BlackBerry is well known for its business devices with physical qwerty keyboards designed to make messaging more convenient, while other phone makers such as Samsung and HTC have shunned buttons in favour of increasingly large touchscreen-only handsets.
BlackBerry seems to believe that there's still a market for such devices, having released two BlackBerry 10 (BB10) handsets with physical qwerty keypads so far this year; the top-end BlackBerry Q10 and the more mid-range BlackBerry Q5.
We took a look at both devices to see whether the BlackBerry Q10 is really worth the higher price, or whether users can be just as productive using the cheaper BlackBerry Q5.
The BlackBerry Q10 clearly has the more premium build quality of the two devices, featuring a unique glass-weave backplate and stainless steel trim that gives it an expensive, luxurious feel.
That's not to say the BlackBerry Q5 is a bad-looking phone. While it lacks the flashy backplate and other touches of its more expensive sibling, the handset feels sturdy despite its predominantly plastic construction.
The BlackBerry Q5 is arguably the more comfortable to hold, measuring 120x66x10.8mm compared to the BlackBerry Q10's slightly wider, but also slightly thinner, 119.6x66.8x10.4mm. We found that although there's not much difference between the two, the narrower BlackBerry Q5 was more pleasant to hold in your hand for any length of time, despite the BlackBerry Q10's soft-touch backing. The BlackBerry Q5 is a bit lighter too at 120g, with the BlackBerry Q10 tipping the scales at 139g.
However, the question that all potential users and owners will be asking is whether the Q5's keyboard experience has suffered as a result of the lower cost of that device.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the BlackBerry Q10 does offer a better keyboard, allowing for faster, more fluid typing in our experience. Although its keys are closer together than the well-spaced keys on the BlackBerry Q5, we found that this made a much simpler and more comfortable typing experience, as did the more defined, sculpted shape of the keys on the BlackBerry Q10 handset.
The BlackBerry Q10 features a 3.1in 720x720 Amoled touchscreen, while the BlackBerry Q5 has a similar 3.1in 720x720 IPS LCD screen.
As you've probably already gathered from the specifications, the BlackBerry Q10 is the clear winner when it comes to colour and vibrancy, although not by much, with text and images proving just as legible on the cheaper BlackBerry Q5 handset. However, thanks to the use of Amoled technology, the BlackBerry Q10 does boast better viewing angles and greater outdoor visibility.
We much preferred the BlackBerry Q5 display in use, however. Thanks to the repositioned BlackBerry logo on the BlackBerry Q5, which sits between the display and keyboard, there's far more room for swiping up from the bottom of the screen, one of the most frequently used gestures on the BlackBerry 10 OS. We found this is more frustrating on the BlackBerry Q10 smartphone due to the tiny gap between the screen and the physical keys.
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