Review: Motorola Z10

Look! Hardware that breaks – on purpose! Shattered warranties aside, the Z10’s apparent bendy kick-slide design skews towards the flashy end of the spectrum, but hey, we’re not shallow. We care about what’s on the inside, too. But in the case of the Z10, after we took a good honest look at the interior, it turns out an innovative design is about the only thing this phone has going for it.

Though it’s billed as a “pocket-sized mobile studio,” this 4-ounce, platinum-trimmed phone is certainly no substitute for even a mediocre mini-camcorder (Exhibit A: the Flip Mino). So why drop $500 on the Z10 when you can get a 5MP camphone (Exhibit B: the Nokia N82) that shoots crisper stills and comparable vids? Beats us. Maybe it’s the intuitive editing suite: the Z10’s storyboard feature let us cut together a montage of clips and pics with cinematic fades, circle dissolves, music and title cards in less than 10 minutes. Unfortunately, the OS wasn’t nearly as user-friendly. We literally had to break out the instruction manual just to send a Bluetooth pic (no joke).

Had Motorola spent even half as much time making the software as innovative as its break-away hardware, the Z10 would have wowed us. But with its lacking OS and underwhelming camera, the phone didn’t feel ready for primetime.  -Steven Leckart

30 fps vid clips don’t look too shabby. Quick, easy uploading to YouTube and Shozu. Storyboarding was a cinch. Camera shortcut button, plus auto-focus, great for snapping pics on the fly. Easy-to-access external microSD card slot is ready for 32GB.

2.2-inch screen isn’t ideal for peeping videos. Only 3.2MP cam? (Tarantino wouldn’t settle for less than 5MP). Only a measly 1GB microSD included. Nav and Symbian UIQ more difficult to penetrate than Fort Knox. Curved slider makes lower keypad buttons harder to press.

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