Review: BlackBerry Z30 for Verizon Wireless
BlackBerry wades into the big-phone fray with the Z30. The Z30 has a huge screen, a fast processor, and plenty of smarts, but it lags competitors in several key areas.
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Is It Your Type?
The Z30 breaks new ground for BlackBerry with its large screen and improved design when compared to the Z10. Those seeking a phablet-size BlackBerry that performs well finally have a device of their own.
The BlackBerry Z30 is the company's first entry into the phablet market. It boasts the biggest screen ever on a BlackBerry - 5 inches - and the large footprint that goes with it. Though it carries over many of the smaller Z10's design elements, the Z30 has updated styling and thus somewhat of a better personality than its little brother.
The Z30 is a big phone, though it doesn't rival devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 or Nokia Lumia 1520. Its size is closer to that of the Galaxy S III or LG Nexus 5. It is tall, wide, thick, and a bit heavy. Where the Z10 was fairly plain, the Z30 could have come from Motorola's Droid RAZR design studio circa 2012. The front is black with a gray strip below the display. There's a metallic band that that circles the entire outer edge that separates the front panel from the back cover. That band has a matte finish that I like. The back cover has a carbon fiber pattern appearance, with a soft touch finish that's comfortable and grippy.
The overall footprint of the phone is significant, but BlackBerry did a good job in making the device usable. For example the front edges are tapered slightly, and the sides are rounded nicely to reduce the size of the Z30's back surface. There are no hard right angles, like those that defined the Z10. Quite honestly, the Z30 is more comfortable to hold and use than the Z10, despite the significant difference in size. This demonstrates just how important the design of a device's edges are. The Z30 will fit into most pockets, though its weight makes its presence known at all times. The soft touch finish was prone to clinging onto the insides of my pockets when I attempted to retrieve the phone.
On the front, there's a slit at the top for the earpiece speaker next to the ever-present blinking BlackBerry indicator light. There are no physical buttons on the front of the phone. The area directly below the actual screen is touch sensitive so you can use the upward swiping gestures of the BlackBerry 10 operating system.
There are no buttons on the left edge. Instead, like most BlackBerries, the Z30 houses a dual-port setup that includes microUSB and microHDMI ports. They are positioned the exact same distance apart as on the Z10 and Q10 so as to be compatible with accessories and docks. The volume toggle is on the right edge of the Z30, with a user-configurable action key in the middle. All three buttons have a low profile, making them difficult to tell apart. Worse, they have terrible travel and feedback. For such vital keys, I was hoping for better. The screen lock button is on the top. It has a better profile and much better travel and feedback. The headphone jack is next to it.
The battery cover is damned near impossible to remove. I couldn't pry it loose with just my fingers and had to resort to using a knife to get the necessary leverage. That's annoying. You'll be disappointed to learn that the battery itself cannot be removed. That means you're stuck with the 2,880mAh power source. This is atypical for BlackBerry, which normally prides itself on offering removable batteries. The SIM card and memory card are tucked side-by-side in the side edge of the Z30, and you have to remove the back cover to access them.
In all, it's a pretty decent piece of hardware with only a few problems worth complaining about.
BlackBerry let us spend a few moments with the new Z30, its 5-inch phablet looking to take on today's super phones. Here are our initial impressions.
Sep 18, 2013
BlackBerry today announced the Z30, a new smartphone running BlackBerry OS 10.2 that has a 5.0-inch Super AMOLED 720p HD display and a dual-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with quad-core Adreno graphics. The Z30 features stereo speakers and BlackBerry Natural Sound, which the company says improves the quality of BBM Voice and BBM Video chats.
Feb 19, 2015
BlackBerry today said BlackBerry OS 10.3.1 is available for device owners to download. The latest version of BlackBerry's operating system includes the Amazon Appstore for Android apps and brings back keyboard shortcuts to devices with physical keyboards.
Mar 19, 2014
Verizon Wireless recently indicated that the BlackBerry 10.2.1 operating system is now available to the Z30, Z10, and Q10 smartphones. The update adds a wide number of new features, and makes significant changes to the behavior of several key apps.
Nov 12, 2013
Verizon Wireless today indicated that the BlackBerry Z30 smartphone will be available online beginning November 14. It costs $199.99 with a new two-year contract, or $22.91 per month for 24 months with Verizon Edge.
Blackberry is riding on the non-removable battery bandwagon now? The complaints are already piling up against again other manufacturers pulling this ****. I don't see them in business much longer if the demand for remo