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July 26, 2013

BlackBerry Q10 Review

After spending two solid weeks with the BlackBerry Q10 and using it as our primary phone for the whole duration, we think we have everything we need to give you guys our full review of the QWERTY counterpart of the Z10.

In case you missed it, we’ve posted our brief first impression of this handset not so long ago. It’s best if you pay it a visit just to get your feet wet for the full review.

Design and Construction

As far as the look is concerned, we have to say that the Q10 doesn’t possess the flare and the premium feel of the Bold 9900. Instead, BlackBerry went for a more straightforward approach in the design of the Q10.

In some cases, this kind of makeover can be good at times, especially for devices that has too over-the-top design. However, we must say that it’s not going all too well for the Q10. Truth be told, it has been (for a number of times) mistaken for a cheaper model at first glance because of its too monotonous appeal.

blackberry q10

Instead of a silver border found on the 9900, BlackBerry went for a simpler black flank with a touch of matte of finish to provide better grip. This section is sandwiched in between the plastic front panel and the totally redesigned back plate that’s aesthetically reminiscent to the small portion of the 9900’s posterior.

However, instead of a glossy feel provided by the fiberglass surface, the Q10’s back panel sports a rubbery feel that both feels good to the touch and provides better grip. Other than that, much of the trademark physique of the previous portrait QWERTY handsets under BlackBerry’s stable has been retained in the Q10’s structure.

Display

With all of the hype going for 1080p-touting handsets, it’s easy to overlook the fact that before the Q5, the Q10 actually has the best display panel out of all the QWERTY handsets that BlackBerry made. One can even make the argument that apart from the difference in display technology (Q5 has IPS LCD, while Q10 has S-AMOLED), the Q10’s screen is just as good as the one on the Q5.

bb q10 philippines

Having a 720×720 resolution may not be as convincing on paper to some, but given that those pixels are packed inside a rather small frame (3.1-inch to be exact), that brings it to the same rank as the iPhone 5 as far as pixel density is concerned.

More than just the pixel count, the Q10 also provides a decent outdoor legibility. Moreover, we were a bit surprise of how good the viewing angles are on its screen, considering that it doesn’t have IPS. Or at least that’s what is stated on its specs sheet.

However, the Q10’s screen is not without its fair share of flaws. Some of which are minor (white balance is a tad off towards the “cool” side, corners of the screen can be unresponsive at times) that we can probably sweep under the rug, but there’s one thing in particular that we just can’t let pass; and that is the bezel.

blackberry q10 philippines

In most of our reviews, we are keen to point out how thick the bezels are on a certain device, but this is probably the first that you’ll hear us complain about a handset not having a thick enough bezel around the screen.

The reason behind our gripe is the fact that weaving through the BlackBerry OS 10 involves bezel-to-screen gestures. I mean it’s bad enough that the OS takes a bit of getting used to before everything becomes second nature, to make matters worse the bezels on the Q10 (particularly the bottom one) just aren’t wide enough to give users a more intuitive swiping gesture.

OS, UI, Apps

The Q10 comes preinstalled with the updated version of the BB OS 10 which was also recently made available to its full-touch sibling. The revamped OS brings a handful of improvements that we discussed on our previous post.

UI

Apart from the handset’s smaller screen and its annoyingly thin bezel, the BlackBerry OS 10 on the Q10 works similarly to the one found on the Z10. That said most of the navigation/operation are still based on bezel-to-screen gestures which, as we said earlier, has a steep learning curb.

One of the biggest tradeoff in choosing a BlackBerry handset over an iPhone or Android is limited app selection, and this holds true for the Q10. And while this isn’t something that should be taken against this smartphone, it’s still something to take note of nonetheless.

Multimedia and Audio quality

If you’ve come here looking for a handset that’ll handle your video playback needs, then you’re in the wrong place. Although it didn’t have any troubles loading videos, there’s just too many things that are going against the Q10 as far as comfortable movie watching is concerned. For one the size of the Q10’s screen isn’t cut out for that task. Then there’s the issue of the screen’s aspect ratio which, in most files that we’ve tried, just left us with a strip of the film sandwiched in between two thick black borders.

media

Luckily, our experience with the handset’s audio isn’t as bad as the one we had on the video playback. Whether we’re on a call or just listening to tracks, the Q10 was able to deliver superb sound performance either through its loudspeaker or through its pre-bundled earphones.

