BlackBerry Q5: Hands-on with the latest Qwerty

BlackBerry Q5: Hands-on with the latest Qwerty

Summary: It might lack the buzz of the Z10 and the glamour of the Q10, but BlackBerry's latest handset could be its most important yet.


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  • The presence of Qwerty keyboard means the unapologetically boxy Q5 has a diminutive square 3.1-inch display, and thus spurns the trend of most smartphones towards ever-bigger screens (Samsung's Galaxy S4 has a 5-inch screen while the largest in the Galaxy Mega line has a whopping 6.3-inch display).

    Meanwhile, the plastic shell marks it out as a mid-market rather than high-end device (no rubberised woven kevlar back here, unlike the Q10). As such, the device may appeal not to consumers, but to businesses looking to roll out a fleet of standard handsets across their workforce.


  • The Q5 is a quite a broad phone, lacking the rounded edges of the Q10. It measures 120mm by 66mm, and 10.8mm thick. It weighs in at 120g including the non-removable battery: lighter than the Q10, but slightly thicker.

    The Qwerty keyboard means there's only room for a 3.1-inch touchcreen (720 x 720 resolution, at 329ppi). The handset runs BlackBerry's new 10.1 operating system, and includes the BlackBerry Link software for synchronising data.

    It packs a dual core 1.2GHz, comes with 2GB RAM and 8GB Flash, but you can add up to 64GB of memory via the microSD memory card slot seen here (strangely the higher specced Q10 only goes up to 32GB), and includes a USB 2.0 port. BlackBerry also claims up to 12.5 hours talk time and 14 days standby time for the device when running on 3G, thanks to that smaller screen.

  • The rear camera is a 5-megapixel unit (seen above) which can record HD at 1080p, and uses BlackBerry's Time Shift mode for adjusting individual elements of pictures. The front camera is a 2-megapixel snapper which is also able to record HD video at 720p.

    The Q5 includes BlackBerry Balance, which means the handset can contain separate work and personal profiles which keep corporate and personal data walled off from each other. As well as the standard accelerometer, magnetometer, proximity sensor, gyroscope and ambient light sensor, the Q5 also also packs NFC connectivity, which you might find useful for sharing files.

Topics: Mobility, BlackBerry, Smartphones

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  • Q5

    I am quite annoyed with BB. They promised (PROMISED!) to develope os 10 for Playbook and reneged. I praised them because they were not going to forsake their Playbook customers. I guess the joke's on us. We didn't pay attention to the naysayers who said that the Playbook was dead on arrival.
    So, screw their phones. Why should we give a damn regarding anything BB does. I am Canadian and I used to be proud of BB (once RIM). Well...not any longer!
    • Just realizing it?

      Dude, how many times do you have to be burned by this company? Honestly, I also stuck with them too long. I bought the PB when it first came out based on their false promises. They are a horrendously pitiful company. Never again!
    • Have to be realistic here. . .

      How would they make BlackBerry 10 work on the PlayBook? The play book is a different piece of hardward. 1.0 gig dual core processor and 1 gig of ram. On my Z10 everytime I check I am using over 1 gig of the 2 gig of ram it came with. I truly believe they had good intentions and were trying to make it work be it just wasn't going to operate correctly on the PlayBook. Wouldn't you rather they tell us now? The BlackBerry 10 platform is solid and they are working to compete in the hardware end of things. I am hopeful they make the bridge work better for the new devices but am not counting on it. Anyways, my two cents. I think they are on a good path and have built some solid phones. The best is yet to come with the release of the A10 later this year.
      JisforJiggy Pickett
  • "Qwerty is distinctly a minority interest now"

    That's because of things like Swype, and Swiftkey.

    I used to be a Blackberry guy, swearing that I'd never have a physical keyboard, because I'm a lifelong excellent typist.
    Now, I wish my PC had Swype.

    It's a reason I wouldn't ever get an iPhone - I'd be back in the dark ages trying to poke-poke tap out things on a virtual keyboard...
    Look, I use my phone as a professional, I need to write long and detailed support responses quite often. Swype is the trick.

    I'd never get any phone that didn't have it. Period.
    Where I once looked at phones without a keyboard and winced, now I look at a phone like this with a keyboard and wince.
    Times have changed.
    Let's see if Blackberry can change with them... for a change.
    • So true...

      I also was a physical keyboard guy back in the BB glory days. Android with Swype is so good I could never buy a smartphone with out it. The iPhone, IMHO, is old technology. Apple has lost its way without Jobs. As for BB, well they lost their way several years ago. Its lying deceitful founders ruined the company.
    • Re: I need to write long and detailed support responses quite often

      Try an Android phablet or mini-tablet. Every single comment I've posted on ZDNet over the past 10 months has been done on my Asus Nexus 7. It's just about the maximum size that will still fit conveniently into a pants pocket.
  • Sorry Blackberry, too little too late...

    I will never buy another Blackberry product EVER!!! Too many broken promises and too little return on investment with them. After they screwed me on the Playbook OS upgrade I started turning in my firms blackberry phones for iPhones. I can't wait until Blackberry goes out of business.
    Jake Campbell
  • I will get one tomorrow

    I use an iPhone as the best, and Android to try, not as good as iPhone, but BB is my communicator practical and like the Keyboard. I seen the new OS and like it very much. The other model are to expansive for my secondary use. I suppose if I wait prices will come down, I buy unlock phone, but I wan to use it now, so I will give my money to BB.
    • Communication tool 2nd to none

      Carlos, I agree. I have used other phones, but when it comes to a solid communication device BB is where it is at. The new software is enjoyable as well.
      JisforJiggy Pickett
  • Blackberry is still in business??

    Who knew? ;)

    Who cares?
  • Hey !!! Great !!!

    And now another Slide Show. You apparently give no weight to your 'comments' section, so now I'm going to start discussing it on Social Media (*FB, etc)

    Sigh me:

    Leo Regulus
  • I care and I like

    I have a Z10, will buy a Q10 and will have this Q5. It's my choice because I like Blackberry and it's phones and BlackBerry 10 OS. Blackberry will find its market, which includes the qwerty lovers.
    Julio Jonas
  • BB has QWERTY.. Nokia has Cameras

    To be successful vs iPhone and Android requires something to make you stand out. BB doesn't seem to 100% get it.. I will caveat this that I am BOTH a fan of WindowsPhone AND QWERTY. I was willing to switch to the Q10 since there is no QWERTY WP in sight. BUT once I got my hands on it I found it sluggish, and most of all I found the phone camera to be WORSE than my older QWERTY WP7 Dell Venue Pro. QWERTY is a SMALL market compared to those that want good cameras. Nokia sees that and is why WP has jumped to a strong 3rd over BB. It's also why although I love QWERTY, when I compared the 925 to the Q10.. I had to go with the 925. A Mid-market QWERTY won't do it for BB unless it has a camera that is compareable to the rest of the market and not a few generations behind.