When we originally heard of BlackBerry 10, there was the rumor of the “most powerful BlackBerry ever”, which was codenamed the Aristo.

This BlackBerry was supposed to be the device which ends the spec differential between Android and BlackBerry devices.

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The Z30 is unfortunately not that device. The Z30 might not have the quad-core CPU or a full 1080p display, but believe me when I say that it is not a slouch either.

The Z30 has a beautiful 5 inch Super AMOLED display at 720p, a dual-cure Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU clocked at 1.7GHz, 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB on board storage.

If you are worried about performance… don’t be. The truth is this device is extremely impressive, performs fast, and has all the trimmings to get you through a full day of emailing, gaming, music, web browsing and BBM.

Let’s dive into it further…

 

 Unboxing


(Video courtesy of our friends at Lowyat. Our review unit did not come in retail packaging.)

Design

This device just screams class. A beautiful 5 inch display that ends with a silver frame on the bottom accompanied by the same glass weave backing we find on the BlackBerry Q10.

The Z30 feels a lot more comfortable to hold than the Z10, despite it being larger in size. What is interesting to me is the removable battery door for a non-removable battery.

My guess it to allow the use of different cases like the one my display unit came with. The glass weave isn’t just pretty but it is also, according to BlackBerry, able to keep radio interference to a minimum.

The best part of the design is the placement of the incredible clear sounding speakers. The sound is absolutely stunning and in my opinion much better that HTC’s Beast Audio similar offering.

Hardware Specs

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The Z30 won’t compete in the spec war with the Samsung Galaxy S4. But before we discard it as a mid-tier device let me remind you that one of the latest reviewed Android device, the Motorola X, has near identical specs.

Both front-facing and rear cameras are identical to the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10, with a 2MP front-facing camera and an 8MP rear camera.

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One of the biggest changes I have noticed is the performance of the Android player. Apps on the Z30 run a lot smoother than the same app on the z10 with the same 10.2 software.

I could be wrong, but I believe the Quad Core GPU might have something to do with that. Watching Videos on the device is a blast and the “Natural Sound” speakers are incredible.

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The volume is incredibly loud and crystal clear. BBM Voice and Video calls are as clear and HD as they could possibly get. Lucas and I have both been lucky enough to have Z30’s and our daily briefings have been impressive. I have to say BlackBerry really hit it out the park.

Display

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The display on the BlackBerry Z30 is a 5 inch Super AMOLED at 720p, with 295 PPI. The number one question we get asked: how does it compare to the Z10?

The Z10 sports completely different display technology. With a 4.2 inch LCD at 720p and 356 PPI, it even beats the iPhone 5S. The Z10’s screen is certainly the most clearest.

However, the Z30’s screen is still vibrant, and relatively crisp. If you’re overly analytical, you can view the jaggedness of the icons on the Z30 versus the smoothness on the Z10. Although, it’s not very noticeable for most.

Battery Life

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BlackBerry let us know that the Z30’s 2880 mAh battery can get up to 25 hours of battery life. I am an extreme power user and I have to say that their estimates are pretty accurate.

I am able to get a solid 12 to 13 hours out of my Z30 and that is a lot for someone like me. I am constantly on the phone with a daily volume of over 300 emails and have to take advantage of those awesome speakers so iHeartRadio or Ministry of Sound is always on.

BlackBerry also let us know about the be Paratek Antenna technology contributes to its excellent battery life. Basically devices in low cell coverage areas eat a lot of battery trying to lock to a signal. BlackBerry says that the new antenna helps fine tune transmissions to help in that situation

BlackBerry 10.2

The Z30 is shipped with BlackBerry’s latest Software offering. OS 10.2 brings an array of much needed improvements and new features. Most notable is the notification previews 0n the lock screen.

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Nothing better than being able to preview your last 4 emails, texts or BBM messages with out having to unlock the phone.

BlackBerry OS 10.2 also introduces toast notifications with quick reply.

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You can now quickly reply to your texts, BBM’s and WhatsApp messages from anywhere in the phone. Even if you are playing a game or watching a YouTube video, a quick reply is now a piece of cake.

BlackBerry 10.2 additionally enhances the Hub with a priority view.

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Priority Hub aggregates any emails listed with ‘high priority’ from the sender, replies from messages previously replied to, emails from a contact with the same last name, or messages and contacts you select to be included in the Priority Hub.

BlackBerry World

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This is where the Z30 fails to compete with its rivals. The store is still missing the important Netflix, Pandora, Instagram and Viber apps that would attract the common consumer.

I know that BlackBerry is now catering to the Prosumer segment, but this device was meant for an everyday consumer. Not all bad news, as the new Jelly Bean Android runtime brings support for more potential ported apps, which is evident with the introduction of Flipboard.

The BlackBerry storefront offers a lot of decent game titles, productivity and GTD apps, but that’s about it. Applications that can make or break a device are noticeably absent. Can only hope that the company’s new direction doesn’t deter the fight for a larger ecosystem.

Conclusion

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After using the BlackBerry Z30 for about three weeks, I have come to really appreciate the device. From the great performance, to the large 5 inch screen, I believe that BlackBerry may have it’s best BlackBerry 10 device to date.

My biggest fear is that due to the company burning cash and apparently gearing focus on enterprise, that we might not see the proper marketing.

Consumers and business users need to know that with the extremely reliable battery life and the beautiful Natural Sound feature the BlackBerry Z30 has a lot to love.

The latest BlackBerry 10.2 OS offering is very impressive and full of useful and practical features that make everyday use a breeze, regardless if you’re a power user.

If you need a device with a large screen, superb speakers, and a real-time operating system that will never let you down: simply put, buy the BlackBerry Z30.

Can’t make up your mind on which BlackBerry 10 all-touch device is right for you?

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Check out our comparison video of the Z30 to the Z10: