Early reviews laud BlackBerry Q10's QWERTY keyboard and battery life

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
The first reviews for BlackBerry's latest Q10 handset are in, and while there were a few hardware related issues, many said the company's much-awaited return to a physical keyboard form-factor was worth the wait.

Q10
The BlackBerry Q10's QWERTY keyboard. | Source: BlackBerry


Reviews from TechCrunch, AllThingsD and CNET all have positive things to say about the Q10's keyboard, which apparently works well with the new BlackBerry 10 operating system despite its optimization for full touchscreen handsets like the Z10.

"The QWERTY keyboard is everything you remember about BlackBerry keyboards ? and much more," writes ABC News' Joanna Stern. "The keyboard is well-made and well-spaced thanks to the metal frets separating the rows of keys."

Stern's assessment is in line with other reviews, which make note of how spacious the keyboard feels due to wider spacing and key separation. CNET calls the keyboard "the star of [the] show," and praises the intuitive nature of the large, ridged keys.

Powering the device is a dual-core 1.5GHz processor with 2GB of RAM, while storage capacity comes in at 16GB with support for up to 32GB microSD cards.

An obvious concession for a handset featuring a physical keyboard is the decrease in screen real estate. The Q10 boasts a square, 3.1-inch OLED display with a 720-by-720 pixel resolution good for a pixel density of 330 pixels per inch. By comparison, the display on the iPhone 5 trails slightly with 326 pixels per inch, though the difference is negligible.

Q10


Reviews disagree on battery life, however, as TechCrunch, CNET and AllThingsD give high marks for the handset's ability to run up to about 8 hours of continuous use. ABC found longevity to be short of the manufacturer's claims.

As with the Z10, BlackBerry's latest touchscreen model, the Q10 runs on the smartphone maker's BlackBerry 10 operating system. Although it was designed with full multitouch displays in mind, the OS handles both keyboard- and touch-based operations with ease. As expected from a smartphone with built-in keyboard, the Q10 excels at messaging, and specialized software like Hub and Balance worked well with the form factor.

Build quality is a mixed bag, with some enjoying the feel of the soft-touch back plate, which is made from carbon fiber/glass composite, while others say the flexible design detracts from the otherwise sturdy feel of the chassis.

"The cover though doesn't fit quite flush against the chassis, especially near the USB port, which is disconcerting," said CNET's Brian Bennett.

Q10


Moving to the camera, the Q10 offers the same picture quality as the Z10 as both units share the same module, while the latest BlackBerry 10.1 update brings HDR imaging to the 8-megapixel shooter. Image quality is supposedly similar to competing handsets.

Overall, reviews were positive for the handset, especially for users looking to move back to QWERTY keyboards after Apple's iPhone shifted the market toward multitouch displays.

BlackBerry's Q10 is slated for a May release and is expected to cost $249 with a two-year contract.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    This looks like a solid device for the HW keyboard lovers.
  • Reply 2 of 32
    cash907cash907 Posts: 893member


    Looks like a solid bit of tech, but I'm having a hard time justifying the 50 dollar price premium over the 16GB iPhone 5. They might want to rethink that if their aim is to seriously compete.

  • Reply 3 of 32
    Reviews mean diddily. Let's see how it SELLS and by sells I mean sold to CUSTOMERS, not SHIPPED to stores and claiming "numbers sold".
  • Reply 4 of 32
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    cash907 wrote: »
    Looks like a solid bit of tech, but I'm having a hard time justifying the 50 dollar price premium over the 16GB iPhone 5. They might want to rethink that if their aim is to seriously compete.

    I don't think that's a deal breaker for the HW keyboard crowd. I'd say the customers most interested in this device are likely older with more disposable income who want more than anything a phone they can type on.
  • Reply 5 of 32
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Good luck to them, I guess. There will always be those that cling to older things because it suits them, but it looks like an anachronism. I wonder the market is enough for a company to survive on.
  • Reply 6 of 32
    samabsamab Posts: 1,953member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post


    Looks like a solid bit of tech, but I'm having a hard time justifying the 50 dollar price premium over the 16GB iPhone 5. They might want to rethink that if their aim is to seriously compete.





