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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  • Still, the software is responsive and easy for a non-BlackBerry devotee to master, and is more impressive than the anonymous hardware that contains it.

    In some respects, the continued presence of the Qwerty is at odds with some of the smarter elements of  BlackBerry 10's user interface — I found that swapping the home button with an upward swipe mades sense pretty quickly, as did Peek.

    The Peek functionality (seen above) in particular makes for some elegant multitasking in here — I was impressed by being able to take a look at my email while continuing to stream a video from the BBC website, for example.

    Other software such as Docs to Go is handy for a business audience and easy to use, but the number of apps available remains somewhat limited, and remians a broader issue around attracting developers to BlackBerry's ecosystem.

    The predictive text system works very nicely, and the option to "clear learnt words" is also a nice touch that could save you from an embarrassing damn-you-autocorrect moment, too.





  • It's hard not to turn any discussion of one of BlackBerry's handsets into a verdict on the company, but right now every handset is now vital for it.

    From a cost point of view, at £320 SIM-free in the UK or £21 per month on contract, the Q5 is cheaper than a Samsung Galaxy S4 or the iPhone 4S or 5 (but more than the iPhone 4). But it's not that much cheaper than the Q10 (£29 per month or £479 for the handset alone).

    You might think that the rising flood of bring your own device has made business-first handsets an endangered species by eradicating their traditional habitat.

    But there is a chunk of the enterprise market looking to buy a fleet of no-nonsense, sturdy handsets that are to manage and secure, and which fits in with their existing infrastructure.

    As such, the Q5 may find a home with these organisations where workers require fast and accurate data input (perhaps an engineer filling in a form) rather than a desperate need for big-screen funny cat videos.

    The Q5 isn't likely to wow anyone, but that's perhaps not the point. The Z10 is BlackBerry's wow-touchscreen handset, and the Q10 it's wow-Qwerty counterpart.

    But the Q5 could be more important than either as it's just the sort of workhorse that BlackBerry needs its enterprise customers to deploy in major quantities, especially those filled with nostalgia for the days when Qwerty ruled. It's perhaps not the most exciting niche to fill in the tech world, but it could be vital one for BlackBerry.

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.