BlackBerry 10.2.1 review: ten pounds of upgrade in a five-pound bag (Video)

There’s something ineffable about using a BlackBerry in 2014. Some of it is pure nostalgia, the kind of unavoidable reminiscence that comes with using a device bearing a 15-year-old brand. But the bigger part is the software: BlackBerry 10 is a blend of old and new, a kind of hodgepodge of traditional successes alongside more exotic ideas that couldn’t flourish elsewhere. And while the company continues to suffer from carrier woes and a steady loss of market share, it’s by no means taking these punishments sitting down: its latest operating system update just recently cleared US carrier approval, bringing a host of important upgrades to the BlackBerry experience, and we’re here to take a look at it.

BlackBerry first officially announced the improvements contained in this update back in January, but as American carriers have only recently gotten around to approving the update, the list bears repeating. BB 10.2.1 brings enhancements to the BlackBerry Hub, a simplified dialer, lock screen messages and picture unlock capability, new quick settings, new group support in SMS and Email, offline reading in the browser, sync enhancements, automatic app updates, a new device manager, and Enterprise upgrades (we won’t cover the latter in this review). It also enables the FM radio on BlackBerrys that have FM tuners built in. Most importantly: it makes third-party Android apps much easier to install.

That’s a whole lot of change to slap onto a sputtering platform – and it’s not even a comprehensive list. Did Team BlackBerry manage enough improvements to stop (or even slow) the venerable brand’s gradual descent? Find out in our BlackBerry 10.2.1 review video below!


Learn more about BlackBerry: see the ways we love and loathe the company’s new Z30 handset, then check out our full review of one of the last excellent QWERTY smartphones around, the BlackBerry Q10. Finally, finish up your Canadian deep-dive with a trip into the past: Taylor Martin’s BlackBerry Curve Throwback Review is a nostalgic fun fest you’ll appreciate if you were a smartphone early-adopter! 

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About The Author
Michael Fisher
Michael Fisher has followed the world of mobile technology for over ten years as hobbyist, retailer, and reviewer. A lengthy stint as a Sprint Nextel employee and a long-time devotion to webOS have cemented his love for the underdog platforms of the world. In addition to serving as Pocketnow's Reviews Editor, Michael is a stage, screen, and voice actor, as well as co-founder of a profitable YouTube-based business. He lives in Boston, MA. Read more about Michael Fisher!