Today has been a good day for me. The sun is shining, London is beautiful, people are smiling and I feel pretty damn fine, thank you very much. Plus, I got to go and hang out at Selfridges, in the super swanky Personal Shopping rooms, to receive a personal one-on-one introduction to the new, hotly anticipated BlackBerry Q10.
It’s no secret that BlackBerry have been under pressure with their latest handsets. The brand has been seen to be in trouble over recent years, and many tech publications have speculated that if the Z10 and Q10 are not successful, it may spell the end for RIM. As a bit of a BlackBerry fan girl (I always return to my 9900), for me this would be a very sad day indeed.
I’ll be honest. I didn’t know what to expect from the Q10. I had a brief play with the Z10 (which was released in February) and liked the feel of the new software, but for me, if you’re going to have a BlackBerry, you really want a keyboard. It’s the biggest selling pointof the device in my humble opinion. The 9900 has proved infinitely easier to reply to emails on than any other phone I have ever tried, and when you receive 100’s a day, ease is what you need.
I knew that the Q10 had a similar look to the 9900, but when you actually get your hands on it, it feels very different. The keyboard is slightly larger, making typing even easier, and it’s light, due to the use of carbon over plastic, yet solid. It also has a silky smooth back panel, that is wonderfully tactile, and is the perfect size for someone like me who is a bit fed up of HUGE phones that make doing anything one handed or on the move impossible (see my review on the Samsung Galaxy for this particular moan).
But what else? Well. Scrap everything you ever knew about BlackBerry software, because it’s all gone. There is a whole new operating system, so pretty much everything you knew has changed. There’s still everything you (I) used to love, like BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), but it’s all a bit better.
Let’s start with the camera, which is biggest area the 9900 needed improvement. We got it. The Q10 has a 8MP (rather than the old 5MP) camera, with face detection, autofocus and an LED flash. You don’t need an app to edit your photos, as you can crop, apply (limited) filters and do fancy things with faces straight after snapping. You know when you take a photo of your friends and one person insists you delete because they’re blinking, or their smile is wonky? Well, you won’t have this problem again. The Q10 takes multiple photos at once, and you can “rewind” or “fast forward” each individuals face, to ensure the best possible image of each person is captured before you save. I LOVE this feature. Image quality seems pretty good too – although I’ve only tested in daylight so will have to come back to you when I’ve tested after dark.
There’s also a really handy message hub, where you can see all your messages (email, SMS, Twitter, Facebook etc) at one time. You can filter each message type in one easy swipe and there’s even a really cool way of checking messages while doing something else, while not leaving the app or page you’re on. Another one of my favourite features – and really useful if, like me, you multi-task A LOT and don’t want to stop what you’re doing or lose your train of thought to check your emails, only to find it’s just spam. Urgh. Frustrating.
There is so much more to the Q10 that I will come back to when I’ve spent a couple of weeks using it daily. For now, my latest tweets says it all…
Really REALLY impressed with the BlackBerry Q10. Everything has been improved, and so many new ace features. I'm a fan girl.
— JJ (@Love_London) April 26, 2013
Now, it’s hard to say whether you’re going to love this new toy as much as I do. I guess it depends on what you want from a phone. If you’re looking for something on which to watch movies and play games, this may not be the best option for you. But, if like me you want a phone with a keyboard that will help improve your productivity, make emailing easier and also do all the other things you want your phone to do (like take photos, use social media etc), this is a brilliant option.
As always with BlackBerry, the lack of apps (such as Instagram) is a bit of a problem. However, the knower-of-all-things-mobile, James Whatley, has just informed me that Android apps now work on the new BlackBerry 10’s. If this is true? I can’t see any reason to ever use anything other than the Q10 again.
BlackBerry needed something good to compete in the current marketplace – and in my opinion, they got it.
I’ll get back to you with another review in a few weeks, when I’ve played with it a little more.
If you’ve also had a play with the Q10, please do let me know your thoughts below. Love or hate? I know which camp I’m in!
The BlackBerry Q10 is available exclusively from Selfridges this weekend, and nationwide in all good phone stores thereafter.