The BlackBerry Q5 is the first BlackBerry 10 handset to target a mid-market price-point. At £320 on a PAYG basis, however, the physical QWERTY hosting handset always struggles to live up to this pricing, with a cheap, chunky design and low-key innards letting it down. At 10.8mm thick and 120g in weight the Q5 is by no means svelte. Its plastic body is more suited to an entry-level device and creeks and groans when put under even moderate amounts of pressure. The Q5 is not all doom-and-gloom though, far from it. It is a phone which plays to its strengths. The physical QWERTY is still the party piece and continues BlackBerry’s run of good form in this area. Although not quite as pleasing as the keyboard on the high-end BlackBerry Q10, the Q5’s offering is responsive and well-spaced, helping reduce accidental key strokes. This keyboard works brilliantly alongside the BB10 OS too, with multiple shortcuts available to help create a speedy, intuitive user experience. It is not the only input option though. A 3.1-inch 720p square touchscreen display also features. This display is detailed and sharp although could do with being a little brighter. The 1.2GHz dual-core processor at the heart of the Q5 is satisfactory but far from pushing the boundaries. Paired with 2GB of RAM it keeps things running along smoothly but shows its lack of legs when facing more strenuous tasks. BBM as always is a plus but BlackBerry World’s continuing lack of big name apps is a concern. There are a range of games on offer which all perform well but on a square 3.1-inch display fail to become particularly absorbing or engaging. The same can be said about video consumption. The Q5’s camera is a 5-megapixel offering and is a moderate performer. Pictures are acceptable but again a long way from some of the phone’s more illustrious rivals and focus times can become annoyingly slow and lethargic. A 2180mAh battery keeps the phone going all day with ease while a limited 8GB of internal storage can be expanded via microSD to 32GB. The BlackBerry Q5 should have been a phone to follow-on from the aging Curve range. In reality, though, it is an overpriced plastic option which will do the ailing Canadian manufacturer no favours at all.
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