The BlackBerry Q10 is different, and to be honest it's cool with that.

It's not here to win a popularity contest, nor is it aiming to blind us with some new technology. It's merely filling a hole which pretty much every other manufacturer has ignored - the physical keyboard market.

While it may not be the poster boy for BlackBerry's revived onslaught on the mobile market - the Z10 has that job - the Q10 knows its market and will pretty much nail it.

We liked

We may not have got on with the QWERTY keyboard ourselves, but those who love BlackBerry's button-centric offerings will be more than pleased with what the Q10 has to offer.

Anyone who currently uses a BlackBerry handset will be able to pick up the Q10 and start tapping away without a care in the world - although if you're thinking of transitioning from a touchscreen device you may not fare so well.

Like the Z10 we were seriously impressed with the Q10's web browsing speeds - there's clearly been quite a bit of work within the BlackBerry 10 OS to ensure it makes mince meat of web pages before your very eyes.

Battery life is a big issue in today's smartphones, however the BlackBerry Q10 is one of the best out there, easily providing you with a full day of operation - even with pretty heavy usage.

The updated BlackBerry 10.1 software may not bring any big wholesale changes to the platform, but the tweaked themes, handful of bug fixes, interface improvements and addition of an HDR camera mode are all welcome.

We disliked

Anyone looking for a smartphone which can also double as a decent multimedia device will want to look elsewhere as the oddly proportioned 3.1-inch display on the BlackBerry Q10 makes watching video and gaming a frustrating experience.

We know BB10 is still in its infancy, but the app selection will be a sticking point more many consumers who want all their favourite apps available to them, and that's something BlackBerry World can't promise.

Potentially the biggest problem with the BlackBerry Q10 is its price - as it's pretty similar to the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One, Sony Xperia Z and iPhone 5 in terms of cost - all of which are much better phones.

Verdict

Without doubt the BlackBerry Q10 is the best QWERTY keyboard smartphone on the market, which is certainly a bold claim - until you consider, what other high-end smartphones are sporting a full-on keyboard these days? Exactly.

It may be the best, but it's the best of one. People will buy the Q10 for its QWERTY keyboard, it's a business tool and in that arena it excels.

However start stacking the Q10 up against handsets which have a similar price tag and you can't help but think it's possibly one of the most expensive keyboards on the planet, with little in the way of stand out features to justify its cost.

If you can't live without a physical keyboard on your phone then you're more than likely going to buy this phone anyway - and that's fair enough - but if those buttons are less of an issue you'll get much more for your money elsewhere.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Phones and Tablets Deputy Editor

John (Twitter, Google+) got his first phone aged 12 and since then he's been fixated on all things mobile, churning his way through a multitude of handsets, tablets and operating systems. Signalling his arrival at TechRadar by becoming a Guinness World Record holder in his first week (for the highest score on Super Mario Bros using a giant controller), John hasn't looked back since.