Will BlackBerry Q5 be able to woo mid-segment Android fans?

 Nidhi Singal        Last Updated: July 16, 2013  | 19:31 IST

Price: Rs 24,990
Rating: 3.5/5
3.1 inch display; 5 MP camera; 1.2GHz dual core processor; 2GB RAM; 8GB internal storage, 32 GB expandable; BlackBerry OS 10; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, 3G; 120 grams; 2180 mAh battery

After its two big ticket launches on the new BB 10, BlackBerry has finally launched the Q5, an affordable phone using the new operating system. But does the Q5 packs enough power to woo the mid-segment Android fans?

Hardware: I wasn't really impressed with the design of the BlackBerry Z10 or the Q10. Both seemed very ordinary designs similar to other smartphones. The Q5 is not different and looks a lot like the Q10 with a 3.1-inch touch display and QWERTY keyboard minus navigation and call buttons. The rear is made of smooth plastic that gives it a good grip as long as you don't have sweaty or wet hands. As you can't open the rear of this phone, the micro SIM and memory card slots have been moved to the side under a flimsy flap. If only BlackBerry had picked up cues from its own Bold 9900, which in my opinion is the BlackBerry masterpiece.

Software: Like most Android smartphones, the BlackBerry Q5 too does not have anything special offer in the OS. Thought it is a downscaled version of the Z10 and Q10, it runs the same BB10 OS with its superb 'peek' and 'flow' interface. I am a huge fan of these features as they make accessing all notifications in the Hub (calls, messages, emails, BBM, etc) super easy. In fact, it is so addictive that I often end up using the features on my other phones too.

BlackBerry Q5's QWERTY Keypad
BlackBerry Q5's QWERTY Keypad

Keypad: After using touch phones for many years, using a keypad is a bit of a task. In fact, I ended up typing wrong alphabets initially, but got the hang of it within a few days. All keys are well spaced out making it convenient to type on. But I really missed the navigation pad as while navigating within an app I often ended minimising it.

Shot captured by BB Q5
Shot captured by BB Q5

Camera: The 5MP rear camera onboard supports auto-focus. But it takes time to lock the focus. Also, for snapping an image, the phone prompted us to touch anywhere on the display. The quality of the images captured during proper light was about average as the colours were oversaturated. For instance, the clouds we captured appeared blue instead of white. When zoomed in, there was a noticeable noise. The noise becomes much more visible in the shots captured in low-light.  

Performance:BlackBerry smartphones aren't as power hungry as Androids and do a decent job with even a dual-core processor. The Q5 packs in a 1.2Ghz dual core processor with 2GB RAM. Slightly lower specs than the Q10, but the performance was snappy even while watching videos or browsing the web. BlackBerry is a master with multi-tasking, as there wasn't any lag with over six apps running in the background. One place where BlackBerry lacks action is its App World. There is still no access to top apps like Instagram and Flipboard.

Battery: Hidden beneath the non-removable back panel is a 2180 mAh battery that was just about average. A full charge managed to last a day. Thankfully, even with the battery low indication, it managed to run for a couple of hours before dying.

Bag it or Junk it:
Consider this if you are a keyboard addict and can't afford the Q10.

  • Print

A    A   A