The BlackBerry Q10 is the first BlackBerry 10 device to join the latest version of BlackBerry with the famed BlackBerry keyboard.
While the BlackBerry Q10 feels more like a BlackBerry device, and some users will swoon over the physical keyboard on the device, the lack of predictive text and clunky means of inputting numbers detracts from the overall usefulness of the keyboard.
The Q10 runs the same software as the BlackBerry Z10 we reviewed recently, and brings with it the same issues, but gestures and navigation are easier on the Q10 thanks to the smaller screen and placement of a finger or thumb on the physical keyboard during most use.
For this test we used the Verizon BlackBerry Q10 which runs on the carrier’s large 4G LTE network. AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile also carry the BlackBerry Q10.
BlackBerry Q10 | $199 | Verizon
BlackBerry Q10 Review Guide
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Buy the BlackBerry Q10
The BlackBerry Q10 looks and feels like a traditional BlackBerry, but with a more premium feel thanks to a carbon fiber back that sits in place of the plastic found on some earlier BlackBerry Bold devices.
The BlackBerry Q10 is slightly shorter than the iPhone 5, but is thicker and narrower than the iPhone 5. Despite the thicker, wider size, the BlackBerry Q10 fits easily into a pocket and is comfortable to hold thanks to curved edges.
Users can remove the back of the Q10 to access the user replaceable battery and a Micro SD card slot for storing documents and photos.
BlackBerry placed the power button on the top in the middle and a headphone jack is located on the top of the device. On the right side is a volume rocker with a middle button that activates BlackBerry’s voice control and on the left is are Micro USB and Mini HDMI connections.
The highlight of the BlackBerry Q10 is the physical QWERTY keyboard which brings the design and functionality many BlackBerry users crave to an updated set of software features.
Like any BlackBerry keyboard, the small chiclet shaped keys offer a sloped design aimed at making typing with thumbs easier. The keys deliver a satisfying click and nice tactile feel when pressed and it is easy enough to hit the correct key while using the Q10 with one hand or while typing out an email with two thumbs.
BlackBerry successfully delivers a traditional BlackBerry keyboard experience on the BlackBerry Q10, which may satisfy some BlackBerry diehards, but there are too many drawbacks to using a physical keyboard.
For example, typing numbers or punctuation while using the BlackBerry Q10 requires a tap of the alt key before you can access numbers. This is only good for one number. On the iPhone 5, users can tap a number key and the keyboard will show numbers and punctuation until the user presses the space bar. On Android devices a long press of certain keys will trigger a number.
A physical keyboard may have proven the fastest means of typing on a smartphone, but software keyboards are smart enough to deliver a vastly improved typing experience.
The 3.1-inch BlackBerry Q10 display is quite small compared to the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4 which sport 4-inch and 5-inch screens respectively, but it is a nice looking display. The display delivers good colors and is bright enough to read outdoors. The small square even boasts a 720P resolution (720 x 720) and a 328 pixel-per-inch pixel density which translate into easy to read text.
That said, it is a small square screen which means users are in for a lot of page turning, scrolling and navigating to consume or create content. One saving grace is the ability to use the space bar to scroll, but at the end it is still a small screen.
This smaller display isn’t suited for watching video, but that’s OK as there are not many big-name video apps for the BlackBerry Q10 anyway.
For current BlackBerry users in need of a BlackBerry 10 experience this won’t be a big change, but for users contemplating switching from the iPhone 5 or Galaxy S4 this is a dramatic difference.
BlackBerry 10 runs better on the BlackBerry Q10 than on the BlackBerry Z10, or at least it fits the user experience better. The software still uses un-needed animations that slow down opening an app, but gestures are more natural on this device.
Gestures also work more often, with fewer issues registering a gesture or a tap than on the BlackBerry Z10.
Using apps and navigating around BlackBerry 10 is snappy and the Verizon 4G LTE coverage delivers fast speeds for uploading and downloading. Coverage will vary based on the user’s location, but we saw speeds consistent with Verizon 4G LTE on the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S3.