Performance

Since the unit that was lent to us is the LTE variant, it had a Snapdragon S4 chip instead of a TI-OMAP found on the non-LTE model. In all honesty, however, we weren’t able pick up any significant difference between the two variants as both are well-optimized to run the OS and both did well in handling basic tasks.

benchmark

Without any resource-heavy apps to test it with, we just relied on the only reliable benchmark test available for the platform. The result we got (as seen above) was slightly lower than the one we got from the Z10 which was running on a TI-OMAP processor.

Here’s the full load down of the benchmark result:

Camera

The Q10 is equipped with the same camera configuration (8MP on the back and 2MP at the front) as the Z10. As such, we expected the same result from it and we’re glad to report that the handset didn’t disappoint.

The one on the back was able to produce stills that should be more than enough for small prints and social media use. It also did well in recording 1080p videos as seen in the sample video below.

We also like the inclusion of HDR mode as part of the current BB OS 10 build. One thing to note though when shooting in this mode; the phone only makes a single shutter sound when you take a picture, but in reality it’s actually taking three shots and combining it to form a single file. Having said that, it pays to not be fooled by the single shutter sound and steady your hand/s while waiting for the phone to do its thing.

Here are some of the sample pictures that we took with the BlackBerry Q10 (HDR pics included):

Connectivity and Call Quality

Whether wired or wireless, this handset takes care of all your connectivity needs. That includes Wi-Fi hotspot, NFC and LTE which has become the standard for a flagship device. Speaking of LTE, the handset did a fine job of picking up LTE connection whenever it’s available.
Call quality was also commendable as our voices came through clear as day based on our call tests. Moreover, we never had any disconnected calls and/or dropped calls during our time with the handset.

BlackBerry Q10 LTE specs:
3.1-inch display @ 720×720 pixels, 328ppi
Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon 1.5GHz dual-core Krait
Adreno 225 Graphics
2GB of RAM
16GB of internal storage
up to 32GB via microSD card
8MP rear camera
2MP front-facing
micro HDMI
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, dual-band, WiFi hotspot
Bluetooth 4.0
NFC
LTE 100Mbps
GPS w/ aGPS support
Li-Ion 2,100 mAh battery
BlackBerry 10 OS
Dimension: 119.6 x 66.8 x 10.4 mm
Weight: 139g

Battery Life

Between the Z10 and the Q10, this handset actually has the bigger battery which was a bit odd considering that the former requires more juice to power its bigger and more pixel-packed display. As a result, the Q10 outlasted the Z10 in all of usage type

On a typical day of use, which includes leaving the LTE connection on with a handful of social media apps and a pair of email accounts running on the background, the average mileage we got out of a single charge ranges from 13-16 hours.

battery

With the same setup, we tried using the Q10 as an LTE mobile hotspot to see how long it’ll last under heavy pressure. Surprisingly, it lasted for six and a half hours before the battery got drained.

Conclusion

Since the release of the Bold Touch 9900, BlackBerry has taken its sweet time to come up with a good successor. During this time some BB users have already given up and succumbed to the allure of an all-touch flag bearers like the HTC One, SGS4 and Sony Xperia Z. But for the few passionate loyalists, we think that all the wait was all worth it as the BlackBerry Q10 is, without question, the best portrait QWERTY handset out there in the market.

We like how BlackBerry was able to incorporate all the good stuff from their previous builds and a add handful of enhancements that ultimately led to a note-worthy smartphone. That includes a well-constructed body, top-of-the-line keyboard and intuitive aggregator that takes care of all social media and email feeds and places it all in an easy-to-access hub.

blackberry q10 price philippines

But even after saying all of these good things, we’re still gonna circle back to what we said on our first impression; the BlackBerry Q10 is not for everyone. While this handset is meant to cater for long-time BB users who’ve been dying to get upgrade their current QWERTY handset, we think that it just doesn’t have enough fire power to convince Android/iOS users to make the switch.

Another thing that’s not going right for the Q10 is its premium price which is currently pegged at Php31,990. At that price point, it makes it even harder for consumers opt for this handset instead of getting a 5-inch 1080p smartphone. Unless of course, you’re already decided to get it in the first place.

