BlackBerry’s new keyboard-equipped Q10 doesn’t hold many surprises: On the outside, it’s only slightly different from devices like the BlackBerry Bold, and on the inside it’s running BlackBerry 10, which we’re already very well acquainted with.
But that doesn’t mean the device isn’t important. While BlackBerry launched its latest smartphone push with the Z10, it’s the Q10 that’s sure to draw in more consumer interest — for better or worse.
So what do reviewers think? Let’s start with the most obvious feature: the Q10’s hardware keyboard.
Ars Technica’s Andrew Cunningham says that while he wasn’t able to type as quickly on the Q10’s hardware keyboard as he could on the BlackBerry Z10’s software one, the Q10 was still pretty solid.
This keyboard is designed to be thumb-friendly—the keys on the left and right sides of the keyboard are sloped slightly differently to be more comfortable to your left and right thumbs. The keys are satisfying and clicky and their backlight is nice and even. They’re very firm as well.
Brian Bennett of CNET, who was also a fan of the Q10’s keyboard, also praised its battery life:
In addition to excellent call quality, the BlackBerry Q10 delivered in another area where many smartphones fall short, longevity. In our highly controlled anecdotal battery drain test, the Q10 played back a video for an impressive 14 hours and 4 minutes before finally calling it quits. The device’s behavior during my test period mirrored these results, and I consistently managed to go well over a full business day without recharging it.
So we know that the hardware’s solid — but what about the software? As TechCrunch’s Darrell Etherington notes, the app situation ain’t great:
The screen means that native BB10 apps have to be coded specifically to offer both Z10 and Q10 compatibility, which BlackBerry assures me is simple enough, but which still inevitably results in some fragmentation. Q10 users simply won’t see apps that aren’t designed for its display – unless they’re Android apps. Android ports still show up and can be downloaded and used.
For plenty of users who gave up on BlackBerry years ago, the Q10 probably won’t change their minds. But for those of us who love physical keyboards and want a keyboard paired with the full functionality of a serious smartphone, the Q10 delivers.
Photo: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat