BlackBerry Z30 Review
With the largest screen of any BlackBerry phone so far, large battery, and good processor running the latest BB 10.2 OS, the Z30 is the Canadians' undisputed flagship, taking the torch from the 4.2” Z10.
It also features a premium build with metallic accents, plus the awesome BlackBerry keyboard, but will those be enough to entice the ever-shrinking suit and tie target market of the company? Read on to find out...
In the box:
- In-ear stereo headphones
- Wall charger
- microUSB cable
- Warranty and information leaflets
The side rim transitioning into a brushed metal plate underneath the display looks very good, though, and the heft and girth give the phone a solid feel in the hand. Moreover, the tapered back is covered with a nice soft-touch plastic in carbon fiber pattern that doesn't slip, making the phone sit very well in the hand. This back cover is removable, revealing a sealed battery compartment underneath, and a micro SIM slot on the left sitting on top of a microSD one.
The phone leaves a very ergonomic impression when handled – the power/lock key at the top, for instance, is situated right smack in the middle, where your index finger naturally resides. That button, and the volume keys on the right feel extremely solid, and have great, clicky tactile feedback. Even the small button between the volume ones that calls the voice assistant is very easy to feel and press without looking, with a prompting brushed metal notch on top of it.
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140.7 x 72 x 9.4 mm
6.00 oz (170 g)
130 x 65.6 x 9 mm
4.85 oz (138 g)
136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm
4.59 oz (130 g)
129 x 70.6 x 8.5 mm
4.90 oz (139 g)
The display exhibits oversaturated, flashy colors, which make BB 10's painting scheme look rather appealing. The viewing angles, both horizontal and vertical, are excellent, as can be expected from an OLED screen.
Its brightness could be a bit higher, compared to some LCDs out there, but the anti-reflection coating on the Z30 is pretty good, and we had no trouble viewing the phone's screen outdoors, even in direct sunlight.
Display measurements and quality
|Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better||Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better||Contrast Higher is better||Color temperature (Kelvins)||Gamma||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Samsung Galaxy S4||288
The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.
|Maximum brightness Lower is better||Minimum brightness Lower is better||Contrast Lower is better||Color temperature Lower is better||Gamma Lower is better||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Samsung Galaxy S4||0%
The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy.
The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential (target) values.
10. phonebuddy (Posts: 2; Member since: 10 Oct 2013)
"Well, that leads us to the hardest gesture to master – the one that gets you into the BlackBerry Hub, which.... ....Essentially, it’s a swipe up from the bottom bezel, then while your finger is still touching the screen, you swipe right to uncover the BlackBerry Hub." - how hard do you think is it? I mastered my alphabet before going to school and I think the 26 letters in the alphabet have so much more stroke than the one going to the hub.
24. MobileKicker (Posts: 207; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
Yeah guys 7.5 is really low
9 would be justified
25. MobileKicker (Posts: 207; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
I don't know what's wrong with galaxyarena
26. MobileKicker (Posts: 207; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
The app count doesn't.make sense
Don't you know it can download android apps
29. MobileKicker (Posts: 207; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
This is an amazing device
The "howdowerate" is junk 7.5 for this beast
It must get at least get 9 and the z10 must get 8.5
Both are fantabulously awesoming
19. AnTuTu (Posts: 595; Member since: 14 Oct 2012)
This is very good looking and well built device. I don't know whats wrong with iPhonearena.
Just a little advise BB, let other hardware manufacturers us your BB10 platform.
31. MobileKicker (Posts: 207; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
And who told PA that wp8 is better than bb os
Wp8 looks well in laptops but not in smartphones
This is my fifth continuous comment...lol
2. PapaSmurf (Posts: 4229; Member since: 14 May 2012)
2 cons at 7.5. Wtf is up with PA reviews this past month seriously?
7. Commentator (Posts: 1874; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
The second con is a huge one. Blackberry's low app count is a major reason it's not a compelling platform.
Granted, low app count hasn't affected their reviews before (I'M LOOKING AT YOU, PALM PRE REVIEW)...
30. MobileKicker (Posts: 207; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
Commentator, this is not football
This device is amazing
4. papss (Posts: 2192; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
Hmm this review seems off. I don't like bb at all but come on
5. TheM16 (Posts: 73; Member since: 14 Aug 2013)
Great phone ...now using it with Z1...no cpmplains
6. Smokin (Posts: 60; Member since: 10 Oct 2013)
BBs are great phone.
It should be atleast 8.
8. Planterz (Posts: 100; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)
The good battery life is amplified by the fact that, unlike Androids and iPhones, there's so little you can do on a BB that it'll stay in your pocket most of the time.
9. GadgetsMcGoo (Posts: 144; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)
You don't get any instant messages or emails? Even from work? You should get some friends and maybe a job or something.
12. Planterz (Posts: 100; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)
In your pathetic attempt to belittle me, my joke went way over your soft little head.
