This decade has seen a revolutionary change in the mobile industry. From dimensions, to form factor to radio frequencies, we have seen tremendous changes. Today, only 2 form factors are breathing in the industry, Full-touch and QWERTY. All other concepts like clamshell, slider, candy bar became obsolete and are no more surviving. Today is the age of gesture based systems and bringing a revolution in this industry is brand new BlackBerry 10 OS.
QWERTY’s have their own stature in this world dominated by the touch screens. The confidence of typing and message composition is uncomparable and no touch screen can give such a typing experience no matter how advanced virtual keyboards have become. The speed, accuracy and business-friendly ergonomics achieved from QWERTY devices are far more superior and preferred over touchscreens. And defending the honor of QWERTY smartphones is the BlackBerry Q10 – the pinnacle of Computer-like keyboard embedded phone evolution right now. BlackBerry, formerly known as Research In Motion is the pioneer of QWERTY concept in the industry and has been hugely popular among Businessmen and even youth. The sales figure of the company might have seen a tremendous decline since past years but their customer base is has now become stagnant and the sting of gesture based BB10 OS with the company’s hardware expertise promises to woo the hands of its lost customer base.
The swipe-driven BB10 OS provides plenty of new, exciting ways of interacting with the device, while keyboard shortcuts and Instant Actions will add extra speed and flexibility but, considering the Q10 is a phone for loyal BlackBerry users, old habits will have to be broken. Here’s what they’ll be getting in return with the BlackBerry Q10.
Well, the coin has another phase too. BlackBerry 10, being a gesture heavy OS, has a steep learning curve. BlackBerry has never given FM radio in its top end phones and same is what expected from Q10.
Seems like, Canadians are back into business, but with a massive change. Its not a Ctrl+C job. At first sight, the phone might resemble to the iconic BlackBerry Bold 9900. However, there has been a hell lot of eliminations and additions as well. The call key, end key, menu key and the optical trackpad seems no more a good taste for the company. The elimination of these keys have been a result of increased screen size which is now lengthier, making a square.
This phone adds a lot of “Firsts” to its name. BlackBerry Q10 is the world’s first QWERTY phone in the world with a dual-core brain and sport a HD display with 328ppi.2GB RAM is something, again seen for the first time in a QWERTY phone.
Lets focus on the build quality first, which is a noteworthy in Q10. We all know that Q10 is surprisingly pricier than the full touch based Z10, but is it just the difference of full touch and touch & type. The phone made of unibody stailess steel, using a special technique called Physical Vapour deposition. The body is now scratchless. The camera lens has been slightly pressed into the whole to avoid scratches when kept on table. So you can take clear and sharp images even after a year long of usage.
The phone comes loaded with 3 microphones, again, a FIRST in the industry. This helps in powerful noise cancellation and lets the 3rd person hear your voice with crystal clear sharpness. So these are certain things we expected in BlackBerry Z10, and so all these make BlackBerry Q10 a more expensive and efficient device.
The keyboard, in which BlackBerry is champion, has been made more ergonomic. Keys are now 3% larger than those seen on Bold 9900. The rows are now flat, however, arc shaped rows would have been a welcome. The metal frame running all around the chassis is gone – that’s one accent less for an understated but altogether more compelling look. Overall, the Q10 is betting on cleaner lines and more simplified styling. The back panel is a single piece of some sort of composite material, developed by BlackBerry engineers. It has an extra pleasant rubbery finish, as opposed to a similarly looking carbon fibre inset in the Bold Touch 9900, which was at odds with the surrounding material.
The BlackBerry Q10 isn’t as powerful as the full-touch BlackBerry Z10, and it doesn’t need to be. The Q10 has a power-saving 3.1″ Super AMOLED display at 720 x 720 pixels, which won’t put a massive strain on the GPU either. Again, AMOLED technology debuts on a BlackBerry phone, with its best contrast and sunlight legibility.
BlackBerry Q10 comes with power house of 2100 mAH against 1800 mAH battery seen in Z10 which is a full touch screen device. With this, BlackBerry Q10 gets counted among few phones with talktime over 20 hrs. highest amongst smartphones.
The rows of buttons have been straightened out; will remind you of the Porsche Design 9981. 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. 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. 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.
The left side of the handset sports all the connectivity options, with standard 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, is gone along with the trackpad and call buttons.
The 3.5mm audio port and the power/lock key occupy the top of the BlackBerry Q10. 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.
BlackBerry Q10 allows user-replaceable battery and microSD support so you are never short of power and memory. NFC module is integrated with the battery cover.
BlackBerry Q10 comes with just the essential accessories (as always) – an A/C Adapter, a USB cable, and an in-ear headset with some oddly-shaped earbuds of varying size. Such ear buds remind me of ones seen in Bose IE20.
As already told, Q10 and Bold 9900 have nearly the same footprint at 119.6 x 66.8 x 10.4 mm and weighs just 9g more – the perfectly manageable yet reassuringly solid 139 grams.
BlackBerry 10’s unique selling point is the user’s ability to peek and/or get into the BlackBerry Hub from almost anywhere in the phone, be it a video or application. For the newbies, BlackBerry Hub is a place where notifications of all the applications, including mails, WhatsApp, Gtalk etc. are displayed. Getting to this Hub has never been as easier before. So, now you can move to Hub from any application without missing a beat.
BlackBerry Calendar is an ecosystem within itself. Now you can send BBM invitations, emails and Facebook messages within the calendar. Calendar requests can now be sent via mail and the recipient can directly add the calendar event to the phone’s calendar. The calendar also synchronizes Facebook birthdays. User can also send BBM request to the users involved in calendar requests. That’s all we expect from an ideal Business phone.
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