BlackBerry Q10 battery life is good enough to last through a long day of use even with checking emails, browsing Reddit and using the baked in BB Hub for checking Twitter on a regular basis. It helps that the smaller display is using less power than the monster displays on competing smartphones.
Overall battery life is better than the Z10 for similar use, and very heavy users can always swap in a spare battery if work rolls right into a second day.
The BlackBerry Q10 delivers very good call quality on both ends of the call, with very little background noise coming through. Thw quality will vary based on location, but the Q10 delivers above average call quality.
The speakerphone sounds good, but like the BlackBerry Z10 could be louder.
The Q10 speaker is adequate for watching a short YouTube video or listening to a song or two, thanks to a relatively high volume, but users who want to listen to music or plan to watch movies on the small screen should invest in good headphones or a nice Bluetooth speaker.
BlackBerry Q10 Cameras
BlackBerry packs an 8MP camera in the Q10 which delivers OK looking photos, though colors don’t stand out as much as those on the iPhone 5 or Android devices like the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4.
There is a front facing camera that delivers 720P resolution and decent looking self portraits and video calls. The default camera mode takes square photos, which is not surprising given the square screen. Users can also pick 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio which will letterbox the image on the screen, but better match photos taken with other cameras.
The gallery below shows the BlackBerry Q10 photo samples. The device performs OK in low light, though it’s almost necessary to take two photos to get one that turns out just right.
BlackBerry 10 feels more at home on this smaller square screen than on the BlackBerry Z10. BlackBerry 10 relies on gestures to navigate, access settings, and switch apps. There is no home, menu or back button like on the iPhone or Android devices. Theres is a small learning curve to BlackBerry 10, but it is easy to pick up and gestures and taps are more reliable on the Q10 than on the Z10.
The BB Hub is a swipe from the left on the home screen, offering fast access to messages across any account linked to the device. A swipe up will exit an app or unlock the device to go to the home screen.
BlackBerry 10 uses the main page to show running apps, which makes multitasking as simple as swiping up from any app to go to the home screen. This is a handy way of delivering access to recent apps. Users can start typing form any screen to search for apps, contacts, emails etc., similar to spotlight on the iPhone.
The app selection on the BlackBerry Q10 and BlackBerry 10 is awful. There are no top tier music or video apps and services and apps I need to do my job like Google Authenticator are missing. Here are some of the top missing apps.
- HBO GO
- Google Authenticator
- An official Gmail App
Some third-party services and apps will offer access to these services, but app selection will be a major issue for anyone switching fromm iPhone or Android.
The BlackBerry Q10 feels more like a BlackBerry device than the BlackBerry Z10, thanks to the form factor and the physical keyboard. BlackBerry 10 also runs better on the Q10 than on the Z10 and works on the smaller screen better.
That is a low bar. Physical keyboards offer speed to some users, but a good software keyboard can deliver faster access to punctuation, numbers and overall usability for many users.
For BlackBerry owners this is a welcome upgrade, but the BlackBerry Q10 is a step down for iPhone and Android users, even with the included physical keyboard.
New Android BlackBerry Release Teased for 2016
BlackBerry released its first ever Android smartphone in late 2015, the BlackBerry Priv which was released in November. However, it won’t be the last as we’re hearing the company has multiple other Android devices in the works. In fact, the company teased at least one more at CES 2016 in Las Vegas.
For years BlackBerry has ran its own software that was once considered the best smartphone money could buy, but the iPhone and Android days completely dominated BlackBerry sales. The company has been hard at work on a new OS, BlackBerry 10, or BB10, but it’s about to get the cold shoulder.
Earlier this week we learned that the BlackBerry Priv will no longer be exclusive to AT&T, and by the end of January and early February it will launch on T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint, to name a few. Read on for more details about what’s next from BlackBerry in 2016.
While speaking with CNET this week in Las Vegas during CES, BlackBerry CEO John Chen confirmed and teased at least one, and possibly two new Android smartphones for 2016. To be more precise, Chen stated that BlackBerry will release another Android smartphone in 2016, a flagship device, and possible a second, both which will run Google’s latest Android 6.0 or Android 6.1 Marshmallow release. Or whatever is the latest version at that time.
