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Review: BlackBerry Q10 for Verizon Wireless

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Jun 17, 2013, 4:06 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

BlackBerry returns to its roots with the Q10, a smartphone that claims to offer the best of both worlds: a QWERTY keyboard for typing and a touch interface paired with a modern operating system. Did BlackBerry get the combination right with the Q10? Let's dig in.

Is It Your Type?

If you need a smartphone that has real keys on which to peck out emails, and you're a fan of the traditional BlackBerry design, then the BlackBerry Q10, with its physical QWERTY keyboard, could be your... type. There are trade-offs, however, with this particular form factor that are worth weighing.

Editor's Note: Phone Scoop has already reviewed the AT&T version of the BlackBerry Q10. Because so many features are identical, we carried over portions of the text from that review. We've fully re-tested the device on Verizon's network and updated the relevant portions of the review to reflect those results.


The Q10 is a compact device. BlackBerry did not miss a single detail in crafting an excellent piece of hardware. There are definitely trade-offs with this design - such as the Q10's smaller screen - but that's part and parcel with this form factor. BlackBerry put its years of experience to good use. The Q10 has the look of a traditional BlackBerry, not unlike the Bold line from several years ago. It has a glossy glass front that's offset by the four-row keyboard. I like that BlackBerry put the chrome-colored frets between the rows. The carbon fiber pattern of the battery cover doesn't look bad at all. The Q10 has a classic, if a bit conservative, appearance that shouldn't embarrass anyone.

The Q10 has an excellent feel to it all around. BlackBerry chose its materials well, and manufactured the device with a high degree of care. The phone feels like a (not too heavy) block of metal. All the seams are tight and the different surfaces and panels fit together well. The small size makes it easy to hold and use. It is balanced well, and is easy to operate with either one or two hands. It will surely fit into most pockets without any trouble, though it is weighty enough that you won't forget it is there.


The front of the Q10 is split between the screen and the keyboard. The upper two-thirds of the device's front is covered by a glossy piece of glass that was pretty good about hiding fingerprints. The lower third is reserved for the keyboard. There is no row of navigation or action keys; there is no BlackBerry button; there is no optical mouse nor trackball.

One thing BlackBerry did with the Q10 was to get rid of the slightly curved keyboard shape of devices such as the Bold. The Q10's keyboard runs straight across. The keys themselves are nicely shaped, with a slight slant that makes them easier to find. The slant also makes your fingers less prone to slip off and hit the wrong key. The keys are not offset as they are on a regular keyboard, but are instead lined up in a grid. The travel and feedback is perfect, and there's no mushiness to the keyboard at all. After typing (or Swyping) on glass for years, I forgot how helpful a physical keyboard can be.

The rest of the controls are laid out in standard BlackBerry form. The microUSB and mini HDMI ports are both on the left side of the phone. They are positioned directly next to one another so the device can be dropped into a dock of some sort (the Z10's ports are positioned in the exact same way). The screen lock button is on the top. I found it easy to locate and use, but the button made a nasty clacking sound when pressed. The stereo headphone jack is on top, too.

The volume toggle and action button are on the right side, aligned in a strip of chrome-colored plastic. Each button is distinct. The up and down volume buttons are separated by the user-definable action key. I found it easy to tell which of the three buttons my fingers were touching. The travel and action of all three buttons was excellent, but they made the same loud sound as the screen lock button.

The battery cover forms about 80% of the Q10's back surface. It's easy to remove with a small amount of downward pressure. The Q10 has a removable battery. The microSD card can be swapped without removing the battery.

In all, the Q10 is solid hardware from BlackBerry that is sure to make the old guard happy.

About the author, Eric M. Zeman:

Eric has been covering the mobile telecommunications industry for 17 years at various print and online publications. He studied at Rutgers Newark and University of Kentucky, and has a degree in writing. He likes playing guitar, attending concerts, listening to music, and driving sports cars.


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Jun 18, 2013, 5:30 PM

Q10 = Piece Of Dung

This author stated the problems mildly. This phone requires 100% swiping, and nonstop swiping is STUPID! Blackberry ruined the phone by removing the Home button. If us Blackberry users wanted to swipe, we would have bought a iPhone or Android years ago. Even those phones have a Home button!! Furthermore, there is no more awesome trackpad, and no more Back button or Menu button. Now, in that little space where those use to be, you have to do mini little swipes. This is insane! Blackberry the company is run by complete morons.
Read these:

http://helpblog.blackberry.com/2013/05/five-tip-frid ... »

http://www.cio.com/documents/pdfs/BlackBerryQ10Keybo ... »

The point of my post is that the Q10 does not require 100% swiping!! ...

Jun 17, 2013, 6:03 PM

Not impressed.

Something about going with a 3.1 inch display is just so small. I mean I understand 3.5 or even 4 inch but 3.1. I am a bit impressed with the Z10 but its still not as impressive as some of the newer phones Windows and Android are pumping out.
A 4 inch screen coupled with a physical QWERTY type keyboard would be approaching phablet territory in terms of size.
Those that want actual keyboards know the tradeoffs. The whole point of getting the Q10 would be the keyboard and the advantages it...

Jun 17, 2013, 6:45 PM

"No Marquee Apps?"

I've seen 1st hand on on the Q10 that Google Play Store Apps are easily side loaded onto this device.

Not my cup of tea either, Blackberry is just too far behind the "Curve" on this one. It will appeal to the die hards and fan bois (T Bone) but its just too little too late this is blackberries palm pre and pixi reincarnated. .

The BEST option for BlackBerry is to get totally out of the harware market and license BB10 as an App on other platforms.
I dont mind the design the software and the hardware arent bad. My issue is the size of the screen and the lack of the track pad which is essential for a tiny screen like this one.

The Z10 is a neat phone and it works well but I still not impresse...
I think you are being a little hard on this device. There are still people out there that cant stand the frustrations of virtual keyboards for whatever they do. Maybe they pound out tons of emails or have fat fingers or long fingernails.

Comparing ...

Jun 17, 2013, 7:19 PM

They blew it

A trackpad/d-button is a vital component of the Blackberry/Nokia E-series experience. You cannot create and edit professional quality text on the go without it. The gesture controls are awful, and as the reviewer stated, bezel gestures do NOT cut it on a phone. At the very least BB devs should add a virtual trackpad and home button to make OS 10 fully usable. Until that happens their just circling the drain.
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