Earlier this year, RIM announced a total change in its focus as a company. First, they changed their name from RIM to BlackBerry, then announced their biggest change to their operating system in years. Dubbed BlackBerry 10, the operating system is more touch focused than ever and really depends on gestures. Then, the company announced the Blackberry Z10 and Q10. The former is an all touchscreen device, which is out of the norm for the Canadian company, and the latter is the classic all keyboard design that many have come to know and love from Blackberry devices. Can Blackberry 10 compare to the other operating systems on the market? Read on to find out!
- 3.1-inch 720×720 pixel Super AMOLED display (330PPI)
- 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor
- BlackBerry 10.1 OS
- 2GB of RAM
- 16GB internal storage; expandable via microSD cards up to 32GB
- 802.11 a/b/g/n dual-band Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth 4.0 LE
- 8MP AF camera with BSI, f/2.2 aperture lens, flash, and 1080p video capture on the back and 2MP FF camera with 720p video capture on the front
- USB 2.0 port, micro-HDMI port
- 2,100mAh battery
- Available in black and white
- Dimensions: 119.6mm x 66.8mm x 10.35mm
- Weighs 139 grams
Among all the large-screened devices that manufacturers are releasing these days, the BlackBerry Q10 is a surprisingly compact smartphone that feels quite comfortable in one or two hands (for example, when typing). The case is made of aluminum with a removable back made of woven glass that looks and feels remarkably like plastic.
Unlike most smartphone today, about half of the front of the device is taken up by a physical QWERTY keyboard that sits below a 3.1-inch touchscreen display.
At the top, in the middle, you’ll find the power button. On the right side is the volume rocker. The left side has a micro-USB and a micro-HDMI port. The bottom sports a speaker.
All in all, the BlackBerry Q10 is comfortable to hold both with one hand or with two when using the keyboard. The back does not smudge although the non-metallic portions of the casing will quickly bear the dings of every day life (our review unit certainly did).
The display on the Blackberry Q10 is nothing to get too excited about, but it’s not too important considering most of your information input will be done via the QWERTY keyboard. Its a 720 x 720 pixel AMOLED panel. Colors are good but not great. Whites tend to come off as a tad yellow, especially in comparison to other devices like the BlackBerry Z10.
BlackBerry 10 is centered largely around gestures. To get the home screen you simply swipe up from the very bottom of the display. On the home screen (which could also be called the multitasking screen) you can swipe all the way to the left to access the notification screen, which aggregates information from all of your apps, specifically the communication ones. From there, you can view and reply to emails, texts, tweets, Facebook messages and more.
On the first home screen are your most recently used apps, and if you keep scrolling you’ll find all of your installed apps.
Overall, BlackBerry 10 is a nice improvement over previous iterations of the operating system, but I still didn’t find it as advanced as Android and iOS, this was specifically the case with the app selection. It’s just not up to snuff with other operating systems out there.
The BlackBerry Q10 is aimed directly at those who have yet to make the transition to a software keyboard. And this is one area where BlackBerry has not disappointed. It took me a short bit of time to get used again to typing with a physical keyboard but I was quickly reminded of how much better it is than an even a very good software one.
The BlackBerry Q10’s rear camera may not be as impressive as some other ones (like the Nokia Lumia 900 series or Samsung Galaxy S4) but it is still a much better camera than I expected in such a small package. Images came out crisp and sharp, though focusing was a bit hard at times.
Video performance was decent, but nothing to write home about. I wouldn’t put it up against the iPhone 5 or Galaxy S4 in any instance, but then again, that’s not the main selling point of the Q10.
Battery life on the BlackBerry Q10 was quite good, thanks in large part to the low resolution and small display. I was easily able to make it through a day and sometimes more with the device, even when calling, texting, and emailing quite a bit.
Overall, the BlackBerry Q10 is a great device for a certain market. As I mentioned before, it’s meant mainly for the people who haven’t gotten the hang of or attempted to switch to a software keyboard yet. Years later, you still can’t beat the classic BlackBerry Q10 keyboard. It has a great feel and move to it and all the keys are very easy to press.
The battery life on the Q10 is also excellent, which is something that can’t be overlooked this day and age. But the big question is, will the device sell? I’m inclined to say no. Most people have already made the switch to software keyboards and are perfectly content with them. Most companies nowadays have also switched to allow employes to bring their own devices. Of course, not every company has, so there’s still some market for a device like the BlackBerry Q10.
In the end, if you still have to have a keyboard, then the BlackBerry Q10 is the device for you. Nothing comes close to the keyboard.
Jerome Skalnik contributed to this review