It’s exciting but bittersweet news for many BlackBerry fans who still love the old and aging phones and operating system. Many were excited about the future with BlackBerry 10 (BB10) and the cross-platform support that would allow it to run Android apps, but that doesn’t appear to be the Ontario-based companies plan moving forward.
BlackBerry wasn’t in the mood to confirm any sort of details, share a rough release date, or raise any expectations. Simply stating that a new Android device was coming, and that’s about it. The current BlackBerry Priv has seen some success, praised by many reviewers, but the CEO remains “cautiously optimistic” about its future. Stay tuned for more details, and get ready for a BlackBerry Priv 2 and possibly more in 2016.
BlackBerry Priv Release Confirmed for Verizon and More
Nearly two months ago BlackBerry announced its first Android smartphone, the BlackBerry Priv. It was well received at launch, but sadly is only available in the United States on AT&T or unlocked from BlackBerry. Today the company confirmed all major US carriers will soon offer its new flagship smartphone.
In November the BlackBerry Priv made its debut, a brand new curved flagship smartphone set to return BlackBerry to its former glory. Earlier today T-Mobile confirmed it would hit its shelves on January 26th, but BlackBerry themselves shared a lot more details for potential buyers.
With popular phones like the iPhone 6s, Galaxy S6, Note 5 and more, BlackBerry needed to make a great phone. So far that’s exactly what we’ve been hearing from the Priv, with its curved 5.4-inch Quad-HD display, 18 megapixel camera and great battery life with a large 3,410 mAh battery inside, to name a few features. Read on for more details for other carriers.
Now nearly two months after the release it looks like BlackBerry feels the phone is worthy of a bigger launch, or carriers are, because all major carriers in the US will soon offer the impressive new phone.
Today at CES 2016 BlackBerry CEO John Chen confirmed all major carriers are finally on board. Naming Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile all specifically. Meaning all four major carriers in the United States will be offering it for buyers.
That said, BlackBerry’s CEO didn’t share any other details, like release dates, but T-Mobile already revealed the end of January is when its users can expect to grab the new phone with a slide-out keyboard. January 26th could be limited just to T-Mobile, or the other two could release it the same day. We’ll have to wait and see.
For now, it’s up to Verizon and Sprint to make formal announcements, share pricing details, and more. At the end of the day users will need to decide if the Priv is worth buying. It has some unique BlackBerry features, but runs on a nearly stock version of Android. Users will enjoy the big bright screen, curved edges, 18 megapixel camera, long battery life, and front facing speakers that complete the BlackBerry Priv. Once more information is revealed, we’ll update with everything buyers need to know.
BlackBerry Priv Release: What You Need to Know
Late last month the once popular Canadian smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry finally confirmed its plans to release an Android smartphone. It’s called the BlackBerry Priv, which stands for Privacy, and here we’ll be going over a few things all potential buyers need to know.
With 2015 coming to a close we’ve seen smartphones from all major manufacturers. There are plenty of excellent options from Samsung, LG, Motorola, Google, Apple and more, but now one more is coming. No one expected a top-tier premium flagship smartphone from BlackBerry, but that’s exactly what’s coming starting November 6th on AT&T.
For months leaked photos suggested a powerhouse flagship smartphone with a slide-out keyboard was coming that would run Android, and be made by BlackBerry. At first no one believed the rumors, but as more evidence piled up it became clear. Then on October 29th BlackBerry released an official video, and we have it and more details after the break.
The video above is BlackBerry’s official video teasing the new Android-powered PRIV. This smartphone has a lot to offer, and is aiming at multiple manufacturers at once. The PRIV has dual curves on both sides of the screen, similar to the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+, it’s a big 5.4-inch screen, and is also has what appears to be an excellent camera, a huge battery, tons of security, and much much more. It’s as well rounded as it gets, and the first real “change” in terms of an Android smartphone.
