Camera And Battery Life
The Z10 has an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash. This camera also features continuous and touch to focus capabilities. During our testing of the camera, it did a good job at focusing on our subjects with only a slight delay. We found the continuous focusing capabilities to be quite handy. We also liked that BlackBerry lets you use the volume keys as shutter buttons.
Overall, sample images taken using the Z10’s rear-facing camera were crisp and had excellent color. The camera had no problems capturing excellent outdoor images. Indoor shots using the flash (when necessary) produced acceptable results as well. Some of the indoor shots can get a little noisy in low lit environments, but this is pretty common among camera phone images and the Z10 does as good, if not better, than other camera phones we’ve used indoors.
BlackBerry includes a feature known as Time Shift mode with the Z10’s camera. This feature takes a series of pictures and lets you select faces from those pictures to create the best image. This concept isn’t new (we’ve seen it on other cameras) but it’s a nice addition that BlackBerry has included. While testing this feature, our results were mixed. Some images created using Time Shift mode turned out ok but others showed some flaws. For example, we took a picture of two adults using Time Shift mode. The adults weren’t moving – just smiling at the camera. At first glance, our final image looked promising. Once we uploaded the image to our desktop to view the image full screen however, we could clearly see where the faces were swapped and stitched together. The man’s beard in the image was blurry while the woman’s chin was offset from the rest of her face. Even though we like the idea of Time Shift, the implementation of the feature doesn’t always produce usable results.
The Z10 utilizes an 1800mAH removable battery that is suppose to last for up to 10 hours of talk time on a 3G network and up to 13 days of standby time. Because BlackBerry doesn’t let you disable the sleep mode on the phone (the longest duration the phone will remain on before going to sleep is 5 minutes), we weren’t able to run our standard Hot Hardware web browsing test on this phone. However, BlackBerry does enable the phone to stay awake when playing a video so we loaded the Z10 up with a 1080p clip and had it play continuously until the phone shut down. While running this test, 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi radios were enabled and the screen was set to 50% brightness. The phone lasted for 5 hours and 28 minutes before shutting down.
In real-world use, the phone was able to get us through a day with moderate use while checking email, taking pictures, surfing the web, etc. That said, heavy users who demand a lot from their phone will likely want to carry their charger and/or a spare battery to ensure they can make it through the day without issue.
Call quality on the Z10 was as good as most other phones we've reviewed. The speakerphone was clear as well and we had no complaints while using this phone to make and receive calls.