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Blackberry Q10 Smartphone Review

Blackberry Q10 Smartphone Review

Blackberry Q10 Smartphone Review

User Experience and Conclusion

Software
Software

Looking first at the external appearance and build quality we have a handset that feels reasonably good in the hand. The two key aspects to this are the weight (and the way it is distributed) along with the rubber texture from the back. This makes holding the Q10 nice and easy and it always feels stable in our hand when typing on the keyboard using just our thumb. Each of the keys gives a nice tactile click when actioned and the input is responsive. That said there is something strangely bland and unexciting about the overall appearance of the phone… but maybe that is no bad thing given part of the target market.

As far as the internals go the dual core CPU (1.5GHz), 16GB of storage and 2GB of memory are a decent balance by todays standards. Not class leading on the CPU front but more than enough and we like that Blackberry include a microSD card slot. NFC and 4G support keep the features ticking along nicely, as does dual band wi-fi-n.

When we reviewed the Z10 it was clear to us that the new Blackberry 10 OS was much more modern and slick than the older iterations and for the most part it was intuitive with a big part of this being down to functionality being "inspired" by other OS’s. For example the ability to have key applications running in the background and viewable on the home screen enhanced productivity and Blackberry Hub was key to those who communicate while on the move. For the most part that is retained here although as before in app selection Blackberry have some way to go in matching Android and iOS. That said all of the key items are present and we do note that the store has been improved since launch making it easier to find free apps/games where as previously there was a lot of digging to find them.

On the Z10 we noted that some screens would not rotate when the handset orientation changed which was odd. On the Q10 we might have discovered the reason why… with a resolution of 720×720 there is no need for the OS to rotate, it wouldn’t offer any benefit. Seems logical on this handset, not so much on the Z10 but maybe that will evolve with time.

This 720×720 screen is probably the Q10s biggest issue though. It is bright enough and clear enough with good viewing angles but with a resolution of 720×720 it often feels very cramped in Blackberry 10. Sometimes it manifests itself with the realisation that watching YouTube on such a compact screen reduces the clip impact. Other times the on-screen buttons a just on the edge of too small, and there will be miss-selections for those with larger fingers. Other times pop-up messages/menus obscure far more than would be the case on the Z10. It is very clearly a case of Blackberry squeezing OS10 into the Q10 (after designing it for Z10). It’s almost like two different OS branches were required as far as display/appearance goes.

Elsewhere in the OS there are still some areas which could do with some tweaking, items buried away in layers and layers of menu. As one example to delete or reconfigure a Wi-Fi connection we have to wade through a handful of steps to get to the list, then rather than tapping the network we need to hit saved, which brings up another list and then we need to enter the config from there. Why not from the main list? Not major issues but they do give the opinion that things haven’t quite gone through the same levels of usability testing, or if they did suggested changes could not be implemented before now.

Download .mp4 Test Video from Blackberry Q10 (12.3MB) – Right-click save

Like the Z10 the camera used in the Q10 offers average quality at best. It will be enough to capture a quick snap when out and about but changes in brightness are not handled well and lack of options gives us little creative control. Video takes a while to focus, and often re-focuses multiple times when moving the phone around a scene and changes in brightness result in areas which lack detail.

Ending on a positive we have battery life. The dual core CPU rather than quad mixed with larger capacity battery and lower screen size mean that the Q10 offers some of the best battery life of any modern handset. We easily got most of the way through a second day of decent use without charging and when in standby the handset uses minimal power, just a few percent every 12 or so hours. Charge time from empty is also improved over the Z10, now clocking in just under 2 hours while on.


Benchmark Chart

Summary
The Q10 is a handset which feels good in the hand while not exactly standing out in the crowd. The OS doesn’t quite fit the screen resolution and without doubt this is a communications device rather than one for content consumption. That said, for those that require a physical keyboard, nothing else competes.

Blackberry Q10 Smartphone
Build Quality rating 7/10
Design rating 7/10
Performance rating 7/10
Value rating 8/10
Overall rating

7/10

Where to buy…
UK Store Vodafone.co.uk – £Varies

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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