BlackBerry's latest offering the Q10 is expected to be available in the first week of May in many markets across the world. In a world of full-touch smartphone the Q10 is a hybrid of sorts as it comes with a touchscreen and a physical QWERTY keyboard. While we await the arrival of our test unit, here’s a preliminary breakdown of the specifications of the Q10 and how it stacks up against the competition.
OS – BlackBerry 10
BlackBerry has been pinning its hopes on BB 10, which is a complete overhaul and built from scratch. BlackBerry Hub can be accessed anytime with a simple swipe to view your conversations while BlackBerry Balance lets you manage your personal and professional lives separately. The new BBM Video comes across similar to FaceTime. The Screen Share feature allows sharing the view from your camera, documents, photos, etc. BlackBerry has been quick enough to offer the first update, bringing major improvements in browser, battery life and third-party apps. The update was announced for Z10 users and the device can get the update over-the-air. It is likely that the Q10 will also be getting this in the near future.
Cellular network – Quad-band GSM and 3G support
Just like the Z10, the Q10 offers a full quad-band GSM and 3G support. Its US version is said to support LTE, while it is unclear yet for the rest of the world.
Q10 has a physical keyboard as well as a touchscreen
Display and keyboard
Owing to the physical keyboard, the Q10 has a smaller 3.1-inch Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen. It features a resolution of 720 x 720 pixels, which takes the total pixel count all the way up to 328 ppi. Though less than Z10, which has 355 ppi, the pixel density is quite at par with several other popular smartphones. We aren’t sure if it has any scratch resistant coating, as there’s no mention of one.
The inclusion of the keyboard gives it more of a traditional look, something BlackBerry fans could be possibly missing. It reminds you of the Bold 9900 but has a straight row keys without any trackpad/menu button whatsoever. The keys appear to be slightly bigger, which should be convenient and comfortable for typing.
Form factor and weight – 10.4 mm thick and weighs 136 g
The dimensions and weight fall within the limits of what we consider comfortable while holding a smartphone. However, at 10.4 mm, the device could be a tad bulky. The design would instantly remind you of BlackBerry’s legacy of devices sporting a physical keyboard.
Wi-Fi – Dual-band, 802.11 a/b/g/n
The Q10 supports the 802.11 draft a/b/g/n and features dual-band support. On the connectivity front, the Q10 keeps up with the other high-end devices.
SoC– TI-OMAP 4470 or Qualcomm MSM8960
The Q10 is powered by a dual-core 1.5GHz CPU and depending on the region, you’ll either get the TI-OMAP or a Qualcomm chipset. In terms of power, both should be similar in performance. The chipset is also accompanied by the same 2GB RAM we saw on the Z10, which should help in delivering a smooth user experience.
Storage – 16GB with room for expansion up to 64GB
16G GB on-board memory is quite decent. It also has the ability to expand it further up to 64GB via a microSD card.
Will the Q10 be priced more than Z10 in India?
NFC – Yes
Like most smartphones today, the Q10 will feature NFC to communicate with BlackBerry and other devices.
Primary Camera – 8MP sensor with f/2.2 aperture
With the new BB10 devices, BlackBerry has considerably improved on the camera front, and even let go its fixation with fixed focus cameras. The Q10 comes with an 8MP auto-focus BSI sensor, so one can expect better low light performance. It has a decent 5-element lens and large aperture of f/2.2, so one can expect very good depth of field in macro shots. The Q10 supports full HD video recording, while the new Time Shift feature lets you change elements in an image once you’ve captured it.
Front camera – 2MP
The 2MP front camera of the Q10 supports 720p video recording. It is also said to come with support for image stabilisation (for still image and video capture) and 2x digital zoom.
Sensors – Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity, Compass
These are the usual sensors we find in most of the smartphones these days. On the Q10, they can be used in conjunction with the BlackBerry Maps application.
The Q10 doesn’t seem to have GLONASS, so you’ll have to make do with GPS with A-GPS.
Battery – Li-Ion 2100 mAh
The battery is pretty decent at 2100 mAh, and better than the Z10’s 1800 mAh. We feel the battery should easily squeeze through a day; however, we’ll know for sure once we have the handset with us.
The bottom line
The Q10 is definitely a huge improvement over the company’s previous keyboard-laden flagship. However, considering the all-touch smartphone era, we wonder how many people would be willing to buy a hybrid. The key to BlackBerry is to getting the pricing right, which currently is higher than the Z10.