My joke (which apparently you need to be explained to you) is that if you were worried about your battery not lasting long enough throughout the day, because you were constantly using it to play Angry Birds or Words With Friends, or chatting with Snapchat, or sharing pictures with Instagram, or watching videos on Netflix, well...
You don't have to worry about that because you can't do any of that on a BB. Email and messaging don't take much battery juice, so your battery will last a good long time, because your BB won't be much use for anything else (not anything fun, anyway).
22. GadgetsMcGoo (Posts: 144; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)
No. Your passive aggressive snide "joke" was not missed.
32. Xtasy (Posts: 269; Member since: 13 Jan 2013)
WOW! you are a complete dummy lol
I have a Blackberry Z10 and it can do all those things.. I don't need Netflix cuz I get much better movies and load it to my phone and watch it from there.. Are u serious? A BB can do all those things and more.. With this multi tasking beast u will find me doing a few things at a time with such ease.. No phone can match up to this lol
11. E.S.1 (Posts: 143; Member since: 14 Sep 2013)
The score should be closer to 8.5.
Blackberry is for business. Lot of people don't need apps, music, videos, movies or games, nor should they pay for that trivia on business phones.
13. phonebuddy (Posts: 2; Member since: 10 Oct 2013)
exactly! you are buying this phone because of the built in features that it posses and not the apps that you can install later
14. Planterz (Posts: 100; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)
That logic makes no sense. The Z30 costs as much as flagship Androids or iPhones, yet is severely limited by its woeful app selection. Same data plan charges as well.
Would you pay complete-package prices for cable/satellite TV for ony the basic channels? Would you pay the price for a 42 function Swiss Army Knife for one that only has 12 functions? $500 on a blender with only one speed when you can get a Blendtec?
You talk about built-in features? Android and iOS have the "built-in" feature of hundreds of thosands of apps and games, whereas BB has a scant fraction of that, and is missing most of the popular ones.
What can you do on a BB that you can't do on an iPhone or Android? Oh yeah...BBM. But that's coming soon anyway.
33. Xtasy (Posts: 269; Member since: 13 Jan 2013)
Wrong! I use my phone for entertainment all the time.. who are u kidding? BB has it all now.. and makes it so much easier with the fantastic keyboard and multi tasking that beats them all.. On top of that we got a play button.. and can easily change tracks without opening the screen.. why is it that no phone has these options? so sad.. and don't tell me S4 has better options cuz I've seen them and it's a joke haha
34. maccess (Posts: 399; Member since: 16 Jan 2013)
no you're a joke.. you've "seen" the s4.. but not used it.. so shut up.. don't embarrased yourself..
15. jellmoo (Posts: 205; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
Isn't it at least worth a mention that you can side load a fair amount of Android apps in order to help with the overall low app number issue?
16. isprobi (Posts: 73; Member since: 30 May 2011)
Use a PlayOn client and server if you want more media like Netflix. The volume buttons work as a camera shutter key. I consistently get better signal reception on my Z10 than my friends with Android and iPhone and stay on LTE. And the Z30 adds ParaTek technology for even better reception but that was not even mentioned. Gestures are not hard just different than poking buttons. I hope there is a landscape dock for this like I have for my Z10.
17. toystore (Posts: 14; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)
it has 1.7 GHz dual core not 1.5 GHz, PA don't even know the spec and try to reivew phone. LOL
18. toystore (Posts: 14; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)
PA 2013 standard point system,
Android flaghip device 9 to 10
Mid tire Android 8 to 9
iPhone 9 to 9.5
Windows Phone 8 to 9
blackberry 7 to 7.5
rest 7 and below
They rated Moto X 8.5 which has same spec as Z30 lower build quality and Android 4.3 which is not even close to BB 10.2
20. PapaSmurf (Posts: 4229; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Moto X clearly is overall a better phone... I still think the Z30 should have received at least a 8.5 considering you can side load apps from Android.
21. jellmoo (Posts: 205; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
I wouldn't say "clearly". I think that there is enough give and take between the two devices that it mostly comes down to personal preference and what you need from your handset.
23. Jaguarandine (Posts: 1; Member since: 11 Oct 2013)
I want to preface my comment by saying Phone Arena is one of my favorite sites for mobile phone reviews. They're generally more in-depth and less biased, and I love the sizing comparisons and detailed pictures. Good job!
On the review, I think 3 things were glossed over/not mentioned that really make the Z30 stand out.
1) Battery Life - While it might not be surprising given the hardware, the battery life here is really outstanding. Better than almost every flagship released this year outside certain phablets. This is a big strength of the Z30 over other phones and is worth mentioning in more detail.
