BlackBerry Z30 Review – Must Have For BB Fanatics, Mixed Bag For Others

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BlackBerry is a company in turmoil, the once renowned Canadian is struggling to remain in market. However this hasn’t hindered them from releasing flagship device, good enough to give competition to Samsung dominated handset market. BlackBerry Z30 is a prime example which portrays BlackBerry’s belief in BlackBerry 10 operating system as well in their ability to still cater to needs of business class. Although I have had very little experience using BlackBerry devices, never really understand their complex nature to do even the simplest of things but I was enticed to use BlackBerry Z30, take it for a spin! Read BlackBerry Z30 review to know how well did it do!

Hardware

BlackBerry Z30 measures 72mm x 140.7mm x 9.4mm and weighs 170g. Going by the numbers, Z30 isn’t either slim or light in any sense but being lean isn’t the only thing that matters. The Z30 feels sturdy, well built and gives you a sense of holding a rock solid device in your hand (no pun intended).

BlackBerry Z30 Full

At the front, Z30 sports a 5″ inch 720p HD AMOLED screen measuring  720 x 1,280 (295 ppi pixel density). It isn’t the sharpest or brightest screen especially when compared to Galaxy S5, G2 or Nexus 5 but the display is bright enough to get going. You won’t feel the difference unless you are zooming into pictures or watching high definition videos. Moving on the back side, the Z30 has a carbon fibre back plate with checked design which feels very comfortable to hold and at the same time deliver a premium look.

BlackBerry Z30 Rear

Talking about the internal prowess, BlackBerry Z30 is powered by a dual-core Qualcomm MSM8960T Pro Snapdragon processor clocked at 1.7 GHz coupled with 2 GB RAM. Again, in era of quad core devices, Z30’s dual core processor does raise a few eyebrows but considering the fact that BlackBerry 10 OS is optimized for a dual core processor, the phone functions smoothly barring a few random freezes.

Then there is ample of inbuilt storage i.e 16 GB with an option to further expand it by connecting the device with cloud storage (native support for dropbox) as well as using an external memory card via a MicroSD card slot located under the back cover.

Software

This is really the toughest part of this review. There are two sides to this, the BlackBerry 10.2 OS experience and BlackBerry OS vs Android argument. Starting with BlackBerry 10 OS usage, for a moment I am turning off the app ideology of a blogger and switching to being a web consultant, a business power user. Judging from this position I’d have to say that BlackBerry Z30 does offer the required productivity applications and feels as though it’s been built with busy executives in mind.

There’s this BlackBerry Priority Hub, which collects the most important messages across email, social networking and other connected accounts and intelligently sorts the conversations to give users quicker access to high priority conversations albeit the fact that you do have to initially invest some time into tutoring it for doing the same. It took me a while to get my way around but I did begin to see more important messages popping up at the front, for a previous BlackBerry user it shouldn’t be a problem.

Moving on, the next on line is the lockscreen updates which display a summary of emails, BBM messages, etc more like Moto X Active Display. Another one is BlackBerry 10 ‘peek’, which comfortably allows the user to check the received messages without closing an application. Again it took me a good deal of time to get used to the up and across swipe gesture in order to get going but once I was aboard, things became easier! On a micro level, there are things and applications like Docs to Go which make the life of a business oriented user much easier.

Shifting to Android wagon, there’s just one issue. It’s not Android. Period. Yes BlackBerry 30 does have this nifty feature of side loading android applications but the experience isn’t the same. Unlike Google Play Store, BlackBerry Store doesn’t have plethora of apps to offer. The “need-what-you-want” hunger for applications will largely remain unsatisfied and that’s what irked me the most.

Camera

To be very honest, I don’t bother about camera power in a smartphone as long as they have solid specs and BlackBerry being a business phone, commenting on Camera really doesn’t make sense. Saying this, BlackBerry in an effort to attract larger audience have thought upon this and included a 8 MP rear camera which is good enough to take picture for casual sharing and shooting full HD (1080p) vidoes.

BlackBerry Z30 Rear Camera

Features like TimeShift (ability to remove unwanted elements from a picture) and the image editing software further enhance the camera experience of the device. The Z30 also sports a 2 MP front camera capable of shooting selfies (yeah, the lingo :p) as well as HD (720p) videos.

All in all the camera does a reasonably good job, more than what I was expected out of a BlackBerry device.

Battery

Big power houses with miniature batteries, I couldn’t understand this logic for many flagship device, Nexus 5 being the most recent one. Fortunately BlackBerry Z30 caters well to battery need of smartphone user. It comes with a 2,880 mAh non-removable battery. BlackBerry in its official release claims that this battery will last for 25 hours on 2G network (or 18 hours of 3G usage) but I firmly believe the usage will vary depending on your usage. For me, it lasted for approximately 18 hours wherein I switched variably between 2G and 3G network, used the supported BlackBerry services, 20-30 minutes of music playback and couple of minutes of HD video streaming via Youtube.

When one hand the battery usage did return impressive statistics, on the other seeing the speed at which the battery charges was a little tiring. Though you can easily connect it with charger at night and see it fully charged in morning but it’d have been certainly better for BlackBerry to include fast charge port in order to reduce the charge time. I won’t class this a deal breaker but an area for improvement.

Summarizing

BlackBerry Z30 offers a great build quality, lasting battery life, reasonably good camera experience. Despite all the good stuff, BlackBerry has been a bit late to introduce this device. For a previous owner of BlackBerry or a BB fan, Z30 is ‘the’ device own. It has all the features to be called a flagship phone and won’t let you down. For others, its a mixed bag, the lack of well established app ecosystem is a major drawback, side loading android apps does help but the experience is rather limited.

BlackBerry Z30 In Pictures

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