8 Asians

photo (6)If 8Asian’s offer of free tickets to V3con didn’t alert you to the fact that this wonderful Asian American Digital Media Conference happened over the June 14th, 2013 weekend in Los Angeles, well then let me tell you a little bit of what happened, while going over my latest product review.

V3con happened to overlap with the time period for a loan from Verizon Wireless of one of the latest Blackberry devices, the Q10. If you’ve been following 8Asians, you already know I very recently also completed a review of the Blackberry Z10, which I gave favorable reviews, but decided there wasn’t enough there to convince me to switch from my trusty iPhone 5. So, after getting the Q10, I packed it in my bags and got on a plane to Los Angeles.

V3con started off on Friday night with an opening night reception at the Pacific Asian Museum in Pasadena, CA, and an awards ceremony. I arrived in Los Angeles with plenty of time to spare to get me to the dinner event, so I headed over to my hotel room first and set up forwarding from my iPhone 5 to the Q10 for the weekend. Since I covered a lot of the initial setup in the first review of the Z10, and the Operating System (OS) is essentially the same between the two devices, I won’t go over that again. The primary difference between the Q10 and the Z10 is the keyboard. While the Z10 has a full glass touchscreen, the Q10 tries to split the difference by having a real keyboard (similar to the ones Blackberry users are most familiar with), along with still a good size touchscreen on top.

With regard to the keyboard, I have to admit my initial reaction was not positive. The last time I had a keyboard on a phone was when I used a Palm Treo as my primary phone, quite a number of years ago. Still I remember it being relatively easy to use and differentiate keys from one another. On the Q10 the entire keyboard felt flat with little travel, and it was hard to differentiate one key from the one next to it. I do have to admit though the more I used the keyboard through the weekend, the more accustomed to it I got, so that by the time I left LA, it was fairly usable.

V3con got into full swing on Saturday June 15th, with a full day of sessions. A session on Asian American visibility in Hollywood started off the day. Meanwhile a tweet-fest was going on, heavily promoted by V3con itself. The idea was to get #V3con trending on Twitter, and to help encourage this, the V3con organizers held a twitter bingo contest, where you had to fill in a bingo sheet, each spot needing a specific tweet to fill the box. Required tweets included pics of various sessions and activities throughout the day. Eager to try out the new Q10 I actively participated in the twitter bingo contest, taking pictures and tweeting them with the phone. I was actually the first participant to complete twitter bingo, but alas did not win the grand prize, an iPad mini.

The camera in the Q10 seemed to perform better than the one in the Z10. I didn’t get the same outdoor lighting “halo” issues I talked about the Z10 review and all the pictures turned out well, with decent color saturation and clarity.

Back at the hotel room I got to extensively test out the mobile hot spot capability of the Q10 as the hotel wireless proved to be remarkably slow. I couldn’t get facebook to update in any adequate amount of time on my laptop, so I turned on the mobile hot spot feature on the Q10, and hooked my laptop up to the wifi. The performance was noticeably better with the LTE capabilities of the Q10 and Verizon Wireless than the hotel’s wifi, and I pretty much abandoned the hotel network for the rest of the trip.

After V3con, a bunch of 8Asians writers hung out at a local restaurant and got to know each other better. Thanks to Koji, Tina and John for a great time, and many many thanks to our editor Joz for encouraging me to attend. I had a fantastic time and recommend V3con if you have any interest in Asian American issues, especially as they pertain to the media.

So overall, the Q10 was highly likable, especially after I started getting used to the keyboard. Having gotten used to iPhones though, I still prefer the full glass of the Z10 over the Q10, but if you’re a die hard Blackberry fan, you’ll probably appreciate and want the keyboard in the Q10. The Q10 wasn’t enough to convince me to switch from my iPhone, but Blackberry is certainly getting close with their offering.

Note: I did not receive monetary compensation for this review, but I did receive complimentary usage of a Blackberry Q10 device with Verizon Wireless service for 2 weeks.

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