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Blackberry Q10 vs iPhone 5 — Software does-in BB’s otherwise excellent Qwerty smartphone June 24, 2013

Posted by ronannarbor in Apple, Entertainment, Gizmos, Photography.
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UPDATED 7/17/13 —

The following review remains as is. On July 3, ATT rolled-out version 10.1.0.2030 — this was specifically updated to unblock calDav problems and to allow syncing to occur between Blackberry and iOS iCloud and to patch some security woes. It does not work automatically and you will have to add it manually (Google “How to sync your BBQ10 and iCloud” for step by step instructions). Note that once this was manually synced, updates were very slow — calendars would take 5 – 20 minutes to refresh and a good minute or so to repopulate each time you opened the calendar ap on the Q10 — unforgivable on a business smartphone. Similar sync delays occurred in contacts– I returned by BBQ10 to ATT on the 14th day of no-remorse returns. I must say up front that ATT was excellent in working with me, and took care of all upgrades/returns/etc with professionalism and care. I was very very sad to do so, almost tearful in fact, because I love the hardware of the BBQ10 so much, that keyboard is to die for. BBRY posted a tremendous loss in stock last week, and just the other day announced they are cutting their production of the Z10 and Q10 by 50 percent. Bad news for Blackberry and its fans, and for any hope of developers creating apps for them. I can not imagine that anyone but Blackberry die-hards will be happy with the Q10 at this point.

ORIGINAL REVIEW 6/24/13

Since the very first day of the original iPhone, I have been among its staunchest defenders, EXCEPT for the horrendous touch-type keyboard. For three years I carried around my Blackberry Bold along with the iPhone, which I used for everything except phone calls, texts, SMS messages, or e-mails. It was a pain in the ass. Ultimately, the iPhone won out completely as I gave up on carrying around two phones, let alone paying for two data plans.

BlackBerry-Q10-review-sides_original

So it was with VERY excited expectations that I became the proud owner of the newest Blackberry offering, the Q10 — the best of all possible worlds — a blazing fast processor, lots of storage, a removable battery, great photos, a super sharp 720 x 720 screen (even sharper than the iPhone 5’s retina display), and having both a touch screen as well as a full-Qwerty keyboard that is a dream to use.

So after real life use, what can I say?  The BB Q10 is virtually unusable for the day-to-day user because software has not caught up to the tech — so far, the offerings are dismal. All of the built-in BB apps are superb — but for the Mac user: Blackberry 10 has built-in conduits for syncing to your iPhone iCloud account — unfortunately it DOES NOT WORK. Currently there is no way to sync your calendars, contacts (they sync once then never again), notes, or reminders. Don’t even bother — there are hundreds of pages of threads on this all over the web right now, and Blackberry really did in their Mac users.

The typing experience is superb — back to an easy error-free 65 WPM speed in less than 5 minutes of practice. A few new key combinations, and some screen swipes to learn, and off you go — everything else is familiar, and it looks gorgeous. The new message hub is great. And just start typing a few letters of what you are looking for and it instantly pops up that application open and ready to go (Apple could learn something here)….for example, type tex(t) and before you are three letters in, the texting app is open and ready to go. LOVE IT.

What do I not love? Well — the entire experience will be one of failure if applications don’t catch up as soon as possible. BB has been neglected for years by most developers, expecting a quick RIM death once touch phones took over. Well now that BBRY has big hits on its hands with the Z10 and the Q10, the developers have catching up to do — and here, there is a lot to do…any iPhone user has gotten used to the many apps that make life simpler, happier, more fun, or just plain old more organized. No such luck here. Because of the 720×720 square screen, older BB apps don’t work. Even “side-loading” Android apps (not an easy process) doesn’t work for all of them, only those that can run on a smaller square screen.

