BlackBerry Z10 Keeps You Moving Party

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

DISCLOSURE:  I was sent a free BlackBerry Z10 phone by for testing and review purposes.  All opinions are my own.

I've been using the same cell phone -- an iPhone 3G -- for about four years now.  My contract ended two years ago.  But, because I was afraid to lose my unlimited data plan, I just never went to upgrade my phone.  I really needed a new phone, though.  My iPhone is slow and with the outdated operating system, more than half of the apps have stopped working.  I can't use Instagram, Facebook and Twitter tend to crash on me, and other apps tell me they need to be updated, which I can't do without the latest iOS version.

So, when I was invited by and Verizon Wireless to help celebrate the launch of the new BlackBerry Z10 phone, I was super excited.  I've never used a BlackBerry before and was interested to see how it compared to an iPhone.  My sisters used to own BlackBerry phones (Curve, Bold and Storm), but they weren't too happy with them.  It was going to be interesting to see if this newer BlackBerry would be better than the older ones.  Plus, I'm an AT&T Wireless subscriber. This was going to be a great way to see how service from Verizon compared to AT&T.  In my area, Verizon has more coverage, but I wasn't sure how their network speeds compared.

Party hosts were sent a great kit that included:
  • An active BlackBerry Z10
  • $150 American Express gift card (to help offset party expenses)
  • Ten USB pens for party guests
  • A Verizon Insider tote bag
  • Party handbook
We had about a one month period to host the party.  I decided to have my party on the very last day we were allowed to host because of the fact that I was scheduled to have a C-section right in the middle of the party period.  I couldn't host the party before my C-section, since most of my friends and family were already busy doing other things and because there was the possibility I could go into labor early (I had been on bed rest since the beginning of April). I was planning on doing something simple, like ordering a bushel of crabs and having beer and soda and maybe cocktails for the guests.  I thought it would be a great way to have friends and family over to see the baby and show off the new phone, with minimal prep work.

The BlackBerry Z10, introduced earlier this year, runs on the new BlackBerry 10 operating system.  It's full touchscreen, unlike the majority of BlackBerry phones.  It has a lot of great features, including:
  • 16 GB internal storage
  • 4.2" touch display
  • 8 MP rear-facing AF camera with LED flash
  •  2 MP front-facing camera
  • 1080p HD video recording
  • microSD card support
  • 4G LTE ready
The BlackBerry 10 operating system features:
  • BlackBerry Hub - Flow in and out of your messages and conversations from any app.  Keep all your notifications in one place!   You can even reply to an email, update your Facebook status or reply to a Tweet without having to go to a separate app!
  • BlackBerry Keyboard - The keyboard learns your writing style and adapts to how you type so you can write faster, more accurately and with the least amount of effort.
  • BlackBerry Messenger with Video and Screen Share -  Switch your BBM™ chat to a BBM™ Video conversation and talk face-to-face with those that matter to you most. Use the new Screen Share feature to show photos, your browser, or review a business document together. You can even share the view from your camera.
  • Time Shift Mode and BlackBerry Story Maker - Pinpoint and adjust exact moments of your picture to create the perfect shot. Plus use BlackBerry Story Maker to weave those moments together to create a movie in just a couple of swipes.
Before the party, guests were asked to answer 7 poll questions and to submit a photo of what keeps them moving.  Using the BlackBerry Story Maker, these images would then be incorporated into a movie, along with a short video taken at the party.  The video was to be uploaded to YouTube and guests could tweet the link to the video to Verizon Insider for a chance to win a BlackBerry Z10 of their own!

Since receiving the BlackBerry Z10 in the mail, it quickly became my main phone.  The Internet was so much faster and apps loaded so quickly.  The only thing I couldn't do on it was send picture messages, which probably just had to do with the way it was activated and the kind of plan it had on it.  I loved hearing the notification sound whenever I got a new email or FB/Twitter notification.  The BlackBerry was especially useful when I was at the hospital, delivering my baby.  My iPhone (on AT&T) basically had no signal in the Labor & Delivery section of the hospital.  We couldn't call or text or send pictures to our family and friends.  But, the BlackBerry (on Verizon) had a great signal and we were able to update everyone with it.  Though, we did have to email pictures instead of texting them.  The camera on the BlackBerry was so much better, too, than on my iPhone.  Sometimes even better than my 12 MP digital camera!  Pictures just looked brighter and clearer.  I'll be sad when the phone gets deactivated, but I'm planning on getting it activated with AT&T.  I wonder if it will be as fast...

