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

BlackBerry Z30: unleashed


The BlackBerry Z30 was announced a few hours ago during a rather mysterious event in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia. That was sort of expected, given that we've been seeing Z30-related leaks growing both in intensity and plausibility during the last few months, which signaled that the phone that some of you know as the Aristo was approaching. Well, the wait is now officially over and here's what BlackBerry has in store for us.



Hardware


As was the case with most of the latest high-roller smartphones, the leaks and rumors were pretty spot on. This includes the 5-inch 720p (295 ppi) AMOLED display, 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 of internal storage, though you can expand that via a microSD card. BlackBerry claims that the battery on the Z30, at 2880mAh, coupled with software optimizations, offers 50% more battery life than its current competitors, though manufactures have a pretty shady track record when it comes to this particular bit of hardware, and its actual capabilities.



Turning to the camera on the Z30, an increasingly relevant component of the entire package a smartphone offers lately, we're welcomed by a 8MP rear camera with Auto Focus, 5x digital zoom and a an LED flash. The large five element lens with an aperture of f/2.2 mean that the unit will capture a lot of light, resulting in great shots. The snapper, as is to be expected, is capable of 1080p video capture, and comes with what BB chose to call “Time Shift” – a feature that basically allows you to choose and adjust faces from several snaps, so say goodbye to ill-timed shots.



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



BlackBerry 10.2 OS


Hardware is only one facet of the smartphone experience, with software increasingly becoming the much more important other half. To that end, the Z30 will ship running BlackBerry 10.2, the OS' latest iteration. Among the new features that BB 10.2 brings to the table are the BlackBerry Priority Hub – your one stop place for all your personal communications and notifcations across a plethora of services. The now refined BBM brings system-wide chat notifications, and will let users preview and respond to incoming communication without having to fire the app itself. Another seemingly interesting feature is what BlackBerry is calling 'Natural Sound'. Basically, BB boasts that its trio of speakers, along with some BlackBerry proprietary tech, will allow for more natural-sounding conversations over BBM Video and BBM Voice, by capturing nuances and variations in the talking person's tone.


Release date and availability


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



Our take



We usually reserve our right to a final verdict for after we get to play with a phone one-on-one, and we're not about to derail that rule. That being said, our initial impression of the BlackBerry Z30 is pretty positive. Sure, as is the current climate, two primary internal components are bound to lead to a discussion – the 1280x720 screen and the now aging chipset. So, lets go through these in order.



Firstly, a 720p resolution on a 5-inch screened smartphone will definitely upset a few 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 and performance. Moreover, the oft-mentioned argument that the differences between a 720p and a 1080p screen are near-impossible to perceive with a naked eye still stands.



And as far as the chipset is concerned – not every OS needs the very latest, most expensive silicon to run fluidly, as exemplified by many an iOS/WP phones. We will, of course, first have to see how the Z30 manages itself under a few real life situations before making any grand conclusions, but at this point we have no reason to believe that it will drop the ball as far as responsiveness and performance are concerned.



Said more broadly, at a first glance, the BlackBerry Z30 appears to be a pretty decent high-end device. It remains to be seen, however, whether BlackBerry's brand cache hasn't been thoroughly depleted, so much so that it's gotten to a point where getting back into the game will require a small miracle on the part of the company formerly known as RIM.


Related phones

Z30
  • Display 5.0" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, Dual-core, 1700 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2880 mAh(18h talk time)

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85 Comments

1. D.Aceveda

Posts: 432; Member since: Jun 30, 2012

RIP....

17. timukh

Posts: 295; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

yeah, great device but as always they will price it extremely wrong and the rest is history..

40. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2350; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

Whoaa?? Did it just killed the htc one/max??? Lol

81. sarge77

Posts: 202; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

it would be great if they actually use the quad core all that I speed will convince people to actually buy your product I would give it another round.

53. rodkurt

Posts: 128; Member since: Nov 29, 2012

and how expensive will this be?

87. MobileKicker

Posts: 212; Member since: Sep 19, 2013

$800 USD

74. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2389; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

I will say that I agree that this may be the end of Blackberry as an individual company. I do think they will be purchased by one of the other big smartphone manufacturers. I only hope that the new buyer takes a lot of the gesture based software and merges it into whatever platform that company supports. Samsung could use it in their Tizen OS, but I actually will say that the one company I wish was buying Blackberry is Canonical. Ubuntu for phones is heavily gesture based and they would greatly benefit from an acquisition of this kind. I just hope there is more Blackberry hardware to come, just under a different direction than what the company is taking now. The last hope would be if Blackberry were to come out with some new device in January that would blow everyone away in terms of hardware and software. I don't see it happening, but sometimes you have to reach rock bottom to realize your true potential.

