The BlackBerry Z10 smart phone comes with a 4.2-in. touchscreen brings the company’s product line up to date with other competing smart phones, offering decent hardware and a brand new redesigned operating system: BlackBerry 10. Whether it catches the breeze and flies in a crowded market depends largely on how well BlackBerry, formerly Research in Motion, markets it, prices it and supports it with plenty of app possibilities.

BlackBerry and the carriers are going to have to work hard to market the Z10, especially considering BlackBerry’s paltry 5% market share, putting it well behind Android and iOS. It is a great smartphone with a fantastic browser and impressive screen resolution that, put together, addresses major flaws in previous BlackBerry touchscreen phones, and QWERTY devices.

BBZ10 FRONTHowever it does come with some problems worth noting. Its uninspired handset styling, lack of applications and the trademark “slow Blackberry boot time.” The Z10 nonetheless deserves the attention of many smart phone buyers, as it competes well with other smart phones in the market

The styling problem: which is a big one, is that the black Z10 just looks like an ugly slab of plastic with a glass cover, it’s unchanged from the Dev Alpha version released last fall. There’s a grip texture on the rear cover, which is nice enough, but nothing special or unseen.

The front, with its curved corners, looks similar to recent iPhones, except that where the iPhone runs glass to all four edges, the Z10 runs glass to the side edges but leaves a quarter-inch-wide band of flat black plastic on both the top and bottom. Where the iPhone display has a black bezel on all four sides, the Z10 has a wider bezel on the left and right sides. There are no control buttons on the front face and the power button is on the top edge.

BBZ10 FRONT WHITEThe Z10 will come in white as well as black, with the white version looking slightly more sophisticated.

The new Z10 begs comparisons to two of the latest hot devices: Apple’s iPhone 5 and Samsung’s popular Android phone, the Galaxy S III. On paper, all three share similar hardware specs. But the real power of the Z10 will be in the new BlackBerry 10 OS, the phone’s interface and its related software, which are vastly superior to previous BlackBerry generations.

At 4.8 oz., the Z10 is a tad heavier than the iPhone 5 (3.9 oz.) and the Samsung Galaxy S III (4.7 oz.).

In size, the Z10 fits in between the other two smart phones at 5.1 x 2.6 x .35 in.

The Samsung Galaxy S III is the biggest (except for thickness) at 5.4 x 2.8 x .3 in. while the iPhone 5 is the smallest at 4.9 x 2.3 x .3 in.

This makes sense, since the Z10’s 4.2-in. display also comes between the Galaxy S II’s 4.8-in. display and the iPhone 5’s 4.0-in. display.

The three phones all have screen resolutions that are very close to each other — the Z10’s LCD display is rated at 1280 x 768 pixels (LCD) while the iPhone 5’s Retina display is 1336 x 640 and the Galaxy S III’s Super AMOLED display is 1280 x 720.

The Z10 seemed to offer up crisper images than the other two. Maybe that is because the Z10 tops the other two at 356 pixels per inch (ppi), compared to 306 ppi for the Galaxy S III and 326 ppi for the iPhone 5.

There are other similarities among the three devices. For example, all three have an 8-megapixel rear camera; however, the Z10 boasts a 2-megapixel front-facing camera , while the iPhone 5’s camera is rated at 1.2 megapixels and the Galaxy S III’s at 1.9 megapixels.

All three have fast processors, with both the Z10 and Galaxy S III running the 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4. The iPhone 5 runs the Apple A6 processor. All three support LTE and up to 802.11n Wi-Fi.

The Z10 offers NFC for file sharing and mobile payments, something the Galaxy S III also includes (but not the iPhone 5). BlackBerry didn’t talk about NFC features at the launch of the Z10 beyond a mere mention, possibly because NFC has already been available in BlackBerry 7 smart phones.

With the Blackberry Q10 due soon, Blackberry can go both ways when it comes to success.

A Bulgarian, Hamiltonian through and through, Petkov is a soon to be graduate from Mohawk College for journalism. He has worked as a video producer, hoping to expand to a news organization. Stefan has made Hamilton his home for News and his hobbies for the past few years and also works part-time at Mohawk College. He enjoys spending time writing, and video editing.

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