BlackBerry Z10 vs BlackBerry Q10: Which phone is the best choice?

It’s funny to think that a year ago, most folks couldn’t imagine seeing two adequate BlackBerry handsets on the market. No one was a believer because the Canadian phone maker was losing market share and relevance seemingly by the day. In comes 2013, Thorsten Heins and company wanted a clean slate and convinced customers that its troubles were a thing of the past. While the jury is still out on that, we’d be hard pressed to say things haven’t changed for the better.

BlackBerry succeeded by answering the bell with two quality devices: the Z10 and Q10. I’ve been spending a lot of time with both the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 to find out which is best. So I happily gave my perspective in a brief breakdown. Enjoy!

Under the Hood (Specs)





4.2-inch, LCD, resolution of 1280 x 768 pixels, and 356 pixels per inch

3.1-inch, S-AMOLED, resolution of 720 x 720 pixels,

and 330 pixels per inch


Dual-Core 1.5GHz – Snapdragon S4 Plus

1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm MSM8960


2 GB of RAM

2 GB of RAM


16 GB internal; MicroSD card slot for expandable storage up to 64 GB

16 GB internal; MicroSD card slot for expandable storage up to 64 GB


8MP rear camera, 1080p HD video recording, and 2MP front-facing camera that records 720p HD

8MP rear camera, 1080p HD video recording, and 2MP front-facing camera that records 720p HD


BlackBerry 10 (10.1 update still rolling out)

BlackBerry 10.1

As you can see from the chart above, the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 are almost identical when it comes to specs. However, I found the Q10 offered a better quality screen that also provided more impressive viewing angles. This is due to the Z10’s lesser quality LCD display that only pumps out a resolution of 1280 x 768 pixels, while the Q10’s S-AMOLED 720p screen flourishes above. It’s not even close.

What I didn’t mention in the chart was the difference in battery capacity. For some odd reason, BlackBerry decided to go with a smaller 1800 mAh battery inside the Z10. The Q10 comes with a 2100 mAh battery that’s also removable. The battery life is noticeably different — edge goes to the Q10.

Look and Feel

To no  surprise, both the Z10 and Q10  share superb hardware. These devices aren’t plasticky or cheap, instead, they represent a past where a phone’s build quality was a top priority. Still, after handling both phones I’d have to give the advantage to the Z10. The Z10 just feels better in the hand than the Q10. Hell, this year’s touch screen BlackBerry 10 device resembles the iPhone in many ways, as it gives off a feel much similar to the iPhone 5.

Yet, there’s something to be said about the nostalgia that overcomes you once you feel a physical keyboard in your hands. Suddenly, you feel more important, more business-like — I can’t explain it. However, the reality is, QWERTY keypad phones are a relic in time gone by. Do I believe they should stay around? Sure. Just like I how I feel vinyls or CD’s should stay around.

What’s the best choice?

In the end, I came to the conclusion that the handset that appeals to the larger majority of smartphone customers is the Z10. This device represents what people are accustomed to in the year 2013, while the Q10 appeals to a shrinking customer base that prefers a physical keypad over a virtual one.

In addition, smartphone buyers are becoming more attracted to devices with bigger screens — just think the Galaxy S and Note series. A 3.1-inch display won’t make people come back to BlackBerry. The Z10 is BlackBerry’s re-entry into a market that appeals to those thirsty for a decent sized touchscreen smartphone that can handle day-to-day tasks.

So it’s simple. If you don’t want to upgrade away from the style and feel of your old BlackBerry handset, go with the Q10. But, if you want a change, I’d recommend you give the Z10 a shot.

  • camera531

    What a pointless article. All you did was say the obvious. “If you like the keyboard, go with the Q10… etc.”. I was hoping for a little more…

    • “I was hoping for a little more…” What were you hoping for?

      • camera531

        “a little more…”

  • Pixel Spartan

    The Q10 is a very focused message tool. The keyboard makes Blackberry Action shortcuts sing, something the Z10 can’t quite match. I view the qwerty Q10 as a tool vs the all in one uses of the HTC One, Galaxy and iPhones do much better.

    The Z10 has all the benefits a larger screen offers but it pits itself against the unique features of the 920s, Ones and S4s. The Q10 owns this niche and doesn’t compete in the same sphere. It has no competition at all. Motorola and Samsung
    failed because there was no OS focus on the messaging. Nokia kind of had the potential in Symbian and had the user loyalty but lost it completely in the OS touch screen wars with Apple.

    The Q10 is efficient to review, respond and filter your messages. Consumption of games, video media, internet surfing though doable is sooooo painful because of the form factor but frankly that is why I personally chose it. To not suffer the distraction. If need to do other stuff I’ll use another device but only if I really must.

    So many of the large screen smartphones do a lot of everything but excel on a few things. Secondly they try to have one or two hero features but they crossover each other in so many areas. Do I want Nokia’s camera or HTCs Speakers or S4s gestures etc etc. I couldn’t accept the camera shortcomings of the Z10 but can forgive this shortcoming on Q10. I’ll carry an extra bit of hardware along to compensate which normally is a deal breaker for most. Is it ever possible for Blackberry to make a sensational camera or media consumption device? It’s something which might hurt them in their larger format designs if they can’t get their OS to pull it off.

    The Q10 takes what they all can’t does what a keyboard can do better. It doesn’t matter to most and the omissions on the keyboard are confounding (navigation pad, ctrl+c/p/x). It’s for now a big negative but there are no alternatives for this format which is still a current phone.

    I really see a focus from Blackberry on information filters or giving developers the APIs to max these features out.

    Charles you were onto something about the Q10 making you feel more business like. I’d guess the Q10 had a little zen like GTD focus affect upon you? It would have been a more considered article if you explored that question in the comparison your article’s title promised.

  • Dee

    I liked the article, blunt honest to the point its what I “assumed” but was glad to hear someone say it…

  • buginsoup

    Charles, Would you mind dropping a couple of lines about your experience with Q10’s touch experience? If a 3.1-inch screen is good enough to get a not-so-bad feel of a touch screen smart phone. I understand we cannot compare it with a Galaxy note or One. But I need to upgrade my BB (from 9700) and I seriously consider Q10 as an option, and this review is very important to me. Thanks a lot for the simple but effective review.

  • macke

    I bought Z10 when it came out here and it is a sweet device, but did not feel 100% for me.(THe Keyboard is best there is for that type tho, beats swiftkey,swype anyday).

    ALso got S4,ip5 and HtcOne so i am not a fan boy to any brand, but when i did get my Q10 i was stuck, my daily phone and i love it. Ofc if you look at alot of films every day or play games pick S4, it is great for that. But for me that use my phone for 95% text,mail,web and Smedia..Q10 is a golden device. And i also like the designfeeling it have, and the screen works for me as would trade that keyboard any day for the full hd screen on s4/H1. But good to point out, THIS IS WHAT I THINK and what´s fit my device. 🙂

    • Fazz

      Macke, just a little out of the topic, which do you like most: S4 or H1? I wanna change my Note1, and, BB10 is still in my wish list as to replace my old Curvy..

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