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BlackBerry Q5 first impressions review: Half a solution for BlackBerry


Ankit Tuteja,IBNLive.com
Jul 16, 2013 at 05:46pm IST

New Delhi: Following the launch of the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 earlier this year, BlackBerry launched its third BlackBerry 10 OS smartphone - the BlackBerry Q5 - in India at Rs 24,990. What could impress its potential users is its price. The Q5 is the cheapest BlackBerry 10 device yet and is priced at almost half the price of the other BlackBerry 10 smartphones.

A look at what the phone has on offer and what the price tag reads, the Q5 definitely seems to be competitively priced and could help BlackBerry in preventing its userbase from shrinking further. While the detailed review is on its way, we give you a sneak peek of what our experience with the phone has been.

Just like the BlackBerry Q10, the BlackBerry Q5 is equipped with a 3.1-inch touchscreen and a physical QWERTY keyboard. Made of plastic, the phone has a good build quality. The display has a rich pixel density, but the small screen is what most of today's users don't prefer. The phone comes in three colours - black, red and white, and I liked the phone in all three colours. What I did not like is the keyboard on the Q5, which is almost similar to the one on the older BB OS7 devices. Compared to the keyboard on the Q10, keys on the Q5 are a tad hard to press, but it is of course better than the one on the BB OS 7 devices.

BlackBerry Q5 first impressions review: Half a solution for BlackBerry

Though the Rs 24,990 price looks appealing, the BlackBerry Q5 solves only a part of BlackBerry's problems.

Like the Q10, each key on the Q5 also has a slender groove for better accuracy in typing. While the comparison between the Q5 and Q10 is not fair - because of the huge price difference, but it is inevitable as the Q10 is based on the same design principles and runs on the same platform.

The phone is quite light in weight and comfortable to hold, and comes with a non-removable back cover. The left side houses SIM card and microSD card slots - concealed under a flap. The volume rocker key on right can also be used to capture images.

The 3.1-inch IPS display has a resolution of 720x720 pixels. The touch is responsive and the screen produces good colours and viewing angles are impressive. Speakers are fairly loud and produce good audio results.

Talking about the camera, the phone comes with an improved camera than those found on the other BlackBerry phones in the same price bracket, but other phones available in the market on different platforms have a much better camera than what we have seen on the Q5. In an outdoor environment, the 5 megapixel camera on the Q5 captures pictures of acceptable quality, but in soft and low-light conditions the image quality is unimpressive. We are yet to test the camera under more conditions. The phone supports 1080p video recording and playback. It also has a 2 megapixel front camera.

Running BlackBerry 10.1 OS, the phone is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 2GB RAM. It has an internal storage of 8GB, which is expandable up to 32GB. The phone has the same UI as the Q10. I have already discussed about the UI in the Q10 review.

Since it has only been a few hours since the phone has been with us, we haven't been able to test its battery performance.

The phone is believed to cater BlackBerry loyalists and those who prefer QWERTY over touch. With with the Q5, the company may succeed in attracting its loyalists, but a rational user not fixated on BlackBerry may be unlikely to opt for the Q5 as there are many better options available in the market at the same price.

For BlackBerry the challenge is not only to attract new customers but also to retain its fleeing hordes. In our first day with the phone, we found that the BlackBerry Q5 only solves a part of BlackBerry's problems. It is likely to retain the BlackBerry faithful, but BlackBerry will find it much tougher to attract new customers.

Further details in our comprehensive review.

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