David Papp Blog

A Review of my Free BlackBerry Q10, QWERTY for the Diehards

I was contacted by Telus as one of ten people selected in Canada to receive a free BlackBerry Q10 to review and be part of the #10BestofBBQ10 team. I was one of the early adopters of BlackBerry. I had one of their original models that looked like a pager (with a qwerty keyboard) then upgraded to the BlackBerry 957 which I had for a while (nice big screen).

Blackberry Q10

Overtime, as I upgraded, I experienced the Curve, Pearl, Tour, Bold, Torch, etc. My favorite has been the Bold. Prior to receiving my free Q10 from Telus I was a Bold 9900 user and quite happy with it.

Certainly the lack of features and apps on the BlackBerry has been very dissapointing, however, the QWERTY keyboard has always been the main reason I have been a diehard BlackBerry user.

Being in the IT field and dealing with hundreds of emails on a daily basis, the ability to type in quick emails/texts (with accuracy) is very important. I can one-hand a BlackBerry and type in emails without looking. Not sure if this is a skill worthy of going on my resume. 🙂

There was a lot of hype over the Z10 which I personally think is debatable. You can simply get an iPhone or an Android which are also entirely touchscreen. The apps on the droids and i-devices are far superior. However, the Q10 has that one critical requirement which has been neglected by many other smartphone manufacturers: the keyboard.

I own i-Devices which I do use – especially my iPad Mini which I really enjoy (due to iTunes apps, movies/shows, bigger screen for emails/web browsing, and many other features). The Q10 though is my current smartphone hub for phone calls, emails, text messages, and quick tweets.


Here are some specs regarding the Q10:


  • Classic QWERTY Keyboard
  • Light (only about 5mm taller than my Bold 9900)
  • Removable 2100 mAh li-ion battery


  • 3.1″ OLED Touchscreen
  • Sharp colors and great contrast
  • 720×720 16M colors


  • 3G HSDPA
  • 4G LTE
  • Micro-SIM
  • GPRS
  • EDGE
  • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n dual band
  • WiFi HotSpot
  • Bluetooth v4
  • NFC
  • GPS


  • Up to 64GB microSD
  • 16 GB internal
  • 2GB RAM


  • 8 Megapixel Camera (3264 x 2448)
  • Autofocus
  • LED flash
  • Geo-tagging
  • 1080p @ 30 fps video


  • microUSB
  • microHDMI

The touchscreen navigation on the Q10 takes some getting used to with the swipe gestures (left to move, down to get settings, up to leave an app, etc). It is a bit of a shame they got rid of the menu and settings buttons. However when I stumbled upon a list of keyboard shortcuts I had renewed faith in the Q10.


  • Make a call – Type “call contacts name” or “call phone number”
  • Send an email – Type “email contacts name” or “email email address”
  • Send a text message – Type “text contacts name” or “text phone number”
  • Start a BBM chat – Type “BBM contacts name”
  • Update your Facebook status – Type “Facebook status update”
  • Post a tweet – Type “tweet tweet”
  • Post a LinkedIn update – Type “LinkedIn status update”
  • Add a note to BlackBerry Remember – Type “note note details”
  • Add a task to BlackBerry Remember – Type “task task details”


  • I like that the Q10 is basically the same size as the Bold 9900 (only about 5mm taller).
  • The dual band WiFi (2.4 and 5 GHz) is a nice touch.
  • The screen resolution/colors is fantastic (though I do enjoy larger screen sizes).
  • It is great that they kept the removable battery.
  • The keys on the keyboard have a nice feel to them and spacing seems really good.
  • The camera timeshift is awesome. Take one photo (it actually takes many) and pick the best one.
  • I feel the swipe is not sensitive enough and doesn’t always work with my thumb. This is quite annoying but I am hoping a software update will resolve this.
  • They kept the same microUSB connection as the Bold 9900 so I could still use my investment in adapters and cables. Nothing is more annoying than having to get all new cables and adapters when manufacturers change the connections.

It is my opinion that if you don’t need a keyboard you should stick with an Android or iPhone. However, if you send a lot of emails/texts and like the keyboard then the Q10 is great.



41 thoughts on “A Review of my Free BlackBerry Q10, QWERTY for the Diehards”

  1. I agree with your stance on the Z10. Whenever I heard about Blackberry, one of the big selling-points was how amazing the keyboard was. Competing with Apple and the Android phone manufacturers is going to be insanely difficult, but one thing that modern smartphones lack is a physical keyboard (and usually the ones that include one aer subpar).

    • Interesting review. I use to be a huge BlackBerry supporter until the iPhone and android market essentially made them irrelevant. In my opinion, a physical keyboard is no longer necessary. I find it much easier to type on the touchscreen. BlackBerry will have a hard time competing, unless they dramatically overhaul functionality and their appstore. I hope for the best though. The PlayBook was a great, underrated device.

