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Blackberry Q5 review

Best affordable Blackberry yet but app selection is a letdown
Wed Jul 03 2013, 16:02

Product Blackberry Q5
Specifications 3.1in 720x720 IPS LCD touchscreen, dual-core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 2GB RAM, 8GB internal storage expandable via microSD card, 5MP rear camera, 2MP front camera, HSDPA and WiFi connectivity, 2,180mAh battery, Blackberry 10.1 mobile operating system, 120x66x10.8mm, 120g
Price Around £350 SIM-free 

CANADIAN PHONE MAKER Blackberry's Q5 is an affordable alternative to the Blackberry Q10 and Z10 smartphones, and perhaps the company's best hope to turn around its dire fortunes.

The firm said that as well as business users, it's aiming the Q5 at a younger audience, yoof who five years ago would have been rocking a Blackberry Curve or Bold smartphone, with Blackberry Messenger (BBM) as their most-used app. However, with BBM soon to appear on iOS and Android, it might have a struggle on its hands.

While the Blackberry Q5 might not have much of a market out there, it could be the device that the firm should have released five years ago.

The Blackberry Q5 differs from the cheap Blackberry Curve and Bold handsets of old.

While understandably the Blackberry Q5 doesn't look and feel as expensive or robust as the Blackberry Q10, we think it's a well-designed phone. Despite being constructed entirely from plastic, the Blackberry Q5 doesn't feel cheap, and its shape and size mean it's comfortable to hold in the hand, despite being slightly chunkier than the Blackberry Q10 at 120x66x10.8mm.

Blackberry Q5 features a plastic casing

One area where the Blackberry Q5 doesn't quite match the Blackberry Q10 is its physical keyboard. Unlike the firm's flagship QWERTY handset, the Blackberry Q5 features individually spaced keys, which although we found them just as easy and comfortable to use, didn't feel as robust as those on the Blackberry Q10.

We got our hands on the black model, but Blackberry has also released the Blackberry Q5 in white, red and pink flavours. While this will help the handset appeal to teens and twenty-somethings still clutching their beloved Blackberrys, it doesn't help the handset's potential business appeal.

The Blackberry Q5 features a 3.1in 720x720 IPS LCD touchscreen with a pixel density of 328 pixels-per-inch (ppi). That's almost identical to the display found on the more expensive Blackberry Q10 smartphone except for the lack of AMOLED technology.

Blackberry Q5 has a 3.1in 720x720 IPS LCD display

However, that AMOLED display technology makes a big difference, as the Blackberry Q5 viewing angles, outdoor visibility and colour vibrancy suffer in comparison to the Blackberry Q10.

That said, the Blackberry Q5 is £200 cheaper than its flagship sibling, so this is to be expected, while those who don't have a Blackberry Q10 to compare it to are unlikely to be displeased by the screen, which otherwise offers decent colours, clear text and reasonable viewing angles.

Much like the Blackberry Q10, the Blackberry Q5's small display means it isn't the best device for browsing the web and watching videos, which can scale awkwardly on the 3.1in screen.

Next: Performance, operating system.


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