BlackBerry Q10 review

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

Firefox and Chrome are not yet available for BB10, leaving you with BB10's stock Browser, which means you cannot sync your Q10 with your PC's browser. And while this is annoying, it's not a deal breaker in itself because the Q10's browser has excellent bookmarking tools, full Flash support, and the indispensable Reader feature.

If you switch from a 4.7in smartphone to the Q10 the difference is most obvious when browsing the web, requiring you to constantly zoom in on pages to read links and headlines. Browsing the web can at times be troublesome on the Q10, with text appearing undefined and sometimes completely unreadable unless you zoom in.

By itself this would be a serious issue, but Reader just like Apple's Safari browser gets around it stripping out the website and giving you a clearer text-only version of the article with options to resize the font in a separate window. The end result is a reading environment perfectly tuned to the Q10's 3.1in display.

To access Reader simply hit Settings and select Reader. The article you're reading will then open up perfectly formatted for reading on the Q10's 3.1in display.

Battery

With its 2100mAh battery life, emphasis on black themed applications AMOLED users less power when it displays black and heavily optimised operating system, we had high hopes for the Q10's battery performance.

With conservative usage the Q10 performed well lasting the entirety of day from a single charge. Ramp up your usage, however, and battery life quickly drops off. It's still better than most iPhone 5, Nexus 4, and Z10 but not quite as good as we were expecting. BBM, WhatsApp, and a couple of hour's worth of calls zap the battery pretty quickly.

In our intensive tests sending/receiving large email attachments, BBM, sending/receiving images and large files, syncing with Dropbox, picture editing, and multiple HD video streaming sessions we managed to run the battery from full at 10am down to nothing by 6pm.

We were hoping for something akin to the Motorola RAZR Maxx HD from the Q10, unfortunately this wasn't the case with the Q10 slipping well below the current market-leader which can easily clock up a couple of days from a single charge.

Overall the Q10's battery life is better than average, just not exceptional.

Conclusion

If you like BlackBerry devices of old, are bored stiff by the iPhone, and want a truly exceptional keyboard experience then the BlackBerry Q10 is the handset you've been waiting for. Call quality is excellent, the user interface is a breath of fresh air, and its battery will out-last iPhone 5, Nexus 4, and HTC One X.

BlackBerry 10 isn't all there just yet, but it's already showing oodles of potential in the form of excellent notifications, superb performance, a brilliant selection of core applications, and some truly amazing BB10 SDK-built applications like CrackBerry, USA Today, and The Guardian to name but a few.

Coming from a Nexus 4 to review this handset was a bizarre experience but now, two weeks later, I can safely say I won't be going back to Android anytime soon. I'm just having way too much fun with the Q10.

I do miss apps like Chrome, Spotify, Google Drive and the like but I'm confident all of these will soon be available for BlackBerry 10. And if you really cannot wait for things like Google Maps or Chrome, you can always just sideload them onto your Q10 yep, that's right: you can sideload Android applications on BlackBerry 10.

This could be the start of something big for BlackBerry and very bad news for Microsoft and Nokia.

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.

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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