BlackBerry Q10 assessment
You’ll be able to’t please everyone on a regular basis, and if there’s an organization who is aware of this higher than the remaining, it is BlackBerry. On the showy launch for BlackBerry 10, the corporate lastly unveiled its new secure of smartphones with which it will struggle the likes of Apple, Samsung, HTC, Microsoft, Nokia and Google. No easy process, that, and so BlackBerry rolled out not one, however two weapons: the all-contact Z10 and the portrait-QWERTY Q10.
However there was a catch: just one would launch at a time. It was a staged assault, with the Z10 forming the preliminary volley. Many stated this was a mistake, and that the Q10 and its acquainted bodily keyboard ought to have gone first, paving the best way for the extra radical, all-contact Z10. After what looks like an eternity, the $249 BlackBerry Q10 is lastly prepared for obligation, so let’s put it by means of its paces and see which of those fraternal twins is actually the flagship.%Gallery-186645%
- Nice bodily keyboard
- Strong construct high quality
- Good show
- Small show
- Mediocre digital camera
- Restricted app choice
The BlackBerry Q10 delivers the good QWERTY really feel that followers have been ready for, however these trying to eat content material will need to keep on with the bigger panel on the Z10.
As a portrait-QWERTY smartphone, the Q10 is a little bit of a uncommon chook lately. In some ways its closest sibling is definitely a telephone with a couple of years of seniority on it, the Daring 9900, a bit of hardware we fairly favored regardless of its aged working system. That stated, the Q10 shares loads of design language with the keyboard-free Z10.
Its 119.6 x sixty six.8mm dimensions truly slot in someplace between these two. The Q10’s 10.35mm thickness is one full millimeter thicker than the Z10 that got here earlier than and simply fractionally thinner than the 9900. You’d by no means realize it, although. Because of the Daring’s tapered edges, the older telephone truly feels significantly thinner.
Each have customized glass-weave again panels, however the place the Daring’s is simply an inset within the middle, the Q10’s is a full backplate that pops off by sliding downward, exposing a 2,100mAh battery, micro-SIM and microSD enlargement. (Notice that the white model of the Q10 will function a rubberized backing, very similar to the Z10.) It seems to be fairly good and a tender-contact coating means it is not more likely to slip out of your hand. Plus its composition will not intrude with any of the interior radios, preserving valuable sign power robust. Nonetheless, its flat form does not match the hand anyplace close to as properly because the tapered one on the 9900.
A metallic band partway down from the highest-rear visually divides the detachable battery cowl from the remainder of the again, which surrounds the eight-megapixel digital camera and its LED flash — a close to-equivalent setup to that on the Z10. That sliver of metallic protrudes ever so barely, ostensibly to maintain the digital camera elevated from the desk when it is mendacity on its again, and terminates on the edges of the telephone, shaped by a black rim.
We’re considerably extra drawn to the look of the brushed, stainless-metal rim used on the Daring 9900 than the monotone darkness discovered within the Q10.
Underneath right here, we’re informed, is identical metallic development as was used on the 9900, however we have now to say we’re considerably extra drawn to the look of the brushed, stainless-metal rim used on the elder telephone than the monotone darkness discovered within the Q10. It is very a lot consistent with the Z10 and certainly the PlayBook earlier than, which is to say it is stoic and understated. Wanting skilled while utilizing this telephone will definitely not be an issue. Getting your folks and associates enthusiastic about how the factor seems to be, nevertheless, could possibly be.%Gallery-186646%
The one visible highlights on the entrance are one other 4 unpainted stainless bands that separate the rows of keys. These 4 frets present loads of separation for fast contact-typing and are literally a structural component of the chassis now, including additional rigidity to the combination. Certainly, this telephone passes the twist check with flying colours, not flexing or creaking when some torque is utilized.
Located simply above the keyboard is a three.1-inch, 720 x 720 Tremendous AMOLED show. Sure, it is sq., which makes watching sixteen:9 video content material a little bit of a hassle, nevertheless it works nicely in almost all different regards. The truth is, the most important drawback is not with the show; it is with its placement. The factor is about to date down near the keyboard that it is truly considerably troublesome to execute the important thing gesture in BlackBerry 10: swiping up from the underside bezel.
