Limited Edition BlackBerry Z10: Unboxing, hands-on and initial impressions

Limited Edition BlackBerry Z10 Home ScreenThe Limited Edition BlackBerry Z10 is a phone that was made especially for developers that not only traded in their Dev Alpha A or B, but also submitted a qualifying app to the BlackBerry World store before the launch of BlackBerry 10. Only 12,000 of these special edition phones were made, and each is individually numbered on the inside of the battery door. Making this easily one of the rarest BlackBerry smartphones a person can legally own.

I first learned of this promotion while I was in Orlando, Florida for BlackBerry World (now renamed to BlackBerry Live) and BlackBerry Jam back in May of 2012. The Orlando Jam event was the first opportunity for developers to receive a Dev Alpha and I was the sixth developer in line to pick mine up. So it was nearly a year long process for me to qualify and finally receive this device.

Before I go any further, I think I’ll put this right here: BlackBerry wont sell you this phone and it is too late to qualify for one now. The promotion has ended. And carriers wont be offering it either. Meaning, if you don’t have the process started with BlackBerry right now, you wont be getting one.  Unless, you choose to purchase it second hand from a developer that decides to sell theirs and I can’t imagine that it would go cheap. I am not interested in selling mine. I am only reviewing it simply because it is the only Z10 I have right now, and other than the packaging and housing, it is exactly the same as a retail BlackBerry Z10. With all of that out of the way…

The Box

Limited Edition BlackBerry Z10 Box

The LE BlackBerry Z10 comes in the same box as the launch event BlackBerry Z10s. Although significantly larger than the retail packaging, the contents inside are basically the same. You’ll get the LE BlackBerry Z10, a standard BlackBerry charger, a USB data/charge cable, the LS1 battery and a pair of headphones. That is pretty much it.

Limited Edition BlackBerry Z10 unboxing

Surprisingly, there wasn’t a single piece of paper inside. No quick start manual or safety information. No documentation at all. It doesn’t really matter to me, I don’t read the manuals any way, but it is surprising to open a box and not see them included.  You may have seen some unboxing videos of this phone that included two battery doors and a holster. Those were put together for the BlackBerry Elite developers. Most developers will be receiving what I have.


The Phone

Limited Edition BlackBerry Z10

The specs list for the Limited Edition BlackBerry Z10 reads the same as a retail Z10. After all, it is a BlackBerry Z10 with a Red housing. To be more specific, I have hardware version STL100-3. So my phone includes the 1.5GHz dual core Snapdragon S4 processor along with 2 GB worth of RAM. The screen is 4.2 inches, making it plenty large while still remaining easy to use one-handed and it simply looks amazing. The BlackBerry Z10 uses a In-Plane Switching technology (IPS) panel with a screen resolution of 1280×768 pixels. All of those tiny dots combined with a smallish screen size amount to a rather impressive pixel density of 356 dpi.

Other hardware features include a 8 megapixel camera on the back that is capable of capturing 1080p HD video and a 2 megapixel shooter up front for video chat.  In addition to the 16 GB of internal storage, there is a microSD card that supports cards up to 64 GB. Connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.0, LTE, HSPA+, NFC and Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n. There is even a Micro HDMI port for sending your videos to the big screen.

Limited Edition BlackBerry Z10 Property of RIM

Something strange that I’ve noticed is the words “Property of Research in Motion” are printed inside the battery compartment. I got used to seeing those words on my Dev Alpha, but I assumed the Limited Edition BlackBerry Z10 would be my property to do with as I wish. Evidently that isn’t necessarily the case. So developers might want to think about that before they go to sell their LE Z10.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the BlackBerry Z10 is it’s new software. BlackBerry 10 is a very unique mobile operating system and I am still getting used to all the new stuff and how everything works. I’ve had this phone for right at 24 hours now, and I still have a ton of things to test and figure out. So I wont be going into much detail here. Instead I’ll save that for the full review.

For now, you can view some more photos of this beautiful phone below.

 Limited Edition BlackBerry Z10 Volume Rocker Limited Edition BlackBerry Z10 Rear Limited Edition BlackBerry Z10 Ports

Limited Edition BlackBerry Z10 Main Speaker Limited Edition BlackBerry Z10 Screen Protector Limited Edition BlackBerry Z10 Power Button

Limited Edition BlackBerry Z10 Battery Door Limited Edition BlackBerry Z10 Battery Limited Edition BlackBerry Z10 Boot Screen

Limited Edition BlackBerry Z10 Open Apps Limited Edition BlackBerry Z10 Lock Screen Limited Edition BlackBerry Z10 Apps