Need to know

  • BlackBerry 10.1 OS
  • 3.1-inch IPS display
  • Physical QWERTY

Price: R4 999

The BlackBerry Q5 is the third device bearing the new BlackBerry 10 operating system that the Canadian firm has pegged its hopes on for survival. BlackBerry billed the Q5 as the device that was going to open BlackBerry 10 up to the broader market by making it available at a lower price range but the Q5 faces a tough test in the market which is populated by some very good Android devices.

Build

Q5 Vs Q10The BlackBerry Q5 definitely suffers from its more budget pricing when in comparison to its more premium contemporary the BlackBerry Q10. It steps down from the AMOLED display of the Q10 to an IPS LCD display and has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor versus the 1.5 GHz dual-core. But the biggest sacrifice the Q5 makes is to the materials used in its construction, it uses plastic liberally and feels hollow and fragile on the back cover specifically.

The keyboard

The QWERTY keyboard is one of the traditional strongholds of BlackBerry devices. The keyboard of the Q5 is in the mould of the Curve line of devices of BlackBerrys past which is to say that it has a chiclet keyboard with small spaced out keys. It takes time to get used to the keyboard but once you do you typing is more efficient than on a touchscreen. While the physical keyboard is good, the layout means that one handed typing is difficult and the standard BlackBerry prayer pose (where a BlackBerry user stands with their device clasped between 2 hands while typing) will be common for Q5 owners.

Display

As mentioned before the Q5 has an IPS LCD display, this gives it great viewing angles strangely enough even in direct sunlight. The screen is snappy and responsive and gets colour reproduction down better than its AMOLED cousin in the Q10. Without an ambient light sensor though the display brightness will need to be set higher than necessary in the event that you may need to go outside.

Performance

BlackBerry Q5 Screenshot

While the processor is underpowered in comparison to the Q10 the Q5 goes about its business very well mostly because of the 2GB of RAM that the Q5 has on board. BlackBerry 10 is an operating system that focuses very heavily on multitasking and the Q5 is adept at keeping up with multiple applications although gaming does suffer with the lacklustre processor. The slower clocked processor combined with a slightly larger battery than the Q10 gives the Q5 the ability to last for an entire day of reasonable use which is a rarity for smartphones.

OS

BlackBerry 10 is inherently disadvantaged in terms of the number of applications available to users in the BlackBerry World store; its meagre offering of just 120 000 apps for BlackBerry 10 phones is dwarfed by the 800 000+ offered by both iOS and Android. The Hub that collects all of your communication into a unified timeline is a boon for those who like quick access to every communication they receive, but it takes a while to grow accustomed to the sheer amount of information it makes available.

Summary

While the Q5 definitely has merits that would lead me to considering it, I probably wouldn’t do it simply from the price perspective. While it may be a better budget option to enter the BlackBerry 10 ecosystem, for a similar amount of money you could land up with a device like the exceptional Google Nexus 4.

Pros:

  • Physical keyboard
  • LTE
  • Price

Cons:

  • Build quality
  • Lack of apps
  • Price

Specifications:

  • Operating System: BlackBerry OS 10.1
  • Processor: Dual-core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon
  • Display: 3.1-inch IPS LCD 720 x 720 pixels (328 ppi pixel density)
  • Storage:  8GB internal, microSD slot up to 32GB
  • Connectivity: 3G, LTE, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Cameras: 5MP rear,2MP  front-facing with 1080p video recording,
  • Battery: 2 180mAh
  • SIM Type: Micro SIM
  • GPS: Yes
David is a technology enthusiast with an insatiable thirst for information. He tends to get excited over new hardware and will often be the one in the room going "Its got 17 cores, 64GB of RAM and a 5" 4K flexible OLED display, oh it makes phone calls too?" Currently uses: Too many phones. Wants: World peace... and more phones.