With a dual-core, 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 humming underneath the hood, the Q10 performs admirably, even if the hardware isn’t quite up to snuff with some of today’s flagships (and much of its fluidity can be attributed to the efficiency of the OS). The 16 GB of onboard storage — expandable via microSD — and 2 GB of RAM are also respectable, though the overall performance of the phone couldn’t be measured in hard numbers. Unfortunately the limited app selection of BlackBerry World, which is a major drawback of the platform for some users, does not contain any common benchmarking software like AnTuTu or Quadrant.
One brilliant aspect of the Q10’s performance, however, is obviously typing. Using the keyboard is an absolute dream and for email fiends and/or users that intend to use the Q10 for work, this is a huge boon for efficiency and productivity.
The keys don’t feature any space in between them (within their respective rows), but they’re plenty large enough that pressing more than one key at once is a very rare occurrence; believe me, I have chubby fingers and it was never a problem for me. Each key depression also offers a satisfying click feedback so there’s never any question whether or not it registered. In short, the keyboard is so great that I often looked for excuses to type things on the Q10. Even if my computer was right in front of me, I was browse the web or respond to emails on the Q10 just so I could click away on its keyboard.
It’s no secret that I love BlackBerry 10 OS, as I basically made it out to be the star of the show in my review of the Z10. I find it both efficient and intuitive, and its highlights are definitely the notification-aggregating BlackBerry Hub and the quickness and simplicity of the gesture-based navigation. I’m also a big fan of being able to minimize apps into windows and either resume or close them at any time.
Really, the only gripe that I have with BlackBerry 10 is that there isn’t a way to enter a message in your Hub inbox and then scroll either up and down through your unread messages. Instead, users have to enter to the message for it to register as read, go back out to the inbox, and then tap on the next one to repeat the process. It can be an especially tedious process if you use the Q10 for work and you wake up and find that you have dozens of unread emails to sift through one by one. It seems like an oversight in an OS that is otherwise wholly streamlined.
As for preloaded software, there isn’t too much besides BlackBerry’s suite of generally handy apps. But what is here is likely to be found useful by the average user, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Box, Slacker Radio, Dropbox, Print to Go, Docs to Go, etc. If you couldn’t tell, the software leans towards an enterprise focus, but there is some entertainment to be found in the preloaded apps.
Most of what we had to say about the camera on the Z10 still stands with the Q10. The software has its faults with focus and is rather barebones in terms of its options, though Time Shift mode (essentially a burst shot mode that allows you to pick the best image out of a series of photos that are snapped) is a welcome addition.
Colors and low light are decent, as we said before, though the addition of an HDR mode helps a lot in poorly-lit environments. But on the whole, images aren’t always terribly crisp and they always look a little dim and greyish. Outdoor photos especially — where you expect to end up with a wealth of brightness and vibrancy in your pictures — don’t pop very much.
The battery life of the Q10 is definitely very good, but it isn’t as amazing as I thought it was going to be, what with such a small, relatively dim screen. But despite not being in that upper echelon of exceptional battery life, the Q10 still impressed with its longevity.
On average, I would get about three days out of a single charge with casual usage, where I mostly using it for emailing, occasional browsing, and some streaming media (both audio and video). But I wasn’t holding back with my setup; I had the screen on maximum brightness (given its relatively dim nature) and email push on the whole time and the 2100 mAh battery was still very respectable.