Review: Blackberry Z30 on TELUS Mobility

As a long time Blackberry user, I was really excited to try the Z30. It has a lot of the features about Blackberry that I love, and an impressive size. I immediately liked the size, weight and profile of the phone much better than the much-lauded Z10.
The Z30 is larger than the Samsung Galaxy, and while this means it is great for people like me who read a lot on their phones, it is also a challenging size to carry around. The blacks and whites are clear – the image quality is beautiful – and the BB10 operating system icons look great on this screen. I had no problem seeing the screen in all lighting conditions. The screen size makes watching videos a pleasure, and the fact that the device keeps a wifi connection and has great speed helps too.
Navigating the features of the phone takes little time to learn and is easy to do. As with all BB10 devices, the Z30 features the Blackberry Hub, a message centre that collects all of your messages in one area. You can program the Hub to ignore certain messages or place them in priority, and easily filter for content, sender, or message type. This feature makes the phone a powerful communication tool – which seems obvious to say, but realistically, since the line between phone and tablet is blurring all of the time, our phones have become about much more than communication.
The battery life of this phone with moderate use is approximately 2 days. Heavy video and gaming use drained the battery in one day, but even that is lengthy compared to many phones.
The browser scored 100/100 on the Acid 3 rendering test. On the HTML5 test, the browser scored 485 and 11 bonus points out of a possible 500 but has some key deficits: under User Interactions, the Drag and Drop attributes and events don’t work well with this browser.
The camera on this phone is better than the Z10 or Q10 although is lacking in quality in low light situations. The video seems adequate for a phone, but again, low-lighting situations aren’t ideal. The device features rear and front cameras at 8 and 2 megapixels, respectively, which means that selfies aren’t going to be great quality.

On to the biggie for me. One of the things I have always valued about the Blackberry is the physical keyboard. The change to the BB10 keyboard was difficult for me to make, and I found that I made a lot of errors (full disclosure – since reviewing this phone I’ve made the switch to Z10 and still struggle with the keyboard, to the amusement of my friends). While the device learned my habits quickly while texting, I had a difficult time adjusting to the predictive text feature that requires users to flick the words up onto the screen. I tested the voice control feature to see if I could adapt to my keyboard inadequacy, but I found the voice recognition to be pretty inaccurate – sometimes comically so! With practice, I was able to send a text, but I found that anything long was impossible, and it just seemed too difficult to be worth the effort.
One of the great features of many phones is the maps feature, and Blackberry really gets it right with the Z30. The app features TomTom navigation software, so that it can functions as a GPS, giving fast and accurate step by step directions to your destination. I tried this while driving (next to me, don’t worry!) and when I deliberately missed a turn, the TomTom recalculate the route quickly and seamlessly – much faster than the TomTom I use in my car, actually.
Finally, if you are planning to actually use your Z30 as a phone (!), you’ll love the sound quality. Tones are crisp and clear, and I found it a lot easier to speak on this phone in a crowded area than on others I have used.
Overall, the Z30 is an example of everything that Blackberry gets right, and some opportunities for growth if Blackberry stays in the market.

Screen size
Image quality
Battery Life
Blackberry navigation
TomTom Maps feature

Predictive text
Camera quality in low light
Voice control is inaccurate

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