The fourth button is evidently a design feature intended for business users. Testing the Z10 we found that the button's audio feature was very useful, especially when using the smartphone as a dictaphone, with it allowing us to easily check our notes when out of the office.
Our one qualm with the Z10 and its design is that it doesn't feel very sturdily built. Testing the device we found the Z10's backplate can on occasion detach itself when faced with even the smallest jolt. We also found that the matte black finish on our demo device wasn't all that scratchproof and would regularly pick up marks.
Blackberry has taken a bold step with the Z10 by choosing not include a physical Qwerty keyboard. Instead the Z10 is an entirely touch activated device with a 4.2in capacitive touchscreen display.
The display is one of the Z10's biggest selling points and we have to concede that it is one of the best we've seen on any smartphone. The Z10's display boasts crystal clear 356ppi pixel density with 1280x768 resolution. This means that viewing text and watching video on the Z10 are great, with it generally proving legible and boasting appropriate brightness and colour balance levels.
Our only issue with the Z10's display is that it doesn't perform quite as well when viewed at an angle or outside in bright sunlit conditions. While still legible, we found that when looking at the Z10 from even a slight angle colours could begin to look a little smudged and take on a strange swampy hue. Additionally, we found that the screen was reflective when hit with direct sunlight, making it all but unusable outdoors.
The Z10's software is by far its most interesting feature, as it is the first smartphone to run Blackberry 10.
The OS attempts to appeal to those using personal devices for work, adding a host of more consumer-oriented features to Blackberry's core secure enterprise services. The primary way it does this is by letting users separate their work and business lives using Blackberry Balance.
Balance lets you create separate work and personal spaces on any Z10 connected to a Blackberry Enterprise Service 10 (BES10) network. The service creates a separate area for work that offers a host of special features, including 256-bit AES encryption for information stored in the space.
It also offers administrators separate device management options, meaning that while they may have permissions to remote wipe or lock information in the work area, they won't have such powers over the user's personal space.