BlackBerry Q10 review: There and back again

GSMArena team, 02 June 2013.
Pages: 123456789101112

Tags: BlackBerry

Controls

At first sight, the QWERTY keyboard is the trademark BlackBerry setup, with keys ergonomically sculpted for great tactility, although crammed up a bit too tightly. The keyboard layout, including the numpad and the secondary functionality is generally the same as in previous BlackBerries.

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The QWERTY keyboard couldn't been better

The rows of buttons have been straightened out - a styling that kinda reminds us of the Porsche redesign of the Bold Touch 9900. This time around, the absence of a trackpad and navigation controls was what dictated the design decision.

The traditionally curved rows of buttons would've left an unpleasant amount of unused space between the QWERTY keyboard and the screen. Though in hindsight, it may've made sense, allowing a proper starting point for swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

As things stand now, the swipes need to start at the top keyboard row, which results in occasional unwanted key presses. It's not terribly annoying though and nothing that cannot be mastered with some practice.

The best thing about the keyboard is that it works with the touchscreen, rather than being at odds with it. With plenty of shortcuts available, some of which should be familiar to experienced users, the keyboard can seriously speed up getting around the interface.

Instant Actions makes the right kind of difference too, letting you launch apps and perform tasks using search as you type interface. But more on that in the software part of this review.

Now let's explore the rest of the BlackBerry Q10 controls. Above the screen, we find the traditional notification LED, proximity sensor and the earpiece. The front facing camera is a first for BlackBerry in the messenger form factor. The one on the Q10 is a 2MP unit that can do 720p video.

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Front cam, earpiece, proximity sensor and status LED on top

The left side of the handset is in charge of connectivity, with standard microUSB and microHDMI ports.

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The microUSB and microHDMI ports

The right side of the BlackBerry Q10 features the volume controls, with a small pause/mute button squeezed in between. The convenience key, another token of the old days, is gone along with the trackpad and call buttons.

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The volume controls and the play/pause key between them

The 3.5mm audio port and the power/lock key occupy the top of the BlackBerry Q10.

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The Lock key and the audio port at the top

The bottom houses the loudspeaker grille and the mouthpiece. It's an unusual position for a speaker but one that makes sure you doesn't get muffled when the phone's resting on its back.

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The bottom has the loudspeaker and the mic pinhole

The 8 megapixel camera lens and a LED flash are the main attraction at the back.

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The camera lens at the back

Removing the battery cover grants access to the hot-swappable microSD slot, while the micro SIM compartment is only reachable after you've taken out the battery.

The NFC module is integrated within the battery cover.

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Taking a peek under the hood

The BlackBerry Q10 scored a 56-hour endurance rating, which is quite impressive considering it just has a 2100 mAh battery to rely on. The small and energy-efficient Super AMOLED screen must be getting part of the credit for the solid performance. Find the complete breakdown here.

Display

The BlackBerry Q10 uses a 3.1" Super AMOLED screen of 720p resolution (720 x 720 pixels). The pixel density clocks in at 328 ppi, which is slightly higher than the Galaxy SIII's screen and about the same as the iPhone 4S/5's Retina display.

Colors are punchy, blacks are the usual AMOLED deep and the screen is viewed comfortably at even wide angles.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
BlackBerry Q10 - - - 0 352
BlackBerry Z10 - - - 0.38 575 1532
Nokia Lumia 920 - - - 0.48 513 1065
Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4 0 201 0 404
HTC One 0.13 205 1580 0.42 647 1541
Samsung N7100 Galaxy Note II 0 215 0 402
Samsung Galaxy S III mini 0 221 0 385
Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III 0 174 0 330
Apple iPhone 5 0.13 200 1490 0.48 640 1320
Samsung I9070 Galaxy S Advance 0 185 0326
Samsung I9103 Galaxy R 0.51 407 806 0.92785 858
Samsung I9001 Galaxy S Plus 0 251 0 408

Sunlight legibility is quite good too, as testified by the BlackBerry Q10's performance in our dedicated test.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Samsung Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.970
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • BlackBerry Q10
    2.856
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    2.352
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2.307
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.680
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • HTC Desire C
    1.300
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.180
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114
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