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BlackBerry Q10 review: Qwerty lovers rejoice!

Matt Hamblen | April 25, 2013
The new BlackBerry smartphone features a real keypad, along with some great new features.

Aside from the keyboard, controls include a power button on the top edge and three buttons on the right for volume and other functions, the same as the Z10.

The back of the Q10 has another steel fret running horizontally just below the camera and flash ports. This rear-side fret is not flush with the plastic back cover, and rides a tad higher: According to Michael Clewley, director of handheld software product management at BlackBerry, designers created it this way to keep the back cover from getting scuffed from constantly being laid down and picked up from a desk or other surface. It's a neat design idea, although it's hard to say if it will work in the long term.

Hardware by the numbers

To accommodate the keyboard, the Q10 has a 3.1-in. display, which is 25% smaller than the 4.2-in. display on the Z10 (and also smaller than the displays of most competing smartphones). I noticed this reduced real estate immediately when reading Web pages and looking at longer emails and documents (although it didn't matter at all for instant and text messages). The smaller screen doesn't invite you to watch videos or play games either, although neither is impossible.

Why? Because even at the Q10's 3.1-in. screen size, BlackBerry made a good choice by going with Super AMOLED (which is not quite full HD). The 720-x-720-resolution (330 pixels per inch) display shows images brighter and crisper than does the LCD screen of the Z10, and I found it especially good for watching video and reading websites with images.


The BlackBerry Q10 (left) sports a qwerty keyboard and a smaller touchscreen than the BlackBerry Z10, but the Q10's Super AMOLED display is noticeably brighter than the Z10's LCD.

Aside from differences with the keyboard and display, the Z10 and Q10 offer pretty much the same hardware. Both run dual-core 1.5GHz processors, which provide snappy performance for touches, swipes and other inputs in various applications. Both have 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and a microSD slot under the back cover for adding up to 32GB. Also, both have 8-megapixel rear cameras and 2-megapixel front-facing cameras. Both contain NFC chips for file exchanges and support for mobile payments.

However, the Q10 has a 2100mAh removable battery, considerably bigger than the 1800mAh battery in the Z10. The choice to have the larger touchscreen device run with a smaller battery might seem counterintuitive, since the larger screen will probably be used for viewing more power-sucking videos and games. But having the larger battery in the Q10 points to one of BlackBerry's underlying missions with the Q10: To give (hopefully) more than a full day's charge to the executives, stockbrokers, lawyers and other busy people who were the original users of BlackBerry devices.

 

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