For years people have considered BlackBerry dead, but this could be exactly what they need to get back into the fold. These days all manufacturers are simply making bigger and bigger Android phones, adding more pixels, crazy curved screens, but that’s about it. BlackBerry is offering something completely different, unique, and it could actually be somewhat impressive.
Below are a few details regarding the BlackBerry Priv including the release date, specs, price, features and more for those considering a more privacy-oriented Android device.
While BlackBerry already opened up pre-orders in the US, Canada, and the UK, we didn’t have any details regarding when it would come to the United States, or who would offer it first. Today though, AT&T confirmed the BlackBerry running Android would officially hit shelves on November 6th, and start at $249 along with multiple different payment options. Here’s another video released by AT&T themselves.
AT&T will be offering the phone for $249 with a new 2-year contract, as well as an array of payment options for those who’d like a different approach.
Buyers can also get the Priv for $24.67 a month for 30 months, $30.84 a month for 24 months or $37 a month for 20 months with AT&T Next. We’ve yet to hear from other US carriers, but know others will offer it. For now it looks like AT&T will have a short exclusive before T-Mobile and more release the BlackBerry Priv.
In case buyers didn’t watch the entire video above by BlackBerry or AT&T, the Priv is actually a rather impressive well-rounded flagship Android smartphone. So powerful in fact, it could give the Galaxy Note 5, iPhone 6s, Moto X and more all a run for their money. That is, if customers dare trust BlackBerry and want a physical keyboard. Here’s all the info for potential buyers.
BlackBerry Priv Specs
- 5.4-inch 2560 x 1440 Quad-HD Curved Display (Both sides are curved)
- 6-core Snapdragon 808 processor with 3GB of RAM
- 32GB of storage with a micro-SD slot for storage expansion
- 18 Megapixel Rear camera with LED flash, 4k video, more, 2MP front camera
- 3,410 mAh battery with Quick & Wireless Charging
- Android 5.1.1 Lollipop (could see Android 6.0 Marshmallow)
- Slide-up design to reveal a physical QWERTY keyboard
- Front-facing speaker
The Priv has a curved screen similar to the recent Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, one that’s a P-OLED display. It features both wireless charging standards, similar to the new Galaxy Note 5, has a huge battery bigger than almost every other flagship Android device (aside from the Nexus 6P) and what looks to be a pretty decent camera.
It’s an all around impressive looking and sounding phone. Of course it will have BBM pre-installed and plenty other BlackBerry services, not to mention their world-class protection for business users that need privacy.
The unlocked model being offered by BlackBerry works with both AT&T and T-Mobile, but so far AT&T is the only carrier to make a formal announcement. There doesn’t appear to be a model that will work with Verizon, Sprint, or US Cellular yet, but we’re expecting Verizon to offer it as well, but when is anyone’s guess.
Most likely other carriers will offer the Priv, but for now AT&T is the only one on board, and we’ll update as soon as we learn more.
BlackBerry Priv Price
The BlackBerry Priv is an impressive smartphone with a lot to offer. It’s specs match or exceed the Galaxy S6 (except the processor) or the LG G4, it has a big curved display, a beautiful design, and a slide-out keyboard. BlackBerry managed to pack a lot into this smartphone, and along with it is a pretty steep price point.
While AT&T is asking $249 with a new 2-year contract, BlackBerry is accepting pre-orders as we speak for $699, or $899 for Canadians. That’s a pretty expensive smartphone, but also similar to what we saw from the Galaxy S6 or Galaxy Note 5 when they first launched, which are honestly two phones that can be compared to the new BlackBerry running Android.
It looks like $699 will be the initial price for the phone, but over the first few months if sales aren’t as good as the company expects, we could see a lower asking price from other carriers. That is, if other make announcements to carry this unique smartphone. It’s worth noting the AT&T monthly payments puts it $40 more than the unlocked $699 price, but will be easier on users wallets vs one outright price.
