BlackBerry Q5 Review

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The BlackBerry Q5 is a very important device in the BlackBerry 10 portfolio. Releasing as the third device after the BlackBerry Q10, the Q5 seeks to target the emerging markets.

The Q5 was originally unveiled in May during the BlackBerry Live convention, where it was shown off in four color variations: black, white, red, and pink.

Dubai in the UAE was the first market to receive the Q5 when the new BlackBerry store was launched in the Dubai Mall. Following markets to release the Q5 have been the UK and parts of Asia, with Singapore gearing up to soon release the device.

The emerging markets are an integral part of BlackBerry’s success. As reiterated, 20% of BlackBerry subscribers come from Indonesia alone. The Q5 features slightly lower specs than the Q10, with nearly half the price tag (depending where you purchase).

BlackBerry is looking to bridge the gap between current BlackBerry 7 users to let them easily begin their journey on BlackBerry 10. We’ve already voiced our opinion on the Q5 in our first impressions, but lets take a closer look.

BlackBerry Q5 Unboxing

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As per usual, we give you some unboxing porn. The BlackBerry Q5 features the standard items: USB adapter and cable, manuals, and earbuds.

BlackBerry Q5 Specs

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You can’t exactly compare the BlackBerry Q5 to the Q10. The device is in an entire market of its own. However, if you were to stack the Q5 against the Q10, spec wise the devices aren’t too far different.

The Q5 rocks a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon CPU, 8GB internal storage, and 5MP rear-camera. Both the Q5 and Q10 have a 3.1-inch touchscreen and 2GB RAM.

The Q5 does have a slightly better battery (only 80mAh more), but internally it’s relatively comparable of the Q10′s 2100mAh battery.

BlackBerry Q5 Hardware

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Rightfully so, the BlackBerry Q5 doesn’t have near the aesthetics of the Q10. The target market for the Q5 doesn’t call for the glass weave back plate like the Q10.

Instead, the Q5 features standard plastic around the entire device. The Q5 is essentially continuing the ‘Curve’ lineage into the BlackBerry 10 era.

The keyboard is reminiscent of the Curve-style. The keys are slightly stiffer than the Bold or Q10′s, but still offer a great typing experience.

There isn’t much weight to the Q5, as it weighs in at only 4.23 oz. However, the Q5 still feels sturdy and well-built. Although, my only gripe with the ornamental design of the Q5 is the power/stand-by button is much stiffer to press-in than the Z10 or Q10.

One noticeable difference with the Q5 over the other BlackBerry 10 devices is that it features a MicroSD and SIM card slot on the outer side of the device, which is due to the battery being non-removable. Check out our video walk-through of the hardware below:

BlackBerry Q5 keyboard

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I’ve used many of the past Curve devices: 8300, 8520, 9320, etc, etc. The Curve keyboard is a good typing experience, but it will never compare to the Bold and Q10.

The Q5′s ‘Curve’ style keyboard features keys that are quite stiff and loud when typing. Though, the actual typing experience and accuracy are spot on with the Q5.

The entire keyboard does feel very sturdy. Past devices like the Curve 8520 had a keyboard that would wiggle around. The Q5′s keyboard is certainly stuck in place without any give.

BlackBerry Q5 Cameras

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The BlackBerry Q5 features a 5MP rear camera and a 2MP front-facing camera. The rear camera isn’t all that bad, despite being a few year old, spec wise. Fortunately, the Q5 rear camera does have autofocus, which puts its camera miles above the Bold 9900.

I was genuinely surprised to find the Q5 features a front-facing camera. This allows the entry-level BlackBerry 10 device to allow its users to take advantage of apps such as Skype.

However, if you’re looking for the camera to be a staple point feature of the device, don’t. The cameras in the Q5 aren’t meant to impress, but merely to appease.

BlackBerry Q5 Touchscreen

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A 3.1-inch IPS LCD with 329 PPI and a 720×720 resolution touchscreen is featured on the Q5. Battery wise, an LCD screen consumes more power.

The Q10′s Super AMOLED touchscreen is technically supposed to consume less power than the Q5 or Z10′s touchscreen. The Q5′s touchscreen is certainly vibrant.

You could say the Q5′s LCD screen is more “white-washed” than the Q10′s Super AMOLED. I also found the Q5′s screen to show more of the horizontal tile lines, which are barely noticeable on the Z10.

Though, for an entry-level device, the Q5′s screen is bright and clear. For what it’s worth, the screen is superb for emerging markets.

BlackBerry Q5 Software

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The Q5 features BlackBerry OS 10.1 out-of-the-box. The BlackBerry 10 operating system has seen substantial bug fixes and other tweaks since it’s initial launch on the all-touch Z10.

The actual interaction of BlackBerry 10 on the Q5 is identical to the Q10. If you’ve seen our hands-on of the operating system in our past videos of the Dev Alpha C and Q10 than you’ll already understand this. However, you can check out the video below to get a more complete understanding of the UI and UX of BlackBerry 10:

BlackBerry Q5 Battery & Memory

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I’ll be pretty blunt: I do NOT like non-removable batteries. I consider myself a super, massive, intense, power user. With the Z10 I easily blow through 2 or 3 batteries per day.

The Q5 features a 2180mAh battery, 380mAh more than the Z10. The Q5 does get better battery life than the Z10, given the smaller screen and larger battery. However, when the battery dies you’re done until you charge it again. I don’t have time to wait for the same battery to charge so I can “keep moving”.

Where the Q5 may lack in a removable battery, it fortunately makes up in RAM. The Q5 features the same 2GB RAM as the Q10 and Z10. This allows the BlackBerry 10 operating system to be blazing fast, without lag.

The internal storage falls short of only 8GB, but luckily you can include up to a 32GB expandable memory card. The Q5 isn’t meant to be a media device, which should make a possible 40GB storage more than enough.

Overall Thoughts

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You can’t go wrong with the BlackBerry Q5. It’s a great entry level BlackBerry 10 smartphone that will surely capture the QWERTY lovers heart.

The Q5 is budget friendly compared to the Q10 and Z10, despite featuring close specs and hardware materials. While I won’t be making the Q5 my “daily driver” it may work for you.

The Q5 is comfortable to hold, efficient to type on, has a clear, vibrant touchscreen, and other aspects that make it a sure challenge over its competitors as an entry-level smartphone.

However, if you’re able to muster up just a few more hundred dollars then don’t let the Q5 stand in your way. While it’s a fantastic device, the Q10 won’t give you any regrets. The non-removable battery in the Q5 will most likely be its biggest drawback.