75. donfem

Posts: 708; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

your opinion

79. squallz506

Posts: 1075; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

A $1000 device with nexus 4 specs. I agree r.I.p. blackberry.

2. pokedude750

Posts: 28; Member since: Aug 10, 2012

THIS is a monster... BUT WHY ON BB 10.2???????? Come one BlackBerry if you want to survive DITCH BB OS and Switch to Android.

5. Jason2k13

Posts: 1462; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

blackberry is blackberry, even if they shift to android, the public will still see the company as blackberry, samsung still dominates android.

25. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

If they made it on android they could at least expect to see some profit for once.

63. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

That's a big "if". Big corporations have mostly realized that they don't need BB anymore, and as highly priced as BBs are (overpriced, really), they save money going the Android or Windows Phone route, and loose little to no productivity and efficiency

12. sarge77

Posts: 202; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

Lol BB can just port apps over like they can do with apple to android very easy my thing with RIM is how many apps amd the dam reboot after each install not to sure if that changed. Man this is real good now competition is heating up nice work BB.

29. GadgetsMcGoo

Posts: 168; Member since: Mar 15, 2013

This has changed for BB10. There is no reboot needed after an app install.

82. sarge77

Posts: 202; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

thx do the info man the funny thing is dont know how many times I dropped my BB but that dam thing still worked lol had the Bold before

43. TheM16

Posts: 80; Member since: Aug 14, 2013

People need to try the thing before judging and bluffing.

76. donfem

Posts: 708; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

Particularly when you have people with little understanding judging a device with little or no information about the capabilities of the device

52. Pedro0x

Posts: 271; Member since: Oct 19, 2012

Have you even tested the OS, it is awesome and intuitive, the lack of apps is another problem ofcourse, but the OS is really great and could rival iOS or Android (I am not mentioning WP here because it is not competitive enough) if it had apps. If BB would start selling their phones at a reasonable price, they´d see a rise from the dead.

65. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

"Not competitive enough": WP is solidly third in the smartphone race. BB is just barely fourth in front of Tizen.

69. Pedro0x

Posts: 271; Member since: Oct 19, 2012

It sucks as an OS, it misses a lot of features. The only salvation WP has are lumia 720,620 and 520, these are extremely well priced phones, if these phones didn´t existed WP would be dead in the water. If only OEMs started paying more attention to their low-end phones, like better optimization (it is possible to make low-end phones to be buttery-smooth, viz xda) and if xda can do it, why can´t big companies such as Samsung or Sony do it. Then WP would also be dead. I mean WP is such a boring OS, it brings almost nothing new to the table, meanwhile look at Android, with every new version it gets closer to the "perfect OS". What I wanted to write is that while WP is nothing extraordinary and intuitive, BB OS bring at least something new, sure WP may feel modern and smooth but it is horribly slow. And if BB started selling their phones at a more competitive price, they would be able to get more market share than WP

70. Pedro0x

Posts: 271; Member since: Oct 19, 2012

Yeah and boast that WP is third of four competitive OS:es it nothing to boast about:)

3. Troysyx

Posts: 181; Member since: Jul 30, 2012

Its not the older chip set and the lower resolution screen that has me scratching my head and seeing BB digging their graves even deeper. Its the fact that we all know that they are going to be charging a high amount for it.

18. timukh

Posts: 295; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

true.! i am guessing $199 on contract and $700-800 off contract.

32. GadgetsMcGoo

Posts: 168; Member since: Mar 15, 2013

Yet still higher resolution than the latest iPhone 5s which has a comically low 1136 x 640 compared to 1280 x 720.

4. anleoflippy

Posts: 596; Member since: Jan 03, 2013

So, announced in the country where I live eh? Not suprising though as Malaysians are still using Blackberry as their daily driver, same goes to Indonesia,

6. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

If BB offered this a year ago, that would have been great.

19. timukh

Posts: 295; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

why did they go from a 768p screen in z10 to a 720p screen in the z30?? O.o

66. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Bigger screen. Need to balance size vs resolution when pricing them out. Not that big of difference, really.

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