I have had my BlackBerry Q10 for just about a month now. Thankfully I had the long reach of Simon (and I do mean long) to pick up one for me in Toronto on launch day as the Q10 has yet to become available in the states (I know - but soon!). While I fell in love with my BlackBerry Z10 right from the start, I was anxious to get the classic BlackBerry form factor I love with an amazing physical keyboard packing a BlackBerry 10 punch.
I've been able to give my Q10 the "real world" test over the last four weeks or so, through my daily routines and even subjecting it to the harshest test of all, BlackBerry Live.
While I'm absolutely still loving the Q10, I do have a few gripes. What I can say is that for me the Q10 is just what I need. It gives me the ability to communicate what I need, when I need to, no matter where I am.
Before getting my Z10 I'll admit I moved around a bit. I was primarily using an iPhone 4S/Bold 9900 combo for my devices. I've never been big into having to carry two devices, but at the time it worked best for me. I loved having the ease of communication on my 9900 while I had all the apps I wanted on my iPhone. However I was always torn as to which would be my main line - where I received my phone calls and text messages. For the most part I left that up to the iPhone.
What I can say is that for me the Q10 is just what I need
For me it was a consumption device however. Often times when I was out if I got an email or text I would read it but I wouldn't reply right away. I wasn't the greatest on the virtual keyboard so I knew that as soon as I started a reply I'd get frustrated and wait until I had more time. I would take in what I could but I rarely sent anything out.
My 9900 filled in a bit of a void in that I could pound out messages on the physical keyboard if I needed too, but it still made for an extra device I had to cart around with me.
As soon as I swapped out my SIM to my Z10 that all changed. Both devices went into my phone drawer and I was a one phone man once again.
I had already had a load of time playing around with the BlackBerry Z10 during our review period so I knew what to expect. I actually had switched to using the Dev Alpha as my main phone for the few days leading up to the BlackBerry 10 launch in NYC.
Being back to just one phone I still had a small worry that I wouldn't be able to get things done on the fly. I always say that I judge a phone by how fast I can crank out a message when I'm in the checkout line at a store. I only have limited time and want to be sure I get my whole message out error free. On the iPhone I didn't even bother since I knew I sucked on the virtual keyboard. I had high hopes that the Z10 would handle the task just fine.
Simply put, the keyboard on the Z10 is amazing and I quickly adjusted to being able to pop out messages quickly when I needed to. Adjusting to the keyboard took very little time and I became a Z10 wizard in just a few days - but I still longed for a BlackBerry 10 device with a physical keyboard and the form factor of my trusty Bold 9900.
A few weeks went by and we started to hear rumors of the Q10 launch. While we couldn't pin down an exact date, we knew that BlackBerry had to release the Q10 somewhere before BlackBerry Live (or we had hoped at least). I had pumped myself up so much at that point that I would have lost it had the Q10 not made an appearance before I went to Orlando. Thankfully an announcement came and I did a secret happy dance in my living room.
After an exhaustive few days of traveling to NYC to work with Kevin on our BlackBerry Q10 review, I waited patiently for UPS to drop off my very own Q10 that Simon had wrangled up for me in Toronto. I got spoiled by our review unit but Kevin had dibs so he got to hold onto it after I went back home.
When my Q10 arrived I was overjoyed to say the least. I had worked myself up so much that I was ready to swap over from my Z10 to the Q10 and fall in love with BlackBerry all over again, and I did just that.
Once I got everything transfered over (which is 100 times easier than in the past) I was a happy campy. I honestly don't think I put my Q10 down for three days when I first had it. I loved being able to shoot off a quick email at my son's baseball games or easily reply to BBM's on the physical keyboard. It just felt right.
Let me say here that I absolutely love my Q10. It does everything I need it to, has all the apps I need (I'm not a Netflix or Instagram user) and helps me do my job. While I do have a few gripes, I love the form factor, physical keyboard and overall feel of the device and that makes the Q10 the phone for me.
