BlackBerry Z10 SmartphoneA short while back, we wrote about some of the top BlackBerry 10 apps you should download. The recently released BlackBerry Z10 and the upcoming BlackBerry Q10 represent a major change for the company from previous BlackBerry devices, boasting a brand new operating system and a completely revamped user interface. Even for veteran BlackBerry users, this is going to take some adjustment.

Making your way through the new BlackBerry 10 platform can be a little confusing, as some features may not be immediately obvious, and that’s why we’ve put together this brief list of important tips for how to use the BlackBerry Z10. The same kinds of gestures and UI quirks should also apply to the Q10 when it launches later this year.

BlackBerry Z10 Camera Tips

In addition to the unique TimeShift and Story Maker features, the camera app in the BlackBerry Z10 has some other interesting features and quirks.

  • The camera is continually try to find focus for you. Wait until the focus indicator turns green, because tapping the screen results in an instant photo being taken, even if it’s out of focus.
  • Tap and drag the cursor to move the focal point for phone. This is also the point on which the exposure is calculated. This is particularly important in low-light conditions when you have objects at varying distances.
  • Tapping anywhere on the screen takes a picture, but you can also do the same by pressing the volume control keys instead. This is more akin to the experience you may have on a point and shoot.
  • Long press on the camera icon on the main screen until the circle fills to access the camera application directly. You do not need to unlock the device and then open the camera app as a separate action.
  • The rear camera is an 8MP unit, but it only shoots at that resolution with a 4:3 aspect ratio. All 16:9 aspect photos will be taken at 6MP at best.
  • The video light can only be activated after you’ve already started recording a video. Simply tap on the lightbulb icon to turn it on or off.
  • For self photographs, switch to the front-facing camera by tapping the menu button (three vertical dots) and choosing the Switch Camera option. This is far easier than trying to take a “selfy” with the rear camera.

BlackBerry 10 Hub Tips

BlackBerry Hub on BlackBerry Z10

BlackBerry Hub on BlackBerry Z10

The BlackBerry Hub is the central notification area for the Z10, amalgamating all the updates from Twitter, Facebook, SMS, email, and more.

  • You don’t need to go back to the home screen and then move all the way to the left in order to access the Hub. You can “peek” into the Hub by swiping up from off the screen (as you would to exit an app), keep your finger on the screen as you move it to the right.
  • Swipe down when at the top of the Hub to see appointments that are scheduled for today and tomorrow.
  • When you long press on an item, it brings up a contextual menu for options. If you continue long pressing, you can drag your finger to the option in the contextual menu to activate it directly.
  • Tap on the “Hub” button on the bottom-left to see the list of notification sources. You can then select each one to filter for only those notifications. This list can also be accessed by swiping from left-to-right in the Hub.
  • Long press on a date marker to bring up another contextual menu, moving up and down in days and also choosing to “mark as read” all items previous to the selected date.

Tips for the Browser and Phone

If you want the best web browsing and voice calling experience, you’ll want to keep these Z10 tips in mind.

  • Toggle Flash support in the web browser from within the Settings menu, under Display and Actions.
  • To view a website purely as text and without graphics, tap the menu button and then choose Reader.
  • Change the default search engine by typing a query into the address bar and tapping on the search engine icon to the right. Default options include Bing, Google or Yahoo.
  • Swipe downwards beyond the top of the phone dialer, above the speed dial contacts, to view your own phone number.

Image credit: beyondtherhetoric / Flickr