      • iPhones and androids have so many better features than BlackBerrys. I agree about the touchscreen, swype has made touchscreen typing easier for me so having a physical keyboard would probably just require more work.

    • Blackberry keyboards have always been a pleasure to type on. I also think that the Z10 was a poor business decision, as forsaking one of the bread and butter features of your hardware in order to attempt to capture an increasingly polarized market segment was suicide. RIM is certainly paying for it now.

    • This is the reason I may well be changing back over to a Blackberry. I really miss using a keyboard and I’m not a big fan of touchscreen. I made the mistake of going with the crowd in terms of the iPhone and I do regret it.

      Contract does not expire for a while but I will definitely be exploring a wider range of options this time.

  2. I am not a big fan of blackberry and use android device but still this device gets my interest. The good points of this device is 1.5 GHz dual core CPU, 2GB ram, 8MP camera with a 2MP front camera. And the cons are 2100MAh battery equals less energy and display 720×720 PX. If they develop better battery and screen, they will be one of the best Smartphone in the market.

  3. Intersting review. If I were selected by TELUS to receive the new BlackBerry I would probably get it unlocked and either sell it if it does not work on a provider I like or keep it provided it works on preferably WIND or Mobilicity. If it works on Chatr that’s fine too. I hate Robelus, and their stupidly expensive plans.

    • The telecom racket in Canada is laughable. Internet, television and cellular services are all outrageously expensive without even having comparably decent speeds/services to boot. I pay more for my cellular plan than my friend in the US, and he gets more of just about everything with better cell coverage. It’s amazing what we Canadians are willing to put up with.

  4. I am a huge BlackBerry Fanatic but the Z10 and the Q10 cannot offer what the other blackberry’s can which is unlimited BlackBerry Internet Services. This OS10 was trying to compete with apple and android software but removed the key elements that is keeping blackberry alive in South Africa. I feel without the internet, blackberry is a very plain phone with countless problems

  5. I had a blackberry way back in the day, but I’m hooked on the iPhone. Like damachine said, blackberry is a plain phone. I do have to agree with you though on the qwerty thing. I wish my iPhone didn’t have touch-typing. I love buttons and I remember how much I loved my blackberry’s keypad back in the day.

  6. I miss the good ‘ol qwerty keys. If blackberry will add more apps and features to their smartphones plus a larger screen size, I will not think twice of buying but for the meantime i guess i’ll stick to my i devices.

  7. Blackberry is a good competitor with iphones. But I heard that governments are not happy with their encryption technology. What do you think is the future of this phone?

  8. How similar would you say the keyboards between the Bold 9900 and the Q10 are in terms of size and feel?

    I have to say I agree with you in respect to the Z10, you’d really be better off getting an iDevice or Android if you’re looking at an all touchscreen device.

    • The keys on the Bold are slightly curved while the Q10 are straight. I believe the keys are the same size and feel fairly similar. There is a slightly different feel to the Q10 keys. They are nice.

      • Really? Is there feel of the keyboard better on the Q10 than it is on the 9900. The phones look identical but. I wonder how this is possible.

  9. I have only had the Blackberry Pear flip before I upgraded to an Android phone and I have never been so glad. I remember a long time ago when Blackberry was dubbed Crackberry because of how addicted its users were to the phones and it is sad to see they couldn’t innovate to capture the consumer market. I’ve always seen it as a business phone and never really considered it before the Pearl Flip. However, I saw the Z10 at the store and. I thought the screen was gorgeous and also the text prediction was good too. I doubt I will be getting a a blackberry unless its app market gets updated. Till then, I will be reading reviews on it and might contemplate getting one when it is app friendly.

  10. This is an interesting and in depth review. Never owning a smart phone myself, I was always thinking of buying an I phone. After reading this, I will take into consideration about a black berry.

  11. I never really got into the Crackberry craze. My first smartphone was an Android and I haven’t looked back. I really enjoy the freedom it gives me in terms of moddability. But these specs for the Q10 are surprisingly good. My Infuse has the same stats, except being a touch screen.

  12. Those who make the Blackberry almost go bankrupt.
    This is why we got Blackberry Z10. But the Blackberry Q10 is a return to the source with the return of the physical keyboard.

    If I accept a new phone, it will be this one.

  13. The company I work for has been holding out on upgrading our phones until a viable Blackberry option was released. It looks like the Q10 made the cut because we will finally be getting new phones next month. I didn’t think much about it, but after reading your writeup, I’m really excited now.

    • Our company made the switch to iPhone about 6 months ago. Without business contracts I wonder where Blackberry would be right now?

  14. The Q10 looks good and seems to be an interesting phone to have. And because I do need a keyboard this is a viable option. I could never have an Android or an IPhone! Or maybe I could, but just as a backup 😉 I definitely need a phone with good, straight keys as texts and emails are my middle name!

