There’s no denying that both BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 are formidable devices. BlackBerry 10 OS that powers both the smartphones is a good step forward. But the biggest issue we felt with these devices was the asking price, which was more than Rs. 40,000. BlackBerry obviously, aware of the fact, introduced the Q5 that brings the same OS experience at a price of around Rs. 25,000. But is the new device worth it? We take a look.
BlackBerry Q5 does not possess the finesse or the premium-ness of the Q10 but it looks decent for a mid-range phone. The front sports a 3.1-inch touchscreen display along with a four-row QWERTY keyboard. The unique texture found on the back of the Q10 has been swapped with a normal plastic and does not have a removable back, which means the SIM card and the microSD card slot are placed at the side. There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack and power button on the top, microUSB port and volume buttons at the side and 5MP camera with LED flash at the back.
Overall, we were not wowed by the Q5’s build quality but does feel balanced for the asking price.
BlackBerry Q5 features a four-row physical QWERTY keyboard and are neatly spaced out. BlackBerry has evidently tried to distinguish the keyboard from the Q10 by making keys slightly flatter than on the premium variant. The keyboard typing experience is good and similar to what you expect from BlackBerry devices.
The BlackBerry Q5 features Qualcomm’s dual-core 1.2GHz processor and 2GB RAM. Good thing about this is that BlackBerry hasn’t tried to drastically downgrade the specs due to the price. Sure, the processor clock speed was decreased by few hundred MHz but keeping the same amount of RAM ensures smooth functioning of the device. The IPS LCD display measures 3.1-inches and has a resolution of 720×720 pixels that achieves a pixel density of ~330ppi. This results in sharp text and images.
Software of the BlackBerry Q5 remains unchanged that gives a full BlackBerry 10 OS experience. One thing we like about the new OS is the use of gestures. BlackBerry does not integrate a physical home button so to unlock, a user has to click on the Power/lock button on the top or simply swipe from the bottom edge of the screen to unlock. There are many gestures users can take advantage of.
There’s BlackBerry Hub, which is a central location for all the incoming and outgoing activities a user does on the device. It integrates all the email accounts, social media as well as messages.
Furthermore, the Q5 supports BlackBerry Balance that enables users to keep his personal files and work files separate, BlackBerry World and Instant Actions that can be used in conjunction with the physical keyboard.
BlackBerry Q5 sports a 5MP camera with LED flash that supports 1080p video recording while the front-facing 2MP camera supports up to 720p. The camera interface is fast and allows users to shoot images in variety of shooting modes and even select scenes of their choice. The camera also features Time Shift, which works really well.
The overall camera quality is satisfactory with some glimpse of noise in some images.
BlackBerry Q5 features a 2180mAh battery and in our tests, the smartphone lasted a day before needing it to charge again.
As a device, Q5 has the same things to offer that you’d find in a premium model like the Z10 or the Q10 but the biggest draw of this device is the price. Price was one of the major deterrent for consumers to try out the high-end BB 10 devices but with Q5, there’s a chance he’ll at least give some consideration when they are shopping for their new smartphone. However, there’s also a fact that cannot be unseen at the moment. BlackBerry is in the midst of a crisis and with the future looking uncertain, there’s no guarantee of a sound future for the platform as well as devices powered by the new platform.
Pros: Keyboard, Design
Cons: Build Quality