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Product Blackberry Q10
Specifications 3.1in 720x720 Super AMOLED touchscreen, physical QWERTY keyboard, dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, 4G and HSDPA connectivity, 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, 8MP autofocus rear-facing camera with LED flash and HD 1080p video, 2MP HD 720p front camera, Blackberry 10 mobile operating system, 119.6x66.8x10.4mm, 139g
Price £579.95 SIM-free
CANADIAN PHONE MAKER Blackberry is betting a lot on the success of the Blackberry Q10 smartphone.
If rumours are true, the firm's first Blackberry 10 smartphone, the Blackberry Z10, didn't manage to get customers excited.
That's where the Blackberry Q10 comes in. With its improved QWERTY keyboard and Blackberry 10 mobile operating system, it looks to win over the horde of mobile phone users who used to wield a Blackberry Bold device. You know what - Blackberry might just have managed it, too.
The Blackberry Q10 is one of the most attractive looking smartphones we've tested recently, offering a robust yet sophisticated feel, something that isn't widely available on the smartphone market today. Another thing that isn't widely available is a high specification handset with a full QWERTY keypad, which might explain why we have been so won over by the design of the Blackberry Q10.
Unlike the Blackberry Z10 that features a flimsy, cheap feeling plastic back cover, the Blackberry Q10 boasts a glass weave battery cover, which as well as looking premium has proven itself key to protecting the handset against the elements. For example, we accidentally spilt a cup of coffee over our desk covering the rear of the Blackberry Q10, but we simply wiped it off and encountered no issues as a result.
Long-time Blackberry users might be pleased to know that the design of the Blackberry Q10 isn't far from that of Blackberry's ageing Bold 9900 handset, and we were met with a few remarks from friends and colleagues that the phone looks nearly identical to Blackberry's last generation smartphones.
The keyboard, according to Blackberry, is the killer feature of the Blackberry Q10. Well, it is at least for those who are after a phone with a physical QWERTY keyboard.
The 35-button keypad isn't too dissimilar to the keyboard on the Blackberry Bold 9900, although the firm has removed the curved shape of the keys for a straighter, more 'ergonomical' approach.
Blackberry's new keyboard button shape works, aided by the larger gap between rows of keys. It's quite different compared to the onscreen keyboards we've all come to know and love, but we soon got to grip with the physical keys. Blackberry has included the predictive text feature found on its Blackberry Z10 smartphone too, which might be a godsend for those who are not too speedy at typing.
We found that the keyboard took a while to get used to, and after a few hours with the phone we still struggled to find symbols and numbers when tapping in passwords and email addresses. However, this is something most users will pick up quite quickly.
The main problem we think Blackberry might encounter is that physical QWERTY keys do feel somewhat dated, with the majority of smartphone users now fluent at tapping on a touchscreen for speedy messaging. However, for those who have been using one of the firm's older Blackberry devices, the improvements made on the Blackberry Q10 keyboard will be very welcome indeed.
Next: Screen, Performance.
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