Blackberry Q10 - An Ultimate Messaging Machine For Socializing, Sharing And Working (Part 2)

8/2/2013 5:53:47 PM


While of course the screen is worth mentioning (and we'll talk in a little while), based on the similarity of the Z10, the Q10's highlight is definitely its keyboard. Fortunately, it is a good keyboard - but we're not entirely sure we will see it is better than the Bold 9900's. The most striking feature is the keyboard layout, which does away with the ergonomic, curved shape in favor of straight rows. While this means you may need to move your wrist closer to make the arrangement of the thumb in line with the key, you may not notice much difference.

The Q10's highlight is definitely its keyboard

The Q10's highlight is definitely its keyboard

On the other hand, the layout is almost the same, with the only slight difference being the addition of an alternate function on the 0 key: a small microphone. With this, you can activate Voice Control feature of BlackBerry 10, although generally we'd much rather just type And, fortunately, you can. You can just start typing from the home screen of the phone to search for applications or contact. You can also enter commands, such as "email" to start one email or "BBM" to send a message. This is an very convenient extension to the OS that can certainly speed up simple tasks.

Overall key shape is the same as on the earlier Bold, with that same gentle arc of the keys curving to meet your thumbs. It is very similar to what you have experienced on the older BlackBerrys, and of course it is very good. We cannot stop wondering how this device compares to typing on the new, predictive keyboard on the Z10. So we have to compare them.

The transition to the physical keys defeats some of the most compelling aspects of BlackBerry 10's predictive virtual keyboard, which is the ability to tap on the characters individually to auto-complete words and the ability to swipe from right to left to delete a whole word. There is a predictive mode you can enable on the Q10, which simply places a row of suggestions along the bottom of the display as you type. We found reaching up to it and then back to the keyboard a bit clumsy, and indeed, it has been disabled by default.

Whether the mode prediction on the Q10 and the Z10 are quickly finding out our primary testing phrase ("the quick brown fox...") we were still slightly faster on the Z10. In fact, in almost every situation we tried, we input text faster on the virtual keyboard of the Z10 compared to the physical keys of Q10. The exception? E-mail address and password.


You rarely see a square screen on smartphones today, but then again portrait-QWERTY devices are hardly a dime a dozen either. The panel in the Q10 is a 3.1-inch, 720 x 720 Super AMOLED that, we're happy to report,  that it is nice to look at from all angles - though, it must be said, the color temperature goes from overly warm to cool when you look at it off-angle. Even so, contrast is still quite high. Brightness is good and the screen visible under direct sunlight.

Actually, its size and shape are the only bad points. The 3.1-inch display is about 10 percent larger than the 2.8-inch LCD on the Bold 9900, and we have moved to 720x720 from VGA definitely helps too, but the screen here looks small compared to the relatively mammoth displays found on other smartphones. That includes 4.2 inch LCD screen, 1280x768 on the Z10, which feels more suited for consuming content, surfing the net and even cruising through long lists of emails and other social missives.

Of course, that phone has no keyboard.


On the Q10, we have two cameras similar to the Z10 – i.e., 2MP camera in the front and 8MP camera at the back, combined with a LED flash.  Not surprisingly, we noticed that camera performance in the Q10 is just the same as on the Z. In clear light, picture is quite nice, lacking sharpness and having a bit of noise, but color reproduction is solid. Shooting in low light is something we will avoid.

In clear light, picture is quite nice, lacking sharpness and having a bit of noise, but color reproduction is solid

In clear light, picture is quite nice, lacking sharpness and having a bit of noise, but color reproduction is solid

That is, unless you enable the new HDR mode which became part of the updated BlackBerry OS 10.1.  In this mode, the camera will take 2 pictures in the different exposure and calculate the average of both.  Fortunately, it will save both images on camera archive: a normal image and an image "enhanced" by HDR. In most cases, we liked the non-HDR photo better. While dark colors did indeed get richer with HDR enabled, anything that was already well-lit seemed to actually get duller. It's disappointing; the sky seemed to actually have their contrasts decreased when HDR is enabled. Finally, as on other platforms, make sure you're only photographing stationary subjects when using HDR. Otherwise you run the risk of introducing some spooky ghosts into your images.

The recorded video up to 1080p from the rear camera, and the quality is quite good. Video can be anti-shake digital here, but as you can see in the scene model, enabling it actually introduces some rather distracting jiggling to the mix. We're not entirely sure if it is better than the shake it aims to replace. The camera is reasonably quick to re-focus while filming, but we have found a bit of focus-hunting when shooting at more distant targets.


We reviewed the QNX-based BlackBerry 10 quite comprehensively when it was released, so we will not say much here, but it's important to note that the Q10 is actually running version 10.1, an update will not have on the Z10 in at least a few weeks. While there are no major changes, there are some changes that we should note.

Swipe up and swipe to the right, will take you to the BlackBerry Hub

Swipe up and swipe to the right, will take you to the BlackBerry Hub

Key Feature of BlackBerry 10 is the easy multitasking, primarily facilitated by gestures. Swiping up from the bottom bezel of the phone drops you back to your running apps and, as mentioned above, it is actually quite difficult based on the proximity of the keyboard to the screen. Swipe up and swipe to the right, will take you to the BlackBerry Hub, which consume all messages from email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, BBM and so on.

With 10.1, now you can download the email attachments, a quite essential feature is missing in the first version, and sends pin-to-pin messages in BBM. There you can also paste the number into the dialer (dialer) and take HDR photograph, if you like. Especially with the Q10, the color scheme has been made darker in many applications, helping increase battery life on OLED screens, and multiple screen control has been resized or removed entirely to make use of 3.1 inch provided here.

The biggest change is the addition of Instant Actions, already mentioned above, allows you to type in something like "email Bob" to send 1 email to Bob. The other existing commands include "text", "BBM" and "call".

What does not change? Almost everything else, including, most tragically, the navigation app. It is still very limited when compared with the mapping application from Microsoft, Google or Apple. Similarly, the app selection in BlackBerry World hasn't changed substantially in the past few months since the release of the Z10, leaving it hurting when compared to those other platforms.

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