BlackBerry Z30 Review

We take a look at BlackBerry's latest offering to find out if it's all work and no play.

₹29,990

tech2 rating

3.3/5

avg. user rating

4.8/5



With BBM now on Android and iOS, it’s time for another major announcement from BlackBerry. After launching two premium (albeit overpriced) handsets, it’s time to make it a trio with the new BlackBerry Z30. The company’s latest flagship was just announced today and lucky for you, we have an in depth review on the new slab and of course, BB 10.2. We’ll be taking a look at both simultaneously and see just how BB 10 has evolved. Coming back to the phone, the Z30’s primary focus is communications, messaging and productivity, just like their earlier offerings. But does it have a lighter side as well or is it still all work and no play?

Design and Build
The Z30 moves away from the busy design of the Z10 for a simpler look. The protective glass now overflows around the edges much like the HTC One X. The phone is only slightly thicker than the Z10 at 9.4mm but it’s considerably heavier at 170g. This is mainly due to the larger display and battery.

 BlackBerry Z30 Review

Solidly built but not very striking

 

The microHDMI and microUSB ports are on the left while the volume rocker, voice command and two microphones sit on the right. The Z30 has two more microphones totalling up to four, for better noise cancellation and better audio during BBM video calls. The placement of the power button on the top is not the most ideal as it’s difficult to reach it at times. This can easily be circumvented by simply swiping from below to unlock the screen.

Blackberry Z30

The rear cover offers very good grip

 

The back of the Z30 is very grippy which feels great to hold. This also helps keep the phone in place when placed on any surface so it won’t slide about your food tray on a plane. New to the Z30 are stereo speakers which are placed at the top and bottom. The handset also gets a new Paratek antenna for better signal reception. The back cover is removable and is where you’ll find the slots for the SIM and mciroSD card slot.

Blackberry Z30

The ports under the hood

 

Overall, the Z30 is a well-crafted handset. It doesn’t have much going for it in terms of aesthetics, some would call a bit bland even, but I guess that works for the enterprise sector. Ergonomics are good as well however, the Z30 is heavy and single handed operations are not always a cake walk.

Features
The biggest feature of the Z30 is the OS itself. This is the first phone to launch with BB 10.2 and this update will be seeded to the Z10, Q10 and Q5 as well. The two new features that you will use the most are the new lock screen preview and priority hub. The first one gives you a peek into your unread alert and this works for any app that’s present in the hub, including Whatsapp. Right now, these aren’t actionable so you can’t reply to an email without unlocking the phone but we hear that’s in the works. The next is priority hub. This secondary hub gathers all alerts that are marked as important. The system automatically picks up contacts or conversations that are most often used and assigns them priority. You can also manually mark a contact or conversation as priority and vice versa with a simple gesture. The rest of the new features include attachments, new sharing options, priority calling and BBM previews. This is all best demonstrated so do watch the following video (coming up shortly) for a better look.

 

The Z30 feels really quick and fluid and this is partly due to improvements in the new OS as well as the slightly faster Qualcomm chipset onboard. The dual-core Snapdragon MSM8960T (or S4 Pro) runs at 1.7GHz on the clock and features faster Adreno 320 graphics. There’s also 2GB of RAM to complement this.

Blackberry Z30

Priority hub is a nifty addition

 

We did notice some lag intermittently when trying to compose a new mail or switching between apps but overall, you’re in for a smooth ride.

Media
Media functionality remains pretty much unchanged from the previous models and there isn’t anything really new software wise as well. The stereo speakers are really good however and are almost as good as HTC’s BoomSound. It is a bit treble heavy but alerts are really loud even at half volume and music and videos sound really good. Audio quality is pretty good through the headphones as well so no complaints here. The media player could use some audio enhancements and better format support however. There’s 16GB of onboard storage which is expandable to 64GB.

 

Blackberry Z30

Media playback hasn't improved much

 

You’ll still need Blackberry Link before you can start dragging and dropping files in your phone. We hope they get rid of this somewhere down the line. Full HD video playback is smooth and the stock player even reads MKV files.

Connectivity
The Z30 supports LTE, quad-band 3G and GSM networks. While the LTE bit might not work in India, you’ll be able to use this with other carriers around the globe. Apart from the Wi-Fi ‘n’, Bluetooth v4.0 and NFC, the Z30 also packs in Wi-Fi Direct, which was missing in the earlier handsets. We didn’t have any issue with dropped calls or alerts thanks to the really loud speakers. For navigation, we have GPS and GLONASS but BlackBerry Maps is not yet available in India. Thankfully, side loading Google Maps works just fine.
The Z30 also debuts BlackBerry’s Natural Sound in conjunction with 10.2. We had a chance to get a demo of the difference in audio fidelity with and without Natural Sound and the results are quite amazing. Sadly, this feature is restricted to only BBM video and will only work with two Z30s since it requires 10.2 and the four microphones to work.

Blackberry Z30

Maps are yet to arrive for BB devices

 

BlackBerry has updated the keyboard in 10.2 and you can now have up to 3 languages simultaneously. This is similar to what Swype offers but it’s nice to see it integrated into the stock keyboard. Thanks to the larger screen, typing is a breeze and the word prediction works very well.

