BlackBerry Q10 review

Reviews 7 May, 2013

The QWERTY keyboard is back in black with a 3.1in Super AMOLED display for company.

4
Price: 
Free from £33 per month
Pros: 
Excellent keyboard; Sharp screen; BB10 OS great for message aggregation; Smooth performance
Cons: 
Missing core apps; Screen not suited to multimedia playback
Verdict: 
The BlackBerry Q10 is the best handset the Canadian firm has ever built. BlackBerry 10 as a platform also has all the makings of being truly superb mobile OS, with an already great selection of apps, excellent developer tools, and stringent security.

After waiting three months, BlackBerry fans can get their hands on the Q10, which packs the traditional physical keyboard. Released in the UK on April 26th, the handset is now available from all major networks and it supports the UK’s burgeoning 4G networks.

Running BlackBerry 10.1 OS, the Q10 combines a touchscreen with the QWERTY keyboard. Although many in the BlackBerry community have been awaiting the handset, the firm claims that just 20 per cent of mobile users want a physical keyboard. The majority prefer touch-only smartphone devices, like the iPhone, HTC One, and Galaxy S, according to BlackBerry, which is why it launched the Z10 first.

With Apple and Samsung now making serious inroads into enterprise sector, is the Q10 too late to kickstart a rival for the Canadian firm? Or is the QWERTY handset worth the wait?

Let's get physical

The Q10’s keyboard is its USP. The keys are slightly raised, sloping up from left to right, and possess a satisfying amount of travel, which accompany the click when depressed.

Typing out long emails and memos on the Q10 is easy. If you’re coming from a touch-only device and haven’t used a keyboard on a mobile device for years, things have improved significantly. The speed and precision of typing you get with this premium keyboard is unmatched.

BB10’s spell checker and text prediction engine are unrecognisable, with upgrades increasing the usefulness tenfold. The inclusion of features like Smart Actions ensure the QWERTY keyboard remains at the heart of the device’s interface.

Smart Actions tap into BB10’s universal search and can be used to search for applications, games, folders, and emails. It also plugs into third party applications like Twitter and Email, and can be used to send quick updates and messages without ever having to locate and open the app itself.      

Type ‘tweet this is a tweet from a Q10’ from anywhere in the handset and the Q10 will tweet “this is a tweet from a Q10” to Twitter. Another example: type ‘email [insert name]’ and the email app will open up so you can begin typing. It also works with BBM, and BlackBerry has opened up the functionality to third party developers, so expect to see lots more Smart Actions added very soon.

BlackBerry also include all of the old ‘berry shortcuts inside the Q10’s new keyboard, so you can tap b for bottom, t for top. This combined with better spelling and word prediction and things like Smart Actions combine to create the best keyboard BlackBerry has ever produced.

  

Specifications: 

OS: BlackBerry 10.1 OS

Processor: 1.5GHz dual-core processor

Memory/Storage: 2GB RAM, 16GB, up to 64GB microSD

Screen: 3.1in Super AMOLED (720 x 720 ) display, 330 ppi

Connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n, 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz, 4G Mobile Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy Assisted, Autonomous and Simultaneous GPS, Preloaded with BlackBerry Maps application, GLONASS support

Other: Accelerometer, Magnetometer, Proximity sensor, Gyroscope, Ambient light sensor

Bands: Quad band LTE 3, 7,8,2, Quad Band HSPA+ 1, 2, 5/6, 8 (850/1900/2100 MHz/900) DC@ 42mbps, Quad band EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)

Camera: 8MP rear with LED flash and autofocus, 2MP front-facing

Battery: 2,100mAh

Size: 120 x 67 x 10.35 mm (WxDxH)

Weight: 139g

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Disqus - noscript

Awesome phone...

Great phone.

This might be an issue of semantics, but it's unfair to say BB10 is missing "core apps". A core app is something indispensable like email, calendaring, and web browser. The little toys like Instagram and Pandora are popular apps, but not core.

I'd say missing things like Lync, Yammer, Tripcase and a host of other horizontal business apps was a big fail on what one would assume is a mainly business-focused phone. And that's before you get to anything you may want to use for pleasure such as Pandora, Jango etc etc.

A good review, without the usual fanboy bias we see all over the media. I have been using a Z10 and Q10 and they are very well built and nicely specificed. However, with work and personal requirements, there is simply too much missing to make either device even remotely useful for work, let alone my personal life. I'll give BlackBerry the kudos they deserve, as they've come out fighting in 2013, but they have a long way to go yet, when I can get more useful apps on Windows Phone 8.

Completely agree there. But the pleasure/toy apps are usually what reviewers complain about. It's the unfortunate repercussion of smartphones having shifted from a professional tool to a gizmo for everyone.

I would gamble it's more likely that biz apps will be ported to BB10 and the point will (eventually) become moot. But, again, my beef is more with the characterization of something outside of *core* functionality being considered a "core" app.

I hope the keyboard has improved, as the one on my Curve 9360 blows, esp. for anyone with fingers bigger than a 10 year old's...