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BlackBerry Q5 review

Luke Johnson



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BlackBerry Q5 Hands-on
  • BlackBerry Q5 Hands-on
  • BlackBerry Q5 Hands-on
  • BlackBerry Q5 Hands-on
  • BlackBerry Q5 Hands-on
  • BlackBerry Q5 Hands-on
  • BlackBerry Q5 Hands-on
  • BlackBerry Q5 Hands-on
  • BlackBerry Q5
  • BlackBerry Q5
  • BlackBerry Q5
  • BlackBerry Q5
  • BlackBerry Q5
  • BlackBerry Q5
  • BlackBerry Q5
  • BlackBerry Q5
  • BlackBerry Q5
  • BlackBerry Q5
  • BlackBerry Q5
  • BlackBerry Q5
  • BlackBerry Q5


Our Score:



  • Physical QWERTY keyboard
  • Sharp HD screen
  • Good business features


  • Massively overpriced
  • Cheap, plastic design
  • Only a 5-megapixel camera

Key Features

  • Physical QWERTY keyboard
  • BlackBerry 10 operating system
  • 5-megapixel camera
  • Manufacturer: Blackberry Europe
  • Review Price: £320.00

What is the BlackBerry Q5?

The BlackBerry Q5 is only the third BB10 handset to make it to market, and the first to target a more affordable price point. A replacement of sorts to the BlackBerry Curve range, the Q5 is the mid-market sibling to the touchscreen BlackBerry Z10 and the fellow QWERTY BlackBerry Q10.

The Q5 has the same 3.1-inch HD display as the Q10, but runs a slower 1.2GHz dual-core CPU and has a 5-megapixel rear-mounted camera. It’s available for £320 on a PAYG basis, so it’s priced to go head-to-head with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, and is available in black, white and red.

Is the BlackBerry Q5 cheap enough to convert those upgrading from old BlackBerry OS 7 handsets and can BB10 bring the fight to Android? Let’s take a look.

Watch our BlackBerry Q5 video review:

BlackBerry Q5 Design

It doesn’t get off to the most auspicious of starts. The BlackBerry Q5’s design is not the most ergonomic, solid or pleasing on the eye. At 10.8mm thick and 120g in weight the Q5 isn’t especially thick or heavy, but it feels heavier at its base than at the top (perhaps because of the QWERTY keyboard), which makes it feel unbalanced.

The BlackBerry Q5’s plastic body doesn’t help, either. It makes the Q5 feel more like an entry-level phone than a £320 mid-range one. It creaks and groans when put under even moderate amounts of pressure, and our sample shows signs of wear after just a few days’ use.

The Q5’s design is a long step away from the premium metal and carbon fibre effect Q10 and struggles to meet the build quality of many of its similarly priced rivals, including the aging but still stunningly timeless iPhone 4 and the world’s thinnest smartphone, the Huawei Ascend P6.

BlackBerry Q5

On more practical points, the backplate isn’t removable. Not only does this lock the battery in, it means the SIM and microSD slots are only accessible via a fiddly plastic flap on the phone’s left edge. It’s far from robust and is yet another point of weakness. Button placement is sensible, however, and the controls are easy to reach when holding the phone in a single hand. It’s just a shame the Q5 doesn’t feel nicer.

As has often been the case with BlackBerry’s handsets, the Q5’s physical QWERTY keyboard is the phone’s saviour. The keys are well-spaced and a comfortable size, which makes tapping out messages fast and effortless. If you can look past the slightly chintzy design, the Q5’s QWERTY keyboard won’t disappoint.

BlackBerry Q5

BlackBerry Q5 Screen Quality

The BlackBerry Q5’s screen is pleasingly sharp and detailed, despite its peculiar 1:1 aspect ratio. Like the BlackBerry Q10 before it, the Q5 has a 3.1-inch square display with a 720 x 720-pixel resolution. A strong 338 pixels-per-inch image density means text is pin sharp with no faint or smudged edges.

Its sharp, then, but the Q5’s LCD screen could benefit from being a little brighter. Colours are just as rich and vibrant as on many an AMOLED display rival, like the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, but it’s hard to use in bright, direct sunlight, where glare becomes a problem.

The BlackBerry Q5 screen looks ever so slightly recessed, too, which probably explains its problems in bright light, but that’s not the most serious problem. The Q5 constantly struggles to overcome the limitations of its 3.1-inch square display. Web pages look cramped videos are near unwatchable as they’re so small and crushed by black bars.

It’s a problem for games, too, as many of the BlackBerry 10 apps available don’t adapt to the Q5’s 1:1 aspect ratio.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

└► Ha[X]aN ◄┘

May 14, 2013, 7:05 pm

good one price ?


