I have been a physical keyboard user for a while now. It's one of the reasons I love BlackBerry and when news of a full touchscreen device was on the way I was excited to see what BlackBerry would bring to the table. Seeing glimpses of the keyboard made me hopeful that I could finally make the step forward to going full touchscreen. Boy was I wrong. Read my journey on why I chose ultimately chose a QWERTY keybord over a touch screen.
After the BlackBerry 10 launch in January 2013, I finally got a Z10 in my hands and welcomed it with open arms. It was nice to have a big screen to browse and view media. While it took a while to get used to the keyboard, it was still far superior to any virtual keyboard I'd used in the past.
From that point, I was certain that it was going to be a full touchscreen BlackBerry smartphone for me going forward, I didn't even think about getting the Q10 when it would launch. But then, a Dev Alpha C arrived at my doorstep. While not exactly a Q10, the internals of the Dev Alpha are exactly like a Q10, it was just in a different shell. I powered on the device to give it a go. It felt weird to type on a physical keyboard after using the Z10 keyboard for sometime. I'd learnt to trust the Z10 keyboard so it felt strange for my thumbs to stretch out to reach the keys and my thumb kept looking for that trackpad. Muscle memory from using legacy BlackBerry devices.
I still kept on with the Z10 but started to carry the Dev Alpha around too and I was slowly being lured by the keyboard and its shortcuts. Eventually, I swapped out my main BBID onto the Dev Alpha to give it a go. I went back and forth between the Z10 and Dev Alpha C for weeks, trying to decide which would be my main device. The bigger screen was something that was keeping me with the Z10 and my beloved keyboard was pulling me towards the Q10 (well DAC). At that point, I could still say I could type just as fast on both, so it was becoming a hard decision to make.
BlackBerry Live 2013 was fast approaching and I had to decide which one I'd use primarily. In the end I went with the Z10, mainly because that was where my main BBID was at the time couldn't be bothered with switching. I don't regret the decision of going with the Z10 for Live. It fully lived up to manage the fast paced experience that was BlackBerry Live. While most of the CrackBerry team were rocking their Q10 devices (Alicia and I rocked the Z10) I still felt the Z10 allowed me to pound out messages quickly, when needed. Mainly because of the killer virtual keyboard.
During BlackBerry Live however, something hit me and I had made the decision that when I got back to the U.K. I was going to get myself a Q10. I still can't pin point exactly what made me come to the decision but it was the culmination of a few things. While the Z10 did no wrong the QWERTY lover inside me came out strong and even the larger screen wasn't going to keep me going forward with the Z10. With keyboard shortcuts and that feeling of being to get tactile feedback when typing gives me the satisfaction like no other smartphone can. There's also the fact that I can just type. Type without having to think about it being autocorrected wrong. I can keep moving with a Q10 a lot more than I can with a Z10.
After using a Q10 for over a month, I still don't regret the decision. The Z10 had a good run and while I still use it occasionally, I don't think I will go back to using it full-time. I can now type so much faster on the Q10, without having to think about it. It's just those extra small things can help move things along more efficiently. Like when deleting a message, I can just hit the 'delete' button. Jump to the top or the bottom with the press of a button. And the experience of Instant Actions is just that much more pleasurable on a Q10. Overall, completing tasks in fewer steps. And you really can't beat the feeling of hitting physical keys while you type out a message.
The combination of the physical keyboard and BlackBerry 10 is even more exciting, especially with Instant Actions. I'll definitely be a hardware keyboard for the foreseeable future. I feel at home and it's slightly smaller size is perfect for my hands. It makes typing and walking a joy.
Right now the CrackBerry team is very split between Q10 and Z10, but what say you CrackBerry Nation? Are you QWERTY Forever or Totally Touchscreen? Let's hear your thoughts.