BlackBerry Z30 announced: 5'' 720p display, 2GB RAM and Snapdragon S4 Pro

BlackBerry Z30: unleashed


The BlackBerryZ30 was announced a few hours ago during a rather mysterious event inKuala Lampur, Malaysia. That was sort of expected, given that we've been seeing Z30-related leaks growingboth in intensity and plausibility during the last few months, whichsignaled that the phone that some of you know as the Aristo wasapproaching. Well, the wait is now officially over and here's whatBlackBerry has in store for us.



Hardware


As was the casewith most of the latest high-roller smartphones, the leaks and rumorswere pretty spot on. This includes the 5-inch 720p (295 ppi) AMOLEDdisplay, the largest of any BB phone, and also the now aging aged Snapdragon S4 Pro with the four CPUs running at 1.7GHz. Blackberry is yet to shed light on whether we're talking about a dual-core or quad-core, though the less potent version seems likely. In terms of memory, you'll find 2GB RAM, with just 16GB ofinternal storage, though you can expand that via a microSD card.BlackBerry claims that the battery on the Z30, at 2880mAh, coupledwith software optimizations, offers 50% more battery life than itscurrent competitors, though manufactures have a pretty shady trackrecord when it comes to this particular bit of hardware, and its actual capabilities.



Turning to thecamera on the Z30, an increasingly relevant component of the entirepackage a smartphone offers lately, we're welcomed by a 8MP rearcamera with Auto Focus, 5x digital zoom and a an LED flash. The large fiveelement lens with an aperture of f/2.2 mean that the unit willcapture a lot of light, resulting in great shots. The snapper, as isto be expected, is capable of 1080p video capture, and comes withwhat BB chose to call “Time Shift” – a feature that basicallyallows you to choose and adjust faces from several snaps, so saygoodbye to ill-timed shots.



In terms ofconnectivity and extras, the Z30 is anything but lacking – you getGPS, 4G LTE connectivity and Wi-Fi, of course, but also Bluetooth 4.0LE (low energy), NFC, and the rather nice perk that is amicroHDMI port.



BlackBerry 10.2 OS


Hardwareis only one facet of the smartphone experience, with softwareincreasingly becoming the much more important other half. To that end, theZ30 will ship running BlackBerry 10.2, the OS' latest iteration.Among the new features that BB 10.2 brings to the table are theBlackBerry Priority Hub – your one stop place for all your personalcommunications and notifcations across a plethora of services. Thenow refined BBM brings system-wide chat notifications, and will letusers preview and respond to incoming communication without having tofire the app itself. Another seemingly interesting feature is whatBlackBerry is calling 'Natural Sound'. Basically, BB boasts that itstrio of speakers, along with some BlackBerry proprietary tech,will allow for more natural-sounding conversations over BBM Video andBBM Voice, by capturing nuances and variations in the talking person's tone.


Release date and availability


Release datesfor the BlackBerry Z30 will vary by region, though the company willbe making their new flagship phone available in Hong Kong andMalaysia starting on October 5th for roughly $620. As for the rest ofthe world, the Z30 will be available from select carriers andretailers, beginning with those in the UK and the Middle East (whereBB is still popular), and reportedly other undisclosed regions beforethe holiday season is upon us.



Our take



We usuallyreserve our right to a final verdict for after we get to play witha phone one-on-one, and we're not about to derail that rule. Thatbeing said, our initial impression of the BlackBerry Z30 is prettypositive. Sure, as is the current climate, two primary internalcomponents are bound to lead to a discussion – the 1280x720 screenand the now aging chipset. So, lets go through these in order.



Firstly, a 720presolution on a 5-inch screened smartphone will definitely upset afew specs junkies, who may have a few things to say, which may result in a rather cold reception akin to that of Motorola's new line of DROIDs, and,indeed, the Moto X. Having said that, a 720p screen also has its pros– its less of a power hog, both in terms of efficiency andperformance. Moreover, the oft-mentioned argument that thedifferences between a 720p and a 1080p screen are near-impossible toperceive with a naked eye still stands.



And as far asthe chipset is concerned – not every OS needs the very latest, mostexpensive silicon to run fluidly, as exemplified by many an iOS/WPphones. We will, of course, first have to see how the Z30 managesitself under a few real life situations before making any grandconclusions, but at this point we have no reason to believe that itwill drop the ball as far as responsiveness and performance areconcerned.



Said morebroadly, at a first glance, the BlackBerry Z30 appears to be a prettydecent high-end device. It remains to be seen, however, whetherBlackBerry's brand cache hasn't been thoroughly depleted, so much sothat it's gotten to a point where getting back into the game willrequire a small miracle on the part of the company formerly known asRIM.


Related phones

Z30
  • Display 5.0 inches
    1280 x 720 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP (Single camera)
    2 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, 2GB RAM
  • Storage 16GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 2880 mAh
  • OS BlackBerry 10.3

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