May 15, 2013, 2:13 am


Nanda Linn Aung

May 15, 2013, 5:01 am

nice one.... if they sell less than 199$ outright, it might be a hit.


July 8, 2013, 9:09 am

Hmm.."stunningly timeless" Really? Are you quite sure? Maybe "squat, chunky, fragile and with suspect signal reception" would be another, equally valid way to describe it? And if having a fixed battery doesn't stop the iPhone 4 being both "stunning" and "timeless", or hinder its adoption by business, care to explain why it should be an issue for the Q5?

As for being "unbalanced" I'd argue that having the weight favour the lower part of a handset makes perfect sense. I'm not even sure I understand what you mean by "feels unbalanced".

Granted the price seems a bit steep at the moment and the main camera is very poor, but performance, screen, keyboard, battery life and webcam are all very good and its 4G-enabled and unlike the iP4/S/5 and Nexus 4 there's storage expansion.

As for the price, are you quite sure it's £320 on PAYG? CPW is offering it for £320 SIM-free, I can't see any PAYG offers at the moment from the major UK telecos or re-sellers. On contract it seems to be offer from just over £20 a month which seems a pretty reasonable price for a device like this.

Jason Peters

July 9, 2013, 8:06 am

I agree with what the Trusted Reviews team are saying about the Q5 but I'm still having concerns over areas that are somewhat "picky" would never be happen during any Apple product review.

The acknowledgements to it's market sector are very well referenced but not in the context that compromises have to be made in prooduction for it to reach a price-point for the market it's aimed at.

Comparing is a great reference point, but why? In a polite and quick from Ed, following my comments during the Z10 review I was told that refrencing a S4 or S3 although "well known" don't have the awareness - so why would readers know about a P6?

So why I love the review, I really do think in order for me to "trust" this website, I'd like to see a bit more honesty towards Apple and it's other products, we are all guilty of a little bias, but on a website that sells it'self as "Trusted" giving an honest opinion; I feel some products come in for that on here, while the Apple products "being stunningly timeless" don't.

I can see a growing frustration from many readers about the incongrunency in news and reviews.


July 20, 2013, 12:48 am

5 out of 10? The price shouldn't be included as a negative, because price always changes. PLUS why are you using e-bay? They will OVERPRICE anything they can, especially when its a new product.
I would give this phone a 7 out of 10, with the Q10 getting a 9.5 out of 10.

Anyhow I can see some bias going on here, but that is my opinion. The Q5 deserves a higher score.


August 2, 2013, 4:50 am

help me am goin to buy BBM Q5 today .. s


August 16, 2013, 12:24 am

I think this is the phone for me. Any Q5 users here around!?!?!? Well, i m planning to buy it next week, you guy'z opinion makes me feel to either buy it or not......HELP ME GUYZZZZ!!!!!!!!!


September 20, 2013, 9:08 am

Proble with Camera, facing problem with camera cant switch on, funny message that camera can't start. Service center want to keep phone for 1 months to send it to the manufacturer place. and its very common problem with most of the Q5 users. Pls think before buy.


September 20, 2013, 9:09 am

Please read my commets before buying abt camera problem with Q5


September 27, 2013, 4:14 pm

I've seen the phone as cheap at $300. Prices are coming down. Performance is really good for the pricepoint IMO.

Blackberry Q5

October 7, 2013, 10:50 pm

I am a Z10 user, a PlayBook user, and a Q5 user. I would much rather spend the $300.00 for the Q5, than the Q10. The Q5 is an unbelievable phone. Who gives a rat's behind about 50,000 flashlight apps, when you can have a phone, an OS, and the best keyboards and prediction around on a smart phone. I had all kinds of brands...and I ALWAYS come back to BlackBerry. They really do make an amazing product.

The problem that people have is this: Stop trying to compete with the Joneses because they use Apple, and learn what a good phone is...a lot of people who use the iphone don't know half of what the capabilities are of the device that they're buying anyhow. They do it to just keep up with the next person....truly sad. You don't know what you're missing by passing up on a BB10 phone....seriously. They are fast, have the best keyboards...virtual or tactile...removable batteries, expandable storage, great camera, mature and useful apps...and they have class!

david hugeson

November 27, 2013, 7:06 pm

i am a owner of the blackberry q5 i have it in red and it is a beautiful device packs all the great features and also has 2gb of ram as the s4 has it is good wekk round phone doesnt disappoint battery lasts 2 days for me heavy user good front camera for skype and bbm video and if you want to go the extra mile with apps you can even sideload which run smooth buy the blackberry q5 trust me user


March 24, 2014, 6:29 pm

How much louder would the "clicky" noise be for the keyboard on a Q5 than a Q10? Would it wake my wife in the middle of the night if I start typing?

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