Dubai. BlackBerry’s mid-range smartphone – the Q5 - is good for work or play, but performs better as an office tool.
The Q5 is equipped with a QWERTY keyboard and runs on the latest BB10.1 operating system. The upgraded software runs lag-free and is able to open apps and web pages very fast. In the HTML 5 browser support test — html5test.com — BlackBerry smartphones scored much better than most other devices.
In terms of specifications, the Q5 has similarities with BlackBerry’s other offering, the Q10. Both have a 3.1-inch touch screen with 720 x 720 pixel resolution and an image density of 328 pixels per inch. However, the Q10 has the better Super Amoled display technology.
The Q5 is bulkier than the Q10, but has managed to keep its weight at 120 grams.
The Q5 has a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU with 2GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, with an option to expand memory through microSD card slot up to 32GB. Out of 8GB only 4.3GB is available for users.
The Q5 is made of hard plastic and has no metallic rim, and with its curved edges and glossy finish, it can easily slip from your hand. It also lacks the premium finish of the Q10.
On the right of the phone are two volume keys and a third for voice commands. On the top of the device is the power switch and a headphone jack. On the left is the microUSB and slots for microSD and micro SIM cards. There is no option for HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface), which is a miss by BlackBerry.
The Q5 is designed to be a multi-tasking device. The apps run in the background and you can keep eight active frames open at any time, but only four can be seen due to the size of the screen. The advantage of BB10 is that users can slide up from bottom to see emails, social media notifications and messages. The “balance feature” will appeal to corporates as it allows separate private and business areas, each with its own set of apps.
All BlackBerry Messenger texts, emails, voice and social media, contacts and BBM are managed through the BlackBerry Hub. Blackberry Messenger has both voice and video chatting facilities, but it is still blocked in the UAE.
The virtual keyboard was one of my favourite features. It has predictive typing that remembers the input style of the user.
The rear facing camera is 5MP with advanced features like autofocus, LED flash, geo-tagging and 1080p (Full HD) video recording capability. It offers a 5x digital zoom function and burst and stabilization modes, but has no panoramic feature. The camera features on the Q10 are better.
Pictures taken with the Q5 in bright light have detail and colour, but moving the camera too fast can easily blur the images.
An interesting feature is the “time shift”, where you can take a series of photos and then select the best one based on people’s facial expressions. Users can rewind or forward the pictures to choose the best one.
The video quality of the rear camera was impressive but watching videos or YouTube on a small screen is bound to strain the eyes.
For video conferencing, the Q5 has a 2MP camera that can take video at 720p. It has 3 x digital zoom function. The Q5 can connect to the web or other devices with WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and 4G LTE.
The Q5 has a bigger battery capacity than its siblings. The Q5 has an embedded 2180mAh, compared to 2100mAh capacity of the Q10 and 1800mAh for the Z10.
The Q5 is the first time a Blackberry phone has been fitted with a non-removable battery. Fully charging the battery will take around three hours and it does not have built-in power saving features to save the power. But, due to the smaller screen and bigger battery, the power lasts longer.
During my test, the battery was able to play videos for more than 12 hours. With WiFi on, playing music, emailing and using the internet, the battery lasted more than a day, a pretty decent performance.
It is priced at Dh1499 and comes in red, white and black.
• Decent price
• NFC and 4G
• Fast web browser
• Superb physical keyboard
• Smooth user interface
• Cheap build
• Non-removable battery
• Small screen
• Not great for games or movies
• No option for HDMI