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BlackBerry Z30 review

 Review: October 2013  
 

Rating: 3 stars

In a nutshell: The BlackBerry Z30 brings BlackBerry 10 to a big screen, but sadly this isn't the perfect business phone for a number of reasons, not least the potential demise of the company itself.

Best buy: Blackberry Z30 Sim Free Smar ... from Amazon (£165.99)



 

Introduction

The BlackBerry Z10 was a reasonable first attempt at a smartphone using the BlackBerry 10 operating system, but what it really needed was a bigger screen, some more memory and most of all a bigger battery. Can the Z30 set the record straight and go where the Z10 failed?

Design & looks

The Z30 is certainly a significantly larger phone than the Z10. That makes it quite bulky and heavy. But it does have a 5 inch display, which makes navigating around the sometimes complex BlackBerry 10 user interface easier. At the same time, the number of pixels is actually less than in the Z10, with a pixel density of 295 ppi. That's a move in the wrong direction, and we would really have loved to see a full HD 1080p screen on this device.

Nevertheless it's a smart, well built phone that feels like a premium product.

Processor & memory

The processor is just dual-core, but at 1.7GHz it's a little faster than the Z10. That may seem slow when compared to the quad-core processors of some Android phones, but you won't be playing Need for Speed on here, and for business apps there seems to be sufficient power.

The built-in memory of the phone is a modest 16GB. Although a microSD card can be added for up to 64GB of extra storage, we'd really have liked to see more memory included in a phone like this.

BlackBerry 10.2

The Z30 runs the latest update to BlackBerry 10 - version 10.2. This contains a few new features and refinements over the original.

Camera

The 8 megapixel camera is very similar to the one used for the Z10. It has a nice big f2.0 aperture and a BSI sensor for improved low-light performance. It even has a dedicated image processor to speed up its image capture and focussing.

On top of that, BlackBerry's 10's new Timeshift feature can enhance group photos by taking several shots in sequence and then letting you select the best shot for each face that the camera detects. You can choose the moment when one person smiled and another moment when another person wasn't blinking, etc to create your perfect all-smiley group photo.

The camera is also capable of 1080p full HD video capture and has a video stabiliser too.

A second front-facing 2 megapixel camera can record 720p HD video and can be used for video chat.

Connectivity

The Z30 is a quadband 4G phone, with quadband HSPA and GSM to fall back on, meaning that it should get a signal anywhere in the world.

Wi-Fi is available for fast data access and it also has wireless Bluetooth 4.0 and USB 2.0. NFC is a nice addition, enabling communication with other NFC-enabled devices with a tap. And it also has a micro HDMI connection for connecting to a HD TV.

Battery life

One of the faults of the Z10 was its inadequate battery life - an unforgivable mistake in a business phone. BlackBerry has remedied that in the Z30 with a larger 2880mAh battery that can power the phone for up to 25 hours of mixed use.

Conclusion - better but not perfect

The BlackBerry Z30 inches closer to the perfect business phone, but is still some way off. We applaud the larger screen and the much improved battery life. We also like the style of the phone and the utility of the BlackBerry 10 OS (although a steep learning curve lies in wait for new users).

But at the same time, there are issues. The screen really needed a higher pixel count - 1080p resolution is where it's at these days. A faster processor would have been nice, especially with an eye on future-proofing, and double the memory would have been good too. It's a bulky, heavy phone too.

Unfortunately for BlackBerry, time is running out, and because of that fact, we'd be very cautious before parting with your money for a two-year contract.


BlackBerry Z30 features include:

Best buys
£165.99
Blackberry Z30 Sim Free Smar ...
Click for details

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BlackBerry Z30 user reviews

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Average rating from 12 reviews:

Reviewed by Michael from RF on 4th Mar 2015
Update from March 4, 2015. I've upgraded my Z30 to 10.3.1 and all I can say is that brilliant BlackBerry 10 OS became absolutely amazing. Bunch of new options in BlackBerry Hub, equalizer with presets, HD video recording at 60 fps, BlackBerry Blend (awesome feature), Amazon app store, etc, etc. So, with the BlackBerry 10.3.1 OS you'll get a practically new phone. The bottom line - I really liked that new BlackBerry OS.
Rating:

Reviewed by Michael from RF on 18th Dec 2014
I've been using BlackBerry Z30 since July 2014, so I can tell something about it now. First of all - Z30 is a great, premium looking phone (got BlackBerry 9900 too, so I can compare). The pros of Z30 (in my opinion): great camera, BlackBerry Hub, office apps, media player (especially with Neutron music player from BlackBerry World), hdmi connector, antenna with enhanced signal processing, battery life and the last but not least the BlackBerry 10.2 OS itself (it's absolutely brilliant OS, let alone that 10.3.1 is around the corner as they say). I didn't notice anything bad in Z30 to be quite honest. Z30 has everything that I need from a mobile phone (and much more). I definitely wouldn't change my Z30 to iPhone. So, if you want to buy Z30 - just do it.
Rating:

Reviewed by jack from uk on 20th Oct 2014
The BlackBerry Z30 fits my need perfectly. I don't require a phone with the fastest CPU or 4K HD screen that eats away at battery life.

What do I need? A phone to make calls, send/receive texts and emails. Large storage capacity. Big battery. Good sounding speakers and a 3.5mm headphone socket. A screen no bigger than 5".

My choices are endless these days, but I don't like android and I'm not paying out on a new iPhone like I have in the past. I've lost favours with apple. To little to late and at great cost. 699 for the iPhone 6 4.7" 128gb. No thanks.

