BlackBerry Q5 smartphone (preview)
The Q5 is an entry-level BlackBerry smartphone targeted at "emerging markets"
- Likely to be inexpensive
- Physical QWERTY keyboard
- Vibrant design
- Non-removable battery
- No AU release date
The Q5 is a new entry-level BlackBerry smartphone targeted at "emerging markets". In other words it's a cheap BlackBerry with a physical, QWERTY keyboard.
BlackBerry smartphones were long synonymous with physical keyboards and it appears the company isn't about the give up on them just yet. The Q5 is an entry-level BlackBerry smartphone targeted at "emerging markets". In other words it's a cheap BlackBerry with a physical, QWERTY keyboard.
The Q5 is the cheapest phone in BlackBerry's new smartphone line-up, which also includes the flagship Z10 and the Q10. The release of the Q5 has set a precedent for BlackBerry's new range: Z clearly signifies a touchscreen-only handset while Q denotes the use of a physical, QWERTY keyboard.
The BlackBerry Q5 has a similar design layout to the more expensive Q10, with a full QWERTY keyboard sitting below the same sized 3.1in, square display. The Q5's screen has the same 720x720 resolution used on the Q10, but BlackBerry has opted for a regular LCD panel rather than AMOLED. This is surely a move to keep costs down.
The Q5 is otherwise very different to the Q10. It has a flat, square design with rounded corners and is finished in a shiny, glossy plastic. The Q5 is available in white, black, pink and red colour variants, so it's clearly targeted towards the average consumer rather than business or corporate users.
The keyboard on the BlackBerry Q5 is quite different to the Q10. The keys themselves are completely separated, with visible space in between each key. The keyboard also appears to be much flatter than the one on the Q10. BlackBerry users who are familiar with the company's previous low-cost Curve models (such as the Curve 9320) will immediately be familiar with this layout.
The BlackBerry Q5 runs the BlackBerry 10 operating system, is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and has 2GB of RAM. There's only 8GB of internal storage compared to the Q10's 16GB but a microSD card slot enables users to add extra memory. The battery is not removable.
The BlackBerry Q5 has a 5-megapixel camera compared to the Q10's 8-megapixel snapper but it includes the same software features used on other BlackBerry 10 devices. This includes a 'Time Shift' mode and a 'Story Maker' feature that can turn photos, videos and music into a short movie clip.
BlackBerry hasn't confirmed if or when the Q5 will be launched in Australia, only saying "there is nothing confirmed as yet for Australia, but we should know in next few weeks." The Q5 will be available in "selected markets" in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America from July.
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First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
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The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
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