All those original DROID or even DROID 3 slider fans should be excited about the Priv, especially if Verizon ends up releasing this phone as well. We’re hearing it will come to other carriers eventually, the question is when. Stay tuned for more details. Are you willing to give BlackBerry a try? Let us know in the comment section below.
Nexus Android 5.0 Lollipop Release Date: What Not to Expect
With a Nexus Android 5.0 Lollipop release date all but confirmed for early November, we want to take a look at what we do not expect from the Nexus 10, Nexus 4, Nexus 10, and Nexus 7 Android 5.0 Lollipop release date from Google.
Google’s Android L update was first announced as Android 4.4 KitKat’s successor back in June at Google I/O. At the event, Google did not confirm an Android L release date or name though it did outline many of its features and release a pre-release version to Nexus 7 2013 and Nexus 5 users. In the weeks after that early release, we’ve seen features teased and release dates rumored and earlier this week, Google finally spilled the beans on Android L.
Google’s Android L update, as expected, is called Android 5.0 Lollipop. The update will be accompanied by two new Nexus devices including a Nexus 9 from HTC and a Nexus 6 from Motorola. Both devices will help usher in a new era for Google and its Android operating system. Problem is, Google still hasn’t confirmed a specific Android 5.0 Lollipop release date.
The company confirmed several Android 5.0 Lollipop updates for arrival including updates for the Nexus 5, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 7 2012, and Nexus 10. Earlier this month, we learned that the Android 5.0 deployment could start in early November for Nexus users. Google still hasn’t confirmed the timing outright and may not.
With that in mind, we want to help paint a release picture for Nexus 5, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 7 2012, and Nexus 10 users. This will outline what we know so far about the Android 5.0 Lollipop update for Nexus devices and delve into our own expectations. These expectations are based on Google’s history and our own gut feelings about Google’s upcoming release.
Here are 10 things you should not expect from Google’s upcoming Android 5.0 release for Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10.
Nexus Lollipop Release Outside November
At this point, do not expect any Nexus Android 5.0 Lollipop release dates to fall outside the month of November. Google’s official line is “coming weeks” but we fully expect the company to deliver the Android 5.0 Lollipop update next month around the time it delivers the Nexus 9 and Nexus 6 to consumers around the world.
Android Police recently released a document that not only points to an Android 5.0 release in early November but also points to specific release dates for two Nexus devices. The site is very reliable and the information, while not official, should be treated as credible. The document suggests that the Nexus 10 and Nexus 7 Wi-Fi only Android 5.0 updates will arrive on November 3rd. This is the same day that Google plans to release the Nexus 9 on shelves.
The document suggests that the Nexus 5, Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 LTE will all get their updates after the initial Android 5.0 push. No specific dates are mentioned but we simply cannot see them getting released in December. That’s too close to the holidays. Keep in mind, the Nexus 5 is still on shelves as a budget Nexus smartphone option and Google’s not going to want to head into Black Friday with the Nexus 5 missing a key component like Android 5.0.
Look for all of these updates to start pushing in November not December. Similar to what Google did with last year’s Android 4.4 KitKat update that emerged in mid-November. There should not be a wide gap between all of its Android 5.0 release dates. We don’t expect anything other than a three week release window for this upgrade.
Predictable Android 5.0 Lollipop Release Time
While Apple releases its iOS updates in an around 10AM PST, Google’s Android update release times are unpredictable. That is to say, it doesn’t stick to a schedule. In the past, we’ve seen updates released in the morning and we’ve seen Android updates for Nexus devices released in the late in the afternoon following an announcement.
This is an element of the release that Google probably won’t confirm ahead of time which means that users are simply going to have to sit by the device, waiting for the upgrade to pop up. This applies to post-release as well.
Google’s staggered OTA roll outs typically arrive at random, unpredictable times. We’ve seen Nexus updates pop up late at night, we’ve seen them pop up early in the morning. It’s a random process and one that you shouldn’t lose sleep over.
