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BlackBerry Q10 Review: The return of the full QWERTY keyboard

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Canadian giant BlackBerry launched its much-awaited and the first smartphone running on the BlackBerry 10 OS to arrive with a full-QWERTY physical keyboard called the BlackBerry Q10 in India recently and we got a chance to review the high (price) end smartphone.

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Box:

BB-Q10-Box

The BlackBerry Q10 arrives in a nice black box which houses the following:

  • BlackBerry Q10 smartphone
  • Data cable
  • Charger
  • Handsfree
  • Extra earpieces
  • Battery
  • User guide

Hardware and Design:

BB-Q10-Hands-On-1

The most striking feature of the BlackBerry Q10 smartphone is obviously the full-QWERTY physical keyboard which has 35 keys. The keyboard has been researched into and built to perfection and will surely be a treat to use for the BlackBerry Boys. Next, the 3.1 inch display which has a resolution of 720 x 720 pixels is decent and the touch is responsive. We received the white Q10 (we prayed for the black one) which has a nice textured back panel which feels nice and is removable.

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Under the panel is the 2100 mAh battery, SIM card and the microSD card slot.

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On the right of the BlackBerry Q10 we have the volume rockers and the Play/Pause button is placed between them.

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BlackBerry has placed the speakers of the Q10 at the bottom of the device which is great as you will always be able to know when it rings.

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On the top of the smartphone we can find the Power/Lock button and the 3.5mm audio jack. Overall, the build quality of the BB Q10 is top notch and sturdy.

OS and UI:

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The BlackBerry Q10 runs on the BlackBerry 10.1 OS which is indeed gesture based and initially it is indeed awkward to use it as you are new to the OS but the tutorials are informative and make you understand how the OS works. And once you understand the basics, the OS is buttery to use and fluid. I, for once feel that the BB10 OS is much smoother than the Android OS. The multitasking on the BB Q10 is smooth as the 2 GB RAM with a dual-core processor rarely give you any chance to complain.

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I personally feel that BB10 is more enjoyable on a larger sized BB Z10 rather than on the Q10 due to the smaller screen size but yes, it is not that bad.

The Quick Actions is a great feature which lets users to instantly start typing on the homescreen and perform actions, for example, send a tweet, without even having to enter the app.

Keyboard and Performance:

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The BB Q10’s selling point is the full QWERTY keyboard which is well designed and executed and you are bound to fall in love with it. Many users will feel the keyboard is similar to the BlackBerry Bold 4’s and I personally feel that the one on the BB Q10 when combined with the metallic ‘frets’ is just what physical QWERTY keyboard users might have wished for. When all of this is coupled with the 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and 2 GB of RAM the BlackBerry 10.1 OS runs smoothly on the device. There was only one instance when we felt that the device lagged.

Internal storage on the BB Q10 is pegged at 16 GB of which about 11 GB is user usable and seems to be sufficient for a normal user. But if users will be able to expand it using a microSD card slot which the company has made available.

Apps:

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Applications are one place where the BlackBerry Q10 fails. Though there are major apps like the Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and more available for the device, there are a less numbers when it comes to the other apps which the user might be interested in using when compared to the BlackBerry Z10. This is all thanks to the 720 x 720 pixels resolution which BlackBerry went ahead with for its QWERTY BlackBerry 10 smartphones. While, the company is trying its best to bring in as many apps as possible for the BB Q10, developers are not quite able to port and optimize their apps for the device as yet.

But if you are looking for not many apps and can survive with the limited ones available for now, then the BlackBerry Q10 is usable.

Camera:

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Camera has become an integral part of the smartphones today and the BB Q10 carries an 8 MP autofocus camera with LED Flash at the rear which takes some decent images but you might sometimes wish that you had got a little more.

Users are given the option to take images in 1:1, 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratio and the app carries options like normal image, stabilized image, HDR image taking. You can catch the sample images below.

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Battery:

The BB Q10 packs a 2100 mAh battery which is 300 mAh more than the BB Z10 and the extra juice does combined with the smaller but crisp display goes on to give the power users, whom BlackBerry is targeting in India, a decent backup of about a full day usage on a single charge and which should impress a lot of buyers. The only thing after the keyboard which we loved about the BB Q10 was the battery.

Verdict:

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The BlackBerry Q10 is not a bad device but when the smartphone is offered for a price of Rs.44,990, it is definitely a disappointment going by how price sensitive the Indian mobile market is. But BlackBerry is clear that it is targeting the BlackBerry Q10 only towards the ‘power users’ and for others looking for a much affordable smartphone, the company is now offering the BlackBerry Q5 in the market. So, our final verdict for the BB Q10 is that, only if you can’t live without a physical keyboard, the BlackBerry Q10 is all yours.

Pros:

  • Lovely physical keyboard
  • Battery life
  • Premium built

Cons: 

  • Lack of apps
  • Hefty price tag
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