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Blackberry Q10 – Initial Impressions

June 23, 2013

I got a long-awaited Blackberry Q10 from AT&T last week. My first reaction was disappointment. Before I could even start testing/playing/using I had to get past two big problems:

  1. The intent to connect the Q10 to our Notes Traveler server for email, contacts and calendar had to be put on hold. There is an unpublicized limitation where it will only connect via SSL, and we have our Traveler set up for http. This is fixable but a nuisance.
  2. I have a had terrible time closing application windows.

The gesture for closing a window is a swipe up from the very bottom of the screen. This is fairly important because there is no home button or other hard key navigation available on the Q10. I’ve found a quick flick from just to the right of the center of the top row on the keyboard seems to work most of the time, but it took me days to find the right motion, All of the other gestures work fairly reliably for me.

This leads into one source of disappointment. I was anxious to get a Q10 because I don’t do well with touch devices. This may be related to poor circulation in my finger tips. At any rate the prospect of having to type on a touch screen turns me off.

The hard keyboard on the Q10 is quite good. It’s slightly different than the Curve/Bold design but should be fine once I’m used to it. But as noted above there are no hard navigation keys — no home button, no escape button (the one I miss most), no menu button. You can set the power button to wake the phone from screensaver.

So the hard keyboard is a solution for typing but not for those who just dislike touch. There is a lot of touch control in Blackberry 10. And I’m really not having trouble with any of it except the close window gesture, but it’s not what I was expecting/hoping for.

Some other impressions:

I set up my Notes mail via IMAP. That seems to be working fairly well. I can also access iNotes Ultralite and that works quite well. The iNotes is important because IMAP does not handle calendar and contacts, just the email itself.

The Q10 comes with clients for most popular social media systems already installed. I set up my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Foursquare accounts. The navigation on some of these, especially Facebook and Foursquare is a bit odd. This is a shame since those services seemed to have finally fixed that issue for older Blackberries and iPhones.

Contacts on the Q10 was populated with all of my connections from those services. Of course in most cases that does not include phone number and work email.

The display is very nice, especially when compared to my Curve. The browser works well and seems to handle both standard and mobile pages.

Phone numbers anywhere on the device, even in web pages, are live and clickable to make a call. I don’t think any non-Blackberry device offers that, but iOS definitely does not.

I’m reserving judgement on the camera. The controls will definitely take some getting used to. Again, the camera suffers from not having physical zoom and shoot buttons.

Bottom line: The Q10 is not the device I was hoping for but it’s still the only true smartphone with a hard keyboard so I’m willing to take some time to try to make it work. Will post more if there’s more learning ahead.

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