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BlackBerry Q10 review

Luke Johnson

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Reviewed:

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BlackBerry Q10
  • BlackBerry Q10
  • BlackBerry Q10
  • BlackBerry Q10
  • BlackBerry Q10
  • BlackBerry Q10
  • BlackBerry Q10
  • BlackBerry Q10
  • BlackBerry Q10
  • BlackBerry Q10
  • BlackBerry Q10
  • BlackBerry Q10
  • BlackBerry Q10
  • BlackBerry Q10
  • BlackBerry Q10
  • BlackBerry Q10
  • BlackBerry Q10
  • BlackBerry Q10
  • BlackBerry Q10
  • BlackBerry Q10
  • BlackBerry Q10
  • BlackBerry Q10
  • BlackBerry Q10

Summary

Our Score:

7

Pros

  • Physical QWERTY interface
  • Strong 8-megapixel rear camera
  • Fluid keyboard and touchscreen combination

Cons

  • Awkward 1:1 screen ratio
  • Expensive
  • Lack of BlackBerry 10 support

Key Features

  • BlackBerry's trademark QWERTY keyboard
  • BlackBerry 10 operating system
  • 8-megapixel rear-mounted camera
  • Manufacturer: Blackberry Europe
  • Review Price: £549.95

What is the BlackBerry Q10?

The BlackBerry Q10 is the Canadian manufacturer’s first QWERTY keyboard phone since it launched the BB10 OS with the touchscreen only BlackBerry Z10. It’s something of a hybrid, combining the old and the new of the BlackBerry formula in an attempt to tackle the era of superphones while staying true to the brand’s roots.

With a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 3.1-inch touchscreen display and 8-megapixel rear-mounted camera, the Q10 is far from a direct Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One rival, however. It exists to delight business users with its messaging abilities, while offering just enough of the modern smartphone versatility and power.

Question is…as much as business users have been calling out for a phone like the BlackBerry Q10, can it live up to its lofty £600 price tag?

BlackBerry Q10

BlackBerry Q10 Video Review

Not yet made up your mind about the BlackBerry Q10? Watch our video review here.

BlackBerry Q10 Design

The BlackBerry Q10 centres on the handset’s physical QWERTY keyboard, and rightly so.

An iconic selling point, the physical QWERTY is easier to use for anyone not keen on the flat, digital keyboards of modern phones. The reassuring feedback of the BlackBerry Q10 keyboard is a welcome step back in time.

It feels as if BlackBerry has refined the feel further over recent QWERTY phones, such as the BlackBerry Bold 9900. The keys feel well spaced, with the left and right hand side keys slightly angled outwards for improved access. Metal frets also separate each row to reduce accidental presses. Anyone who struggles with a touchscreen will love it, and you’ll struggle to find another phone like this now.

The BlackBerry Q10 is far more than just its keyboard, however. It looks and feels elegant, refined and professional. The Q10’s rounded edges and soft touch rubber rear make it sit comfortably in your hand. It’s a million miles from the palm-stretching HTC One or Sony Xperia Z.

BlackBerry Q10

The build quality is reassuring, too. It survived two weeks of use with no physical signs of wear and tear despite a couple of unplanned fumbles. It’s not the kind of phone you’ll instantly seek a case for.

It’s not without niggles, however. While the keyboard is top-notch, the Q10’s other physical buttons aren’t as pleasing. The metal nubbin that separates the up and down volume keys has unnecessarily sharp edges (an at times painful oversight that we experienced on more than one BlackBerry Q10 handset), and the lock/power button, located on the handset’s upper edge, feels cheap and hollow when compared to rest of the phone.

Although the Q10’s physical buttons and inbuilt speaker are positioned to avoid accidental presses or muffling, the camera’s location puts it in prime position to become smeared with fingerprints – a far from ideal design oversight when looking for grime-free snaps.

BlackBerry Q10 Screen

The BlackBerry Q10’s screen is a notable step up from BlackBerry 7 phones of old.

