While we expected the Canadian mobile maker to unveil BBM for iOS and Android, BlackBerry had bigger ideas, it revealed the BlackBerry Z30 smartphone in Malaysia today instead – its biggest, fastest device in its portfolio and featuring the latest BlackBerry 10 OS version 10.2 update. Malaysia is one of the few countries in the world to receive the Z30, joining the likes of Hong Kong. The all-touch BlackBerry Z30 comes with a 5-inch Super AMOLED display and the biggest battery ever featured on a BlackBerry smartphone.
With the Z30, BlackBerry jumps on the bandwagon of bigger smartphone devices and while it isn’t a ‘phablet’ per se, it does offer much more screen real estate, compared to the 4.3-inch BlackBerry Z10. The 5-inch display is a Super AMOLED (1280 x 720 @ 295PPI) protected by Gorilla Glass 2, offering crisp and bright images and text.
The sexy-looking device breathes unmistakably BlackBerry with its carbon fibre textured back panel and sleek styling. At a glance, the Z30 is reminiscent of the HTC Butterfly S or HTC One, which isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s extremely well-built, the same type of build quality seen on the Q10 and Z10. The device feels great in the hands. The Z30 measures 140.7mm x 72mm x 9.4mm, so considerably slim and at 170g it comes off as pretty lightweight too.
Powering the Z30 is a dual-core 1.7Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro chip with a quad-core Adreno 320 GPU, the quickest processor yet on a BlackBerry device. The new smartphone comes packed with 2GB RAM, 16GB flash storage and a microSD slot for expansion.
The optics are similar to the ones found in the Q10 and Z10 – 8MP rear facing camera with auto focus and LED flash; and 5 element f/2.2 lens, 5x digital zoom capable of 1080p HD recording. The front is a 2MP shooter with 3x digital zoom and capable of 720p HD video recording.
The Z30 is also expectedly packed with the usual bells and whistles – Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS, NFC, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n and 4G LTE.
The device also features BlackBerry’s new generation antenna technology – BlackBerry Paratek Antenna – that dynamically tunes reception to give you better reception in low signal areas.
BlackBerry has integrated a non-removable massive 2880mAh battery, the biggest battery yet on a BlackBerry smartphone which delivers up to 25 hours of mixed use. Talktime is rated up to 18 hours with a standby time of 16 days.
The Z30 features stereo speakers with BlackBerry Natural Sound technology, exclusive to BlackBerry and built-in to BB10 OS 10.2.
The biggest highlight for the Z30 is the fact that it runs the latest BlackBerry 10 OS version 10.2, the first official BlackBerry device to do so. 10.2 features hundreds of refinements and new features. We’ve been running an unofficial 10.2 version on the Q10 and it’s been overall very positive.
10.2 features the new BlackBerry Priority Hub to manage all conversations, social feeds and notifications. BBM is now available in any app with message previews everywhere. When the phone is locked, you can tap on various icons on the Lock Screen to see instant previews of the most recent messages and notifications.
The BlackBerry Z30 will be available in black and white, on October 5 via local telco Celcom exclusively for 14-days, followed by other major telcos. Retail price of the new BlackBerry is RM1,998. The device will be rolling out from selected carriers and retailers around the world beginning next week in the UK and the MIddle East and all other regions approaching the holiday season.
Following the competitive and comparatively lower price point of the Z30, BlackBerry is expected to revise the pricing of the Z10, Q10 and Q5 in its retail channels.
BlackBerry 10 OS version 10.2 is expected to be available for all BlackBerry Z10, Q10 and Q5 devices beginning mid-October.
For more photos of the Z30 launch, visit Flickr.