BlackBerry Z30 review
BlackBerry is on the verge of launching the Z30 smartphone here in the UK, and we've got our hands on one ahead of release to bring you our first impressions. Whether agreeing to sell the company will mean more BlackBerry handsets in the future remains to be seen, but based on our early impressions the Z30 might be the best BlackBerry yet.
With a 5in AMOLED touchscreen, the Z30 is definitely the biggest BlackBerry to date, even if its 1,280x720 resolution isn't exactly cutting edge. Its 295ppi pixel density is actually lower than its predecessor the Z10, which had 356ppi, but the switch to an OLED panel means viewing angles are excellent and hopefully power consumption should be reduced.
The handset itself feels very robust, eschewing the plastic feel of the Z10 for aluminium and carbom fibre. It's more than a little reminiscent of the Q10, albeit without a physical QWERTY keyboard. The power button is on the top next to the 3.5mm audio jack, with the Micro USB and Micro HDMI ports on the left and volume keys on the right. There's also a dedicated voice button between the volume keys, which activates voice control. It's not quite on par with either Apple's Siri or Google Voice, but some may find it useful.
The 8-megapixel rear camera doesn't seem to have changed significantly from the Z10, with an f/2.2 lens, 1080p video recording support and BlackBerry's time shift camera pre-set to let you get the perfect shot first time. We've added our first few test shots below, but will be going into more detail for the full review.
Inside, the dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU runs at 1.7GHz and is paired with 2GB if RAM. It certainly makes BBOS 10.2 feel snappy and responsive, and should match Google's Nexus 4 in terms of performance. 16GB of storage should be fine for most, but there's also a microSD card slot inside too.
BlackBerry OS 10.2 makes several welcome improvements over 10.1, adding a priority hub for your emails, texts and BBM messages, a dedicated attachments tab for keeping track of important emails, the ability to preview messages anywhere through toast notifications and a more intuitive lock screen. We'll be going into more depth in our full review.
BlackBerry smartphones certainly aren't for everyone, but often business professionals aren't given a choice in the matter when assigned a handset by their IT department. We certainly wouldn't be ashamed to get the Z30 out in public based on our first few hours with it, but you'll have to hold on for a final verdict and score.
You can pick up a BlackBerry Z30 this weekend, exclusively from the Carphone Warehouse, or wait until next week when it goes on general sale. Expect to pay £530 for a SIM-free handset, or pick one up free on a £32 monthly contract. We'll be bringing you a full review soon.