That is the gesture that exits you out of your present app and lets you peek into the Hub. We continuously discovered ourselves having to swipe up a second time to efficiently get residence. These with small thumbs might have much less of an issue, and in the event you practice your self to truly begin your swipe on the keyboard and drag up from there, you will have extra success, however we will not assist however want BlackBerry had shifted all the show meeting up 1 / 4-inch or so. There seems to be loads of room between the highest of the show and the earpiece, taken up solely by a little bit of branding at this level.
Talking of branding, it is sometimes minimal right here. There is a metallic BlackBerry emblem inset on the battery cowl, which appears fairly polished, and an unlucky silkscreened AT&T globe emblem down beneath the spacebar that appears a bit wedged in there.
Located above the show, and above the BlackBerry branding, are the earpiece, 2-megapixel entrance-dealing with digital camera and a notification LED. Up on prime of the system you will discover a energy / lock button, three.5mm headphone jack and a pair of microphones for noise cancellation. Shifting to the appropriate aspect is BlackBerry’s wonderful three-means quantity rocker, with a center button for play / pause and in addition for shortly toggling vibration mode. On the underside, you will discover the first microphone and the system’s speaker — which, we’re completely happy to report, appears to be fairly a bit louder than that on the Z10. Lastly, on the left are the micro-USB and micro-HDMI connectors. They’re positioned farther up the aspect than on the Z10, the place they sit near the middle, however they’re no less than the identical distance aside, which means, in concept, a dock constructed for the Z10 might additionally work with the Q10.%Gallery-186647%
Like with the Z10, BlackBerry will supply 4 SKUs of the Q10, three with LTE (two with HSPA+ and one with CDMA) plus a fourth, non-LTE HSPA+ mannequin. The AT&T model we examined provided quad-band LTE at 2, four, 5, 17 (seven hundred / 850 / 1700 / 1900) plus penta-band HSPA+ I, II, IV, V, VI (800 / 850 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100) and quad-band EDGE. A second LTE mannequin provides in Verizon-pleasant CDMA, with LTE band thirteen (seven hundred), twin-band CDMA (800 / 1900), twin-band HSPA+ I, VIII (900 / 2100) and quad-band EDGE. The third LTE mannequin presents quad-band LTE at three, 7, eight, 20 (800 / 900 / 1800 / 2600), quad-band HSPA+ at I, V, VI, VIII (800 / 850 / 900 / 2100) and quad-band EDGE. Lastly, there’s the penta-band HSPA+ mannequin at I, II, V, VI, VIII (800 / 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100) with quad-band EDGE. All supply 802.11a/b/g/n connectivity and Bluetooth four.zero. Those that like to maneuver it, transfer it should discover an accelerometer, gyro, magnetometer and GPS.
Now, when you can draw your conclusions about what carriers the telephone might be arriving on, sadly we have no confirmations as we write this evaluation. We additionally do not have a proper launch date, however BlackBerry guarantees it’s going to be in American shops by the top of Might. Canadian readers, in the meantime, can get theirs on Might 1st, whereas European readers ought to have it earlier than the top of the month.
Powering the gadget is identical 1.5GHz Qualcomm MSM8960 twin-core CPU with 2GB of RAM. The telephone additionally provides 16GB of inner storage, with microSD enlargement on faucet. Name high quality was on-par with the Z10, so about common, however once more we’re glad to report the constructed-in speaker on the telephone appears to have extra oomph than the one on the Z10.Keyboard
Whereas the show is definitely value speaking about (and we will, in only a second), given the interior similarities with the Z10, the spotlight of the Q10 is unquestionably its keyboard. Fortunately, it is an excellent one — however we’re not totally positive we might name it higher than that on the Daring 9900. The most important distinguishing function is the keyboard format, which does away with the ergonomic, curved form in favor of straight rows. Whereas this does imply you could want to maneuver your wrists nearer collectively to realize correct thumb alignment with the keys, you are not more likely to discover a lot of a distinction.
In any other case, the format is nearly precisely the identical, with the one slight distinction being the addition of an alternate perform on the zero key: slightly microphone. It is with this that you simply set off BlackBerry 10’s Voice Management function, although basically we might a lot moderately simply sort. And, fortunately, you’ll be able to. You’ll be able to simply begin typing from the telephone’s house display to seek for apps or contacts. You can too enter in instructions, like “e mail” to start out an e-mail or “bbm” to ship a message. This can be a very useful extension to the OS that may definitely velocity up easy duties.
