Hands-On With The Blackberry Q10

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The smartphone Crackberry die-hards have been clamoring for. The Blackberry Q10 has been available in the Philippines for a few weeks now, and people craving for a good physical QWERTY smartphone can’t be happier.
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The tactile keyboard has been Blackberry’s bread and butter for the longest time and the keys on the Q10 don’t disappoint. Even legacy BB owners will be happy at how the keyboard feels and performs. Physically, the Q10 feels solid and well built. The stainless steel bars seperating the rows of the keyboard are a nice touch and they give the device an added flair.
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The back panel is not as flimsy as the Z10 back cover, and the weaved carbon fiber design looks and feels amazing.
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The Q10 inherited the Blackberry Bold’s aesthetics and looks like it means business, as it should. It will certainly appeal to professionals the world over.
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The BB Q10 surely has brains to go with its looks. A look under the hood reveals a TI OMAP 4470 chipset, powered by a dual-core 1.5GHz CPU, PowerVR SGX544 GPU, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard memory expandable via microSD. It also sports a 3.1″ Super AMOLED 720×720 display, with 328ppi pixel density. It comes with a 2100mAH battery which provides good battery life for the device.
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BB10 OS takes some getting used to, specially if you’ve become accustomed to iOS or Android, but it won’t take more than a few days to get acclimated with it and its gesture controls. A lot of popular apps are still not available on the BB10, but some can be sideloaded (click here for sideloading instructions). Some sideloaded apps though feel forced. Instagram, for example, fits badly on the Q10’s squarish screen as photos can not be viewed in its entirety on it.
Blackberry’s new QWERTY offering comes with the new BB 10.1 firmware right out of the box, which allows HDR photos to be taken with its 8MP rear camera. I was a bit underwhelmed by the output of the camera though. I found low light shots to be horendous and quite a bit of noise on shots with decent lighting. Let’s just say that the Q10’s camera is not one of its strong suits. As expected, colors seem over saturated on the device’s Super AMOLED screen too. Watching videos on it also feels contrived thanks to the screen’s 1:1 aspect ratio.
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Of all the cons I found on the Q10, most, if not all, are mainly media based. Although the Q10 is classified as a smartphone, I’d like to think of it is a PHONE first, and a smart device second. Those who will come to the Q10 looking for the same bells and whistles they would find in your run of the mill Galaxy and iPhone devices will be disappointed, as they tend to focus on being smart devices more.

Overall the Q10 is a no-nonsense mobile, delivering great phone functionality, top notch messaging and security, wrapped up in a beautiful, distinguished and well-built package. Apps may be scarce at the moment, but if you’ve been craving for a physical keyboard, its hard to find another device quite like this. This premium device does come with a premium price though, as the Q10 will retail for P31,990 SRP.

A physical keyboard may be the best input option out there for those who prefer tactile keys, that is until we see Tactus keyboards commercially produced. Play the video to see keys pop up right on a device’s touch screen. But until then this is really your best option.

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