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BlackBerry Q10 smartphone review

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bbq10review5One of BlackBerry’s signature features has always been the physical keyboard and it has been re-introduced with the latest device – the Q10.

The company dominated the smartphone market not so many years ago but with a slow product release and dramatic advances from companies like Apple, Samsung and HTC, they’ve been left in the doldrums.

In 2013 they are back with two key models – the Z10 and the Q10. The Z10 is already on sale while the Q10 is coming to Australia in the coming weeks.

The Q10 is the polar opposite to its sibling the Z10.

The Z10 is the full touch-screen smartphone contender, while the Q10 draws on the keyboard heritage of Blackberry with a more modern operating system.

Tech Guide got its hands on the Q10 prior to its Australian launch thanks to MobiCity.

The BlackBerry Q10 smartphone

DESIGN

Notably on the Q10, Blackberry have gone for a keyboard with very straight rows of keys, a shift from the slight curve which gave them the most usable keyboard on the market.

This does make a difference but after a short period of use you’ll be comfortable and tapping away like a pro.

Above the keyboard sits a 3.1 inch touchscreen display. An odd size for sure, but it’s an attempt to fit the biggest possible screen into a full QWERTY keyboard device and it does that well.

The build quality is excellent and while the back is plastic, the dimpled finish across the entire back side of the device, is both appealing and feels good in your hand.

The Q10 is available in two colours – black or white.

A baby brother to the Q10 has also been announced – the Q5 will come in multiple colours and should be available later this year.

The BlackBerry Q10 has a 3.1-inch screen and a full physical keyboard

FEATURES

Key to both the Z10 and Q10 is the Blackberry 10 operating system. A radical shift for Blackberry and a much needed attempt to keep up with the opposition.

Using gestures like swipe from side or swipe from bottom you can access multi-tasking of your apps and the all-important “hub” where you will find all kinds of notifications from email to SMS and social media.

These features are all identical to those in the Z10 we reviewed earlier here on Tech Guide.

Importantly on the Q10, the differentiation is the screen size.

All the features work just as well but are limited by screen size. While the screen is bigger than traditional Blackberry keyboard devices, it’s still a cramped fit when using apps that are clearly designed first and foremost for the larger full-screen devices.

You notice this now and then when simple things like the action buttons on a form or app are hidden and sometimes difficult to get to.

This is by no means a deal-breaker, it’s just another thing to get used to.

The BlackBerry Q10 is available in black or white

PERFORMANCE

Under the hood is 16GB of internal storage, an 8-megapixel rear camera, Qualcomm processor and it’s 4G ready.

You won’t be complaining about performance issues with the Q10 – it handles its native Blackberry 10 operating system perfectly.

Battery life is more than acceptable, possibly thanks to the smaller screen so you’re not losing valuable drops of battery powering a big display.

VERDICT

The Q10 is the smartphone of the moment for anyone who has clung on to their old Blackberry with a keyboard like a security blanket.

It will be a learning curve during transition, but certainly no worse than the learning curve you’d have by switching to Android or iOS.

The benefit of the Q10 is the keyboard you know and love. After all – that’s why you’ve still got it isn’t it?

* Trevor Long is the publisher of Everything For The Man – www.eftm.com.au

BlackBerry Q10

Price: $729.95 from MobiCity

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