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printed April 21, 2014
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Review: BlackBerry Z30 for Verizon Wireless

Form Performance Basics Extras Wrap-Up Comments  5  

Screen

The Z30's Super AMOLED display measures 5 inches across the diagonal and includes 1280 x 720 pixels. Honestly, I am a bit disappointed by it. It comes off as rather dull and the lower HD resolution fares poorly on this larger screen size. Today's leading devices offer 1080p HD resolution. With 720p resolution instead, the Z30 has more than 1 million fewer pixels - and it's noticeable. Text and graphics aren't as sharp as they could be. Brightness is OK when set up all the way, but I found my eyes straining when the screen was set at 50% brightness or less. Viewing angles are good, though, and I didn't have trouble using the Z30 outdoors with the brightness maxed out.

Signal

I had no trouble connecting to and using Verizon's network with the Z30. It always maintained a connection to the network and pushed through calls and packets no matter how weak the signal. The Z30 was on Verizon's LTE network throughout our tests. Call setup times were short and they always connected on the first dial during our review period. Data speeds were excellent when the network was unburdened, but slowed down appreciably in areas with congestion (i.e., New York City.) Even at their slowest, however, the Z30's data radio pushed data through at a good rate.

Sound

I was not all that impressed with the Z30's performance as a voice phone. Calls sounded muffled in the earpiece and volume is weak at best. It was often difficult to hold conversations in everyday spaces such as a coffee shop or mall. An espresso machine completely drowned out the Z30's earpiece. The speakerphone fares better with respect to volume, but not quality. The voices coming through the Z30 just don't sound all that great. On the flip side, those with whom I spoke said I sounded really good. Ringers and alert tones can be set to disturbingly loud volumes, and the vibrate alert will surely get your attention.

Battery

The Z30 consistently gave me more than a full day's use on a single charge. I unplugged the device at 7 AM and it often still had 20% left by the time I went to bed around midnight. There was one day during which I used the Z30 as a mobile hotspot for a while, and that reduced the battery life by several hours. Even so, I was able to get from 7 AM to 9 PM, which should be enough for most people. Charge the Z30 every night and you won't have to worry about bringing a charger with you.

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