So what does that mean in the real world? Well, hang onto your hat, here are programs that DO NOT WORK or ARE NOT AVAILABLE for the BB Q10 as of this writing:

Mac Calendar, Notes, Reminders, Contacts, email settings, internet favorites do not sync at present

Evernote with all features (there is an integrated version that works with the new BB Reminders, but does not sync properly nor can any folders we shared, nor shared folders imported)

Facebook with all features (there is a simple flat app that presents timeline only, without any photo posting)

Facebook Messenger

Facebook Camera (there is no way to get photos into your Facebook uploads at present)

Any version of Slingbox Mobile or web-based access to it

Instagram

Pandora

Kindle

Zinio

Shazam

Square Reader (for accepting credit card payments)

Google Maps

Bento or other Database File progran

Passbook, or any format of it (If you have Starbucks cards on your iPhone, they won’t transfer to the BBQ10 — one workaround people have posted is to take a photo of your iPhone’s barcode, and use that photo when checking out at Starbucks)

My Disney Experience (now necessary to book fastpasses online)

Starbucks, Chase, TCF Bank, Paypal, eBay or other credit card program — I contacted Starbucks and was told in no uncertain terms that they “absolutely will NOT be developing a Blackberry app” — hmm.

Delta (There is a downloadable app, which does not open nor run)

Netflix, Hulu, or any other streaming-media software

ABC, NBC, CBS, HBO-Go or any other television streaming application

Siri (although a limited Voice Command program does allow you some siri-like command and search functions)

Most games that have you been playing on your iPhone — in my case ALL games that I had been playing on my iPhone

SO – be warned — this is a sleek, superb phone, and it is far more productive than my iPhone (any version including my current 5) has ever been. But the applications SUCK and without them, I can not recommend any iPhone or Android user switch back to the Q10 despite the superior keyboard. Its a deal breaker. No apps, no use.

For current blackberry users, this is not a no-brainer. Before you upgrade,  be sure to check appworld.blackberry.com to see if the applications you currently use will be available on the Q10 — there are a LOT that do not run on the Q10 that you have happily been using on your other older blackberries — surprisingly so. Also many have complained because of the lack of a trackball on the new version – if that is important to you, do not upgrade.

If applications and syncing are of no interest to you, then the Blackberry Q10 is currently THE best offering with a full built-in QWERTY keyboard for all intents and purposes. Go get it now. That keyboard is AMAZING. For me, I am back to my iPhone 5. Other users might similarly want to hold off. For awhile, I was certain that new apps would be appearing relatively quickly — but it appears that is not happening. Existing apps have been getting some upgrades, but my personal contacts with Starbucks, Slingbox, Netflix have all yielded answers from them that they are NOT working on BB10 versions. That’s a shame.

Final Score Card Blackberry Q10 vs iPhone 5:

Keyboard – BBQ10 hands down

Size – tie

Feel in hand when using/talking/texting – BBQ10 hands down

User Experience – iPhone 5

Camera – iPhone 5

Video capability – iPhone 5

Media viewing – iPhone 5

Listening to Music/ease of use – iPhone 5

Software – iPhone 5 hands down (I have 140 apps on my iPhone 5, only 30 of them (or some version of something like them) are available on the BBQ10

Syncing/iCloud integration/Google integration – iPhone 5

Screen size – iPhone 5

Screen clearness – tie

Swipe/navigate experience – iPhone 5

Mapping – iPhone 5, not better overall, but because of Google Maps availability as well

Bluetooth/Wireless connections – tie, easier to manage on iPhone 5

Signal Strength on ATT network – BBQ10 by far

Telephone sound quality – BBQ10

Battery life – BBQ10 by days

Power management – BBQ10 (removable battery, compatible with all microUSB chargers and accessories)

Cases/accessories – iPhone 5

Durability – tie

Speed – tie

Memory – BBQ10 – more built in and expandable cheaply with microSD cards up to 64 gb

Price – BBQ10

Technical Support: ATT – iPhone far better….APPLE – far better overall…Blackberry – friendly but limited, most common answer from tech support “The Blackberry system doesn’t work like that” and “we are still working on that feature”.

WINNER: iPhone 5

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