First device to sport the new BB10 operating system, the BlackBerry Z10 is a brave new start for the company formerly known as RIM. The familiar keyboard is gone and in its place is an iPhone-like design, a 4.2-inch screen and an entirely touch-driven interface. It’s not the first time that a BlackBerry handset has gone completely keyboard-less, but it’s arguably the biggest change in the company’s history.
Change can be a headache, especially if you’re a seasoned BlackBerry user. There are an awful lot of differences in the latest version of the BlackBerry OS, and that means a generous helping of tips and shortcuts is in order.
1. Type faster
BlackBerry phones are famous for their physical keyboards, and even though the Z10 omits this iconic interface, it’s no slouch when it comes to text input. The on-screen keyboard is bursting with cool features and the way in which it predicts your next word is uncanny. During typing, if the word you’re looking to spell is predicted successfully, simply swipe upwards on the relevant button and it will be inserted into the message you’re creating.
If you’d rather the suggested words appeared above the keyboard rather than directly over it, go to Settings > Language > Input > On-Screen Keyboard. Select In-Column in the Text Prediction Display settings.
2. Take a screenshot of the display
If you fancy taking a snapshot of what your Z10’s screen is currently showing, simply hold down the Up and Down volume keys at the same time. The image will be magically deposited in the Pictures folder.
3. Get connected
The BlackBerry Hub does exactly what it says on the tin — it’s the centre of the Z10 experience, and will be where you spend most of your time. You can add an email address, which also syncs with calendars and contacts, but it’s also possible to link up social networking accounts such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. To add more accounts, tap the ‘…’ icon in the bottom-right corner of the screen and then select Settings > Email Accounts.
4. Turn your phone into a clock
Swipe down from the lock screen to activate the clock. This also suppresses all notifications, so it’s a handy feature when you don’t want to be disturbed. To put the phone back into its normal state, simply swipe up or down on the display.
5. Activate voice control
Android has Google Now and iOS has Siri, but the Z10 isn’t to be outdone — it has Voice Control, too. You can access this feature by holding down the Mute button for two seconds, and then command your phone using nothing but your dulcet tones.
6. Take a photo from the lock screen
It’s possible to take a snap without even unlocking your phone. Simply hold your finger down on the camera icon for a few seconds and it will open up, ready for that impromptu photo of your friend accidentally colliding with a lamp post during a frantic BBM conversation.
7. Turn your phone into a USB storage device
Android owners will already be aware how handy it is to have a phone that doubles as a means of storing and transferring files. The Z10 offers the same function, but you’ll need to make sure it’s enabled correctly before you go plugging your Cellulari DUAL SIM ANYCOOL into the nearest PC. Go to Settings > Storage and Access and select the appropriate USB storage option — you can pick Windows or Mac, or alternatively you can allow the phone to auto-detect the OS it’s trying to communicate with.
8. Finding application settings
Struggling to find the settings for the application you’re currently viewing? Try swiping down from the top of the screen — you’ll find that it often reveals additional settings, help guides or other info about the current app.
9. Hide the keyboard
Want to see more of the screen but can’t because the on-screen keyboard has popped up? Simply swipe down the screen with two fingers and the keyboard will dock itself, offering you an unimpeded view of the display. You can also activate the keyboard at any time by swiping with two fingers in the opposite direction.
10. Find your phone if you lose it
Everyone has those days when you’re about to leave the house and can’t find your phone. Where is it?! Thankfully, the Z10 has BlackBerry Protect. You can enable this feature from the System Settings menu and once it’s switched on, you can use your computer to track the location of the device.
11. Preview your last photo without opening it
You can quickly get a better view of the last image you took with the camera — just hold your finger in the corner of the thumbnail that appears in the corner of the display, then drag to expand it. This means you can look at the photo without having to leave the camera screen and wait for the image viewer application to open.
12. Take the perfect picture with Timeshift
Timeshift takes several snaps of a single scene and allows you to pick the best one. It’s especially handy when you’re taking photos of people, as it means you can avoid problems like blinking eyes or mis-timed smiles. To enable Timeshift, just tap the camera icon when you’re in the camera application and then select the leftmost symbol.
13. Check your battery as a percentage
That battery icon in the top corner of the display is all well and good, but sometimes you need actual numbers to get an idea of how much juice remains in the tank. It’s perfectly possible on the Z10, but the process is rather long-winded. You’ll need to visit Settings > About and then change the category from General to Hardware. The battery level will be shown as a percentage.
14. Make the screen easier to read
Not everyone is blessed with perfect 20:20 vision — if we were, we’d all be fighter pilots competing for the Top Gun trophy — and it’s for this reason that so many phones come with Accessibility options built-in, which cater for those with impeded eyesight. On the Z10 you can enlarge the font to make it easier to see by going to Settings > Accessibility > Display Settings.
15. Select which messages appear in the BlackBerry Hub
If you’re something of a social butterfly and have loads of Twitter followers, Facebook friends and LinkedIn associates — not to mention a full inbox — you might want to be more picky about which messages appear in the BlackBerry Hub to avoid going totally insane from all the content flooding into your phone. From the Hub menu, tap the ‘…’ icon in the bottom-right corner and select Settings. Then pick Hub Management and toggle the accounts you wish to receive notifications from.