Widespread Installation Problems
Unlike Apple, we typically don’t see major day one installation errors for Nexus Android updates. This is probably a product of Google’s staggered roll outs as opposed to Apple’s immediate push for all compatible devices. Apple’s servers typically crumble under the load of iPhone and iPad users trying to install. Google’s servers typically hold up well because it uses an OTA approach.
We might see some updates get stuck or fail but we should see a majority of updates go off without a hitch. Google’s servers are typically very strong not just on release day but during the entire Android update roll out. Don’t expect to encounter much difficulty here. You should be able to install it right off the bat without any headaches.
Android 5.0 Lollipop Leaks
Do not expect the Android 5.0 Lollipop update to leak for Nexus devices in the build up to the official release. Android updates have a habit of arriving ahead of their release date, often in the form of test builds, but Google and its partners have managed to clamp down on leaks over the years. And with just a few short days to go before a release, we’re not expecting anyone to come up with a surprise Android 5.0 Lollipop leak for the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, or the Nexus 5.
You should expect to have to wait until Google issues the update to the public. Sure, there will be ways around the OTA upgrade but Google’s official manual update option should be the only way to get your hands on Android 5.0 Lollipop before it’s pushed from Google’s servers.
Every App to Match New Look
Finally, do not expect every single Android application to match Google’s new Material Design that’s coming with Android 5.0 Lollipop. We should see some of the bigger applications provide updates that mirror the look and feel of Google’s new Android release but there will be many apps that simply miss the initial boat.
It’s similar to what we’ve seen with Apple’s iOS 7 (a major design overhaul) and iOS 8. Developers took weeks to release apps that mimicked the look of iOS 7’s new design and developers are still pushing out updates to match the look and feel of the iOS 8 upgrade and Apple’s new big screen iPhones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
For more information about Google’s upcoming Android 5.0 Lollipop update, have a look at what we expect from it. This will outline many more key Android 5.0 Lollipop details for Nexus devices.
New BlackBerry 10.2.1 Update Puts Windows Phone On Notice
Since its inception BlackBerry 10, the operating system that BlackBerry hoped would return it to relevance in the age of the iPhone and Google’s Android, has had to contend with Windows Phone, Microsoft’s mobile operating system. However, that could all be changing. Microsoft’s success so far has been based on two-factors. One is that its hybrid partner model allows hardware makers to create their own devices with Microsoft software. The second has been that Windows Phone users enjoy a much larger selection of quality applications than they’d get if they purchased a BlackBerry device.
It’s that second advantage that BlackBerry is aiming to take away from Windows Phone with its release of BlackBerry 10.2.1 today.
Following the update owners of BlackBerry 10.2.1 devices are finally able to install applications made for Google’s Android operating system seamlessly – or at least more seamlessly than they could with the prior version of the operating system. So far, early reports indicate that following the update users of the BlackBerry Q5, BlackBerry Q10 and BlackBerry Z10 can install Android and run apps without those apps having to go through the somewhat cumbersome conversion process they once did.
In fact, the process is so seamless The Verge reports that it’s only had issues installing Google-made applications. While the report doesn’t give any reason for why that it is, it’s likely the issue with Google made apps stems from BlackBerry 10 not supporting the native Google Play functions that are ubiquitous on devices built to run Android natively.
Simply put, it’s a huge advantage for BlackBerry. The company’s smartphone fortunes with consumers might not ever recover but as long as it’s stuck battling Microsoft’s Windows Phone for the third-largest ecosystem spot it needs all the help it can possibly get. For comparison, the Google Play Store boasts 1 million applications, many of which BlackBerry owners will be able to install and use. Windows Phone recently passed 200,000 apps.
BlackBerry didn’t stop there either. The BlackBerry 10.2.1 update also includes automatic software updates, a battery monitor, a offline reading mode that will allow users to read articles without an internet connection, a refined phone interface and support for FM radios. Unfortunately for BlackBerry Z10 users, only the BlackBerry Z30, BlackBerry Q10 and Blackberry Q5 have FM radios already built-in.
Blackberry says that users in the United States, Canada, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America with BlackBerry 10 devices should begin getting the update once their carrier approves it.
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