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Motorola Z10 review: Motorola Z10

Motorola is flexing its smart phone muscles with the bendy Z10. Similar to the Rizr Z8 in design, the Z10 includes upgrades like HSDPA and in-phone video shooting and editing. It's a good performer too -- the audio quality during calls was absolutely superb

Andrew Lim

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4 min read

Sticking to its bendy guns, Motorola has launched another phone that flexes -- the Z10. While it looks very similar to its predecessor the Rizr Z8, the Z10 has a few upgrades that give it an edge. But are the Z10's improvements enough to keep us entertained or is this bendy phone a flop? We've bent over backwards to give you our thoughts.

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6.5

Motorola Z10

The Good

HSDPA; excellent audio quality during calls; video editing features.

The Bad

Software interface feels sluggish at times.

The Bottom Line

The Motorola Z10 looks the part of a fancy multimedia phone but its interface slows it down and leaves you yearning for a faster experience

The Z10 is available now for free on a monthly contract through O2. 

Design
Almost a year later and the bendy design still packs a punch. Similar to the Z8, people stared at the Z10 with fascination when they realised that it bends as you slide it out. The bend isn't just a crowd pleaser, though; it gives the Z10's ear speaker and mic a better position against the side of your face during calls, which slightly improves audio quality.


We found the Z10's keypad underwhelming and feel that there should be more space around the bottom row for better typing

Coming in a silver and black version, the overall look of the Z10 is definitely more industrial and tough than your average slider phone. It's a good weight too -- not too light or too heavy. It wouldn't look out of place in a Transformers movie if arms and legs suddenly popped out and it started shooting at Decepticons.

Although the Z10's screen is large and sharp enough to comfortably view content, it's disappointingly much smaller than the Nokia N95's screen or LG Viewty's. Since one of the Z10's biggest selling points is being able to watch films on it, we wish its screen was larger.

Another issue we have with the Z10's design is its keypad. While it's better than the Z8's because its keys are more spaced out and slightly raised, typing is still difficult. The keys don't have a lot of travel and the bottom row is too close to the mic/speaker lip to press comfortably unless you use the very tip of your thumb.

Features
Unlike most Motorola handsets, the Z10 runs on UIQ, meaning that the interface is more similar to one you'd find on a Nokia or Sony Ericsson phone. While we'd like to say that it's much better than the Z8's, we're not sure Motorola has cracked UIQ just yet because there were a few glitches with the interface that bugged us.

When navigating parts of the menu and accessing certain features, the interface seems sluggish. We also noticed that when accessing a few apps at the same time, the Z10 popped up a message saying that it had run out of memory. It's not the easiest interface to decipher either -- changing the display settings, for example, is awkward to do.

As a nice touch, the Z10 comes with all the Bourne movies on a microSD. You can download more movies from an online Motorola portal. At the moment, you can only download certain Paramount films via a PC but bizarrely, you can't watch them on your PC. You can only view them on a compatible Motorola phone.

If watching films on the Z10's relatively small screen doesn't float your boat, then you can always shoot and edit your own films using the Z10's camera. We weren't particularly blown away by the quality of the video but the editing software is pretty easy to use and lets you add effects, such as fading transitions, and add music from your library.


Performance
In under 15 minutes, we shot a quick video in the office and uploaded it to YouTube without needing to touch a PC. The Z10 did crash once during the process, but we've been assured by Motorola that it's looking into why the Z10 crashes at all.


The bendy design looks cool but we wonder if Motorola is compromising space that could be better used for the keypad

Shooting pictures with the Z10 is straightforward and there's barely any shutter lag, which is a refreshing change from the often sluggish interface. The quality of pictures is definitely better than video but due to the lack of a xenon flash, subjects will not be illuminated well in low light if they're further than a few metres away.

Browsing the Web over HSDPA isn't fantastic using the Z10's browser but you can install Opera Mini, which makes it much more enjoyable to use. Equally enjoyble is ShoZu that comes pre-installed and lets you upload pictures and video to various sites including Facebook and YouTube.

The Z10's music player isn't the most intuitive we've ever used, but it does let you set your music to shuffle and create playlists. Sound quality is good; unfortunately, you can't use your own headphones as there's no built-in 3.5mm jack or adaptor.

The Z10 impressed us the most with its sound quality during calls: very clear and loud. While many phones sound okay, the Z10 was noticeably audible even in loud environments, which is something you can't say for all phones.

Battery life lasted for over two days depending on how much we used HSDPA and all the Z10's other features. It's not the most power hungry phone out there, but you'll want to monitor your battery life if you're going to use it to watch a film.

Conclusion
We really wanted to like the Motorola Z10 because it looks great and is refreshing change from Motorola's initial obsession with clamshell phones. Unfortunately, the software doesn't hold it up and the keypad could be easier to use. Its saving grace, to some extent, is that the audio quality during calls is superb.

If good audio quality isn't enough for you, then this phone will be a disappointment. You may want to consider the LG Secret, which is another slider that boasts HSDPA, or the Nokia N95 8GB that packs a larger screen for viewing films.

Edited by Shannon Doubleday

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