Hands on review: BlackBerry Q10

As the release date for the Q10 nears, it’s become very clear that BlackBerry has done a very good job at balancing the traditional look and feel that long-time BlackBerry fans love while incorporating new features and capabilities that users today look for in a smart phone.

The BlackBerry Q10 is slated for release on May 10 with the 10.1 version of the BlackBerry OS, the first point-version update of the operating system since BlackBerry unveiled its drastically revamped OS.

Q10’s QWERTY appeal

The most obvious difference it has over its sibling Z10 smart phone, launched in February this year, is its physical QWERTY keyboard – a long enduring trademark of BlackBerry devices such as the Curve and the Bold.

As a result, Q10 users are treated to a different way of navigating and activating apps on the device.
The smaller Q10 screen is also an OLED screen as opposed to the LCD display found on the Z10. Combined with a larger 2100 mAH battery (the Z10 has an 18000 mAH batter) and more black screen space, the Q10 is able to save enough energy for 13 hours of talk time against the Z10’s 10 hours.

Keyboard short cuts are back with the Q10. Jump to the top of your messages in the hub by pressing “T” and to the bottom by pressing “B”. When you have a message open, you can press “F” to forward it and “R” to quickly compose a reply. Many BlackBerry fans will appreciate the return of these short cuts, but not all of the old tricks from former QWERTY BlackBerry devices are back.


Video: BlackBerry should ditch its hard keyboard
BlackBerry Z10s finally in Canadians’ hands

For example, the speed dial feature is gone. It used to be a long press could be used to dial a number or launch an app. But that capability isn’t supported by BlackBerry 10.

New OS features

The BlackBerry OS 10.1’s  home screen has been improved with a reduced tool bar size and readjusted grid to fit more content. The Hub now supports PIN-to-PIN messaging and will suggest contacts while you’re typing your e-mail.

With 10.1, both the Q10 and Z10 will see new features added. The camera gets an option to take photos in high-dynamic range (HDR) mode. Plus the ability to place your cursor on the screen when working with text has become more precise. Tapping the screen places a round target in the text and then it works like a directional pad. Tapping its left edge moves it one space left, tapping its right edge moves it one space right, and so on. It can also be dragged around the touch screen. BlackBerry says these changes have been made after getting feedback from users.

New take on a tested design

The Q10 takes up about the same footprint as the Bold 9900. The design is very similar and the keys are raised in the same way. But the screen on the Q10 is much bigger. This was done by sacrificing the track pad and having straight rows of keys instead of a curved arrangement.

The new predictive text feature in BlackBerry 10 is also found on board the Q10. The suggested words appear three at a time along the bottom of the touch screen. Tapping them will input the full word for you. Pro typists who find this gets in the way can turn it off in the settings.

Although the Q10 may seem more suited for getting work done, it can do everything the Z10 does. It even comes preloaded with Need For Speed, which you play by tilting you device back and forth to steer your car.

While the Q10 has a 3.1-inch screen as opposed to the 4.2-inch display of the Z10, and offers a square 720 by 720 pixel resolution instead of 1280 x 768, the apps found in BlackBerry World that typically run on a touch screen seem to work fine in the constrained screen real estate.

Customers can pre-order the BlackBerry Q10 now on www.telusmobility.com/BlackBerryQ10 and can
expect to receive their devices starting May 1. The Q10 will be available in black on Telus’
4G LTE network for $199 on a three-year term or $700 outright with a month-to-month plan.

Rogers Wireless will be selling the Q10 in retail and dealer locations across Canada starting at
$199.99 with a select three-year plans.

Bell Mobility began taking pre-orders April 19 online at Bell.ca, at Bell and The Source stores as well as retail
partners across Canada or by calling 1 888 4MOBILE. Terms start at $199.95 on a three year term or for
$699.95 with no term.



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Brian Jackson
Brian Jacksonhttp://www.itbusiness.ca/
Former editorial director of IT World Canada. Current research director at Info-Tech

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