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BlackBerry Z30 review

BlackBerry goes big with the 5-inch Z30

Our Verdict

It's sad to think that this might be BlackBerry's last release because with the Z30 it has finally, belatedly, figured out how to make a really good touch screen smartphone. Unfortunately rivals worked the same thing out much more quickly, and their flagships are better buys.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 16 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 8 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 1 Day
  • Screen Resolution : 1280 x 720
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Great battery life
  • Unified messaging hub
  • Premium feel
  • Good web browsing

Against

  • Poor navigation
  • Lack of apps and games
  • Wi-Fi issues
  • Expensive
Ratings in depth

BlackBerry Z30 review

BlackBerry Z30 review

BlackBerry Z30 review

BlackBerry Z30 review

BlackBerry Z30 review

The BlackBerry Z30 is too late. This isn't the place to recap BlackBerry's highs and lows, but with the reassuringly expensive Z30 in your hand it's tough not to muse about what might have been. This is a smartphone worthy of flagship status, and it offers a significant improvement over the BlackBerry Z10.

This is a heavy smartphone with a 5-inch 720p Super AMOLED display, a really premium build, and a solid set of specs, including a 1.7GHz dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, 4G support, an 8MP rear camera, 2MP front camera, and a big 2,880mAh battery.

Sadly for BlackBerry, these are cutting edge specs from more than a year ago; it simply hasn't been able to keep up with the pace set by the leading Android manufacturers with phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4, the LG G2, and the Sony Xperia Z1.

It may be able to compete with the likes of the Nokia Lumia 925 on paper, but it's more expensive than its Windows Phone rival.

BlackBerry Z30 review

If you do covet the BlackBerry Z30 then you'll need to lay down £529 (around $850, AU$905) for a SIM-free handset. Alternatively, you should be able to pick one up for free by committing to a two-year contract at £32 per month or more.

The niche market of business users that the Z30 might appeal to probably won't balk at that price. It's a tough sell for the wider consumer market and few people will be persuaded to board a sinking ship by anything less than a stellar handset.

BlackBerry Z30 review

This better-looking, big brother of the Z10 measures 140.7 x 72 x 9.4mm. It doesn't feel overly big for a phone with a five-inch display. It may not quite achieve the super-slim bezel of the Galaxy S4, but it manages to undercut the Xperia Z1 on height and width, even if it isn't quite as svelte.

It has the typical black glass slab aesthetic that all the young phones are sporting nowadays, but the silver bar at the bottom of the screen breaks it up nicely and runs around the edge to provide a welcome contrast with the plastic.

BlackBerry Z30 review

The back cover is subtly textured plastic with the classic silver BlackBerry logo in the middle. The camera and flash break up the woven pattern and sit offset to the left at the top. The cover snaps off, with a bit of encouragement, to reveal slots for a SIM card and a microSD card. You can swap microSD cards up to 64GB in size without having to switch the Z30 off. The battery is non-removable.

There are no buttons at all on the face and the bottom edge of the Z30 is similarly naked. On the right spine there's the volume up and down buttons, which double up as camera keys when the camera app is open.

BlackBerry Z30 review

There's also a dedicated voice control key in between the volume controls and it launches BlackBerry's answer to Siri and Google Now. When you're playing music or videos this key doubles up as a play/pause control.

Up top you'll find the central power button with a standard 3.5mm headphone port to the left of it. The left spine is home to the microUSB and the microHDMI ports, but you only get a USB cable in the box.

BlackBerry Z30 review

At 170g you're going to feel the weight of the Z30 as soon as you pick it up. This is one of the heaviest smartphones around, but that's not to say it's uncomfortable to hold, because it isn't.

The textured plastic back cover actually provides a lot of grip, but it's still easy to slide in and out of a pocket. It's awkward to try and use the Z30 one-handed, though.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported64 GB
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, UMTS
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 800, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, LTE 800, LTE 900, LTE 1800, LTE 2100, LTE 2600
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemBlackBerry
Brand NameBlackBerry
Battery Talk Time1 Day
Product ModelZ30
Screen Size12.7 cm (5")
Screen Resolution1280 x 720
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)170 g
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Operating System VersionBlackBerry OS 10
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Call FeaturesCall Log
Pixel Density295 ppi
SIM Size SupportedMicro
Height140.7 mm
Width72 mm
Depth9.4 mm
Radio TunerNo
ManufacturerBlackBerry
Product NameZ30 Smartphone
Processor Speed1.70 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Screen TypeOLED
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass, Magnetometer, Ambient Light Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberPRD-52977-071
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.uk.blackberry.com
Marketing InformationThe BlackBerry® Z30 makes conversations feel so natural and real, it's like you are in the same room. It has a stunning 5" display along with unique BlackBerry® Natural Sound technology, which means that while you're in BBM™ Video, you can see in vivid detail and hear every word with such clarity, you can share like you're there together. And with a battery that gives you up to 25 hours of mixed use, you can share all day long. Bring your conversations to life with the BlackBerry Z30!

Share like you're there
Beneath the surface of the BlackBerry Z30 lies BlackBerry Natural Sound technology. This powerful audio technology gives your BBM™ Voice2 and Video1 calls a more natural sound so you feel like you are there. The quality of the audio allows you to hear nuances and variations in tone, so you get more out of every conversation and unique sharing experiences.

Keep your conversations close
At the heart of the BlackBerry Z30 lies BlackBerry® Hub. With one swipe you can peek into all your messages from wherever you are. Then choose to dip into your messages in more detail or simply return to what you were doing, without missing a beat.

Effortlessly responsive
The BlackBerry® Keyboard learns how you type to provide personalised next-word suggestions, which you can simply flick into your messages, helping to give you an efficient and effortless response rate to all your messages.

Share more, for longer
Powering the BlackBerry Z30 is a truly hard-working battery. With up to 25 hours of mixed use, you can keep going for longer. So not only can the BlackBerry Z30 keep up with you, it can help you do more for longer.

Capture the right moment, every time
BlackBerry® Time Shift starts capturing your photo before you even take it, giving you the power to select and adjust the image to get that perfect moment. With the ability to change what you see, you can always be sure to capture the right moment.

Stay in the flow
Engaging in a BBM™ conversation has never been easier. The beautiful 5" screen helps BBM chats come to life, and with BBM™ Now in any app, you can receive and respond to all your BBM messages from within any app. Whether you are browsing the web or watching a video, you can always remain connected and responsive.
Limited Warranty1 Year
Standard Memory2 GB