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BlackBerry Z30 - BlackBerry 10.2 Software

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

BlackBerry Z30 - BlackBerry 10 Software

The most important question to ask when thinking about buying a BlackBerry Z30 is – can you get on with BlackBerry 10?

This is BlackBerry’s final gasp attempt to offer an attractive alternative to Android and iOS. And it hasn’t proved as popular as BlackBerry hoped. It’s a mixed bag. There are some truly great things about BlackBerry 10, and some real stinky parts.

Let’s start with the good bits. The BlackBerry Z30 is a great phone for messaging, whether it’s through SMS, email, Whatsapp, BBM or Facebook Messenger. BlackBerry Z30 9

All these things are routed into a single place, known as the Hub. It’s great, probably the most efficient way to keep track of a fistful of social streams we’ve ever seen in a mobile phone, and without any of the unnecessary visual nonsense you’d get from ‘trendier’ phone-makers.

The BlackBerry Z30 approach to notifications is also extremely efficient. On the lock screen, you get a bunch of simple white logos, next to a number indicating how many new alerts there are for each. The BlackBerry system is still perfect for your typical time-poor city dweller.

The BlackBerry Z30’s new BlackBerry 10.2 software adds an extra feature too – Priority Hub. This routes through all communication from places you’ve listed as ‘high priority’. Like your other half, or mother-in-law.

BlackBerry Hub alone makes the Z30 a serious phone to consider for many people. And you can customise it so that it only features bits you need (you can even remove BlackBerry’s own BBM from the Hub).

BlackBerry 10 does take a while to get used to, though. It’s a far more gesture-based system than any of its rivals. For example, you swipe up from the bottom of the Z30’s touchscreen to take it out of standby, rather than pressing a power button, and there are no persistent soft keys, meaning no 'Home' button.

Once you’ve un-learned all the conventions adopted by rivals, though, it’s a fairly intuitive system – just a bold and quite different one.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S5 release date, news, rumours, specs and price

BlackBerry Z30 2

Another top feature of BlackBerry 10 is its smart keyboard. Accuracy-wise it seems on-par with those of the iPhone and Windows Phone systems (the top dogs), and it offers slightly more spaced-out keys than the average. For pure typing alone it’s great, but the BlackBerry Z30 also has the clever predictive text system, which was introduced with the Z10.

As you’re typing, words the phone thinks you want appear above the next letter in the word. The need to fit these in is the real reason why the keys spread out a bit more than competitors. Swipe up (rather than tapping) from one of these keys and the BlackBerry Z30 will insert that word.

Once again, it’s all about gestures and it’s designed for those who have a lot to say, and not enough time to say it. This is an excellent keyboard.

BlackBerry Z30 8The foundations of BlackBerry 10 are strong, then, but it’s far from a perfect system. For one, it’s not very pretty.

The spare look of BlackBerry Hub is perfect, but there’s a certain stuffiness to the other main areas of BlackBerry 10 – the multi-tasking screen and the apps pages.

BlackBerry 10’s ‘main’ screen is a page of the last four apps you used, displayed as rectangular thumbnails. In our experience, they never look good. Functionally they’re fine, but don’t provide a particularly satisfying front-end for your £500 phone.

The apps menu isn’t much of a looker, either. Its constrained visual style has too much of the sweaty-suited whiff of the up-tight businessman BlackBerrys have traditionally (in popular imagination) been aimed at. That BlackBerry Hub is one of the better-looking parts of the interface, while being little more than text, is an indictment of BlackBerry 10’s lack of visual flair.

However, like BlackBerry 10’s use of gestures – you’ll get used to it.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

polweiss

October 4, 2013, 3:01 pm

BB: you best chance is to adopt Android and boost it with BBM and BBES!

Erwin

October 4, 2013, 3:06 pm

I just tried the Sony Xperia Z1 and was desoriented with the Android interface and the poor access to messages/mails/etc. Quickly returned the device and back on my BB Z10 and may even be tempted to upgrade to the Z30 at some point. The hub is absolutely spot-on, the lack of apps not a real issue (evernote, twitter, linkedin, facebook, sonos controls, whatsapp, weatherpro, photostudio, ruzzle, kindle, kobo, etc, it's all there).

Rick

October 5, 2013, 1:48 am

Phone seems like a beast even with a dual core CPU, I'm certain can run circles around the competition. Scamsung and Crapple build "cool" phones, but when it comes down to getting the job done, not that great. Rich in apps, but worthless for productivity. I don't like the Android interfaces, and for the past two years I have had an iPhone which I hate so much...BB OS is awesome, why has no one else thought of doing full touch gestures with a touchscreen before?