General key form is identical as on the sooner Daring, with that very same mild arc of the keys curving to satisfy your thumbs. It’s, then, very almost the identical as you’ve got skilled on earlier BlackBerries, and that’s, in fact, an excellent factor. That stated, we could not assist however marvel how this system compares to typing on the brand new, predictive keyboard on the Z10. So, we in contrast them.
The transfer to bodily keys defeats a number of the most compelling elements of BlackBerry 10’s predictive digital keyboard, specifically the power to flick upward on particular person letters to auto-full phrases and the power to swipe from proper to left to delete an entire phrase. There is a predictive mode you possibly can allow on the Q10, which merely locations a row of recommendations alongside the underside of the show as you sort. We discovered reaching as much as it after which again to the keyboard a bit clumsy and, certainly, it is disabled by default.
In almost each state of affairs, we have been faster getting into textual content on the digital keys of the Z10 than the bodily ones of the Q10.
Despite the fact that the predictive modes on each the Q10 and the Z10 shortly found out our main testing phrase (“the fast brown fox…”) we have been nonetheless barely quicker on the Z10. In truth, in almost each state of affairs we tried, we have been faster getting into textual content on the digital keys of the Z10 than the bodily ones of the Q10. The exception? E mail addresses and passwords. Attending to particular characters is way much less cumbersome once they’re all proper there on the keys.Show
It is not too typically you see a sq. show on a smartphone nowadays, however then once more portrait-QWERTY units are hardly a dime a dozen both. The panel within the Q10 is a three.1-inch, 720 x 720 Tremendous AMOLED that, we’re completely happy to report, appears fairly good from all angles — although, it have to be stated, the colour temperature goes from overly heat to chill if you take a look at it off-angle. Even so, distinction stays fairly excessive. Brightness can also be good and the panel is definitely seen in direct daylight.
It is actually the dimensions and the form which might be its solely detractions. The three.1-inch show is about 10 % bigger than the two.eight-inch LCD on the Daring 9900, and that we have moved as much as 720 x 720 from VGA undoubtedly helps too, however the panel right here definitely appears and feels tiny in comparison with the comparatively mammoth shows discovered on different smartphones. That features the four.2-inch, 1,280 x 768 LCD on the Z10, by the best way, which feels much better-fitted to consuming content material, browsing the web and even cruising by means of lengthy lists of emails and different social missives.
In fact, that telephone does not have a keyboard.Digital camera
On the Q10, we have now the identical pair of cameras as we discovered on the Z10 — that’s, a 2-megapixel shooter within the entrance and an eight-megapixel unit within the again, paired with an LED flash. Unsurprisingly, then, we discovered digital camera efficiency within the Q10 to be simply the identical as on the Z. In shiny mild, photographs are passably good, missing sharpness and having a little bit of noise, however shade copy is strong. Low-mild capturing is one thing we might keep away from.%Gallery-186651%
Skies appeared to truly have their contrasts decreased when HDR was enabled.
That’s, until you allow the brand new HDR mode that comes alongside as a part of the BlackBerry 10.1 OS replace. On this mode, the digital camera will take two photographs at totally different exposures and common the 2 collectively. It’ll, fortunately, save two photographs to digital camera storage: a traditional one and one “enhanced” by the HDR. In virtually each circumstance we appreciated the non-HDR photograph higher. Whereas darkish colours did certainly get richer with HDR enabled, something that was already properly-lit appeared to truly get duller. Disappointingly, skies particularly appeared to truly have their contrasts decreased when HDR was enabled. Lastly, as on different platforms, be sure to’re solely photographing stationary topics when utilizing HDR. In any other case you run the danger of introducing some spooky ghosts into your pictures.%Gallery-186653%
Most video recording is 1080p out of the rear digital camera, and high quality is cheap. Video could be digitally stabilized right here, however as you possibly can see within the pattern footage above, enabling it truly introduces some somewhat distracting jiggling to the combination. We’re not solely positive that is truly higher than the shake it goals to switch. The digital camera within reason fast to re-focus whereas filming, however we did discover a little bit of focus-searching when capturing at extra distant targets.Software program
We reviewed the QNX-based mostly BlackBerry 10 fairly comprehensively when it launched, so we cannot cowl a lot of the identical floor right here, however it is very important notice that the Q10 is definitely operating model 10.1, an replace that will not come to the Z10 for a couple of weeks a minimum of. Whereas there are not any main modifications, there have been a couple of tweaks we should always point out.
