Blackberry Q5 Review
Positive:Best for emails and typing long messages.
Negative:Lack of essential apps and feels cheap.
The Blackberry Q5 is the budget smartphone from Blackberry for those who can’t afford the higher end Q10 or Z10 but still wants the Blackberry OS 10 experience. We take it for a test drive in this review.
One of the main reasons Blackberry did well from the start was that they mastered the QWERTY keyboard market and held it with both hands and came up with smart phones that were well suited for those in that category. Â Touch screen devices are on the rise which makes it slightly more difficult than ever for any company to still rely on just physical keyboard as their unique selling point. Â Blackberry has managed to combine the best of both world, namely the physical keyboard and touch screen feature to their Blackberry 10 range except the Blackberry Z10.
The Blackberry Q5 is the cheaper counterpart to the Blackberry Q10, but the cheap side of it seems to just be the build quality and few of the features, most of the way in which it functions still flows that it is difficult to realise that you are in fact holding the cheaper option to the Q10 or the Z10.
BlackBerry Q5 specifications
- Size: 120mm x Â 66mm x 10.8mm (H x WxD)
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor with 1.2GHz dual-core CPUs
- Camera: 5-megapixel rear camera, 2-megapixel front camera
- Memory: 2GB RAM, 8GB Flash (Removable microSD memory card up to 32GB)
- USB 2.0 high speed port, NFC
- Network bands: Quad band LTE (100/50Mbps) 3, 7, 8, 20 (800/900/1800/2600 MHz), Quad-band HSPA/UMTS (DC 42Mbps) -1, 2, 5/6, 8 (850/900/1900/2100 MHz), Quad band GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
- Screen: 720 x 720 resolution, at 329 PPI, 3.1-inch diagonal
- Battery: 2180mAH non-removable battery, up to 12.5 hours talk time or 14 days standby time (3G)
- Â wi-fi: 802.11 b/g/n
Unboxing and First Look video of the Blackberry Q5
Compared to the Blackberry Q10, you can’t help but notice the difference in build quality; the plastic all around the device feels cheap and bland, in fact there is nothing on the design that makes it feel like the Q10 did or even the old Bold 9900. Â The device is wide and that is because the keyboard is slightly separated and it also houses the touchscreen since most of the way in which you operate the Q5 is gesture orientated.
The Blackberry Q5 is actually light, weighing just 120g and since I was used to been able to remove the battery on Blackberry devices so that I can carry a backup battery, it was disappointing to see that Blackberry have gone with the uni-body design which made no sense since the more expensive versions have that option available to the power users who would perhaps use the device as their main communication device whilst away for a business trip for example.
The QWERT keyboard is not as raised as I would have liked it to be as it sometimes mean typing is not as fast as I could on the Q10; the keyboard sits a Â little too flush with the body and I find myself hitting the keyboard harder than I would like to and making more mistakes typing. Elsewhere there is aÂ the power button at the top with a silver button, next to the power button is the 3.5mm headphone jack with the microphone in between them, volume rocker and mute ti the right of the Q5, the charging port is to the top left of the device. Â The sim card and microSD card slot is covered up using a plastic flap that proved uneasy to open.
The Q5 comes with a 5 megapixel primary camera on the back with a single LED flash and Â a 2 megapixel fixed-focus secondary Â camera at the front. Â The cameras included are adequate for taking the odd pictures, video calls or recording a video. Â Since some apps like Instagram is not present, it might not be as useful as it could be for the Social Media users. Â Looking at the design, the Q5 has a raw design, giving it a sense of seriousness and a phone just focused at people who wants to get some work done on the move.
The screen size and quality is adequate, it has a 3.1-inch display 720p display with 329 ppi making texts easy to read, videos a pleasure to watch and one thing I found useful was how well it performed under direct sunlight which most smartphones today can’t handle well. Â It is both touch screen and keyboard orientated but majority of the device control is via the touch panel which is better than previous trackpad system used.
Blackberry 10 has been the biggest change that’s happened to Blackberry in a while, they have refined the OS so that it allows users to perform tasks as quickly as possible allowing for multitasking; the gesture based operation becomes second nature once you figured out which gesture performs what particular tasks like swiping down for setting, swiping up takes you back home and swiping left Â brings up your most used apps.
Blackberry Hub for me is a good feature, it allows users to view all forms of communication in one place; it can be isolated to one communication source e.g. if yo have a bout 10 email accounts connected and you just want to view one of the account, you can do so. Â Peaking feature also lets you quickly view notification on top of the app you are currently in to then decide whether it is important or not.
The only problem with Blackberry Hub is how some apps does not fully integrate with how it works logically; if you read a message on Twitter, Twitter app still tells you about unread messages when you go the app itself, maybe Blackberry and Twitter will have a fix soon however some other apps works that way too and can be frustrating at times. Despite any flaws in the flow of operation, you still can not take away how smooth the OS is, no lags and no random reboots as experienced when I reviewed the Blackberry Z10.
Blackberry 10 supports some important business apps such as Docs to Go, which allows you to edit Word, Excel or Powerpoint documents on the move; you also have integration of Evernote so you can easily collaborate or simply take notes on the move to be synced to the Evernote cloud storage for viewing later on a bigger display, perhaps as soon as you get to the office you can continue to edit your notes.
If you have a business that supports BYOD, your staff can use Blackberry Balance which means your IT depart can lock down parts of the device and also allows the staff to separate work from Â personal life outside of work. Â Everything on the work area like emails, apps etc can be controlled by your IT department.
Blackberry 10 is still lacking in the apps department; Blackberry World still lacks some of the popular apps on the market today such as Instagram or Spotify and future support for those apps is currently unknown; there are work arounds to installing Instagram app but not many users will have the patience or time to do so; not having those apps by default could be a deal breaker for potential buyers.
The Q5 primary camera is at Â 5 megapixels with an LED flash for low light situations, the Q5 also have a secondary camera at 2 megapixels fixed focus which would be useful for video calls or taking the odd selfies .
The camera software is pretty straight forward with no unnecessary settings to change to get going out of the box, pictures can be taken at 1:1 , 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios. Â For video recording, you can record at 1080p and 720p resolutions; you can also play them back on a bigger screen using the micro HDMI connectivity. Other settings includes timeshift which allows you to pick the best face should in case your subject blinks for example.
The camera quality are somewhat lacking especially when it comes to low light, I found the pictures were very noisy and even in standard lighting situations, images aren’t as sharp as some of the budget Android devices on the market today. Perhaps the Q5 is mainly focus at the users who just needs to take pictures and share with other mobiles.
The Q5 is best focused at anyone who really wants a physical Â QWERTY keyboard, it is lacking in the apps and photography area but you are not to expect more from the budget device form Blackberry. Â Having mentioned some negatives above the Q5 is smooth, great for typing long emails, security is top priority and push emails and notifications are very reliable.