BlackBerry has expanded its portfolio of BlackBerry 10 OS-powered devices with the introduction of the entry-level BlackBerry Q5. This follows the launch of the flagship full-touch BlackBerry Z10 and the touch-QWERTY BlackBerry Q10 devices.
Launched to media and influencers yesterday at Black Box, Publika, the BlackBerry Q5 is the mass market, volume sales device that BlackBerry is targeting to mid-range and value-driven market. The new device will no doubt appeal to loyal BlackBerry fans and price-consious smartphone users who prefer a tactile keyboard. The BlackBerry Q5 is to the BlackBerry Q10 as to the previous generation BlackBerry Curve is to the BlackBerry Bold.
Every bit a BlackBerry
Design-wise, the Q5 is every bit a BlackBerry, and yes, even in striking red! It is less rounded than the Q10 but feels equally great in the hand. Build quality is good, and the device feels well out together. At 120g, it’s pretty light.
The 3.1-inch IPS LCD capacitative touchscreen display is bright, sharp and responsive, pushing a commendable 328PPI. Not quite Super AMOLED territory, but sufficiently crisp and vibrant. The limited screen area won’t be something you’ll be staring at for movies, though.
Powering the new BlackBerry Q5 is a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor running at 1.2Ghz. BlackBerry has generously included 2GB RAM, similar to the Z10 and Q10; with 8GB built-in storage. Storage is expandable to 64GB via microSD.
With the rapid expansion and availability of 4G LTE in Malaysia, users will be happy to know that the BlackBerry Q5 is integrated with a LTE/HSPA+ radio. Quite an unprecedented move for a device in this price bracket.
Connectivity options also include Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi b/g/n, NFC and GPS.
As far as photo-taking capabilities, the Q5 comes with a 5MP main shooter with LED flash. Not the highest of spec, no doubt, but highly usable. The Q5 also includes a 2MP HD front camera.
Touch, type, swipe, however
The hero of the product, of course, is the tactile, physical QWERTY keyboard. One that BlackBerry is renowned for. And it does not disappoint. It is every bit as good as the Q10 and reminiscent of Bold days. BlackBerry fans should love this. I know I do (and yes, time to retire the Bold 9790). The one thing loyalists may be missing is the trackpad.
The gesture-based BlackBerry 10 OS works great even with the small screen. From accessing the BlackBerry Hub by swiping from the left bezel, to going Home by swiping from the bottom bezel, it’s all fluid and intuitive. Yes, there is a learning curve for most part, but the beauty is that it becomes highly natural afterward. Life’s simpler without a physical home button. *Snigger. BlackBerry 10 is fast and responsive.
What I do like is the inclusion of the considerably bigger battery. The 2,180mAh battery offers an impressive 12.5 hours talk time on 3G and up to 14 days of standby time. This I really have to test out.
Pricing and Availabilty
Priced competitively at RM1,299 (SRP), the Q5 does not skimp on features and hardware specifications. In fact, it is surprising how little it defers from the higher end and pricier QWERTY flagship – the BlackBerry Q10. Available in Black, White and Red, the BlackBerry Q5 will in stores and all major telcos from July 15 onwards.
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For more pics, visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/vernieman/sets/72157634487235348/