When BlackBerry 10 came on the grounds, finally, to rescue the company from its odd days, things were not as easy as Thorsten Hiens might have thought it would be. The market scene had already changed a lot, making it very difficult for the BlackBerry 10 powered twins to woo the hands of the lost customer base. Devices with heft price tags, and feeling of unreliability laid thorns for the company all the way long. It was very less probable that any customer would switch from iPhone or Samsung Galaxy due to any reason. The signature keyboard did come to rescue but that worked only for the hardware keyboard addicts, very scarcely populated. In developing countries, it failed to justify the price tags, leading to BlackBerry fans switching to cheaper options. BlackBerry still seems to be in trouble. Revenues have increased though, and their number of shipped devices have also gone up, but operating loss is still prevalent. If BlackBerry shuts down, a large section of QWERTY lovers shall be highly disappointed. To save its base, BlackBerry Q5 comes into arena. Beautifully priced and packed with decent features, BlackBerry Q5 woos the hand of masses, making it easier for a large segment to get hold of the revolutionary BlackBerry 10 OS. This will definitely cut down the sales of BlackBerry Q10, why, I’ll tell you later on, but the shipments are sure to increase a lot.
Lets first take a look at whats under the hood:
Wow! Now this clearly raises a question why BlackBerry is charging 20 grands extra for its elder sibling, the Q10. So lets put a highlight over the differences, which are a very few.
Firstly, The major difference lies in the build quality. While the Q10 is made up using finely crafted stainless steel from blocks of cold forged steel using a method called phase-vapour deposition, BlackBerry Q5 is made up of simple plastic and fibre. No frets have been used, either in the rear of between the keys.
Secondly, the processor is now clocked at 1.2 GHz instead of 1.5 GHz. Mind you, the processor and chipset used, remains unchanged except the clock speed. Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon S4 is what powers the economy BB10 device. Its also the best one from Snapdragon S4 series. So, you’ll only notice minor hickups while playing resource demanding games. RAM and all other parameters remain totally unchanged.
The rear camera undergoes a modification, from 8MP to 5MP, which is obvious to somehow justify the price difference. But it still records full HD videos. The display has the same resolution of 720 x720p, but the type changes. While Q10 bears super AMOLED display and promises great batter backup, Q5 shows it all on a TFT LCD screen with better brightness levels. This also translates into a poorer battery backup even when the phone is built around a 2180 mAH (80 mAH higher than the one used in Q10). If you are thinking that you’ll keep multiple batteries for long run, please put a pause. This phone is company’s first ever with non-removable battery and sealed rear. So, only powerbank is the option for you on the move.
There are a minor differences as well, to point out. For example, Q10 has 3 microphones, so noise cancellation is better than in Q5. Plus, Q5 supports an ordinary antenna as against Q10 which has a highly powerful antenna to give you better signals where all others fail. However, all these things don’t make a significant difference in real life. If you have already bought a Q10, you can give these reasons to satisfy your heart.
Lets summarize it now. Having delivered the latest BlackBerry 10 OS in a classic messenger form factor, a midrange package combining touchscreen with the iconic hardware keyboard was next on the Canadians’ to-do list. The Q10 came at a price not a lot of people can afford, so the Q5 promises to deliver the same experience without sweeping the fluff out of your pocket.
As always seen with all the BlackBerry phones, Q5 follows the same trait. A charger adapter, a data cable and an earphone is what found other than the transceiver. Battery is now inbuilt, so its not separately mentioned. Earphones are again ordinary, against the once seen in Q10 box.
As already told earlier, Q5 lacks the sophistication of the Q10 and even though the plastic used is of decent quality, it’s nowhere near as solid or good looking as on the Q10. Cost-cutting was obviously not limited to the internals – the build and finish were affected too.
The styling of the Q5 does respects its tradition of Curve family. The spaced-out QWERTY keyboard takes after the Curves, as opposed to the tightly-packed, molded keys of the Bold series – and the Q10. Its not eye catchy though, but its cleaner and more simple. Then again, it would be unfair to the BlackBerry Q5 to only compare it to a clearly premium device like the Q10, which is also one of the handsomest smartphones around. In more general terms, the Q5 is average looking at the very least and certainly not a smartphone you’d be embarrassed to be seen with.
The four row QWERTY keyboard is very easy to operate. They look alike the ones seen in curve, but the size if keys is larger than ones seen in Curve family. The difference in size is clearly noticeable, making it more ergonomic and clear to see and type.
The best thing about the BlackBerry Q5 keyboard is that, just like on the Q10, it works with the touchscreen, rather than being at odds with it. With plenty of shortcuts available, most of which should be familiar to experienced BlackBerry users, the keyboard can seriously speed up getting around the interface.
Instant Actions makes the right kind of difference too, letting you launch apps and perform tasks using search as you type interface.
The BlackBerry Q5 uses a 3.1″ IPS LCD screen of 720p resolution (720 x 720 pixels). The pixel density is 328 ppi, i.e. slightly higher than the Galaxy SIII’s screen and equal to the iPhone 4S/5’s Retina display. So, everything on the screen is sharp and you can easily make out very fine text in your documents or web browser.
BlackBerry 10’s unique selling point is the user’s ability to peek and/or get into the BlackBerry Hub from almost anywhere in the phone, be it a video or application. For the newbies, BlackBerry Hub is a place where notifications of all the applications, including mails, whatsapp, Gtalk etc are displayed. Getting to this Hub has never been as easier before. So, now you can move to Hub from any application without missing a beat.
BlackBerry Calendar is an ecosystem within itself. Now you can send BBM invitations, emails and facebook messages within the calendar. Calender requests can now be sent via mail and the recipient can directly add the calendar event to the phone’s calendar. The calendar also synchronizes facebook birthdays. User can also send BBM request to the users involved in calendar requests. That’s all we expect from an ideal Business phone.
BlackBerry Q10, is what is heavily priced, and might disappoint a large section of QWERTY lovers. Seriously, the first BB10 QWERTY handset costs more than a Z10, and any competing flagship, so one would think it’s an opportunity the Q5 just can’t miss. The BlackBerry Q5 is almost the same phone, but with saner pricing of under 25 grands. So, those who desperately missed the Q10 can go for almost the same phone at a much lower price tag.
The Q5 has the same screen size and resolution, though it’s an LCD instead of AMOLED. It uses the same Snapdragon chipset with dual-core Krait, but it’sdownclocked. At least the Q5 has the full 2GB of RAM.
So Q5 is a sure to go handset for the Q10 aspirants with strict budget constraints.