Review: BlackBerry Q5

Need a phone with a qwerty keypad but don’t want to spend the earth? David Phelan reviews BlackBerry’s new Q5

When the BlackBerry Q10 launched earlier this year it signalled something of a change in the phone maker’s perception, if not yet its fortunes. Here was a handset that was superbly usable, had the best physical keyboard yet on a mobile phone and managed to be cool – something BlackBerry had lacked for quite a while.

But it was premium-priced and it was aimed directly at BlackBerry’s core audience, the business-oriented power user. So what about that other important group, the teenagers and students who took to Blackberry handsets in their droves half a dozen years ago? These were the customers who found BBM, the unlimited and therefore effectively free instant messaging service that only works between BlackBerry phones, irresistible. And when one student bought one, they all did. Some even learned to touch-type on the physical keys under their desks – something impossible on touchscreen keyboards.

The answer is the new, more affordable Q5. With marketing that pushes the phone’s camera more than its rigorous security features, it’s aimed at bringing back some of those kids who defected to the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy series phones, and used WhatsApp. This is an app that offers instant messaging as well, but is platform-agnostic so you can be on an Android phone and your friend on the iPhone 5.

The keys on the Q5 aren’t quite as wonderful as on the Q10, though the physical travel is still much better than a touchscreen and they’re well-spaced which makes typing faster.

Things look as good as on the Q10 – the screen is identical, a square 3.1 inch display that’s high-resolution and pin-sharp. Better than you might expect at the price. Some apps are still a little unusual on the square screen but it mostly works well. And there’s the new BB10 operating system which is radically different from most rivals, but enjoyable to use when it becomes familiar.

The App World store is growing at an astonishing speed – over 120,000 apps and still under six months old. But there are still big omissions. See, 120,000 should be more than enough for anyone, right? Right, unless it still lacks some of the big names like National Rail, for instance. But it is growing and the excellent British Airways app is now on board.

This phone has a sealed battery, the first time on a BlackBerry, which means space for more juice and less battery casing, but you can’t swap batteries if you run low.

The five-megapixel camera’s main claim to attention is the TimeShift feature which takes multiple shots and lets you combine elements from each to create the best result – so if one person’s smiling in the first shot and the other’s blinking in all but the third, you can pick the faces from each. It is available on other phones as well now, most notably Nokia’s, but it’s very nicely implemented here.

Will it be enough to bring back the kids from Android or iPhone? Perhaps not as fast as BlackBerry would like. But this is a well-built, effective phone that’s fast and affordable.

Available from free with contract, Vodafone.co.uk

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Sport
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Voices
voices
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
News
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself with remarkable success
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

    Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

    Ashdown Group: Linux Administrator - London - £50,000

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrator ...

    Ashdown Group: Business Intelligence Analyst - London - £45,000

    £40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SQL Server Reporting Analyst (Busine...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower