The big question for the BlackBerry Q5 is whether the price tag of Rs 24999 would be seen as too expensive for a price-sensitive market like India where Android smartphones with far better specs on paper retail for less.
The Q5 definitely seems built solidly, but will BlackBerry be able to convince buyers about the holistic BlackBerry 10 solution that includes a fresh new OS, great productivity features and Office tools and best-in-breed security? Or will users still go for mere specs, or the far more apps on Google Play and Apple’s App Store?
More importantly, are physical QWERTY keyboards relevant anymore? Sure, there is a market for physical QWERTY keyboards, but is it sizable enough or too small a niche, especially as rich media consumption like video viewing increases manifold? BlackBerry must have done its market research and perhaps that’s why the first mid-market BlackBerry 10 smartphone is one sporting a physical QWERTY keyboard, but I have a feeling it’s a wrong bet.
Before January 2013, I never thought I could do without a physical QWERTY keyboard smartphone, considering how much I type, but after the BlackBerry Z10, I’ve discovered that BlackBerry not only makes the best physical keyboards but also the best soft keyboard. So, if it’s a choice between typing on the Q5 or my secondary smartphone, the Google Nexus 4, I’d take the Q5 any day. But, I would hands-down go with the Z10 if the choice was between the Q5 and the Z10.
And that is why I feel BlackBerry would have been better off with launching a ‘Z5’ – a cheaper version of the all-touch Z10, rather than the Q5, because everyone’s into larger screens nowadays, even if resolution is quite poor as on many Android budget smartphones with large screens. But the biggest bugbear on touch screens is the keyboard and BlackBerry could have made a splash in the mid-market with the great BlackBerry 10 keyboard.
But we’ll have to wait for that. Till then, if you want a solid, dependable smartphone with a physical QWERTY keyboard at a not-too-exorbitant price, the BlackBerry Q5 is the smartphone for you.
WHAT I LIKED
• Great battery life
• Sharp display
• Good keyboard with Instant Action takes traditional BlackBerry productivity shortcuts to a new level
WHAT I DISLIKED
• Small display size means watching videos is a pain because of 1:1 aspect ratio.
• Poor camera specs
• Could have been cheaper. Under Rs 20000 would have been great.
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor with 1.2 GHz dual-core CPUs
Memory: Internal Memory: 8 GB storage
RAM: 2 GB RAM
Hot-swappable MicroSD: up to 32 GB
Height: 120 mm / 4.72 in
Width: 66 mm / 2.59 in
Depth: 10.8 mm / 0.42 in
Weight: 120 gms
Size: 3.1-inch diagonal / 1:1 aspect ratio
Display Type: TFT LCD
Display Size : 720 x 720 pixels, 3.1 inches (329 ppi pixel density)
24-bit colour depth
2180mAH non-removable battery
Battery Life claimed
Up to 12.5 hours talk time (3G)
Up to 14 days standby time (3G)
Quad band LTE (100/50 Mbps) 3, 7, 8, 20 (800/900/1800/2600 MHz)
Quad band HSPA/UMTS (DC 42Mbps) -1, 2, 5/6, 8 (850/900/1900/2100 MHz)
Quad band GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
Bluetooth, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (LE)
Assisted, Autonomous and Simultaneous GPS
Main camera: 5 megapixel auto-focus camera with Flash, continuous and touch to focus, image stabilization
Digital Zoom (5x)
1080p HD video recording
2 DOF (Degrees of freedom) video stabilization
Time Shift mode for pinpointing and adjusting individual elements of your picture
2 megapixel fixed-focus camera
Image and video stabilization
Digital Zoom (3x)
720p HD video recording
Audio & video formats
3GP, 3GP2, M4A, M4V, MOV, MP4, MKV, MPEG-4, AVI, ASF, WMV, WMA, MP3, MKA, AAC, AMR, F4V, WAV
Advanced Sensors: Accelerometer, Magnetometer, Proximity sensor, Gyroscope, Ambient light sensor