Yes, I finally gave in. After trying a LOT of older Android phones with hardware keyboards I finally bit the bullet and bought a Blackberry; the Q10 to be precise.
The moment I unpacked it and took it into my hand I immediately felt why Blackberry was (and today is through lack of competition) the BEST company when it came to smartphone keyboards. I always thought that the HTC ChaCha has one of the best keyboards. I could write whole passages of texts without mistyping or my thumbs starting to hurt. But this is another whole new level. Not only does it look and feel much more qualitative, it’s also way easier to press the keys and slide your thumbs between them. The rest of the hardware (screen, camera, processor etc) is up to par with your usual smartphone nowadays (well maybe a little behind when looking at those octa core phones).
The only smartphone OS I’ve used so far was Android. I’ve seen people use IOS and saw that it was pretty nifty, but I always liked the ability to customize pretty much everything (little tip: Lightning Launcher is an amazing launcher to do that) instead of having all the comfortable features out of the box… And I can’t say the price tag didn’t put me off.
Blackberry OS has been overhauled since version 10 and it looks fantastic! Everything is very fluent and smooth. Instead of your usual menu, back and home buttons you use swiping gestures that I quickly grew accustomed to (I often find myself frantically swiping on android phones now).
You don’t really have a home screen, instead it lists all your running apps. A swipe to the right brings you to your app list, a swipe from up to down brings you to quick settings just like in android, and a swipe from down to up is pretty much your home button (it shows your running apps).
Now when you swipe to the left from your “home” screen you get to the blackberry hub. This is pretty much an extended notification bar; it combines email, notifications, (blackberry native) chats and more. I really like how this works.
While the OS feels very nice to use, as a former Android user I am missing a lot of options. In the app drawer for example, the only things you can do is rearrange the apps and make folders. I usually had several panels with different app collections right on my home screen, along with widgets. Which brings me to the next point: I didn’t find any quick way to, say, look up the weather other than to keep the weather app running and opening it. I really wish I could put the current temperature on my homescreen or in my status bar.
The next thing is app availability: While Blackberry did a good job making Android apps compatible and easy to install, not all of them work. I cannot for example use my banking app or, far more important to me, Google play services. Google maps works just fine, but I cannot login and access my saved locations.
What also bugs me is that the android Audible app often stutters when playing an audiobook, not to mention it frequently logs me out (which is even more annoying since I upgraded all my passwords and am now using the Blackberry password manager). Luckily I’ve found an easy way to convert my Audiobooks to mp3, so that problem is already sorted out.
The last downside I can think of is a bug in the current OS revision which often does not play your sound notifications of android apps but vibrates instead. Nothing lethal and likely to be fixed though.
So yeah, this phone is a big step closer to my dream phone. For that I guess I would need android after all.
sorry for the lack of pictures this time, I wrote most of this on my blackberry :p