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Blackberry A10 Phablet Review
By Steve Rhys 26.07.2013
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Blackberry A10 Phablet Review

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Best Price £1599

Score Breakdown

appearance

First impression

Design

Portability

performance

Performance

features

Battery life

Speakers

Software & apps

Camera

Storage

Conclusion

Value for money?

Specification

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Overview 

Blackberry is thought to be on the brink of releasing it 5-inch phablet A10 although a release date in the UK has not been announced yet. However, according to strong rumours that are circulating the grapevine we can expect to see the device before the end of the year.

The A10 is hotly tipped to come sporting a host of new specs including a larger, brighter screen, a more powerful processor, an 8MP rear facing camera, 16GB of internal memory and a bigger battery to power it all. But will the Canadian based electronics manufacture deliver or is the speculation mere pipe-dreams.

Likes

·      Amazing screen

·      Built-in battery

·      Good connectivity

·      Great messaging hub

Dislikes

·      OS lacks killer apps

·      Likely to be pricey

Images of the Blackberry A10 have recently appeared all over the internet carrying the AT&T logo, suggesting the phablet is preparing for launch with the US-based telecommunications service provider. What gives the photographs credence is that the images are of good quality and look to be genuine specimens.

Given the foretold reliability of the rumours, analysts are predicting the Blackberry A10 to be one of the best smartphones in 2013 and the bets are on that the five-inch phablet will be one of the best selling devices at the high-end of the market this year.

 The A10 will be Blackberry´s first super-sized screen smartphone release, but was given an edge in the eyes of analysts when videos appeared earlier this year showcasing its designs and features. Let´s take a closer look at what you can expect from the A10.

Phablets are growing in popularity with big-screen fans and the A10´s principle selling point will be its 5-inch OLED display which comes packing 1,280 x 720 pixels. Given the majority of top-end device come sporting a full HD 1080p display, the A10 has by no means got the largest troupe of ppi, but the high-definition display will surely burst with colour and deliver clean, sharp images.

That could be good news for battery fans – depending on how Blackberry implement energy saving devices – but as the screen will lose less power you should expect to enjoy a long-lasting session on one charge. A beefy 2,800Ah cell suggests you will be okay.

Furthermore, Blackberry has excelled in the battery department in the past – some would go as far as to say they were unrivalled – but now specs for handheld devices are becoming all powerful, battery endurance has faltered. Surely it will be enough to get you through the whole day. If the Z10 and Q10 are anything to go by the phablet will not let you down.

The bad news is that the battery is not removable so when it does finally pack up it will be time to change your phone. Fixed batteries are nothing new though and are a means for manufacturers to make their handheld machines thinner and lighter.

In fairness, a fixed battery is a sure-fire indicator that the Blackberry will be slender, probably light and highly portable. The A10 is ticking all the right boxes so far and if the images are anything to go by the device looks like a pretty tidy package in the hand.

The design of the A10 shares a striking similarity with Blackberry´s Z10 smartphone except the corners are rounded off, which gives this new-boy a softer look. Meanwhile the face looks akin to Samsung´s Galaxy S4 other than the chin which resembles the style on the HTC One.

Another plus is the A10 looks well connected. The leaked images show the device will sport a micro-USB port, together with HDMI, a three-volume rocker and a jack socket. Blackberries flagship Z10 carries the same features so it´s fairly safe to say the design team has stuck with a winning formula.

Much like Apple, Blackberry will stick with their unique operating system when they launch the A10. Although the company suffered grave problems with their OS7 interface – and nearly when out of business in the process – the Canadian-based technicians recovered ground at the turn of the year with the introduction of the Blackberry 10 OS.

Things were so bad with the 0S7 that it was completely scrapped. The BB10 therefore has been built from scratch, although it is clear Blackberry learned from their past mistakes. Sporting a slick design set-up to be extra user-friendly, the BB10 is not far removed from Android Jelly Bean although has sufficient features of its own for it to be entirely unique.

The main display is the lock screen which gives you quick access to your favorite apps and widgets, message notifications, calendar events and time. You can also switch this to night time mode which displays a red-lit analogue clock face which is easy on the iris when you check the time with tired eyes in the middle of the night.

Switching to the homescreen gives you a selection of eight “Active Frames,” which are a collection of your most used apps. The added bonus though is that rather than feature the app icon, they icon displays the latest update to that app – which is most useful for social media accounts and checking up-to-the-minute news.

Gesture control is another physical feature that is beginning to emerge in handheld portables, and Blackberry try to encourage this by emitting an exit screen or back button. Instead you brush your finger along the bottom of the screen, presumably with a sigh, groan or whimper of surprise.

Along with the BB10 comes the QWERTY keyboard which is arguably the best pad on a handheld device to date. The keyboard does take a little bit of getting use to initially, but after a few sessions it becomes second nature and you will be cracking those emails off like a spammer.

Having studied the hardware specs, the A10 looks as though it will pack some power. It comes sporting a 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon at its heart and is supported by 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The good news for multimedia-fans is the microSD card will multiply storage to 64GB.

The A10 also appears to come fitted with an 8mega-pixel rear facing camera which may or may not take a good picture. In general, cameras with this number of MP´s are average snappers, but you get the odd one that has ditched grainy images in low-lighting. However, even some expensive bridge cameras falter in some conditions so don´t expect to turn pro with the A10.

Who is it for?

True to form, Blackberry appear to be targeting business users, although film lovers and gamers will also benefit from the A10´s large screen and storage capacity.

Value for money?

A price for the Blackberry A10 has not yet been released, but given the handset is bundled with premium specs you can expect a top-dollar price tag to match. We´re guessing around £580 for an entry-level – balk!

Final thought

On the face of it the Blackberry A10 looks as though it will be a decent bit of kit. Whether it will challenge the likes of Samsung, Apple and Sony for price v quality remains to be seen, but the early signs suggest the BB A10 will hold its own in the face of stiff competition.

 

 

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