What we liked:

• Great build
• Outstanding keyboard
• Decent battery life
• BlackBerry Hub
• Snappy performance

What we didn’t like:

• Display (slightly off White Balance, unresponsive on corners)
• Too thin bezel, not suited for bezel-to-screen gestures
• So-so image quality
• Premium price

Official: BlackBerry Q10 launch on June 7 at Php31,990

23 Responses to “BlackBerry Q10 Review”

  1. abuzalzal says:

    R.I.P. competitive pricing

    Oh that BB prestige, this phone is a must-have for them old fellas who didn’t know smartphones exist

    competition is always good, but when you have a competitor like BB who are just so far detached from reality you could only wish they’d die ASAP

    • antiabuzalzal says:

      i think ngaun lang ako magaagree sa mga opinions ni abu hahaha tama sablay na tlga bb

  2. metre9dmt says:

    PhP 31,900 for a qwerty phone?! Unless its made of gold, I won’t buy this one. I settle for a 9320 and even a Nokia Asha 210. OMG, Blackberry! Wake up! Lugi na kayo. Nag-lay-off pa.

    • abuzalzal says:

      Sablay ang business strategy nila, they think they can convince those old-timers (who got used to QWERTY keypads but are now using touchscreens) to jump ship again and now they are losing more and more money because they cannot recoup those advertising and labor expenses.

      With the BB ecosystem being as dreadful as ever, I don’t think this piece of shyt is even worth half of its SRP.

  3. Q10 says:

    I’ve used this phone since day 1 it was released in the Philippines and it really performs well. Great messaging phone! I’m a heavy email and IM user that’s why I think this phone is perfect for me. I was really amazed by the BlackBerry Hub. Swiping is very convenient. Very clever solution. But of course I still keep my iPhone for my apps and multimedia needs which is about once or twice a week? One good solution on the multimedia side is you can plug this phone to your TV (with hdmi) and mirror anything on your screen. That’s very good for Skype and BBM video; and for sharing your videos and pictures. For me, this Q10 is the best communication tool that I have right now.

    • Jeff says:

      I love my q10 too. If some cannot afford then don’t buy it. Go for a cheap crappy droid phones. Lol

  4. awdog says:

    Blackberry FAIL! again.

    this is NOT even worth a second look.

  5. dinaclanadala says:

    taas talaga ng pride ng bb,ito lng ang mga nakikita kong dahilan para bilhin to:
    1)premium brand(if you dont want iphone)
    2)physical qwerty keyboard phone
    3)platform itself and their own softwares

    pero kung tutuusin lahat ng meron sa bb nasa ibang phones na kaya bobo lang mga bibili nito hahaha

    • hmmmmm says:

      Baka naman you don’t have enough funds to try what’s out there. Kaya ang bitter mo.

    • dinaclanadala says:

      kahit may funds pako d ako magaabalang bumili nyan just to try,bakit pako magtatry ng isang phone kung may mga subok na iba at lahat ng ipinagyayabang nyan ay nasa iba narin!! isa ka rin cguro sa mga tao na nabili nb bb just because of the brand tsktsk

  6. Guest says:

    For 31k hindi siya worth it! Mukha namang maganda yung phone. Pero kung 31k ang presyo parang hindi sulit. Mas okay pa siguro kung kumuha ka nito sa Globe or Smart with one of their Plans kasi mas mura kung ganun. As for the phone itself, maganda naman yung build quality and keyboard niya. (natesting ko lang sa Globe) it is ideal nga talaga sa mga malakas mag email or mag IM. Not recommended ito sa mga naghahanap ng mind blowing specs o kaya mahilig sa mga apps.

  7. jren says:

    mataas lang talaga presyo nila kaya nga people tend to get plans like
    globe and smart,im using bb 9320 and i can say na superb sya
    lalo na battery,pati ang internet nya na kahit edge lng ang
    signal nakakapagnet at nakakalaro pa ng online games like zenonia 5 via hotspot,

    so its not right na i judge ang phone lalo na kung d nyu pa sya nasusubukan
    ipreger qwerty than touch screens,ang ipod ko for multimedia only
    pero ang bb ko pang communication,well protected kasi ang emails and other stuff ko using BB,

    so if you dont have the capability to buy the phone then leave it

    • wowowow says:

      @jren what we’re just saying is that based on the specs bb is way too expensive,yeah you’re right that bb is the best in communication like emails because one of the factors why is that bb platform is the most secured mobile platform…..but the things is iOS and android and windowsOS was built wit hcommunication like emails,tska d mo naman cguro kailangan ng “secured” na platform dahil d naman intel yan para sa CIA ang laman ng emails mo =))

    • jren says:

      specs wise tama kayo lugi tlga ang bibili ng Q10,
      31k is so much, but who can blame them?ang binabayran
      naman kasi ung logo na blackberry,i dont want
      to argue to anyone about the specs and other things,

      for me the word “secure” is important because of my job complications
      thats why i use bb phones

      another thing is the battery, my bb can withstand 3G connection for one whole day, can iphone or samsung do that?

      so again nasa gumagamit yan at sa pag gagamitan,

  8. malikadre says:

    Its true iphone nor samsung cant do thta,but theyre not just the players in smartphone market….have u ever heard of thrill 430x and razor maxx they are slapped with big battery…lahat naman tayu kailangan ng secured platform pero depende sa taas,do u think you can maximize the security of bb?definitely sure ur not unless youre a cia agent

  9. Jeff says:

    I have an iphone 5 for 3 weeks but i prefer my blackbery q10 as my primary phone. BB is still the best smartphone for me. #justsaying

  10. ukin mimi naangot says:

    For people who used smartphones for specific use, there is no alternative for blackberry. Thus i have my blackberry qwerty phones. But for others, i have my xperia z. Everyone is entitled to their own views no matter how ridiculous they are, but one thing is certain, those who ridicule blackberry qwerty phones don’t know how to use phones for specific purposes, and most importantly, can’t afford blackberry q10 and xperia z. As simple as that. So enjoy your torque and cherry mobile poor pitiful.

    • Captfaw says:

      “For people who used smartphones for specific use, there is no alternative for blackberry” @ukin mimi naangot I beg to differ! ang sinasabi nyong secure is really not secure at all… if you work in a telecommunications company… you will know how to access the msgs… bumabagsak nalang lahat ng security kung burara ka… example ehh d mo buburahin ang msgs pag nabasa mo na… pag nawala ang phone mo ehh automatic mababasa yan ng makakapulot… in the end ang sinasabi nyong security ehh wala ng silbi… tapos QWERTY keys ba? ang downside ng qwerty keys ehhh mahirap mag txt… I’d rather use 3210 in texting… at pustahan mas mabilis ako mag text sa mga nag qwerty lalo na pag no-look ang pag text..

      My point is… why should you buy a phone? ako ang gusto ko lang sa phone ehhh lahat ng features nya dapat top of the line… at depende kung saan mo ginagamit ang phone…

    • Ally Nebreska says:

      Mimi is correct. I work as an IT manager. The comments of the idiot replier to mimi is plain idiot. And mimi is correct that the replier is poor pitiful that could only afford one thousand bucks chery mobile and is aspiring to even own at least a two thousand bucks phone. Stay in your squatter house captfaw because that’s where you belong. Squatter mind.

    • Rockafella says:

      Ally..English so bad…quit trying hard..IT Manager my buttocks…didn’t know they had IT courses in cave school…

  11. Beeps says:

    Anybody here able to install Viber in their Q10 units? I need help and assistance please. Thanks.

  12. BlackBerry userQ10 says:

    Ngayun ko lng nakita un review na to, I got my Q10 from globe under plan 999, to tell you honestly napakaganda at napakagaang gamitin nitong phone, superb ang specs, I do not agree sa reviewer na so so ang image, well ma’s maganda pa nga ang image nito kesa sa iphone 4s, specs wise walang lag un phone, bezel issue? I don’t think na problema un kasi the phone can easily navigated, BlackBerry is getting better and better, maraming hater kasi “mahal daw” well I guess tama sila pero premium phone kasi to not just cheap android phone, bago kayo mag comment try nyu munang gamitin,

  13. ruel says:

    I am both a BlackBerry user and iphone user. They have different strengths and usability. Pero I’d still choose BlackBerry over iphone for 5 reasons:

    1. This is a real phone.
    2. BlackBerry is not for everyone. Which is good. Kasi not all can afford to buy this.
    3. Perfect OS.
    4. Executive look design.
    5.E-mail

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This article was written by Ronnie Bulaong, a special features contributor and correspondent for YugaTech. Follow him on Twitter @turonbulaong.

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