Review Price to be confirmed
The newly rebranded BlackBerry has just unveiled its latest phones, the fully touchscreen BlackBerry Z10 and the keyboard equipped BlackBerry Q10. Running the brand new BlackBerry 10 operating system, BlackBerry is hoping these phones will put the company back on the mobile map, but has it done enough? We got hands on with the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 to find out.
BlackBerry Q10 – Design and Features
BlackBerry hasn't taken too many risks with the design of the BlackBerry Q10. This is a keyboard-equipped BlackBerry designed to appeal to long term users that remain fans of the form factor. This not only applies to the overall form but the styling too. The back features a ‘woven glass’ pattern, which essentially looks likle carbon fibre but isn’t. But otherwise it's all staid black and silver with none of the colourful pizzazz of Nokia's recent Windows Phone 8 handsets such as the Nokia Lumia 920 for instance.
But, in many ways this is exactly what many users will want and certainly in the flesh it looks and feels classy, and build quality is also impressive. The combination of soft touch black plastics, chrome trim and glass screen puts the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S3 to shame.
Perhaps most importantly the keyboard feels excellent with each key carefully sculpted for maximum purchase and offering a nice crisp feedback when pressed. Tapping out a few sentences the keys felt larger than any previous BlackBerry we can recall and the action is even lighter, but the end result is that we could type at a pretty decent pace.
Above the signature keyboard is the touchscreen, which at 3.1in is the largest BlackBerry has yet added to one of its phones with a physical keyboard. It's also, square. Although no better than previous models for widescreen video or gaming, the taller screen allows the user to see more of emails of websites. With a resolution of 720 x 720 pixels, the high quality LCD display is nice and sharp with rich colours, though the overall resolution is still a little low compared to fully touchscreen models such as RIM's own BlackBerry Z10.
BlackBerry Q10 - BlackBerry 10 OS
So far so relatively ordinary. What really sets the X10 apart from previous BlackBerrys though is the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. This centres around a number of key new features, many of which emphasise a focus on multitasking.
The main homescreen is split up into three sections with the BlackBerry Hub on the left, multitasking page in the centre and pages of apps off to the right. BlackBerry Hub is the central repository for all messages, updates and emails, just like the messages app of existing BlackBerrys – it’s a useful one-stop shop for all your phone’s goings on. As for the multi-tasking page, this is the central focus of the phone as whenever you swipe upwards to close an app it’s here that you land. It shows four large thumbnails to your apps that unlike iOS also show the contents of each app. Swipe upwards and you can scroll through the full list of running apps. And as mentioned, swiping to the left will bring up the pages of apps which simply expand to the right as you install more apps.
This multifaceted homepage style is a bit difficult to get your head around at first as it isn’t as simple as the pages of apps on iOS or the customisable homescreens and app menu of Android and Windows Phone 8. But, with time it’s something that may become very useful, which is something we’ll report on in our full review.
Another key feature, which we’ve already touched upon are the gestures. There are no buttons on this phone (aside from the keyboard) so it relies heavily on using gestures to move between screens, close apps and generally get stuff done. Again, it takes a little bit of getting used to but there’s a decent tutorial when you first start the phone up that guides you through the essentials.
There’s plenty more to the OS that sets it apart from the rest, which we’ll touch on more in our upcoming review. Our first impressions, though are that we can see quite a few users finding it all too fussy. Also, there aren’t enough visual cues as to how to move about the interface, plus we’re not fans of the rather cumbersome animation that accompanies the opening of apps – it slides across from the app pages to the multi-tasking page and only then opens the app. Still, as we say, it’s early days yet.
BlackBerry Q10 - Specs
Getting back to the phone, it features an 8 megapixel rear camera and 2 megapixel front facing model, while powering it along is the same TI OMAP 1.5GHz dual-core processor as in the BlackBerry Z10. This processor is joined by 2GB of RAM, which is more than expected, and 16GB of built-in storage along with a microSD slot for expanding this.
Meanwhile on the connectivity front there’s a microUSB socket for data transfer and charging along with a separate HDMI socket for easily connecting up to a monitor, TV or projector – potentially great for presentations.
BlackBerry Q10 - Release date and price
The BlackBerry Q10 release date and price haven’t yet been announced but it’s expected to arrive in April, and given the BlackBerry Z10 is available on all UK networks we expect the Q10 to be also.
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