Noted Tech Reviewer Calls BlackBerry (BBRY) Z10 Good, But Tweaks, Apps are Needed

January 30, 2013 12:53 PM EST
BlackBerry (Nasdaq: BBRY)(Nasdaq: RIMM) just released its BlackBerry 10 operating system and two new devices Wednesday morning and venerable tech reviewer Walt Mossberg is putting in his two cents early.

Mossberg was taking a look at BlackBerry's Z10, the no-keyboard model running BB10. He had been testing it for a week and went into the review with fresh eyes, given that BB10 was redesigned from the ground up.

Initially, he notes that the Z10 "worked fine" in his tests, but is a "work in progress." Pluses were the new virtual keyboard and camera, as well as gathering all messages into a single location. Negatives include app count at launch and cloud-storage system for saving and sharing files.

Mossberg said size and weight of the Z10 was midway between the iPhone and larger Android competition. It also felt good in the hand. The Z10 has a 4.2-inch screen, 8-megapixel camera, comes in white or black, and has 16-gigabytes (GB) of on board storage. Notably, BlackBerry is sticking with the removable battery (something the iPhone and many Android phones don't have), while also allowing memory expansion to 32-GB with removable card.

Mossberg also noted that there was a lot of swiping going on: from bottom up to unlock the device, a similar move to go to the home screen, left-to-right to switch between accounts in BlackBerry Hub (where your accounts are aggregated). If you're a fan of swiping, BB10 may be for you.

He also lauded the keyboard, saying it was basically the best factory keyboard he's ever used out of the box.

The BB10 browser was "adequate," but slower than standard iOS and Android browsers, Mossberg said, even on a fast WiFi network.

On an AT&T (NYSE: T) network, Mossberg never got download speeds higher than 2-MBPS despite running on an LTE network.

Overall, he thinks BlackBerry did a solid job and it might get the company back in the game. If it gets more apps (70,000 at launch, but missing some of the more-popular ones).

Shares of BlackBerry are down 5.5 percent, but melting higher Wednesday afternoon.

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