While BlackBerry’s flagship handsets the Z10 and Q10 may have gained all the attention recently, the Q5 has slipped quietly onto the smartphone market.
According to latest figures, BlackBerry has sold four million Z10 handsets. And, although sales of the Q10 are thought to be lower, as the handset is newer, the statistics still outstrip analysts’ expectations.
Both the Z10 and the Q10 however are firmly aimed at the top end of the market so BlackBerry has released the Q5, a mid-priced phone that makes the new BB10 operating system a more affordable option for a wider audience.
The Q5 is somewhat of a return to what consumers expect from BlackBerry – an affordable, robust handset with a Qwerty keyboard. It will be a nod in the right direction for BlackBerry fans who were dismayed at the lack of a handset on the Z10. Even when the Q10 was released, costing upwards of £430 for a sim free model, it was out of reach for many.
The new handset is being pitched as the more pocket-friendly BlackBerry, while still sporting the latest software, a decent screen and the all-important Qwerty keyboard, which is BlackBerry’s unique selling point.
But, with a price tag of £320, it can hardly be described as a budget option.
In design terms, it’s easy to see that the Q5 is the cheaper little brother of the Q10. It is made entirely of plastic, with the keyboard sitting underneath a 3.1-inch screen.
While the Q10 has a more ergonomic rounded design, the Q5’s corners are much squarer. And, the back is simply an expanse of black plastic, rather than the Kevlar weave that makes the Q10 stand out in the style stakes.
The keyboard is still just as easy to use as that on the Q10 though. While there is no metal fret between each row, as featured on the more expensive model, there is still a large enough space between them so you can easily feel the separate rows without needing to look down at the keyboard as you type.
The screen comes with a 720 x 720 pixel resolution, which gives it a density of 329 pixels per inch, the same as on the Q10, although many say perhaps this is one area where BlackBerry could have reduced the quality slightly to keep costs down.
The Q5 has already come under fire for having budget-friendly specifications, without the budget-friendly price.
Cnet said: “It’s the best – and best value – BlackBerry you can grab, but that’s a very low bar to cross. Unless you’re dead set on a BlackBerry, you can spend your money much more wisely elsewhere.”
And BlackBerry also has a lot of distance to make up before it reaches competitors in the app stakes, as it has only just passed the 100,000 mark.
So, those with £320 to spend on a new handset, may just decide to look elsewhere for a better value option. BlackBerry will just have to hope that it has enough remaining fans to make the Q5 a success.