It’s a 3.1-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen, albeit with a square 720 x 720 resolution rather than a widescreen aspect like a typical touchscreen phone. It’s a necessary trade-off to fit in the keyboard, but it does mean any video you watch is squashed and hard to view. A multimedia phone this isn’t.

On the plus side, with 328 pixels per inch (the iPhone 4S retina display is 330ppi) text is just as sharp and readable as on any rival device, and the touchscreen’s accuracy is faultless. AMOLED screens use less power than their LCD counterparts, too, which should improve battery life.

BlackBerry Q10

Like most Super AMOLED screens, blacks are intensely black but colours are a trifle over the top. Some websites look farcically oversaturated, but it’s not quite a deal breaker and the Q10 isn’t as bad as the notoriously extreme Samsung Galaxy S3.

Of greater concern is the brightness. Like the BlackBerry Z10, the Q10’s screen appears a little dim in bright sunlight – annoying if you’re trying to reply to an email on the move.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

Jaime Membreno

May 30, 2013, 6:47 pm

After being die hard BB users my wife and I finally dame the change to Iphone and Galaxy and we are so happy we made that change. Sorry BB but you arrived too late. I am not saying that BB is not good but at this time of the game they really need to come up with something that nobody else has.

lovetobbq

May 30, 2013, 9:51 pm

They did...a kick-ass querty key pad.

kupfernigk

May 31, 2013, 1:17 pm

First, it isn't £600; it's £528 from Handtec, £440 to businesses.
Technically it's an iPhone 5 with a smaller screen, a keyboard, larger and removable battery and NFC. It's at least as well made as an iPhone 5, so it is not at all obvious why it should be cheaper. If you don't spend your time watching videos on a phone (use a tablet for that) the screen size rapidly becomes immaterial because when you are typing, the remaining screen is the same size as the space above the keyboard on a slab phone. For reading and writing, the screen is big enough.
Even the comment about iPlayer is a bit pointless. BB 10 is designed to work well with HTML5; wherever possible things should run in the browser. Too many apps on iOS and Android are basically wrappers around a mobile site that doesn't run too well in the browser.
It isn't competing with the "superphones" because they are in a different market.I know someone who uses a Galaxy Note 2 because he thinks while doodling, and he can doodle on the GN2. Me, I just don't get on with glass keyboards. It doesn't matter how good the screen is, I find the iPhone unusable. I may be part of a niche, but the industry is so big nowadays that it can support many niches.

Tin City

July 17, 2013, 5:20 pm

The most honest reviews regarding this phone can be found on Amazon, here are 25 honest reviews from actual buyers - This is how I made my choice.

jyb

July 20, 2013, 9:50 am

Correct. And precisely why you have the Q10!

neverrealisedihadbecomeafan

October 22, 2013, 8:34 pm

I need to send a lot of emails while out and about for work, I also need an interface that allows me to access and search what I need quickly with no fuss or bother. I HAD been using a Bold for a couple of years but it was showing it's age so my boss bought me a new Samsung Galaxy S4. 5-days later I am sending it back, sadly it's all gimicks and toys and looks like it would be broken within a month. I'm expecting delivery now of a new Q10. Out of interest and as an experiment I tried to type "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. (With punctuation) on my aging touch screen Motorola and then on the Bold. I tried a minimum of 5 attempts each with a stopwatch. The touch screen Motorola took me generally around 42 seconds ( I managed 1 attempt at 24 seconds (but missed that I had failed to correct Fox from "Fly" ). Most of my BB attempts were around 18 seconds ..but with 1 at 14.6 !! Therefore for me, taking into account the usual corrections and errors, one simple sentence takes me usually half the time to complete with a keyboard as opposed to a touch screen. I don't dispute that the Galaxy is probably great for messing around with apps and games and I am sure that there are indeed better touchscreens than my Motorola, but people need to remember that there are a good many of us who simply need to get the job done. (Oh, and yes..I do think the Q10 is a beauty )

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