Seeing red: New BlackBerry Q5 reviewed

Keen to make an impact and gain market share from its competitors, BlackBerry introduces yet another key upgrade
By Salma Awwad
Wed 26 Jun 2013 02:17 PM

The latest BlackBerry creation comes in the form of an entry level smartphone intended to replace the BlackBerry Curve popular among the 16 to 25-aged market.

This rendition, however, is a huge leap forward from previous entry level devices. Priced at a reasonable $408, the Q5 comes equipped with the BlackBerry 10 platform.

Like all BlackBerry 10 devices, multitasking is the key word. You can have multiple applications running at the same time and you can easily move back and forth between them without the need to exit any. In this aspect, the BlackBerry 10 is well ahead of Apple’s iOS 7, which is scheduled for release in September.

With its unified ‘Hub’ you can monitor all incoming and outgoing communications from all social media platforms from your messages, calls, email, BBM to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

The BlackBerry peak is also the perfect tool to see the Hub when you are in a different application by just a simple slide of the screen.

BlackBerry’s equivalent to Evernote is ‘BlackBerry Remember’, where you create task entries and attach pictures or emails, record voice messages and group all the files related to the same topic in one location and in a user friendly way.

The Q5 has a dual core 1.2Ghz processor, which is slightly slower than that of the Q10, but comparable with the iPhone 5.

The browser has dramatically improved from the BlackBerry 7. It is equipped with a helpful reader option, whereby when you are viewing an article you only see the text and not the ads associated to it.

The improved 5 megapixel camera includes a time shift feature where you can go back in time and capture different facial expressions. You can also edit the pictures directly and share them on social media.

Screen size is a decent 3.1 inch and the width of the keyboard is slightly less than 66mm, which is comfortable for those who are fans of the QWERTY layout. But the first drawback I noticed is that the phone feels quite fragile and has somewhat of a plastic feel to it.

Its design is very basic so anyone looking for an attractive device would not be drawn to it, since it does not possess the same businesslike feel that BlackBerry is known for.

One main advantage, however, is that once the Q5 is fully charged, it has 12.5 hours of talk time and up to 14 days of standby time, which is a significant leap from iPhone 5’s eight hours and nine days, respectively.

My advice is full touch fans should hold on to their Z10 until BlackBerry releases a new, full touch device, which is expected at the end of this year. The Q5 should be popular among heavy BBM users and texters, with its physical backlit keyboard.

Offered in three different colours – black, white and, for the first time, red - we predict that red will be the most demanded colour since it is new onto the scene.

The reveal of the Q5 took place in coordination with the opening of the BlackBerry self-standing boutique, which is the first BlackBerry store in the Arab world and is located in Dubai Mall. The latest BlackBerry device is currently available for order.

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