The Awesomist Takes AT&T’s New Blackberry Z10 for a Spin — And Falls in Love

We at Hatch HQ are a divided family. Hatfields and McCoys? They’ve got nothing on us. Here, it’s Blackberrys and iPhones.

Zeke Quezada is not ashamed to admit that he’s a loyal Blackberry user. He likes the buttons, the display, the wheel, the feel, the reliability. He’s also not an iPhone fan. Hates the thing. But lately he’s been feeling a little more unloved. Too unloved, actually. He needed a bright, shiny new toy to sport when his iPhone friends flashed their bling. His day may have finally come.

Last week, when our friends at AT&T offered to let the Hatch be the first in the Dallas market to test drive Blackberry’s new Z10, Zeke’s pulse quickened and it hasn’t slowed down. Here’s why AT&T is going to have to pry their loaner Z from his cold, dead hands. 

I swipe up to turn on. I swipe to the right and my messages appear.  I flick to type even faster. I slide, flick, glide, pinch and soon with relatively no pain I am interacting with the new Blackberry Z10.

Blackberry lovers have grown up with four buttons that tell us what to do. We live and die by these buttons. The introduction of the Z10 has forced us to grow up. We have been placed on our bike and been asked to ride without our training wheels.

I feel all grown up.

The Hub

The new Hub shows me everything I’m always looking for. I’ll never be able to use the excuse that I did not see the message because right there in front of me, each of my email accounts, text messages and social media feeds are ready to alert me. I didn’t believe they could make notification easier but they have.

This new notification system allows you to see every message without having to open the mail or messaging application. If you are looking to keep up with incoming messages, it’s perfect for the quick glance. If you need the entire message, just click and you go there fast.

There might be a way to keep all my email separated, but I couldn’t find it. On a day when social media is really busy, some text messages might get buried.

The Keyboard

The BlackBerry is my badge of honor. I wear it proudly. I have not wandered over to the side of carrying a toy around with me. It’s my tool. My roving office. My Blackberry has long been the constant in my professional life. The keyboard and the access to my email when I need it instantaneously are the primary reasons I practically worship each of the Blackberries I have owned. ( I have had plenty over the last few years)

Email is still the same but gone in the Blackberry Z10 is the keyboard. Each and every Blackberry loyalist I talked to mentioned the need for a keyboard. I always mention the need for a keyboard.  I have always thought I NEEDED a keyboard.

But I have been convinced otherwise. I have been converted. Two hours into my inaugural session with the Blackberry Z10 and I was typing at super fast speeds with few or no mistakes. Comparing 500 words typed on my BlackBerrry Torch 9810 to the new BlackBerry Z10, I had 3 errors compared to 10 with my old smart phone. Flick to add an auto complete word and you’ll soon be typing faster than one of those secretaries on Mad Men.

Things I’ll miss

  • Navigation – It takes longer to teach an old dog a new trick so there’s a learning curve. Most of the settings on the Z10 are similar to the older Blackberry OS;  it just takes a couple of days to find the new ones. I’m sure a tutorial will exist to help find your old stuff but realistically I usually work my way through a new device so that is exactly what I did in this case.
  • This might sound crazy but I navigated through every screen of the new BlackBerry Z10 and I really can’t find anything I’ll miss about the old platform.

What I’m Happy About

  • Contacts – I can sort by association. Do I know this person or do I work with this person? Am I following them on Twitter or are they a Facebook friend? Sorting through a large volume of contacts becomes easier. I now can see who my favorite people are.
  • Time Shift – This camera feature has turned me into an impressive photographer. Hold the button and your camera phone stores images a few seconds before and after you pressed the button. You will not miss the perfect occasion because a slider bar allows you to move back in time and capture the precise moment you were attempting to photograph.
  • Applications – The available applications are far more impressive than in the past and it is safe to say that if it is a popular app there is a good chance that it is available now or will be in the very near future on a Blackberry.
  • Managing files is way easier now as you can actually just select and edit like never before. All your files on one screen with an easy selection tool that makes organizing them a breeze.


The new Blackberry World is full of the typical apps you might have already heard of. (BlackBerry claims 70,000) While I went through a few I’m still not certain that I’ll be using my phone for that purpose but I now have a choice so I’ll be downloading Angry Birds just because I can.

Surfing the Web

If you are in ATT ‘s 4G LTE Network you’ll be zooming from page to page at such a quick pace you’ll be alarmed. Graphics on the screen pop up and moving from link to link is faster than I have ever experienced on a Smartphone.

My Experience with BlackBerry

I use one hand for the important stuff and one hand to manage my life. I’m that guy. I’m the guy with the Blackberry fused to his hand. I’m the guy who scoffs at those other people with toys masking as smart phones. I’m the guy who has conversations via email and explains the merits of the Blackberry to everyone, whether or not they want to hear it.

I wrote a novel on a BlackBerry.(Actually five novels. I pound those keyboards to submission). I’m posting pictures to social media with my BlackBerry.  I’m contributing to blogs with my BlackBerry. It’s my tool, my time saver, my assistant and my friend. (Too creepy?)

Have I considered going to the dark side, the iPhone? Sure, I’ve seen the big touch screens. I’ve fantasized about applications that turn my images into works of art. I have a soft spot in my heart for birds that are launched through the sky in order to smash structures.

But, I’m loyal.

And now I no longer have to ask others to take pictures for me with their picture enhancing Smartphone. I can actually read the news on my larger screen. I can type faster, work more efficiently and depend on my device.

I’m sold on the new BlackBerry Z10. And I want one NOW!