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BlackBerry Q10 review

Verdict

A fantastic keyboard and BlackBerry OS 10 make this a great phone for messaging, but it’s not up to scratch in other areas

Review Date: 16 May 2013

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £50, on a £27.00 per month, 24 months contract.

Buy it now for: £193
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

BlackBerry made its big comeback earlier this year with the BlackBerry Z10, but it decided to hold fire on its keyboard-based BlackBerry Q10 until recently.

Given the company is famed for its keyboard-based phones, it was an odd decision, to say the least. Now it’s here, though, and we've had the chance to use in anger, how does it compare with the Z10 and the rest of the smartphone competition?

BlackBerry Q10 keyboard

Physically, it’s typical BlackBerry fare. The Q10 it feels sturdy and solid, but doesn’t knock your socks off visually. The surprise is how heavy it feels: it weighs 139g, which doesn’t sound like much, but it feels dense in the hand, as if someone’s hidden a lump of lead in the case. It’s pretty thick, too, compared with the current generation of super-skinny handsets, and measures 10.4mm from screen to rear.

We like the feel of the soft, rubbery rear panel under our fingers, however, and there’s practicality in spades: the Q10’s rear panel is removable, revealing a replaceable 2,100mAh battery and a microSDXC slot when unclipped, allowing the addition of up to 64GB to the Q10’s onboard 16GB. Next to the micro-USB socket on the left, there’s a micro-HDMI output, for piping movies to your TV, and, of course, there’s that hardware keyboard.

Most people who choose the Q10 over the Z10 will do so for the keyboard, so it’s a critical part of the design. The good news is it’s superb. In typical BlackBerry fashion, each key is shaped slightly, with the inward-facing upper corners raised. This makes them easier to locate with the thumbs, and the strip of spacing between each of the four rows also helps to avoid mis-presses.

BlackBerry Q10

The click of each key is soft yet firm, leaving you in no doubt as to whether you’ve pressed one, and there are no annoying lips or ridges to cramp your style. This is BlackBerry doing what it does best; it’s a joy to type on.

The screen above the keyboard isn’t as good. As with the Z10, there’s no way to turn off the auto-brightness feature, and, as with the Z10, it’s one of the better phones at adapting to its conditions. It uses BlackBerry’s Garber light optimization (GLO) algorithm to adjust the backlight, so it looks the same whatever the ambient illumination, and the panel delivers bright, deeply saturated colours.

It isn’t anywhere near as readable as the Z10 in full sunlight, however, and that’s due to the AMOLED panel technology. Measuring the screen with our colorimeter showed its top brightness level to be 267cd/m2, compared to the Z10’s searing 715cd/m2.

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User comments

Battery life?

Perhaps these straggler corporations are missing a trick here. I asked my wife the other day if her phone needed charging. She replied that it was ok as it had been done three days[sic] ago.

Stick an extra slab of battery in there even if it means doubling the thickness of the case and people will find the real benefits irresistible.

By Alperian on 17 May 2013

Battery life?

Perhaps these straggler corporations are missing a trick here. I asked my wife the other day if her phone needed charging. She replied that it was ok as it had been done three days[sic] ago.

Stick an extra slab of battery in there even if it means doubling the thickness of the case and people will find the real benefits irresistible.

By Alperian on 17 May 2013

@Alperian

Every other review I have read has praised the battery life. It's the largest battery RIM have put in a phone and the screen is smaller than then Z10 so should last longer.

By JamesD29 on 17 May 2013

Screen size really too small?

3.1" is only marginally smaller than the 3.5" iPhone 4/4S screen size, and wasn’t that supposed to be the magical, ideal screen size?

By TheHonestTruth on 17 May 2013

@TheHonestTruth

It seems the issue is more the fact that the screen is square rather than a rectangle.

By BliksemPiet on 17 May 2013

@TheHonestTruth

If even Apple dropped the small screen then I guess it wasn't the magical, ideal size after all.

By ChrisH on 17 May 2013

At least it has a keyboard

Sadly you can't get a decent iOS, Android or WM8 phone with a keyboard. Personally I would have preferred a slider keyboard like by beloved TouchPro2.

By tirons1 on 17 May 2013

but its not an Apple!

Seriously, you complain that its thicker than the competition - by 2mm to the Galaxy S4 and 2.5mm to the iPhone 5. I wonder how many people can express how small the difference is.

When you factor in the removable battery and expandable memory, it wins hands down - I sure would prefer it a little thicker to benefit from this.

You also moan about its weight - wow a whole 9 grams for than the Galaxy S4! which you didn't mention about its weight.....

Thickness really isn't a factor any more in phones and hasn't been since they went under 20mm thickness. It's the height and width that have become the more important factor - just try slipping some in a jeans side pocket!

By kingct on 18 May 2013

@jamesD29

This machine is £557!? That is an incredible amount of money for the latest 'yesterday' phone. RIM[Blackberry now]==Catchup. Fanbois will respond exaltedly and everyone else will yawn and wonder when the next bad news from Wall Street will hit the company.

By Alperian on 19 May 2013

are you kidding?

Come on now. Honestly, why would PcPro be basing their review on how well a game plays on the Q10? Anyone buying a Q10 is not really going to be interested in game playing in any serious fashion. And what relevance is the thickness of the phone? It always makes me laugh to see "beautiful" iphone 5s wrapped in the ugliest 1" thick cases that make the phones look as pretty as one of those early Motorola devices. Well, they don't have any choice because the black paintwork scratches off with the slightest abrupt move. Buy the Q10 if you want outstanding messaging, a keyboard, data security and the ability to have a browsing experience that is the best in class for this size of screen. As to the price, it is exactly right for the target market.

By DGoodman on 23 May 2013

Call me old fashioned ....

But the primary use of my BlackBerry Z10 is for email, BBM, texts and, that old chestnut, making & receiving phone calls. And guess what? Its pretty good at that stuff.
Add in some grown-up apps such as the excellent (and free) BlackBerry Travel,XE Currency, Tube Map, SatNav (also free)etc and its a great product for those of us who don't spend our day on social networks, playing games & taking photos of our mates making silly faces.
You mag is called PC Pro - maybe you should review things from the perspective of Professionals

By n6gold on 23 May 2013

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