BlackBerry Q5 – Review

Categorized Reviews

Till now BlackBerry has focused more on business smartphones, but this new series that features the new BlackBerry OS 10 has completely changed the way people used to look at BlackBerry’s smartphones. The new smartphones are smart, sporty and made for the youth. BlackBerry was known as the king of keyboards, and yes, BlackBerry has kept the name by giving its users a perfect keyboard, that is perfect in every sense.

We noticed that BlackBerry had used some premiun materials for the previous BlackBerry 10 phones, but this one is made up of cheap materials in order to cut down on the manufacturing price and to make it an economy phone.

And the technical side, this smartphone doesn’t sport high-class specifications, hardware configuration and storage capacity as it was done by its predecessors. But, it runs the same operating system with almost same applications.

After the first impressions, here we have the review of BlackBerry Q5 –

Display

Unlike the BlackBerry Q10, which had a Super AMOLED display, BlackBerry Q5 offers a 3.1 inch screen, with a resolution of 720×720 pixels and a pixel density of 329 ppi. I’m pretty impressed with the sharpness of the display we get to see on this device. You don’t only get the sharp view while viewing it screen perpendicularly, but at different angles too. Besides this, BlackBerry Q5 also provides a good visibility outdoors, in sunlight.

BlackBerry Q5′s overall look

BlackBerry Q5′s overall look

The only thing that you must consider twice before buying this device is that is has a square display, which means an aspect ratio of 1:1, since most of the High Definition videos have a ratio of 16:9 you might not feel very comfortable watching them. But if you’re not a video freak and don’t love watching multimedia content on your phone, you should go for this smartphone.

Design

Well, while considering phone’s overall look – it doesn’t resemble the old BlackBerry Curve or Bold series, but has a look of its own. It is much slimmer and less curved as compared to Curve and Bold series smartphones. The new BlackBerry Q5 looks good in hands and looks smart, though professional – that’s what attracts me the most. The only thing that bites me is the plasticky look the phone has, but we have to go with it as BlackBerry’s aim behind this model was to provide an economy BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

Backside of the BlackBerry Q5

Backside of the BlackBerry Q5

Screen and the Keys

Screen and the Keys

BlackBerry has cut down the area which was meant for navigation scroll and buttons such as for accepting & rejecting calls, options and for going a step back hence giving more area for the screen size. Above the screen sits the 2 MegaPixels camera along with the LED and the sensors. Moving down the screen, we find the keyboard with a fresh look. The BlackBerry Q5 sports a good quality 35 keys keyboard, on which keys are arranged in a linear fashion, unlike the one in the Curve and Bold series. Another thing that attracts me.

Talking about the body, though it comes with a non-removable back cover, but is not continuous. On the right side, we find the volume rocker keys and in between them is the mute key. Again, the manufacturing of the keys on the sides could’ve been better, though they don’t seem to give any problem. On the right side, we find a flap within which there are the SIM Card and MicroSD slot & the USB port, for tethering and charging the smartphone. The power button, 3.5 mm headset jack lie on the upper side of the smartphone.

The side – Sim Card and Memory Card slot

The side – Sim Card and Memory Card slot

Moving towards to back of the smartphone, we find that BlackBerry’s oversized logo sits right in the middle of the plastic back, but matte finished. The 5 MegaPixels camera and the LED lies on the upper left corner.

Camera

The new BlackBerry Q5 sports a 5 MegaPixels camera with a LED light on the read side and a 2 MegaPixels front facing camera. If you open us the default camera application, you’ll learn that the phone comes with a limited amount of settings and offers three shooting modes – Still, Video and Timeshift. You can even select the aspect ratio, i.e., width:height ratio from the provided options – 1:1 or 4:3 or 16:9. You can also choose default storage and toggle geo-tagging.

In the Still mode the phone offers options to shoot in Normal, Stabilisation, Burst and HDR modes and yeah, there’s no Panorama mode.

The video option offers Normal and Stabilisation shooting modes, Auto, Night, Beach or Snow and also provides a choice between 1080p and 720p resolution.

