Hands-On: BlackBerry Q5
BlackBerry announced the Q5 today and we spent a few moments checking it out. Here are our initial impressions.
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The BackBerry Q5 slides into BlackBerry's lineup well below the Z10 and Q10, which are the company's high-end phones. The Q5 is a mid-range handset at best, and may not even come to the U.S. thanks to its emerging market designation by BlackBerry.
The Q5 is, to me, what you get if you crossed the old Palm Centro with the newer Palm Pixi. It is small-ish in size, and has a plain look that betrays is mid-market aspirations. The overall feel of the phone in the hand is definitely a cheaper experience than what you get with the Q10. The plastics and build are both of lower quality than the Q10, with no doubt. The preproduction units on hand were fairly well put together, but I noticed some creakiness and uneven seams. The Q5 is not thin, either, but the weight is really nice.
It includes the same 3.1-inch, 720 x 720 pixel screen that is on the Q10. It is a touch screen, and there's a gaping blank spot in between the screen and the QWERTY keyboard. This is where the old-style BlackBerry buttons would normally have been found. The screen looks really nice. I found the LCD to be bright and colorful, and viewing angles were quite good. The space below it is necessary in order to use the BlackBerry 10 gestures, like Peek. You often start the swiping gestures in the area below the display, so even though the buttons aren't there, the space is still needed.
The QWERTY keyboard has an excellent feel to it. The keys are just shy of being flat; instead, they have a tiny bit of shape to them that makes them fall into place under your thumbs. The travel and feedback of the keys is quite good. I was able to peck out some text samples that were free of mistakes in quick order.
As for the rest of the phone, the buttons and controls are about where you expect them to be. The microUSB port is on the left, as is the hatch protecting the SIM card and microSD card ports. The triple-button array is on the right. The top and bottom buttons are the volume toggles, and the center button is a user-definable action key. These keys had a nice feel to them and provided good feedback. The 3.5mm headphone jack and screen lock button are on top. The lock screen button was a cinch to find, thankfully, and offered great travel and feedback.
The Q5 has a 5-megapixel camera, dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with 1GB of RAM, 5-megapixel camera with 1080p HD capture, and a 1.2-megapixel user-facing camera. It is powered by a 2100mAh battery, but the battery is not removable.
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The Q5 is... what you get if you crossed the old Palm Centro with the newer Palm Pixi.
Too bad it's not coming to the US