This left me looking at windows phones and BlackBerry. Windows phones seem to be only Nokia in the UK, not a bad thing. As Nokia make good devices but the Lumia 930 just didn't do it for me, so I looked at the BlackBerry Z30. I was sceptical about BlackBerry's future and would I be stuck with a lemon of a smartphone. After a lot of research I was sure BlackBerry was the right choice for me.

I've had the z30 for a month or more now and it fits my needs perfectly.Installing android apps is great and easy to do it BlackBerry World doesn't have what I need.

Best things about z30

1) good battery life, 2 days use easy
2) BlackBerry hub
3) bb10
4) expandable storage
5) I stall android apps if needed
6) good sound from built in speakers
7) OK camera

Bad points

1) BBM battery drain bug ( now sorted and don't get it happening anymore)

All in all it is a great smartphone. Not the latest and greatest tech inside but more than capable.

S21 marking it down due to BlackBerry's unknown future is unfair. The amount of apps available is as large as android now. OK some of android apps don't work but I'm sure when bb10.3 is released this will fix things.
Rating:

Reviewed by BlackBerry User from Uk on 14th Oct 2014
What a terrible review S21.

In a nutshell: The BlackBerry Z30 brings BlackBerry 10 to a big screen, but sadly this isn't the perfect business phone for a number of reasons, not least the potential demise of the company itself.

You can not start a review with such a terrible statement. You seem to be putting this device down prior to any usage.

Most of your recent reviews only appear to be based on tech specs rather than usage.

I'm impressed by BB10 and the Z30. I can wait for the Passport.
Rating:

Reviewed by Bert from UK on 4th Sep 2014
I always have trouble selecting a phone. I want ease of use with high end tech with massive battery life that isn't too big or small. I have a HTC One M8, iPhone 5s and the BB Z30. I swap between them all on a regular basis. Why????

All three have plus points and negative points.

iPhone 5s - Easy OS. Large amount of apps (better when jailbroken). A little too small compared to the others. Battery life of great. Good for music via headphones. Poor speaker quality.

HTC One M8 - best device to customise OS. I run Cyanogenmod 11. Great sound quality. Is headphones and speakers. Great amount of apps. I don't like android. Go figure that out. Lol.

Blackberry Z30 - the underdog that performs just as well as the above two. Good battery life. Gold that android apps can run on it. BB10 is cool and different in many ways but android can be customised to do the same. Great communication device.

I've missed loads out. Depending on what I'm doing depends on which device I use. No phone matches my needs. Will the iPhone 6 meet them? Probably not until it can be jailbroken to add my little tweaks. Plus I hate how tied into an ecosystem you are with apple.
Rating:

Reviewed by Jim from Canada on 18th Aug 2014
a bit shocked about the review which seems it was done by just reading specs as opposed to compare the actual phone with other phones.
I actually tested 4 models before selecting my new phone and to my surprise, the Z30 was a far superior headset.
I have now been using it for over 6 months and this device never locked up, crashed or needed a reboot, both the S4 and Iphone 5S needed reboot within the first week of use.
I sure hope they keep making devices because they sure use superior hardware to build these babies.
I would highly recommend to anyone, and yes, they run Android and BB apps
Rating:

Reviewed by dan from uk on 11th Aug 2014
To little to late.
Rating:

Reviewed by lm1980 from uk on 25th Apr 2014
Update

I still have the BlackBerry z30. I've got not negatives to talk about. It suits my needs perfectly.

The underdog wins for me compared to the fancy iPhone 5s, lumia 1520 and others I've had.

Although this phone isn't new, I'd say buy with confidence anyway.
Rating:

Reviewed by geraldine patigayon from qatar on 24th Apr 2014
i love it so much. perfect for me.
Rating:

Reviewed by bob from uk on 11th Apr 2014
I agree with lm1980. I've had this phone for nearly 2 months. I use it for personal and business. Can't fault it. Better as already said that you can install android apps. Perfect size. Perfect os. Perfect battery life. I to use to be an iPhone user. Never had the 5 or 5s. Didn't see the point in them with a slightly bigger screen than the 4s I parted with to get this.

Anyone wanting to move away from apple and android but want the quantity of apps the the z30 will suit you.
Rating:

Reviewed by lm1980 from UK on 1st Apr 2014
Once again I have change my phone from an iPhone to something different. I've been a fan of blackberries ever since I had the bold 9700. I arranged my wedding using that phone and it was a great day. Back to my review.

I've had androids and other OS based phones and always ended going back to an iPhone after selling my bold. When a saw the new style blackberries and then this Z30 I thought I'd revisit the other fruit based phone brand. Been using it for a few days and since updating to the latest OS I've installed amazon app store to widen my app choice and can install android apps. Been a steep learning curve getting use to it and have no negatives for it yet. I say yet as I have always ended going back to an iPhone. I'm really happy with the size, battery life, communication hub etc.

I think S21 should review the phone again after they update it and install android apps. I think it's a great phone. Maybe this phone could save blackberry from shutting it's doors.

What else can they bring out.
Rating:

Reviewed by Tony from Scotland on 2nd Nov 2013
Been a Sony boy for many years but my instinctive support for the underdog has seen me move to Blackberry. The Z30 is a great handset with silky smooth screen transitions, a nice weighty feel and pretty good social media integration. No Instagram ain't really a problem for me, but all the other major apps are present & correct. Ideal for those who want something a bit different and a refreshing break from the Apple / Android domination. Thoroughly recommended.
Rating:

Reply by Tris from Uk on 7th Nov 2013
Try Blackgram. Not a bad instagram client at all.

Reply by Demola from Niger on 17th Feb 2014
You can always side load instagram on to it. just go to youtube, u will find video of how todo that.


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