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BlackBerry Q5 review

BlackBerry 10 gets slightly more affordable, but does that make any better?

Once again BlackBerry has created a functional handset that offers up everything you'd expect from a smartphone. But the BlackBerry Q5 isn't overly desirable, doesn't sport the specs to make it stand out in its £330 (around US$500 / AU$550) price bracket and ultimately we fear the younger generation it's aimed at isn't going to be overly receptive.

We liked

Once again where BlackBerry 10 seems to excel is in the web surfing department, and while the BlackBerry Q5 may not be quite as fast as the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10, it still puts in a decent performance that it can be proud of.

The inclusion of 4G and NFC in the Q5 are positive steps forward in both technologies as they begin to appear on more and more devices, and it's good to see another, non-flagship smartphone sporting LTE.

We're still big fans of the BlackBerry Hub, and while its minor niggles are slightly annoying they can be ironed out in future software updates, and it's a great way to handle all your various messages and notifications.

We disliked

Sadly we're not sold on the chunky, overly plastic design that feels like it's been pulled directly from a BlackBerry handset from a few years back - and the extra girth makes it a little tricky to type one-handed on the Q5.

The QWERTY keyboard itself is also a little bit of a letdown, especially after the excellent offering found on the BlackBerry Q10.

BlackBerry prides itself on offering the best physical keyboards on the market, but the Q5 falls a little short of this mark, with small keys and fiddly operation hindering our progress.

We have to mention the display on the BlackBery Q5 as well. We understand that you can't have a lovely big screen with a keyboard bolted below it, but in this day and age of big screened smartphones the 3.1-inch display on the Q5 just feels outdated, and it doesn't make for a great gaming or video-watching surface.

Final verdict

The BlackBerry Q5 is difficult to love. Sure it's got all the core smartphone features, but it doesn't really excel at anything, apart from perhaps web browsing, but even that's hampered somewhat by the pokey 3.1-inch display.

If you want a great QWERTY keyboard device then spend the extra cash and pick yourself up a BlackBerry Q10, but if you're nonplussed on the whole physical keys debate then you're going to be better off with the Sony Xperia SP or Motorola Razr HD, which offer better specs, bigger screens and more applications.

We can't help but feel the only people likely to seriously consider a BlackBerry Q5 are those yearning for a Q10, but whose pockets are not deep enough to afford one.

The BlackBerry Q5 feels like it should be dropped down the pricing scale, towards the bottom of the mid-tier of smartphones - and at that price we could very well be recommending it, but as it stands it's hard to make a convincing argument for this BlackBerry 10 handset.

First reviewed: July 2013

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen, QWERTY
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported64 GB
Built-in Memory8 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, HSPA+
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 1700, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, LTE 700, LTE 850, LTE 1700, LTE 1900
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemBlackBerry
Brand NameBlackBerry
Battery Talk Time12.50 Hour
Product ModelQ5
Screen Size7.9 cm (3.1")
Screen Resolution720 x 720
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)120 g
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Operating System VersionBlackBerry OS 10.1
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density329 ppi
Front Camera Resolution2 Megapixel
Height120 mm
Width66 mm
Depth10.8 mm
Battery Standby Time336 Hour
ManufacturerBlackBerry
Product NameQ5 Smartphone
Processor Speed1.20 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Magnetometer, Proximity Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Digital Compass
Manufacturer Part NumberPRD-50741-038
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.uk.blackberry.com
Marketing Information

Explore, create and share anywhere

Act on your ideas in the moment with a fast, effortless experience that flows with you. Cool apps, hot games, and more music and movies than ever are all waiting for you on the new BlackBerry® Q5.

BBM VIdeo with Screen Share

Catch up face-to-face and share what's on your screen with BBM™ Video with Screen Share.

BlackBerry Keyboard

Perform super fast searches with Instant Action on the classic BlackBerry® Keyboard.

Limited Warranty2 Year