I was lucky enough to get my hands on the BlackBerry Q10 a good few days before it first went on sale at Selfridges in London. To say I was excited would obviously be an understatement. But what I was looking forward to the most was seeing if I could go back to using a hardware keyboard after getting so used to the wonderful one on the Z10 that I've had for around four months. You'll find my final thoughts on that later on in the post.
Hopefully you have already read our full and extensive BlackBerry Q10 review so this post is just an added bonus with my personal thoughts and impressions.
Clearly, prior to getting hold of the Z10 I had been a die hard QWERTY lover for many a year. Even before I discovered my addiction to BlackBerry, all my Windows Mobile devices had hardware keyboards. In fact I decided that in order to get the most out of the Q10 I have written this entire post on it and it was a real joy to do so.
Unboxing my Q10 was like Christmas day for me. I clearly knew what to expect in terms of software but getting back to a more traditional BlackBerry experience was super exciting. I was a little undecided if I could handle the smaller display than on the Z10 but I soon became acquainted with it.
In terms of hardware the Q10 is a real beauty. Not only does it look good but it feels great in the hand. The keyboard is gorgeous to type on, just as I had expected. The materials used for the battery cover also look sweet but it's the feel that I like - not too rough yet not too slippery.
One thing that did concern me slightly prior to me receiving the Q10 was app and game support. Hopefully you saw our recent video post where I demoed just a few great games that work perfectly on the device. Of course, at launch the number of apps/games with Q10 support is a lot less than with the Z10, but many of the top titles are available and more are being added each day. So my initial concerns swiftly turned into non-concerns, phew!
It did seem a little odd at first having a BlackBerry with a QWERTY keyboard but with no trackpad and hardware buttons beside it. Again, it was only a matter of minutes that I lost all thought of them as the bezel gestures on the Q10 are perfect and I'm glad that we now get a bit of extra display real estate instead of the buttons.
Peek and Flow work perfectly and managing messages and social networks is a piece of cake. The other thing that really stands out on the Q10 is the AMOLED display - a first for a BlackBerry. The colors look amazing and many apps on the handset come with a dark theme to utilize battery life - and they look fantastic.
So who is going to buy the BlackBerry Q10? In my opinion there are a few different types of people. First up are consumers that currently use an older BlackBerry smartphone. For them, walking into a retail store and getting hands on with the Q10 is going to be heavenly.
Then we have the enterprise market. With the addition of BlackBerry Balance, business users are going to love the Q10. Here in the UK I quite often see people commuting out of London and many of them have an iPhone or an Android device, but then they pull out their BlackBerry to really get stuff done. BlackBerry 10 along with BlackBerry Balance should stop business men and women from feeling the need to carry two smartphones. The software is awesome and the app support is great and will only improve over time.
So do I prefer the Q10 over the Z10? That's a hard one after just a week. I'll be totally honest with you and let you know that I am now using the Z10 as my primary device due to the onscreen keyboard. I've just become so addicted to it I'm not sure I can use the Q10 full time.
However, I still love the Q10 and will continue to use it as my second device - replacing my Bold 9900. In fact I wouldn't be surprised it Q10 sales overtake the Z10 in the coming months. For traditional BlackBerry users it will be the perfect upgrade for them.