2) AMOLED Screen - While it may be enough to say that it's better than say, the Z10's, I think it's worth noting the tech involved. The Z30 screen uses an S-Stripe matrix (just like the Moto X), which means that it ditches the Pentile display prevalent in so many AMOLED screens. It's a definite improvement over AMOLEDs found in the Galaxy S3, Q10, and Lumia 925.
3) The App Situation - I agree with everything mentioned about App World's quality and quantity of apps. On this front, iOS, Android, and even WP are better. However, there should be a very big asterisk beside any review of the Z30's (or any BB device running 10.2 for that matter) apps, and this asterisk should elaborate on the ability to sideload Android apps. Never mind the low-quality Android ports in BlackBerry App World; those are unfortunately cash-grab attempts by lazy developers. On 10.2, the Z30 has the ability to load nearly ANY Android app perfectly 95% of the time. Need Instagram? You got it. Netflix? It's there. Temple Run, Google Maps, Spotify, it all works remarkably well. So well in fact, I'm surprised every reviewer isn't shouting it from the rooftops! This is a game-changing feature that no other platform can do. Even if BlackBerry were to die tomorrow, you could feel content and assurance for the near-future because every Android 4.2 app will work on your phone. Definitely worth mentioning.
Thanks for reading!
27. MobileKicker (Posts: 207; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
Blackberry os 10.2 is way better than windows phone
28. winter_hat (Posts: 24; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)
I recently swapped the SIM card out of my BlackBerry Q10 and used my Galaxy Nexus at a concert because I have a Otter Box for it and I like the camera. I will tell you without reservation, BB10 OS and the Hub are significantly better than Android. The Hub really just destroys anything in existence. And pushing power buttons and home buttons and back arrows? It's just maddening how inefficient and archaic that seems once you've used BB10. I hope BB survives or I hope someone copies the Hub and gesture based OS. I see a lot of Android apps now with swiping left and right....so they seem to be noticing and stealing...
Anyway, this phone looks amazing and I already know the OS is the best available.
35. tttony (Posts: 18; Member since: 22 Jul 2012)
The problem is not the phone, it's the software
BB10 OS lack of main software, that's cuz devs has lost interest in making apps for BB10
So BB10 OS Sucks!!
36. Nharzhool (Posts: 1; Member since: 14 Oct 2013)
There seems to be some general bias against BB phones lately. It is probably because of what is happening with the company and the "journalists" don't seem to be able to remain objective about the phone alone.
I didn't see any mention of the speakers which, when put up against its only rival, the HTC One, the Z30 is much better.
Also, didn't they put in some fancy, proprietary antenna that uses some sort of Eldritch magic to get you better reception and save battery life?
There was no mention of USB OTG, Miracast, Toast Notifications, Lock-Screen previews, QI Wireless charging on the US model, standardised bluetooth HID compatibility...seems very peculiar. And yes, I've done a lot of research on this device. :-P
Also, wanted to thank the users from the other platforms for not just going "gah...BB dead now lol n00b f@g...BB sux!!!" - Well MOST of you. It seems that a lot of the people on here were able to actually look at this device as a device by itself.
How does it take the Z30 4 seconds to take a photo and the Z10 only 2.5? THEY HAVE THE SAME OS! Something really isn't right with this review...
He seemed to dislike the gestures purely because they are different from other phones and not what he is used to...that is rather stupid.
39. snowgator (Posts: 3018; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)
I have no idea why BB10 is not getting the kind of love that WebOS got back in the day. The gesture based OS is amazing- fun, functional, and shows true vision of what an OS can be. BlackBerry has been beaten, made fun of, and critizied endlessly in the past 2 years. Mostly rightly so. But ANYONE who has actually tried this OS would fall in love with it. And where WebOS was handcuffed by really horrid hardware- and I owned a Palm Pre Plus, so trust me, I know- BB has done some amazing hardware.
Forget app count- there is only one reason not to buy a Z30. The future of BlackBerry as a company needs to be sorted out. I would buy a Z30 in a minute if I thought there was going to be 2+ years of aggresive support from BB and their new owner. But without knowing what the roadmap of a new company is or even what they would look like, it is hard to jump on these BB10 devices.
40. TonyStark (Posts: 2; Member since: 10 Oct 2012)
Seems like iPhoneArena only reviews phones based on looks and benchmarks, other than that, it needs to have a bitten apple on its back to deserve at least a 9.
The Z30 is a great device. This website only serves a purpose--To hurt stuggling companies even more.
If there's a Z30, then surely a Q30 will be released. Can't wait for it, not really a fan of full-touch smartphones.
41. suneelgaddam (Posts: 1; Member since: 12 Nov 2013)
Seriously 7.5 is very less score based on the credibility of this phone,you didnt even mention the paratek technology and natural sound.
with coming next update to it's os 10.2.1 u can run any apk file directly from the phone and install it.Based on the benchmark scores,you can tell z30 performed best of all.
And Finally BB 10 is the best and great multitasking OS available in the market.