Camera
The camera on the Z30 is an 8MP sensor with an f/2.2 aperture, similar to what we had on the Z10. The options are still pretty limited as compared to the different camera features we see in smartphones today. You can choose between stills, video or Time Shift. Touch-to-focus is sorely missed so you can’t shift focus when framing a shot without having to move your hand. Continuous auto-focus is present but it’s not very quick, which leads to blurry shots for quick captures. Burst mode works well if the subject is moving slowly which sort of defeats the whole purpose. The Z30 does manage good macros however given good ambient light. Indoor shots with low-ambient light are still strictly average.

Blackberry Z30

A little over exposed but otherwise good macro shots

 

Blackberry Z30

Indoors is strictly average

 

There’s a new preview mode in 10.2, which lets you view your previously captured image by dragging in into the viewfinder. Video recording tops off at 1080p and the quality is pretty good. The front facing 2MP camera supports 720p video for video calls.

Battery Life
The Z30 prides itself with really good battery life thanks to the massive 2880mAh battery. After having successfully completed our loop tests, the Z30 had about 46 per cent battery to spare which is very good. Going by these numbers, the Z30 should easily last you a day and a half or even two with moderate usage.

Verdict and Price in India
After spending a good week with the Z30, we find that it’s nothing more than an iterative update to the Z10, with a larger display. There are some welcome hardware additions like better sound, Wi-Fi Direct and bigger battery but most of the changes are software based so the asking price of Rs 39,990 seems a lot. With the Z10 now selling at a more sensible price, we fail to see why one would spend such a premium on the Z30, also considering one can get the G2 or the S4 in the same price range. Both flagships have a vastly bigger feature set, are more powerful and have access to a better app ecosystem. The Z30 makes a good buy if the price drops to about Rs 30,000 but for now, it’s too expensive, even for enterprise users.

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BlackBerry Z30 Specifications

Collaborate like you’re in the same room with the intense clarity of BlackBerry Natural Sound technology on the BlackBerry Z30 smartphone. Chat face-to-face with BBM Video2, and even share what’s on your screen. The BlackBerry Z30 comes with a stunning 5” display and BlackBerry Natural Sound technology, delivering vivid screen detail and realistic sound quality to your BBM Video conversations. Access all your messages with a single swipe. As the BlackBerry 10 OS gets to know you and how you use your phone, the BlackBerry Priority Hub curates a view of your most important messages so you can focus on what matters. You’ll even see all the attachments you’ve sent and received in one place. Connect your BlackBerry Z30 to a screen with a micro HDMI cable or stream your presentation wirelessly with Miracast, and make an even greater impact. Bring the web to life with the BlackBerry Browser on a stunning 5” screen. Immerse yourself in all the Internet has to offer, from images, to video, to games. Online reading is easier too, thanks to Reader mode, removing page clutter at the touch of a button. Keep work and your personal life separate with BlackBerry Balance technology. It keeps your information secure by creating two profiles, one for work and another for personal use. Seamlessly transition from one to the other, while keeping your work life secure and your private life, private.

Display

Form FactorBar
Screen TypeSuper AMOLED Capacitive Touchscreen
Screen Size5.0 inches
Screen Resolution1280 x 720
Number of Colours16M

Processor

ProcessorDual Core
Speed1.7 GHz

Memory

Internal Memory16GB, 2GB RAM

Camera Features

Sensor Resolution8MP
FeaturesFlash, Continuous and Touch to Focus, Image Stabilization
Digital Zoom3x
Video resolution / frame rate1080 x 720 / 30fps
Video RecordingYes
Front facing camera2MP

General Features

OSBlackBerry
Version10
Bluetooth Features4.0 + LE
MessagingSMS, MMS, Email, Push Email, IM, BBM 6
GPSYes, with A-GPS Support and GLONASS
USB ConnectorYes
BrowserYes
NFCYes
Available ColoursBlack

Carrier Networks

2GGSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
3GHSDPA 850/900/1900/2100/800 MHz
4GLTE 800/900/1800/2100/2600 MHz

Data

GPRSYes
EGPRS or EDGEEDGE
WiFi802.11a/b/g/n

Body

Dimensions72 x 9.4 x 140.7 mm
Weight170

Sound

Media PlayerMusic formats: 3GP, 3GP2, M4A, M4V, MOV, MP4, MKV, MPEG-4, AVI, ASF, WMV, WMA, MP3, MKA, AAC, AMR, F4V, WAV
Alert ToneVibration, MP3
SpeakerphoneYes
Audio connector3.5mm

Battery

TypeLi-Ion
Capacity2880
Talk Time with Standard Battery18 Hrs (UMTS)
Standby Time with Standard Battery16 Days

Miscellaneous Features

Built in ApplicationsFacebook|#|Twitter|#|LinkedIn|#|Games|#|YouTube|#|Weather, Maps/Navigation|#|WhatsApp Messenger|#|BlackBerry Messenger|#|WeChat|#|LINE|#|KakaoTalk Messenger|#|PicMix|#|PicStory|#|BlackBerry Protect
Other FeaturesUniversal Search, Email, Calendar, Contacts, Browser, Text Messaging, Messages, Clock, Calculator, Documents To Go, Print To Go, File Manager, Adobe Reader, BlackBerry Remember (Memos/Tasks combo)

After Sales Service

Warranty Period1 Year

Price

Warranty Period1 Year





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