    They can price it with a premium because QWERTY die-hards like Google's Eric Schmidt refuses to use a slab phone.

  • Reply 7 of 32
    ingelaingela Posts: 217member
    I WANT!
  • Reply 8 of 32
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,560member
    jeffdm wrote: »
    Good luck to them, I guess. There will always be those that cling to older things because it suits them, but it looks like an anachronism. I wonder the market is enough for a company to survive on.

    I'm sure there's a market and I'm glad for it. Just because a hardware keyboard doesn't suit me doesn't mean that I wish those who like them to be left without options.

    I see it like the move from stick shifts to 6-, 7-, 8-, and 9-speed automatic transmissions and dual-clutch semi-automatic transmissions. They are technically faster shifting and provide for better fuel economy, but there are still those that cling to traditional stick shifts. Many manufacturers are ditching sticks altogether at the high end (most recently Lamborghini; Ferrari already ditched then), but Porsche still offers them even though the take rate is relatively low compared to the PDK. Mainstream automakers usually limit sticks to no-option base models.

    Overall, I think the last statistic I saw for manual transmissions in the U.S. was something like 13%. I doubt that the Q10 could get 13% of the smartphone market but kudos to them for trying.
  • Reply 9 of 32
    samabsamab Posts: 1,953member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post



    Good luck to them, I guess. There will always be those that cling to older things because it suits them, but it looks like an anachronism. I wonder the market is enough for a company to survive on.




    It's funny that in the engadget review of the Q10 that they did a typing speed test and found that they type faster on the virtual keyboard with the Z10 than the hardware keyboard on the Q10.

  • Reply 10 of 32
    Oh dear...
  • Reply 11 of 32
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    samab wrote: »

    It's funny that in the engadget review of the Q10 that they did a typing speed test and found that they type faster on the virtual keyboard with the Z10 than the hardware keyboard on the Q10.

    That was shown to be the case back with the original iPhone. Did they test the Z10's predictive word option (forget what it's called) against other virtual keyboards?
  • Reply 12 of 32
    samabsamab Posts: 1,953member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    That was shown to be the case back with the original iPhone. Did they test the Z10's predictive word option (forget what it's called) against other virtual keyboards?




    They didn't say.


     


    It is such a personal choice that Eric Schmidt still uses a QWERTY blackberry and Blackberry can price the Q10 at higher price than the iphone.  Couple with the fact that the Z10 and the Q10 uses basically a mid 2012 spec US model Samsung S3 (dual core MSM8960 at 1.5 GHz) in the era of 2013 quad core phones means that Blackberry is making a lot of money on the hardware (and can cut price on the Z10 without killing profit margin).

  • Reply 13 of 32
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member


    After several years of using touchscreen phones I find using keyboards (including the Blackberry) annoying and difficult.

  • Reply 14 of 32
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by samab View Post




    They didn't say.


     


    It is such a personal choice that Eric Schmidt still uses a QWERTY blackberry and Blackberry can price the Q10 at higher price than the iphone.  Couple with the fact that the Z10 and the Q10 uses basically a mid 2012 spec US model Samsung S3 (dual core MSM8960 at 1.5 GHz) in the era of 2013 quad core phones means that Blackberry is making a lot of money on the hardware (and can cut price on the Z10 without killing profit margin).



     


    Don't forget these new models are incompatible with BIS (Blackberry Internet Service) and require BES (Blackberry Enterprise Server) to perform traditional push email, compressed web browsing and BBM (BlackBerry Messenger), leading to higher data usage.

  • Reply 15 of 32
    kdarlingkdarling Posts: 1,640member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    Don't forget these new models are incompatible with BIS (Blackberry Internet Service) and require BES (Blackberry Enterprise Server) to perform traditional push email, compressed web browsing and BBM (BlackBerry Messenger), leading to higher data usage.



     


    Right, the new models do not need a BIS any more, because consumers can now use a regular data plan like every other smartphone.


     


    They can also use ActiveSync accounts like Google to push mail, calendars, etc.


     


    Enterprise users can also use a BES, which also allows the use of Blackberry Balance to keep their personal info separate from their business side.   As you point out, BES users also have their usual advantage of compression of web images, less email data, etc.


