BlackBerry Q10 review

16 May 2013

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

Price when reviewed: 
578(£579 inc VAT) SIM-freemore
Buy it now for 
4

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/m[sup]2[/sup], compared to the Z10’s searing 715cd/m[sup]2[/sup].

Details

Price ex VAT £482
Price inc VAT (£579 inc VAT) SIM-free; £50 on a £27/mth, 24mth conract
Cheapest price on contract £50
Contract monthly charge £27.00
Contract period 24 months
Contract provider www.carphonewarehouse.co.uk
Overall rating 4
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 3

Physical

Dimensions 67 x 120 x 10.4mm (WDH)
Weight 139g
Touchscreen yes
Primary keyboard Physical

Core Specifications

RAM capacity 2.00GB
Camera megapixel rating 8.0mp
Front-facing camera? yes
Video capture? yes

Display

Screen size 3.1in
Resolution 720 x 720

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes

Software

OS family Other

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