Unlike the full touch Z10, BlackBerry’s Q10 aims to appeal to the company’s more traditional user base and QWERTY keyboard fans alike, offering a modern platform within a tried-and-tested design.
Like the old Bold range, the new BlackBerry 10.1 powered Q10 (119.6 x 66.8 x 10.4 mm) offers a touch and type experience, courtesy of its 3.1" (720 x 720; 328 ppi) Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen and physical QWERTY keyboard. The smartphone feels very nice in hand and is sturdily built, featuring a predominantly plastic body that weighs in at 139 g.
The display resolution of the Q10’s touchscreen is not up to par with the full HD (1080p) displays you get on some range topping rivals like the HTC One (review), and the limited screen size means that viewing videos and web browsing are not very pleasant. We can say that the screen does offer excellent levels of colour saturation and viewing angles, and if you’re used to a Bold, than the 3.1" screen will be great (instead of a more modern 5" as found on the Samsung Galaxy S4).
Visibility on the Q10’s display is hampered outdoors by the fact that it is too reflective, making it noticeably less readable in direct sunlight compared to the 4.3" ClearBlack AMOLED display of the Nokia Lumia 820 (review) for instance.
The Super AMOLED display delivers some eye-popping colours and excellent viewing angles.
Touch and type on the go
The typing experience on the physical keyboard of the Q10 is top notch, proving fast and accurate. Since the Q10 has no onscreen keyboard option, you do not get the brilliant word suggestion feature, allowing you to flick complete words into the message like you do on the Z10. Luckily the Q10 has its own typing party trick in Type N Go.
This feature enables you to type ‘twitter’, followed by a message. Simply press post to send the message to Twitter, all without ever opening the Twitter app. The functionality works equally well for Facebook and is handy for quickly posting messages to social networks on the go.
It’s all inside
Powering the Q10 is a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor running at 1.5 GHz per core. Thanks to the snappy CPU being paired up with 2 GB of RAM, navigating the OS and running multiple apps simultaneously is a lag-free, fluid affair.
The Q10 also sports LTE (4G) connectivity for blistering downloading speeds, NFC, Wi-Fi 802.11 n, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, an 8 megapixel autofocus rear-facing camera, and 2 MP fixed-focus front snapper.
The front camera is only useful for video calls and taking selfies, whilst the rear snapper is quick on the draw and delivers a high level of detail, with accurate colours.
This camera is on par with the snappers of last year’s best smartphones the likes of the Galaxy S3 (review), rather than the newer devices such as the LG Optimus G (review), which boast higher megapixel counts and better functionality. In contrast to smartphones like the Galaxy S4 (review) and Lumia 920 (review), the Q10’s camera is not kitted out with a plethora of extra features.
It does, however, allow you to capture HDR photos, features a burst shot mode, and like the Z10 (review) offers a Time Shift photo capture mode. Within this mode, the camera records burst shots before the actual image and you can then select the best shot in which all the subjects in the photo have their eyes open and are smiling.
Users are able to store their photos, videos, apps and other multimedia content on the smartphone’s decent 16 GB internal storage, which is expandable by up to 64 GB via the microSD card slot.
At the back of the Q10 you will find an 8 MP camera that is complimented by a 2 MP snapper at the front of the smartphone.
To the point
The BlackBerry Q10’s tried and tested design had many loyal users patiently waiting for the release of the smartphone, in order to make the jump to BlackBerry 10. It offers the classic form factor (touch and type) they were used to employing on older Curve, Bold and even Torch devices, but wrapped up in a more stylish package running the company’s newest software. BlackBerry traditionalists will love this phone.
It goes for an RRP of R9 000, which means there’s a plethora of better specced Android rivals available, including the Galaxy S4 (R9 000) and Xperia Z (review, R8 000). The ace up the Q10’s sleeve is that it is the best modern smartphone boasting a physical QWERTY keyboard - a feature very few rivals still offer.
Those who desire the Q10 but not its premium pricetag can check out the BlackBerry Q5 which delivers a similar experience for R5 000.
Premium build and design.
Eye-popping colours and excellent viewing angles from the Super AMOLED display.
Fast and fluid operation thanks to 2 GB RAM and quick processor.
Runs the latest version of BlackBerry OS - namely 10.1.
Excellent touch and type user experience.
Screen too small to enjoy videos or comfortably browse web pages.