For the timeshift, the phone allows the user to take at max of 11 shots in quick succession and choose the best among them – depending upon the facial expressions of the object in focus.

Indoor Photograph (Original – http://bit.ly/130wOv2)

Indoor Photograph (Original – http://bit.ly/130wOv2)

Outdoor Photograph (Original – http://bit.ly/1e3CYzf)

Outdoor Photograph (Original – http://bit.ly/1e3CYzf)

Hardware

The BlackBerry Q5 features a 1.2GHz dual-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, 2GB RAM, and 8GB of internal storage expandable up to 32GB via microSD card. The BlackBerry Q5 comes with BlackBerry 10.1, which is a smart operating system, both functionality-wise and design-wise. The phone is extremely responsive and I personally did not experience any lags in a month of usage, even while multi-tasking. The good news is that the Q5 will get the 10.2 update too!

About the device

About the device

BlackBerryQ5-BBHardware

Keyboard

Wow! A complete transformation, yet again. A completely silent keyboard, similar to the BlackBerry Q10. But, the keys are separated apart from each other, which was not seen in BlackBerry Q10. The devices’ keys come with a glossy finish, which adds up to the “toy-ish look”.

The BlackBerry Q5′s Keyboard

The BlackBerry Q5′s Keyboard

Operating System – BlackBerry 10.1

The BlackBerry Q5 comes with BlackBerry OS 10.1, which is now upgradable to 10.2 too. In terms of the look and feel, the updated OS looks pretty cool. Unlocking the screen takes you to a list of app icons, arranged in a 4×3 grid. You can swipe to the right to continue exploring them or to the left to go to the BlackBerry Hub, where you get the have a sneek peak of updates to all your social networking profiles and emails.

Sliding to the left, takes us to the BlackBerry Hub

Sliding to the left, takes us to the BlackBerry Hub

Sliding upwards on the homescreen, gives you a glimpse of the BlackBerry Hub

Sliding upwards on the homescreen, gives you a glimpse of the BlackBerry Hub

After opening an app, the only way to close it is to swipe from the bottom of the screen and you’ll see that the app gets minimized to a pane that offers a preview of the minimized app’s screen or even acts like a widget offering key information from the minimized app. All these active panes or frames are displayed in a screen panel between the Hub and the app icon lists. This panel can have a maximum of 8 active frames and on Q5’s display you’ll need to swipe down to see all of them.

BlackBerry OS 10.1 offers some additional functions on the BlackBerry Q5 and Q10. The phone offers Instant Action, which is a sort of advanced universal search (Just like Spotlight for iOS and Macintosh) combined with actionable commands, making full use of the phone’s keyboard. All ypu need to do is start typing what you want to do on the home screen and the phone gives you options to complete the task in addition to a list of search results that feature the keyword.

Search anything from anywhere and it gives you what you asked for

Search anything from anywhere and it gives you what you asked for

For example, if you type “tweet” followed by what you want to add as a tweet on Twitter, the phone will give you a compose window within the search for posting the same without going to the Twitter app. Not only this, the search will intelligently filter out results that contain all emails, updates and other content that contains the word ‘tweet’.

This can actually save time and it is a very convinient way of asking the phone to do what we desire.

While the BlackBerry Z10 keyboard offered a unique way to input text through a touchscreen, the Q5, just like the its predecessor – Q10, offers a more conventional mode of typing. You can configure the phone to show three word predictions while entering text, although the option is not turned on by default. It also learns new words and offers them as suggestions when you type. It was really surprising when I was typing “Where are you?” and all the words were suggested one after the other by the Q5. The reason for this was my excessive usage of this phrase. The Q5 is also clever enogh to to catch Hindi words typed in English (‘Hinglish’ if you will) over the course of using the phone.

Karan Uppal

Karan Uppal is the Editor-in-Chief for Virtuaniz. He is currently a bachelor student of Computer Science at Bangalore and is working with a few start-ups. Karan is a keen learner and loves to travel. He loves reviewing gadgets and claims them to hold an important part in his life. Follow him at @freezethinker to get his updates.

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