BlackBerry Z30: Hands-on with BlackBerry's flagship phablet

BlackBerry Z30: Hands-on with BlackBerry's flagship phablet

Summary: BlackBerry's big screen Z30 is an elegant device that arrives at a painful time for the once all-conquering company.


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  • One feature of BlackBerry 10.2 the company is touting is that users can get a preview of any message as it arrives in whatever app their using. For example, if a BBM message arrives, users can reply without leaving the app they have open at the time.


  • The launch of the Z30 comes during a difficult period for BlackBerry.

    It was for a long time the undisputed leader in enterprise smartphones, and enjoyed considerable success for a time in the consumer space too. But since those glory days it has faded dramatically and the BlackBerry 10-based handsets so far haven't been the breakthrough hits the company had hoped.

    Earlier this year the company revealed it had formed a special committee to explore options for the business which could include joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, or a sale. Last week the company said it will cut 4,500 staff and refocus on the "enterprise and prosumer market".

    The company has now signed a letter of intent agreement under which a consortium led by Fairfax Financial Holdings has offered to acquire the company for $4.7 billion.

  • Handset sales have disappointed, and the company said it was taking a a pre-tax charge of between $930m and $960m on inventory, primarily attributable to BlackBerry Z10 devices. As a result the company said it would "re-tier" the BlackBerry Z10 to make it available to a broader, entry-level audience.

    T-Mobile, the fourth largest mobile provider in the US, said on Wednesday it will stop carrying BlackBerry smartphones in its stores and instead sell them only via its website.

    A full review of the BlackBerry Z30 will appear on ZDNet soon.

    Further reading

Topics: Smartphones, Mobility, Reviews, BlackBerry

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  • never happy

    The naysayers, the ones that wrote Apple off so many times are more then happy to hammer away at BB, but the truth is its s superior product on a superior platform. If they go private fast enough they will be around a very long time.
    No one else has their government certification. No one.
    Home Grown IT
    • Are you serious?!

      @Home Grown IT:
      Have you bought the new product or are planning to? No? I didn't think so and neither is anybody else. And that's the point. BB made their own bed with all the lies and delays. Its customer base is gone for good and will not come back. Is there any compelling reason to buy anything from this company? I will answer that for you too.... NO!
      • z10

        Z10 is a fantastic device, great touch keyboard, great browser, handles communication tasks (Multiple Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, several email accounts, BBM, Google Talk, etc. ) extremely well via the HUB. Comes with Documents to Go pre installed, Great Dropbox and Box integration, Evernote and more. Hdmi and expansion sd, are very handy. Easily use android apps if you really need to, though I've never had the need to side load them.
        Camera is very good, nfc has been handy a few times. Battery life is really good, plus I've got extra one if traveling or needing an extra charge before days end.
        Video and music store has had everything I've wanted, pod casts usage is heavy on my device and I've never gone wanting for content (besides if I want I can import all my iTunes content if I needed to).
        Games are more than abundant enough for my needs, more great ones appear everyday.
        Call sound quality is really nice, and the ability to share my screen while doing a video call with fellow BBM contacts is extremely smooth and simple.
        I'm Very happy I chose to switch to BlackBerry and the Z10. If it does not work for your needs, fine, but it has been nothing but a great experience for me.
  • I love my Z10

    My kids say it is easier and faster to navigate than iPhone and HTC One or Samsung S4. It just doesn't have the apps and while no slacker it certainly doesn't have the specs of either the S4 (camera) or the HTC One (sound). And it is smaller. The Z30 makes up that one difference and gives a speed boost too. Would be nice if the camera were a bit better though it is quite good compared to the iPhone.

    10.2 runs Jelly Bean apps but you have to side load them. Still if you really want an android app you can pretty much get it.
  • Requiem for Competition

    I'm not a BB user but I hat to see their demise. Competition keeps everyone striving for a better product a a competitive price. BlackBerry themselves are responsible for their own complacency and hubris, thinking that they had a lock on the corporate market.

    Nokia was internally sabotaged by Stephan Elop, a Microsoft double agent, that managed to flip the Nokia operating system from the successful Symbian system to the bloated Windows system that was not suitable for touch phone software. Upon destroying the market for Nokia phones, Microsoft bought them out, 10 cents on the dollar. Elop then returns to Microsoft, a conquering hero.

    Too bad they won't take legal action against me for exposing them, but Microsoft doesn't need the truth be told.
    • Insigth

      An absolutely fascinating insight into the inner workings of super corporates. Worthy of such films aka Disclosure.
  • Z30 looks good

    This is a key phone for BlackBerry. The phablet markets is growing fast. I may trade up from my Z10.
  • Well

    This is one of the issues BB has, they bring a device at the last minute and the first thing you see is exclusivity. Exclusivity hurts more than it helps, especially when you have a product that isn't selling that well, it will just make most potential buyers write it off completely.
  • Sleek looking!

    For a hands on review, I was disappointed you didn't describe more about the product and spent the last two slides talking about the news of the company over the last week.

    While 5" screen, when compared to the Z10 in size, it doesn't appear much bigger in other reviews pictures when they put them side by side? Other reviews mention how it still fits easily in a pocket. There is bigger phones out there. What is your feeling on the size?
    Ray (Canada)
  • Really? "Hands-on"?

    Look would be nice if somebody actually had a proper review of the phone instead of just stating some details they pulled from some other source (Crackberry or N4BB) and then complete it with a bashing of the company with things that EVERYBODY AND THEIR GRANDMOTHER already know.

    It is a sad state of affairs when people take these sorts of "reviews" from lazy "journalists" like you seriously.

    I'm not defending the terrible management of BlackBerry but I really would like to see an objective review of the phone...yours was just abysmal.

    How is a consumer supposed to make an informed decision when there are these terribly biased slashing of devices. The OS really is very good and worth the time to use and reflect on PROPERLY...though perhaps these words are lost on your type.
    • OS is just an OS

      Just like BB10, the IOS, Android and Windows are all very good.
      To Rumber Drag
  • Rebirth

    I for one, have been surprised by the ambivalence shown in relation to such an Iconic Brand.. If it is possible to relaunch the value that was so much associated with this brand, then all power to them. It seems to me that working with selfridges should be applauded. It would after all, be a disaster for many thousands of employees if Blackberry were to hit the fan. As for the proprietary nature of this products functionality, I should, even if I were once a fan, want to go visit a store and try it out for real..
  • hahaha ignorance comment about nokia/Microsoft

    @jpswain48 hhahaa So shut your mouth up if you never Use WP as your device.What a lame fanboy is that?So don't judge by appearance if you didn't know about the fact of WP.I think you're the ignorance person in this world that doesn't know to use a smartphone.every smartphone OS got their own advantages and disadvantages.You think android will dominate everything hmm.... no I not hope so?
  • survival

    Suprised by the lack of promotion and support by Rogers in Canada for the
    newer/better Z30.
    Granted it is the 'unknown'factor that
    has prompted this commercial decision.
    I have just purchased the Z10 at a massively
    discounted price on-line in Australia and could not be happier with this 'lower' powered Blackberry.
    The Stav
  • Blackberry ??

    I wish i could care a little more about blackberry as i used to be a massive fan back in the day, but in recent years they have rendered themselves irrelevant in my opinion.