A scant 5 years ago BlackBerry was at the top of the world and had one of the bestselling mobile phones on the planet, especially among businesspeople.  Over the last few years though the proliferation of ‘smart phone’ like the iPhone and the myriad of Android based phones have pushed BlackBerry to the side, some though for good.

Recently however the new BlackBerry Z10 hit the market (it will be in the US in March) and, starting at $199.00, it’s ready to take on the big boys with a completely redesigned smart phone that’s packed with apps and features. They even changed the name of their company.  RIM is gone and now they’re simply Blackberry. Initial reports are saying that it may give the iPhone a run for its money. Only time will tell of course but, without further ado, we’ll take a look at some of the best things about the new BlackBerry Z10.

Where’s the keyboard?  This new BlackBerry looks nothing like any of its predecessors. There’s no keyboard and, in fact, it looks very similar to your typical Android smart phone with a sleek 4.2 inch display, 1280 x 768 res and thin all-black body. From the outside it appears to be very well made and was comfortable to hold.

It’s faster than any BlackBerry seen before.  In tests it was even faster than the competition, especially when being used to browse the web.  It uses a lot of battery to do this but so do the Androids and iPhones. BlackBerry  realized that it would suck batter life with a straw and has an optional charging accessory that comes with a 2nd battery.

Trackball? Touchpad?  Nope.  This new BlackBerry is made to swipe and tap.  Like the iPhone the new BlackBerry was based around apps and swiping seems to be the preferred way to use apps. It’s different in a few respects however, such as the fact that there’s no back button to use.  In fact, there are no buttons at all on the new BlackBerry, leading a few people bewildered at first but, after a few minutes, all was well and the ‘hang of it’ was gotten.

The keyboard that the BlackBerry uses is similar to the iPhone and android phones but, in our opinion, better. It’s well-spaced, well-designed and the software even learns from your mistakes, correcting you and learning as you use it more.  Very cool. It may not be better than the Bold ‘s full physical keyboard but it very well may be the best screen touch keyboard we’ve seen.

The biggest problem is with the apps.  They have plans for many but right now some of our faves are nowhere to be seen, including Yelp and YouTube. Plus the camera is wonky and their app store isn’t yet what we’d call ‘fully stocked’.

The bottom line, as we see it, is that the BlackBerry has a lot to offer and is also lacking in a few areas also.  In our opinion it’s a big step up for the brand but might be too little, too late.  Only time will tell.