Desiderius Discipullus

October 5, 2013, 9:18 am

I'm tired of reading BlackBerry's apps catalog is poor. There are 130.000 apps available, and the most important are all there. Are you reviewing the device or the eco-system? Nobody can compete with Samsung when you look at the specs only, because they're making their own chips, displays, etc. while the others have to buy them from somebody else. But what about security, for example? Does anybody care about the NSA affair? And if you look at the recent iPhones 5S and 5C, what a disappointment in terms of display size and lack of innovation. Nevertheless the 5S scored 9/10. If you compare iOS and BB10.2, you realize that iOS feels pretty much outdated.

Jonathan Atamaniuk

October 6, 2013, 1:50 am

I notice a lack of the mention of Flash capabilities, something now missing from Android 4.1 and up, and never ever present on any iOS device. What Flash compatibility means is that numerous facebook games that are apps on iOS and Android can actually run as full web apps on BB10 in the browser, offsetting a large chunk of the "app gap". Yes it runs down battery life, but then again so does leaving on any one of those other games. I also notice a lack of mention about the superior antenna, though depending on the reviewer's location that may be hard to test as they may not be able to get to a place with notoriously bad reception, such as the fringe of their network of choice or the depths of an office building basement. This is something I'd have preferred to actually hear something about, as this is the biggest reason why I am dumping Android phones (reception is crap with even the latest and greatest compared to friends' Z10 phones) and actually go places where there is incredibly low reception.

Topman

October 6, 2013, 7:08 pm

I'm also tired of reading about it when it is so incredibly easy to sideload an Android port onto the phone. It really only applies if you are very set on always having the latest apps immediately. It shouldn't put anyone off if they can't find Instagram, Temple Run or Netflix on the app world since you can have them up and running in minutes.

I'd get a Google phone for its very well-integrated services, or an Apple phone for its superior hardware design and build quality. Not for their apps, since I sideload all I need on the Blackberry, which I ultimately chose for its security, hub messaging integration and gesture navigation.

mike

October 7, 2013, 11:58 am

BlackBerry rocks. Too many haters out there. My z10 does everything I need it to do and does it well. I am looking forward to seeing what the z30 has to offer!

Huh?

October 8, 2013, 12:54 am

What are you talking about? Ever heard of a Nokia N9? Or the Palm Pre? These phones run on systems called Meego and webOS (respectively) and are more than two years old now but Apple and Blackberry have done a good job of "borrowing" the touch gesture innovations that these phones pioneered. Look them up on YouTube and see what the world missed out on.

Nharzhool

October 8, 2013, 2:17 am

Hey Andrew, you said: "Using the standard Auto mode, low-light performance in the BlackBerry Z30 is fairly poor. For the best results, you’ll need to switch manually to the Night scene mode, which ups sensitivity to make objects in the dark clearer."

I'm using the Z10 with OS 10.2.0.1761 and in night mode, I just start dragging the focus reticle around and it enables the flash for me to select something for focusing. I presume it is the same on the Z30. Did you get a chance to test this?

I'm surprised you say that the camera isn't so good. The Techradar tests of the Z10 camera were very good - with it being better than the iPhone 5 and on par with the GS3. I don't see why the Z30 would be worse...

I found your review actually pretty decent. Apart from the excessive complaints regarding the apps and games - lingering on this note is just poor journalism.

At least you kept the company's situation out of the mix which gives you almost every brownie point ever! haha

I just feel that the phones are slightly over-priced in comparison to their rivals.

Andrew_TR

October 8, 2013, 8:46 am

HI Nharzool,

The Z30 is probably at that level for pure detail - it's more some of the additional modes that aren't quite as good.

ravi sathe

October 8, 2013, 8:52 am

The Blackberry Z10 has one of the most efficient operating systems...I have an HTC one and an iPhone 5.... the horrible access for messaging, emails and applications for androids gets annoying... the bb 10 feels like a blessing and feels as natural as a wink to use once you are accustomed to it. i have chucked the HTC one and the iPhone 5 because my current z10 does everything i want way faster than the android spec giants... one of the most efficient operating systems and has all the apps i have ever required....(Android apps sideloaded on the bb z10 run faster than they run on actual android devices..., HAHAHAHAHA)... i cant wait for the bb z30

ravi sathe

October 8, 2013, 8:55 am

Dear Reviewer, please dont forget to mention features like flash support, miracast support, screen sharing capabilities, blackberry channels and an efficient operating system that performs beter than many giants out there.

xBURK

October 9, 2013, 3:11 am

Shame that reviews and press leave out so many good points about owning a BB10 phone. Yes, BlackBerry deserves to be scrutinized, but not to the extent that it does not include the truth. I've tried every phone out there. Z10 for me is by far the best over all phone experience. For the life of me, I can't figure out why this does not come out in reviews and press articles. It's getting old.

guy

October 10, 2013, 11:25 am

The compared the iPhone hardware and there isn't a single component that is better than the BlackBerry z30 - not even one.
Screen size is larger, higher resolution, and super amoled vs lcd
Stereo sounds and quad mics
Faster processor
More memory
NFC - apple doesn't even have it

I almost feel reviewers aren't allowed to promote the BlackBerry - why the extreme reporting?

