The Q10 was quite a good phone but absurdly priced, and BlackBerry (BB) seems to be sticking to this for now. While it might not find many takers in India, BlackBerry knows the general public would not be able to resist a "cheaper" version of the Q10. A couple of months ago, BB pulled the wraps off its budget-oriented smartphone, dubbed the Q5, targeted at emerging markets such as ours. Luckily, we’ve had the opportunity to play around with the device and here’s our initial impressions of the phone, before we bring you the full review.
Design – Typical BlackBerry
The Q5 takes a more flat approach to design as compared to the Q10 and is a bit reminiscent of the HTC ChaCha. BlackBerry has ditched the exotic materials used in the Q10 and has had to settle with simple plastic for the chassis in order to keep the price down. In doing so, the phone has shed quite a bit of weight and feels a lot lighter to hold. Unlike the Q10, the Q5 has a completely sealed back, but it’s not unibody. The matte finish feels really nice and doesn’t attract fingerprints easily; however, we wished BB had done something more with the back, as it looks a bit bland.
Comfortable to hold and use
There’s a flap on the side that hides the microSD and microSIM slots. The buttons are placed in their usual positions and they have a good tactile feel. The QWERTY keypad has also undergone a slight change and while it’s still comfortable to use, we prefer the keyboard of the Q10 over this. The island style keys are well spaced out but are also a little smaller than the ones on the Q10.
The display is the same size as the Q10, but BB has swapped the Super AMOLED screen for an IPS panel. While this gives you slightly better viewing angles, the colours aren’t that punchy as compared to AMOLED.
The 5MP shooter
While the experience is pretty similar to that of the Q10, BB has had to cut down some of the key specifications in order to make it more affordable. Internal storage has been cut down to 8GB and the SoC onboard is a slower Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 (MSM8230). Even with 2GB of RAM, we noticed slight jerks and lags when swiping between apps, but nothing too drastic. The Q5 also drops the HDMI-out port and the camera has been slashed to a 5MP from an 8MP. It can still do 1080p video, but the quality of indoor shots isn’t as good as the Q10.
Indoor shots suffer from noise and loss of detail
The bottom line
Just like the Q10, the BlackBerry Q5 feels like another well built and good performing smartphone, but the launch price of Rs 24,990 doesn't put a very big smile on our faces. Given the overall look and feel, we think a price anywhere between Rs 15,000 to 20,000 would be ideal for the Q5. Let's hope BB revises the market price soon, or else it will earn a permananent place on the shelf along with the Q10 and Z10.