goodman
By Tom Goodman (Apr 22, 2013)

I'd like to amend the now famous maxim that "the best camera you own is the one you have with you" to read "the best camera...except those built into cellphones."

3 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Apr 22, 2013)

Plenty of people are taking great pictures with phone cameras these days. The maxim still holds true. Just take a look at the various Flickr iPhone photo galleries:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/throughthelensofaniphone/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lumixm43/8655228068/

I've seen far worse photography done with much more advanced DSLRs.

1 upvote
Tom Goodman
By Tom Goodman (Apr 22, 2013)

Not convinced.

1 upvote
T3
By T3 (Apr 22, 2013)

@Tom Goodman, you're not convinced because you're probably one of those crazy pixel peepers who can't enjoy a photo unless you're scrutinizing it at 100% magnification in Photoshop! Hahaha. Well, hate to break it to you, but out in the REAL world, people don't look at photos that way. Ultimately, today more than ever, the actual image is far more important than the device you used to capture the image. That's what photography is really about-- the photo, not the device. But alas, there are people like you who just don't get it, and think photography is more about the equipment than the actual photo.

2 upvotes
Tom Goodman
By Tom Goodman (Apr 22, 2013)

You are wrong on every count. Indeed, cellphone camera zealots like yourself are the ones who believe equipment is all. Throwing around phrases like "pixel peeper" reveals your true orientation. I have never used it myself. Throwing around assertions about what "photography is really about" only reveals your own insecurities...or hubris!

1 upvote
Eric Hensel
By Eric Hensel (Apr 23, 2013)

The problem is, Tom, whether or not your original post is correct --it's irrelevant

1 upvote
T3
By T3 (Apr 23, 2013)

Tom, I'll say it again: it's about the photos. I could care less about what someone uses to create a photo. I use Canon FF and APS-C DSLR bodies, an Oly m4/3, various compact P&S cameras, and yes, a smartphone camera, too. Doesn't matter, I've gotten wonderful, memorable, cherished photos from all of them. Like I said, it's about the photos, not the device. Open up your mind. Sadly, narrow minds have narrow ideas, hence your comment that I am a cellphone camera "zealot"! Haha. Yes, someone who says that it's about the photos, not the device, is a cellphone camera "zealot". Hahaha! Absurd.

I stand by my assertion that "the best camera is the one you have with you" still holds truer than ever. But only a device "zealot" would say something like "...except those built into cellphones"...especially in the face of evidence to the contrary:

http://www.mobilephotoawards.com/slideshow.php

The pictures say it all.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Anepo
By Anepo (May 31, 2013)

If you plan on repeating chase jarvis's famous line, then please at least get it f*****g right!

0 upvotes
tompabes2
By tompabes2 (Apr 22, 2013)

Daylight images are very good for a smartphone! More or less same quality as the best smartphones (iPhone 5 and GS3/4).
In low light, that's another story... at the moment only smartphones with optical stabilizer (the 920 and the HTC One) can deliver decent results (but the 920 has serious problems in daylight...).

0 upvotes
mr_landscape
By mr_landscape (Apr 22, 2013)

I do not understand dpreview team! For what sake they review mobile phones with crippled camera abilities? There are MANY dedicated cameras and lenses that completely out of the coverage.

2 upvotes
nima66999
By nima66999 (Apr 22, 2013)

tnx

0 upvotes
andreas2
By andreas2 (Apr 22, 2013)

I bought a camera and all I got is this phone.

0 upvotes
captura
By captura (Apr 21, 2013)

BB has indicated that the OS from the 10 will be going into their Playbook tablet, eventually. Those of us who have a Playbook would like to know when.

0 upvotes
knize10
By knize10 (Apr 21, 2013)

Tomorrow's junk.

5 upvotes
andreas2
By andreas2 (Apr 22, 2013)

Include every piece of electronic equipment you have ever bought.

2 upvotes
raimaster
By raimaster (Apr 21, 2013)

Ouch do you use Z10 from Verizon for this test?? its bad, really bad because it has the oldest OS. Try the newer ones from AT&T or Canada carrier or event download the latest OS. There is many improvement, Yes, Z10 has HDR mode, it has also stabilization shooting mode (my fave mode), - check it out nice shot by Z10:
http://jtinseoul.wordpress.com/

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (Apr 21, 2013)

It's got a stabilization mode but not optical stabilization which is a big difference. Once an update is available we will have a look at that HDR mode.

4 upvotes
raimaster
By raimaster (Apr 21, 2013)

Firstly i really want to know which OS version dpr team use for this test? Second, its bit too early to make a test because new OS 10.1 just leaked yesterday (you can download it) add. new feature such as HDR and camera improvement even better. Do you want to re-shots again after upgrading the OS? I have Z10 and i think its not below the other smartphone on market today. Few camera application is really good.
BB z10 + app UberIris http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51247925

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (Apr 22, 2013)

If we'd always wait for firmware updates we'd never get anything tested. The device is available in the shops, people need to make buying decisions with the current firmware and that's what we are testing with, not something that "got leaked" today.

3 upvotes
dpLarry
By dpLarry (Apr 22, 2013)

True. That's why the camera reviews are alot faster now.

2 upvotes
raimaster
By raimaster (Apr 22, 2013)

Oh no way, once you buy from another carriers today (except Verizon) the newer OS is already there to download. Published since last month i guess. Why it is important? because you will have Z10 with overall much better performance and slightly better in low light shooting.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
RC
By RC (Apr 22, 2013)

You are talking beta firmware (or is it even alpha?) and I am pretty sure that DPR used the latest standard firmware for their test, which would be a V 10.0.xx firmware. I have the Z10 and I also own the iPhone 5, Galaxy Note II and the latest HTC One and the Z10 has by far the worst camera. It isn't bad for snapshots, not at all but comparing it to the mentioned other phones I own, it lacks a lot of quality. DPR is right and you cannot expect DPR to test an alpha/beta build or even wait for the "next big" firmware update. This is ridiculous. Btw: My Z10 has the latest 10.0.10.99 (Vodafone) firmware.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Total comments: 26
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