What I Like
I won't list all of what I like about the Q10, but there are a few things that stick out for me.
One of the big things is the size. Partly because it just feels like a BlackBerry, but mostly because it's not too big and not too small. It has a good weight to it and it easily fits in my hand. When I'm on the phone it's not awkward at all and I can easily hold it and type without a hitch. I'm a pocket guy, so the fact that I can slide it into my pocket without a problem and not have it stick out is huge for me too.
On the Q10 I can type like a champ and I love having the tactile feedback
For me, typing on a physical keyboard is far better than a virtual keyboard. This is a really tough call though since the Z10 keyboard is amazing and really the best I've ever used. The word prediction and auto correct help a ton and I can type faster on the Z10 than any other virtual keyboard out there. That being said, it's no trade-off for a solid physical keyboard and the Q10 has just that. Coming off the Bold 9900 I really didn't think the keyboard could get any better, but on the Q10 I can type like a champ and I love having the tactile feedback.
I also love being able to use a password again too. Not that I couldn't use one on the Z10, I just didn't care for it. With the Q10, having the physical keyboard makes it much easier to use a password in my book which is definitely a good thing.
And how about that battery? I can't say enough about the Q10 battery life. It's been more than amazing for me since day one. I find that I rarely need to charge at all during the day and I have yet to kill off a battery at all. In the past (and even on my Z10) I found myself constantly plugging in or going through two batteries a day, but with the Q10 I have no such issues. Of course I always carry my battery charger with me just in case.
What I Don't Like
While I can't get enough of my Q10, there are still a handful of things I don't like as well. Most either don't fit my use case or I've just learned to deal with, but I'll toss them out here regardless.
The first is obviously the screen size. It's smaller than the Z10 by a good amount which makes for some hard adjustments at first. One of the main things is obviously media. Watching videos on the Q10 is a tough experience at times. Streaming from YouTube doesn't let you use the full screen, and while you can adjust the aspect of media on the device, it's still not the greatest. Thankfully I rarely watch movies on my device so that isn't a deal breaker for me.
Same goes for gaming. While there are plenty of games that work just fine on the Q10, there are still a bunch that would be better played on the Z10. Given the much larger screen and landscape view, gaming on the Z10 trumps the Q10 without a doubt. Still, there are great games for the Q10 that I love and I really can't complain in the end.
One that I want to add here that doesn't really apply anymore is the lack of a trackpad. While I totally missed it at first for things like text editing and navigating around web pages, I don't even think about it anymore. I've adjusted to all the amazing tools that BlackBerry 10 offers and can't say that I would want the trackpad back at this point. Some days I do think about it, but at this point it's really a non-issue.
On that note - I do find myself sending apps to Active Frames quite often. Scrolling in apps like Facebook or the web browser, I guess my thumb gets too close to the bottom bezel so while I'm simply trying to scroll, I end up closing the app into the Active Frame. This is a big one for me that seems to not go away. Even though I'm consciously aware of it, I still do it all the time. I think that had there been a bit more bezel space or less of a "touch area" this wouldn't happen quite as often.
Q10 for Life
Well, maybe not for life, but until something better comes along at least. I totally love my Q10 even though there are still a few things that bug me. I feel way more productive using it (partially thanks to BB10) and it just makes me want to get things done.
BlackBerry 10.1 is a solid OS. I love the little things on the Q10 like the dark theme and HDR camera, but at the same time, there are still some things I'd like to see fixed. I won't dive in too much since this is more about the device itself as the OS will improve over time. A few to note are contact/calendar sync, the phone app, headless apps (apps running in the background without being open) and not being able to send large files/videos easily (over BBM/email).
For me, the Q10 is where it's at
I'm not having a phone crisis anymore where I constantly want to look for something better or switch devices. I'll admit I do fire up the Z10 here and there, but I come right back to the Q10 for the long haul. I won't knock the Z10 in any way, shape or form but for me, the Q10 is where it's at.