Once more, the primary function of BlackBerry 10 is straightforward multitasking, primarily facilitated by gestures. Swiping up from the underside bezel of the telephone drops you again to your operating apps and, as talked about above, that is truly a little bit of a problem given the proximity of the keyboard to the show. Swipe up and to the suitable and also you get to the BlackBerry Hub, which consumes all of your messages from e-mail, Twitter, Fb, LinkedIn, BBM and elsewhere into one large, quick-flowing pile.
Shade schemes have been made darker in lots of apps, serving to to spice up the battery life on this OLED panel.
With 10.1, now you can obtain e mail attachments, a fairly needed function lacking within the preliminary launch, and ship pin-to-pin messages in BBM. You can too now paste telephone numbers into the dialer and take HDR pictures, should you’re so inclined. Particularly for the Q10, colour schemes have been made darker in lots of apps, serving to to spice up the battery life on this OLED panel, and lots of on-display controls have been shrunk or eliminated totally to benefit from the three.1 inches on supply right here.
The most important change is the addition of On the spot Actions, talked about above, which lets you sort one thing like “e mail bob” to ship an e mail to Bob. Different obtainable instructions embrace “textual content,” “bbm” and “name.”
What’s not modified? Most every thing else, together with, most tragically, the navigation app. It is nonetheless far too restricted to be taken significantly when in comparison with the mapping choices from Microsoft, Google or Apple. Equally, the app choice in BlackBerry World hasn’t modified considerably up to now few months because the launch of the Z10, leaving it hurting when in comparison with these different platforms.Efficiency and battery life
Certainly, general enhancements are slight and the Q10 works and feels very very similar to its predecessor. Whereas the OS could be very fast and responsive and the browser is as nicely, 3D gaming shouldn’t be this telephone’s forte. The Want for Velocity recreation that got here pre-loaded on our evaluate unit typically stuttered and struggled, and if the pack-in recreation is not working nicely, that is not an excellent signal. In your extra informal cellular gaming pursuits, the Q10 will do exactly high-quality.
The Q10 may even do exactly high-quality lasting by way of a day of utilization, we discovered. On our commonplace battery rundown check, which entails a video looping endlessly whereas the telephone is related to LTE and with the show on and set to a hard and fast brightness, the telephone managed 9 hours and 35 minutes complete. That is an hour and 20 minutes greater than the Z10 earlier than it, placing it kind of on-par with the LTE Samsung Galaxy S III. Extra importantly, we simply acquired by way of a full day of sometimes heavy use with out reaching for the charger. That stated, the two,100mAh battery pack right here is slender sufficient that carrying a second round will not take up an excessive amount of area in your satchel.
Lastly, boot-up occasions are nonetheless as painfully sluggish as on the Z10. The telephone took one minute and 20 seconds to chilly boot and a full 22 seconds simply to utterly shut down. That’ll be a particular ache level for battery-swappers.Wrap-up
The BlackBerry Q10 is, for probably the most half, precisely what we anticipated it to be: a Z10 with a smaller show and a bodily keyboard. There’s not a lot between the 2 telephones in relation to efficiency or aesthetics and, whereas the development in battery life is good, each nonetheless fall into the “common” class in that regard. Unsurprisingly, then, which of the 2 is best for you boils right down to a single query: how badly do you hate typing on glass?
Once more, our testing discovered textual content entry to be quicker on the Z10 than the Q10 in most conditions, however velocity does not all the time equate to satisfaction. All issues being equal, we might choose a bodily keyboard to peck at than a bit of glass to smudge, however right here we might select the Z10 only for that bigger show.
And what of the broader query, of whether or not the $249 Q10 might help BlackBerry get its groove again and compete with the remaining? There are definitely those that will not purchase a telephone with no keyboard, and the Q10 is certainly the perfect telephone with a keyboard available on the market. Nevertheless, given how weak the competitors and demand there has turn into, we’re unsure cornering that market will transfer the needle very far in BlackBerry’s favor.