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Considering the popularity of a hardware keyboard with BlackBerry owners, I don’t think it’s wrong to assume that a BB10 based device with a full keyboard is what most BlackBerry owners are looking for. And will be delivered when the Q10 goes on sale this week. Sadly, it has taken BlackBerry quite a while to bring this product to the market making many users move away to a full touch device. In that process, many have realised that they can type equally fast on a full touch keyboard. So what does that say about the hardware keyboard- does it still hold much value? That’s what we’re going to find out today.

What we have done is taken our resident BlackBerry fan Faisal and given him the new Q10 as well as the Z10. Faisal has been a long time BlackBerry user with the 9790 as his primary device since last year so he is very familiar with the hardware keyboard. One of Faisal’s specialities is typing on his BlackBerry without looking at it. Thus, we made things a bit more interesting by actually blind-folding Faisal.

Watch the video to see how well Faisal did with the BlackBerry Q10 and the BlackBerry Z10 when it comes to typing on the device while looking at it as well as blind-folded. Since, Faisal is primarily a hardware keyboard user, we also added Nick in the mix who is using the Z10 as his primary device for a month now.

The results? Faisal was able to type the same sentence on the Q10 a couple of seconds faster than the Z10 when blind-folded however the number of mistakes he made on the Z10 made the sentence incomprehensible. When he can see the screen, the same sentence took him 29 seconds to write on the Z10 vs just 17 seconds on the Q10. However, Nick managed to type that same sentence on the Z10 in 18 seconds.

Bottom Line: The touch screen is as fast as a hardware keyboard, possibly faster, when you’re looking at it. But when you’re not looking, typing anything on the touch screen will most likely end up gibberish. That’s the target market that will appreciate a hardware keyboard. I also want to add that typing on the Q10 feels a lot more rewarding than tapping on a piece of glass and I’m sure many of you will agree with me on this.

You can read our review for the BlackBery Z10 here or the first look at the BlackBerry Q10 here.

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