After the baby was born, I underestimated how I would be feeling.  Recovery was slow and painful.  I actually had a ton of bleeding during the surgery that took forever to stop.  They even kicked my husband out of the operating room!  In the post-partum room, they monitored me to see if I needed a transfusion.  And, for some reason, you forget how little sleep you get with a newborn.  So, a few days before I was to host the Verizon party, I cancelled it and instead decided to combine it with my sister's birthday party.  She was hosting a party at my parents' house with a lot of the same people that I was planning on inviting to my party plus a bunch of her friends and co-workers.  I thought it would be a good way to get the party done, with minimal work.

To try and make the party somewhat BlackBerry related, I baked some blackberry desserts:
Blackberry Cheesecake
Lemon Cupcakes with Blackberry Buttercream Icing

I boxed them up and sealed them with the only big stickers that I could find in the house -- ones from my Pull-Ups House Party!  Ha ha, my sister is a "Big Kid" now!

Like any party at my Mom's house, there was a ton of food, including egg rolls, potato salad, hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, wings, meat on a stick and macaroni salad.  Here's the main food table:
At another table, we had the cakes I made, fruit salad, a fruit platter, a veggie crudite and one of my sister's friends brought these cute "hamburger" cupcakes that she had made:

Because I had the baby with me, I had to sneak upstairs every two hours to feed the baby, so there wasn't really any organized presentation of the BlackBerry Z10.  My one sister went up with me one time while I was feeding the baby, so I let her play with the phone and see how it worked.

At the party, my family kind of split away from my sister's friends and co-workers.  So, we all gathered in one room, while the others were either in another room or out on the deck.  So, I did get a chance to do a little spiel for my family.
Showing off the first page of apps
Showing where active apps are shown (love how you can have more than one open!)
Not sure what I'm talking about here, but they all look interested!

Most of the people who I talked to about the phone were mainly interested in learning about how they could get one for themselves.  I had one of my sister's co-workers sit down with me and wanted to know all about Crowdtap.  Apparently, at work, my sister tells her all the time about the free things I get.   Sadly, she had to work the next day and didn't get to stay for the video shoot.
Here I am talking to my sister's co-worker about the phone.

After talking about the phone, they all wanted to know what they were supposed to do to try and win a phone.  Since my friends and family suck, none of them had sent me any images of what keeps them moving.  So, I had them each send me one of the pictures that they had on their phones.  I also only had one person do the poll questions prior to the party.  I bugged everyone at the party to do it and still only got one other person to do it.  Apparently, the poll questions don't show up when you use the iPhone Facebook app and you have to do it through Safari.  Too much work for my lazy family to do!

Since, it was my sister's birthday party, I decided to film the guests singing "Happy Birthday" for the video.  Then, I went ahead and used Story Maker to put the video and images the guests sent together into a movie.  It was pretty easy to do and I thought it came out well.  I liked the filters and being able to add music to the video.  Everyone thought it was pretty cool that the phone could do something like that!

Everyone was pretty impressed with the BlackBerry Z10.  They especially liked how fast it was and how nice the picture and video quality were.  My one cousin really liked the Time Shift feature.  My husband, though, said he would probably use it for the wrong reasons.  He'd intentionally make people blink or make a face in pictures!  My cousin's girlfriend thought the phone looked pretty sleek and business-like.  Most of the people who were at the party were currently iPhone users.  Even though the BlackBerry is a little different, they all thought it was pretty intuitive and easy to figure out.

I would definitely recommend the BlackBerry Z10 to anyone looking to get a new phone.  The only drawback I could see is the lack of apps for BlackBerry.  I felt like I would need to have two phones.  The BlackBerry for communications, but an iPhone or Android phone for apps.

Thanks to Verizon and Crowdtap for this great opportunity to try out the BlackBerry Z10!

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