The BlackBerry Q10 recently arrived in our offices and, honestly, it’s the BlackBerry we’ve been waiting for since it has a lovely full QWERTY keyboard — the kind that calls back the days of carrying a Curve or Bold. And boy is it nice. Jon and I had different views on the device, though, so we decided to split this up into a two-part first impressions. His view is in the video above and mine follows in the text below.
As you’re probably aware, somewhere along the line we all started to slowly gravitate away from BlackBerry to more powerful operating systems. But it really is refreshing to have a keyboard under my fingertips again. I love whizzing off emails with much more accuracy and there’s just something natural feeling about it. There’s plenty of space so I didn’t feel like I was pecking, and I like the combination of using a keyboard with a touchscreen. Oddly, I still kept looking for a back button, however, and several people I spoke with asked where the trackpad was.
That great keyboard comes with a cost, though. The 3.1-inch screen seems bizarrely small by today’s standards, and the resolution isn’t great either. Icons look huge and it almost feels like I’m trying to peek through a tiny window into BlackBerry 10.
The device itself also feels a bit cheap to me (though Jon liked it). The entire phone’s body is plastic, and while other companies such as Samsung and Nokia still employ plastic, BlackBerry’s battery door feels and looks especially blah. The front of the phone also lacks any aesthetic pleasure — it’s as boring looking as ever and it’ll take a real phone wiz to realize this is a brand new device as opposed to an older phone. That’s not good for BlackBerry, especially if it wants to attract consumers to its devices.
Data performance was good on AT&T’s LTE network, though Jon and I both have unlocked models at the moment. Call quality so far is good, though I am not overly blown away. The speaker does get surprisingly loud, however.
Overall I’m really digging the Q10 so far, but mainly because it’s refreshing to use a keyboard again. I also had fun installing Android apps like Instagram and Netflix on the Q10. But still, here’s nothing special about BlackBerry 10 that other operating systems can’t compete with, the screen is relatively small and the phone feels cheap compared to an iPhone 5 or an HTC One. But if you’re a BlackBerry fan and you’ve been waiting for a BB10 device with a QWERTY keyboard, then you’ll probably enjoy the Q10 a lot.