     


    --


     


    Thanks, AI, for posting this article.  I never considered a BB for home use, but the real keyboard could be perfect for my wife who doesn't like touch keyboards.  Will have to look into trying one.

  • Reply 16 of 32
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,878member
    mazda 3s wrote: »
    I'm sure there's a market and I'm glad for it. Just because a hardware keyboard doesn't suit me doesn't mean that I wish those who like them to be left without options.

    I see it like the move from stick shifts to 6-, 7-, 8-, and 9-speed automatic transmissions and dual-clutch semi-automatic transmissions. They are technically faster shifting and provide for better fuel economy, but there are still those that cling to traditional stick shifts. Many manufacturers are ditching sticks altogether at the high end (most recently Lamborghini; Ferrari already ditched then), but Porsche still offers them even though the take rate is relatively low compared to the PDK. Mainstream automakers usually limit sticks to no-option base models.

    Overall, I think the last statistic I saw for manual transmissions in the U.S. was something like 13%. I doubt that the Q10 could get 13% of the smartphone market but kudos to them for trying.

    I'm not sure the car analogy really works. Sure there are many things in life we cling to, grandfather clocks, stick shifts and even record players with turntables. However for a company trying to revive its once total dominance as the leader in cutting edge technology it is akin to Rolex making red LED watches IMHO. that said I wish them luck.
  • Reply 17 of 32
    kevtkevt Posts: 195member


    If typing was the only consideration, I'd prefer a physical keyboard. But it isn't, and I could never go back to one because of the loss of screen space, or design compromises with slide out ones.


     


    Well done Blackberry in offering choice: keyboard or full-touch screen. Whereas I don't think Apple needs to provide this option with the iPhone (as it does not have an existing user base sold on keyboards the way Blackberry does), I do hope Apple will offer more choice of models in future. If they do go bigger in terms of screen size, I hope this is a model for those who want it, and that they continue to make compact iPhones also.

  • Reply 18 of 32
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    mazda 3s wrote: »
    I'm sure there's a market and I'm glad for it. Just because a hardware keyboard doesn't suit me doesn't mean that I wish those who like them to be left without options.

    I see it like the move from stick shifts to 6-, 7-, 8-, and 9-speed automatic transmissions and dual-clutch semi-automatic transmissions. They are technically faster shifting and provide for better fuel economy, but there are still those that cling to traditional stick shifts. Many manufacturers are ditching sticks altogether at the high end (most recently Lamborghini; Ferrari already ditched then), but Porsche still offers them even though the take rate is relatively low compared to the PDK. Mainstream automakers usually limit sticks to no-option base models.

    Overall, I think the last statistic I saw for manual transmissions in the U.S. was something like 13%. I doubt that the Q10 could get 13% of the smartphone market but kudos to them for trying.

    I see the comparison more like the people that like the old super-clicky style computer keyboards. I don't begrudge either group, it just seems amusing to want either setup so badly that they'll sacrifice so much to get it. Sacrificing potentially a third of your screen area is a lot, while paying more in doing so. My personal experience is that it feels like asking to get "BlackBerry thumbs" because the keys tend to be a bit stiff.
  • Reply 19 of 32
    superbasssuperbass Posts: 688member
    Most people can type faster on a physical keyboard - I can see how people who mainly want a good email client and the occasional quick web search and won't be spending hours surfing the net or playing video games on it would prefer this to a full touchscreen - I don't even consider it "old-fashioned", just more specialized in a way.

    I spend way too much time staring at my phone, so the smaller screen is something i'll never be interested in.
  • Reply 20 of 32
    samabsamab Posts: 1,953member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


     


    Don't forget these new models are incompatible with BIS (Blackberry Internet Service) and require BES (Blackberry Enterprise Server) to perform traditional push email, compressed web browsing and BBM (BlackBerry Messenger), leading to higher data usage.





    Most of the mobile traffic is video now, and you can't compress a h.264 video any further.  There is really no point of talking about the loss of BIS data compression because even if the Z10 and the Q10 were to be compatible with BIS, it would not magically compress a h.264 youtube video any further.  Also because of iphone's popularity, most websites have mobile versions of their websites which are designed for much fewer data usage.

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