ORLANDO: CANADIAN PHONE MAKER Blackberry's Q5 handset brings the Blackberry 10 mobile operating system to the mid-range smartphone market. The firm said that this will enable it to better target emerging markets such as Southeast Asia and Latin America, where BBM is already popular.
However, given widespread criticism of the high SIM-free prices of the existing Blackberry Z10 and Q10 models, the Blackberry Q5 could also help Blackberry boost sales in territories such as the UK, with Phones 4U being quick to announce that it will offer the cut-price smartphone.
The Blackberry Q5 has specifications that are not that dissimilar to those of the Blackberry Q10, but Blackberry has obviously had to make some trade-offs to deliver a lower cost device.
It has the same dual-core processor for example, but it is clocked at a lower speed of 1.2GHz rather than 1.5Ghz on the Blackberry Q10. It has the same 2GB of memory, but its internal storage has been reduced from 16GB to 8GB, and it carries a 5MP rear-facing camera rather than an 8MP camera.
The Blackberry Q5 also has a standard LCD display instead of the AMOLED screen found on the Blackberry Q10, but it is the same 3.1in size and features the same 720x720 resolution. It doesn't have quite the same brilliance as the screen on the premium models, but it is also difficult to find fault with it.
At 120g, the Blackberry Q5 is lighter than its higher-end siblings, possibly because of the greater use of plastic in its construction, which is another cost-saving measure. It also seems chunkier, but this is deceptive as the actual dimensions of 120x66x10.8mm are almost identical to those of the Blackberry Q10.
However, this doesn't mean that the Blackberry Q5 looks and feels cheap or fragile, rather it's merely not as polished as the Blackberry Q10 and Z10. The finish is more matte rather than the glossy black of the high-end models, for example.
The QWERTY keyboard of the Blackberry Q5 is different from that of the Blackberry Q10, still with sculpted keys for easy typing, but flatter and with more rounded corners.
One major difference is that the Blackberry Q5 has a built-in 2,180mAh battery, making it the first Blackberry smartphone to have one that size, according to the firm. This has maintenance and serviceability implications for enterprise buyers, but this type of customer is more likely to opt for the Blackberry Z10 or Q10 in any case.
On the software side, the Blackberry Q5 runs the BlackBerry 10.1 mobile operating system, the same software as the Blackberry Q10, so there is nothing preventing it from being used in an enterprise setting alongside the other Blackberry devices.
Blackberry hasn't crippled the device in terms of connectivity, with the Blackberry Q5 in fact supporting LTE or HSPA+ networks, plus 802.11 b/g/n WiFi. However, there is no HDMI display output, as with Blackberry's other Blackberry 10 models.
A flap on the side of the case covers the SIM card slot and a microSD card slot for expanding on the internal storage. Another novelty is that the device is available in a choice of four colours - black, red, the ever-popular white and pink.
On first impressions, the Blackberry Q5 seems pretty good for a device that has been built to keep costs down. While it might not sway those hankering after a Samsung Galaxy S4, for those who were interested in a BlackBerry 10 device but put off by the premium price of the Blackberry Q10 and Z10, it is definitely worth taking a look at. µ