A long time in the making, but finally its here and I have to say, 1 hour in, MY GOD its good!
I have to say this first though, getting the handset has been a bloody nightmare to say the least, fighting with Yodel to get them to deliver the damn thing has kind of tainted the joy of getting it.
There is more about the epic battle in earlier blog entries.
So back to the Q10.
First up, it's fair to say I am a die hard qwerty fan, and a strong believer that the days of the physical keyboard are far from over. In fact for me, as the past hour has shown, it's a must. Plain and simple.
The Z10 has without a doubt been the best touchscreen phone I have ever used. No bones about it, the fluidity of the experience is amazing. But after months of use I still never overcame the annoyance and frustration of the keyboard predicting or correcting me on something simple, or the sheer inaccuracy of it. YES, touchscreen can be super fast, the Z is no exception, with its very forgiving predictive text and corrections. As well as a very smart learning curve, which unlike any other handset I have used, can predict almost who sentences.
However, when it comes to freedom of expression and being able to type what you want, how you want, and make words up whenever you choose, the qwerty wins every time.
So, step back a second and let's start over.
Buying mine from CPWH, I was lucky enough to get the BlackBerry bluetooth speaker system for free, which is a nice little bonus. Compact little thing, but great for sitting in the garden or office etc. I can see it getting a fair bit of use. Also doubles as a hands free for the car too as it clips to the sun visor, so win win.
Unpacking the Q10's little retail box, you realise that BlackBerry have followed the lead of brands like Apple, and made their retail offerings very sparce, but I have to be fair and say all the essentials are there. Phone, charger, data cable, headphones. Speaking of headphones, what an enormous leap forwards with the quality of headphones BlackBerry have made. In-ear anti-tangle headphones, great inline controls. Brilliant, well done BlackBerry. Not sure about Apples 'years in the making' effort, but these unannounced surprises are a great addition.
Moving on from audio, setting the phone up was a nice simple process, certainly more user friendly than the first time around with the Z10, what a nightmare that was. But then at the same time the process is nothing like device swaps of the past. Gone are the days of any BIS involvement. Simple on screen prompts put you through the various sections of set up in an easy to understand format. Once done, and all emails are set up, it syncs with the server and in a matter of minutes you are up and running. The key here is being cloud ready. If you are on Gmail etc, then the set up is a piece of cake, pulling down contacts and calendars from your online account. Second time is a treat for me for sure.
Once set up, it's time to get going with customising and setting up your preferences. The defaults are pretty well thought out, with dark theme as standard, various tones set up for native apps, and volume set to maximum (yup that scared the pants off me first message!). The aforementioned native apps as you probably know are a lot about staying in touch, BBM, Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, and all meeting up nicely in the infamous Hub. Speaking of the hub, for me it's still not perfect, but after months of use of the Z10, BB10 has become second nature, and interacting from one place is indeed a great idea. Just a shame there are not a few more user customisable options in there.
The biggest thing missing for me is the social feeds, all my Twitter updates and new tweets. But again I have to say I have grown used to Blaq saving the say there, and have been quick to install it on the Q10 as well as the Z.
The biggest joy of all is without a doubt the keyboard, for me at least. Firm, solid keys, my fingers dance around the keyboard with ease, and as they start to remember what is where, the speed of my typing increases. I have already surpassed the longest blog entry I have ever done on the Z, by double at least I would say, and I'm happy to keep going. No frustrations, just happy thinking and typing away. The straightening out of the keyboard is a little peculiar maybe, but again you adjust quickly. Sitting in the dark, looking around as I type, I know my accuracy is far better than a touchscreen would ever be, for me at least.
The glass weave, weird looking back was a big worry for me, thinking it was going to be slippery as the back of the 9900 was, but looks are truly deceiving. And to think I almost went for a white Q10 because the back looked gripper. Phew close call there. It's waxy in feel, and has the right level of grip. Not being shiny also removes the worry of scratching it. The feel of the rest of the device is also decidedly solid and robust. No unpleasant creeks or squeeks coming from the chassis.
The screen is super sharp as you would expect from an OLED display. With screens improving year after year, it's hard to appreciate the screen until I sit it next to my other two handsets, then the difference is very apparent. With one of those being the Z10, it doesn't take a genius to work out which BB10 device has the nicer screen.
The rest of the story is yet to be told, battery testing, app testing, reliability, and over all preference of use (although I think I have already decided that one)
A final note though, and one for anyone trying to decide which BlackBerry device to buy.
If you are like me, and you spend most of your day emailing, messaging, tweeting etc, aka communicating with your phone, then the Q is the obvious choice. I know the argument is screen real estate, but the truth is, with the onscreen keyboard up, the Z's screen is exactly the same size as the Q.
If however you use your handset for games, Web, navigation etc, then the Z is probably the right option for you. The onscreen keyboard as an occasional input device is truly splendid. Forgiving, intuitive, and easy to get along with. Word suggestions, swipe gestures and great layout make it a pleasing experience. But would I have written a blog entry like this one on the Z.... Jeez no! Only the Q has what it takes to ramble on for hours in my trying to be helpful manner.
I shall be sure to post some updates soon, but for now I will give this poor new phone a breather.
Summary, now the chips are down, BlackBerry have brought TWO awesome phones to the market. Worth the extended wait for sure, now just to keep up the momentum and make and keep the BB10 movement current. Well done BlackBerry, well done indeed.