Geoff Richards

October 10, 2013, 11:57 am

Each person can judge the facts on their merits and make their own decision.

For me, bigger screen doesn't automatically mean better.
The Z30 is "only" 720p vs 1080p
I MUCH prefer LCD over AMOLED, so this is a substantial mark down for the BB
NFC? I've got it on my current phone and never used it, so again, it wouldn't really sway me to by the Z30.

The Z30 has the same 2GB RAM as my Nexus 4, which is nice. An iPhone 5S only has 1GB but it's a different operating system so I don't know which needs it more. (for example, Windows 7 uses lots of RAM vs Linux on a desktop PC)

guy

October 10, 2013, 12:06 pm

Geoff

Not one iPhone component is better than the z30
Battery, resolution, NFC, camera all better on the z30

You would think someone in the media would point that out?

These are facts - not an opinion

It's truly bizarre how the media refuses to compare apples to apples

Geoff Richards

October 11, 2013, 12:22 pm

It's all a matter of perspective, Guy.

The iPhone 5 is a whopping 58g lighter; the Z30 is a bit of a porker at 170g.

Some people don't want massive phones, so the 5.0 inch screen on the Z30 is not seen as an advantage by them.

3rd party App support on iOS is light years ahead, though as Andrew points out here, BlackBerry is still a good choice for heavy users of mobile email.

It's all about making an informed choice.

Texazzpete

October 11, 2013, 4:16 pm

The iPhone 5S has a MUCH faster processor, and a MUCH more power GPU. It's hilarious you keep parroting the same rubbish over and over because you think a 1.7GHz S4 Pro from 2012 is faster than the 5S processor just because it reports a clock speed of 1.3Ghz.

By that logic, you'll assume a 3.4 Ghz pentium 4 processor from 2005 is more powerful than a 2.4 Ghz Haswell Core i7 from 2013. And that's just rubbish.

AFAIK, the 5S has all round the most powerful SoC in a mobile phone out there, supported by Anandtech's benchmarks. 5S GPU is at par with the Snapdragon S800 (which blows away the Z30) and the CPU outperforms even the S800's 2.3 Ghz CPU in the likes of the LG G2.

Camera on the 5S also is better than the Z30. You'll never find a review out there calling the 5S camera 'middle of the road'.

Funny how the ignorant ones are always the loudest ;)

vzy

October 31, 2013, 9:50 pm

i'm using sony xperia tl, the moment I use my z10 - I felt like I will not use android again. HUB is awesome -- just awesome. I don't think iOS or android near to it.

Keyboard is exceptional...real smart keyboard ..learns your words.

I don't need tons of app..mails, camera and simple apps..more than enough.

Ganesh

November 20, 2013, 6:34 am

You're right - the dual core A7 is a powerhouse, in real world use at least comparable to any quad core on the market. In part because iOS is a more efficient OS.

That being said, you wouldn't catch me dead with one ;)

rebel

November 30, 2013, 6:00 am

fact is that bb10 is the best and modern os at the moment,the best phone of 2013

ELLAS

December 10, 2013, 5:33 pm

BlackBerry 10 invented full gesture. This is but one innovation among several more. As you can see by the updates to iOS and Android, they are slowly starting to COPY BlackBerry once again.

ELLAS

December 10, 2013, 5:47 pm

The day BBRY goes all out Android will be the day BBRY goes belly under. Why on earth would BBRY abandon the best Mobile Platform on the planet (BB10) for the likes of Android? At this point in time, Samsung is the only company profiting with Android. They've been dominating the hardware business by far, with Sony, LG and HTC suffering the effects.

I would rather see BBRY license its BB10 to these companies. So they can get better exposure.

ELLAS

December 10, 2013, 5:52 pm

To the Reviewer.
You missed out on many key points, one being BB10 is a very efficient OS, that does not require super charged specifications. Though I do agree consumer perception is all about specs. And in this respect BBRY has no choice but to follow suit with better overall specs. Just until they re-build the BlackBerry brand.

This is why iPhones sell, despite the lack luster specs of the phone. Regarding Android and super charged phone specs is nothing more than a gimmick. That OS is not very efficient, and will NEVER utilize high end specs regardless what they advertise.

Guest

January 14, 2014, 6:39 pm

"If you’re going to spend most of your phone time skipping between email
accounts, social network chat platforms, Whatsapp and BBM, it’s a
corker...for the right person this is still a great phone"

Well, here comes a new customer, then...

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