BlackBerry Z30 ReviewBlackBerry Z30 7.5
Sporting a clean layout that’s predominately covered by the viewfinder, there are few icons or buttons littering its interface. Towards the right edge, there’s an icon in the upper right corner that enables us to switch between photos, videos, and its new Time Shift feature. Meanwhile, there’s another icon in the bottom right corner to get into some additional settings and shooting modes – such as burst and stabilization modes. It’s lacking some of the manual modes and comprehensive set of shooting options that other camera UIs offer, like Panorama, for instance.
Furthermore, there’s also some confusion at first when it comes to snapping photos. Since it lacks a physical or on-screen shutter key, you just need to tap anywhere in the viewfinder area to take a snap shot, which is instantaneous. However, there’s a small square box that acts as the UI’s exposure and focus level adjustment. Basically, you have to press and hold down on it to move the box around to a specific area – so yeah, the execution is a bit strange from what we’re typically exposed to. Finally, with the Time Shift feature, it buffers images prior you to snapping a shot, so that you can “travel back in time” to select the best faces from each individual in the shot – ultimately stitching together the perfect one.
Shots taken outdoors with plenty of lighting are decent enough to accept with their average details and subtle oversaturation, which sprinkles a bit of vibrancy to its shots. However, depending on where you position its focus box, images can appear over/under exposed, and there's quite a lot of noise even in sunny conditions. Under low lighting, though, it’s noticeably more speckled looking with its fine details – while an overall graininess is more prevalent throughout the shot. Luckily, its LED flash seems to be potent enough to light up the scenery up to 7 feet away, though, colors appear more washed out in tone.
BlackBerry Z30 Sample Images
Likewise, we can say the same thing about its 1080p video recording quality – with nothing that really jumps at us. Needless to say, we like the average details it’s putting out, gradual exposure, and steady frame rate that it delivers. Despite those charming items, there are two specific distracting elements that pop up. First of all, artifacting elements appear and soften it details whenever the camera is transitioning from light to dark areas and vice versa. And secondly, the microphone doesn’t seem to handle the wind too well, as it picks up that and other noisy tones in the background.
|Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better||Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better||CamSpeed score Higher is better||CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better|
|Samsung Galaxy S4||3.4
|Nokia Lumia 925||4.5
Moving onward to the music player, we’re disappointed to see that its presentation doesn’t get the kind of love it needs to appear modern and spiffy looking. Instead, it’s boasting a boring looking style that doesn’t rival some of the cooler looking UIs seen with other Android smartphones – and even the iPhone’s cover flow mode. As usual, we’re presented with the album cover, track information, and on-screen playback controls. Even worse, when it’s minimized and placed in the Active Frames area, we’re not even given playback controls. For that, the mini player is only accessible in the lock screen after the volume buttons are pressed. Setting its volume to the loudest setting, its output is average at best – albeit, there’s a hint of strain coming out of it.
Hardly a shocker to us, the BlackBerry Z30 is equipped to play high definition videos with no problems. Aside from the swift and steady playback, it’s worth mentioning that it supports a wide array of video codecs out of the box – these include H.264, MPEG-4, DivX and Xvid. Sure, the sharp looking display aids the experience, but it doesn’t have the same wow factor as some other handsets. Also, it’s somewhat disappointing to know that there is no mini player feature that many other devices provide – like being able to play a video in the background while doing something else.
Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Nokia Lumia 925 0.43
Samsung Galaxy S4 0.38
BlackBerry Z30 0.35
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Nokia Lumia 925 75
Samsung Galaxy S4 77
BlackBerry Z30 75
BlackBerry Z10 74
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: 212; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
Yeah guys 7.5 is really low
9 would be justified
25. MobileKicker (Posts: 212; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
I don't know what's wrong with galaxyarena
26. MobileKicker (Posts: 212; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
The app count doesn't.make sense
Don't you know it can download android apps
29. MobileKicker (Posts: 212; 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: 1529; 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: 212; 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: 10091; Member since: 14 May 2012)
2 cons at 7.5. Wtf is up with PA reviews this past month seriously?
7. Commentator (Posts: 3150; 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: 212; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
Commentator, this is not football
This device is amazing
4. papss (unregistered)
Hmm this review seems off. I don't like bb at all but come on
5. TheM16 (Posts: 80; Member since: 14 Aug 2013)
Great phone ...now using it with Z1...no cpmplains
6. Smokin (Posts: 120; Member since: 10 Oct 2013)
BBs are great phone.
It should be atleast 8.
8. Planterz (Posts: 1705; 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: 168; 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: 1705; 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: 168; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)
No. Your passive aggressive snide "joke" was not missed.
32. Xtasy (Posts: 284; 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: 297; 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: 1705; 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: 284; 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: 731; 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: 1015; 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: 458; 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: 17; 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: 17; 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: 10091; 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: 1015; 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: 212; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
Blackberry os 10.2 is way better than windows phone
28. winter_hat (Posts: 109; 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: 29; 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: 3456; 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: 9; 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.
42. freddysrevng (Posts: 1; Member since: 11 Dec 2013)
Here's a Review from "Someone Who Has Owned the Z30 for a Month"
- iTunes and Outlook "Sync Friendly" .... rare combination these days...
- 2 Days + on a battery charge.... Equals 4-5X the battery life of iPhone 5S and most Android Phones
- 6 external speaker "Natural Sound" is Superior to HTC "Beats Technology" for Music, Hands Free Calls, Gaming, Video Calls
- BlackBerry Messenger Video Chat is Superior to Skype in "ease of use" and "quality of audio and video"....
- Browsing experience is "as good as" if not "better than" anything else on the market...
- Top Android apps are "loadable" and will be "even easier" when 10.2.1 comes out in the next couple of months...
I had a Samsung Galaxy 3 for about a year, then a BlackBerry Z10 and wanted a "new phone"... I found the "following": the iPhone 5S just had too small of a screen and I have a family member with iOS 7 on an iPod and I don't care for the software...........Samsung Galaxy S4 (too much like the Galaxy S3 that I had and based on a 74% "recommend to a friend" rating on Verizon - did not make any sense to do that, again)........ Nokia Phones - no interest in the plastic, the colors or the software..... LG G2 - nice screen, played the external speaker and could not believe how "tinny" it sounded - I thought that was a good indication of a lackluster "build quality"...
Bought the Z30 for the reasons mentioned above.... Have had it for a month and it is not only the "Best BlackBerry Ever", I believe that it is the "Best New Smartphone on the Market"...
Don't believe me... go look at the Verizon website where the Z30 has a "better rating" than the iPhone 5S and a "much better rating" than the Galaxy S3 and S4.... go to CNET... Amazon and you "keep seeing the same results" from OWNERS of the Z30 .. not the "biased reviewers".
People who had older BlackBerrys are really doing themselves a disservice by not taking a look at BlackBerry, again. The Z10, Q10 and Z30 are some of the finest and best rated phones on the market.... there is not a single line of code in BB10 software that is the same as what you had in your "old BlackBerry"... Totally New Experience that many are Enjoying...
|Display||5.0 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (295 ppi) Super AMOLED|
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8960T Pro, Dual-core, 1700 MHz, Krait 300 processor
2048 MB RAM
|Size||5.53 x 2.83 x 0.37 inches|
(140.7 x 72 x 9.4 mm)
6.00 oz (170 g)
|Battery||2880 mAh, 18 hours talk time|