  15. It’s funny – theoretically I can understand why you’d want a physical keyboard on a phone. Typing for a long time, it can be nice to have a sort of tactile feedback, and I imagine it could perhaps make it not so tiring on the fingers.

    That aside, I’ve never actually wanted one on a phone. I suppose I don’t do a whole lot of long text input on my iPhone, but I think I’d feel odd moving between a physical keyboard and a touch screen.

    Truthfully, I’ve never really tried a phone like that out for very long, so perhaps I just don’t know what I’m missing!

    Glad you’re happy with your phone, though, David! Hopefully the App Store will grow with time.

  16. The greatest hurdle Blackberry faces in the “smartphone war” in my opinion, is the lack of quality and diverse apps in its app store.Quality apps are what makes a smartphone “smart”. Without apps a smartphone is no much different from a feature phone. I think Microsoft has been more successful in attracting app developers to its platform.

  17. The greatest hurdle Blackberry faces in the “smartphone war” in my opinion, is the lack of quality and diverse apps in its app store.Quality apps are what makes a smartphone “smart”. Without apps a smartphone is not so different from a feature phone. I think Microsoft has been more successful in attracting app developers to its platform.

    • I guess that’s why even though I really miss a physical keyboard, I haven’t really bought a Blackberry. I’m treating my Android phone as it is, a small, portable computer where still get to do many things that I can do from my PC.

      • I agree. That’s a great assessment. The Android is a small computer; it is capable of so much. When I made the transition to a touch screen phone, I chose Android as the number of apps made it competitive with the iPhone which I had also considered. But the cost savings won me over. It took some getting used to, but I am finding I don’t miss the physical keyboard as much as I thought I would.

  18. This review kinda boost my interest in Blackberry Q10 but really I’m not convinced. I’ve an old BB torch which I use the touch screen more than I do with the keypads. So, I guess none keypad phones are no problem to me. And from the review the only thing better than the others is the keypad which I really don’t need. So, I think I’ll pass.

    My next buy is definitely going to be an Android or an Iphone as I’m really tired of Blackberry stale apps.

  19. I love my Android phone and all the things that I can do with it. However, I mostly use it for messaging which can be enraging especially when I make a lot of typos. If I have the money, I might invest in a Blackberry and make it my main phone for messaging.

  20. As a former Blackberry owner (Bold) and current Android user… I really, really miss the physical keyboards that Blackberry is known for. As you mentioned, the ability to type off an email without so much as looking down is incredibly useful. It’s worth giving up all the bells and whistles that you get with other smart phones just because of how robust that keyboard is.

  21. I think it’s fair to see Blackberry is as good as dead now. Atleast in the mobile phones market. Their marketshare has been declining day by day and doesn’t seem to be any sooner to recovery.

    I very much doubt they will be able to turn this around now.

    The many phones which were actually supposed to be their comeback devices, such as this Q10 also failed to meet the expectations, which I think proves it really is the end for them.

  22. I never owned a Berry, but I;ve always like it because of the keyboard. All of the other specifications of this model sound quite good too – especially when it comes to the memory and connections. My father received a BlackBerry from his work just a while ago, but he is still getting used to it. Knowing him, he may go back to his old Nokia, lol

  23. I find that the keyboard doesn’t really stand out anymore because of the fact that touch screens are big enough these days to have a keyboard on the touch screen. This is the reason why I have a Samsung Galaxy s3. The screen is larger and it is very fast. The blackberry just doesn’t keep up this today’s technology.

  24. Thank you for the review. I do enjoy using a keyboard on my phone and I am considering this model of blackberry. I do have serious concerns about the future of the company, though. I wonder if they’ll be in existence 5 years from now to provide any sort of customer service.

  25. It might be high time for people to buy a Blackberry QWERTY phone these days. I’m hearing rumours that other tech giants might buy them soon, just like what happened to Nokia.

  26. Well, Fairfax bought them already for $4.7 B. What does that mean for people having BlackBerry phones? I guess it’s nice that their prices were slashed way down although I’m worried about not having support..

  27. I have always like BlackBerry. Not only BlackBerry is a phone for business, it is also a phone for texting. I like phones with QWERTY keyboard because it is easier for typing on e-mails and texting. BlackBerry is known to have the QWERTY keyboard attached to most phones. The BlackBerry Q10 offers both touch-screen and QWERTY keyboard, so users can have the best of both worlds. The new BlackBerry 10 software is sturdier than the previous software known to exist.

  28. Dang you’re pretty lucky to be selected, but to be honest BB phone’s aren’t that exciting. I’ve always seen them as just standard phones with just a little more to them.

  29. The Z10 is actually pretty cool as a phone. Not only do you get the software security of Blackberry OS, but it can also run most side-loaded Android apps, because it has an Android 4.2.2 emulator onboard too. Pretty amazing IMO as a work phone, and if you don’t want to miss out on some apps, just side load them. All you have to do is repackage the .apk and you can publish on Blackberry World.

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