This is probably the most important smartphone that BlackBerry will launch in 2013. You see, the Z10 and Q10 were designed for diehards, gadget lovers and those who desired a like-for-like replacement for their aging Bolds. Unfortunately for CEO Thorsten Heins, those people were never the total sum of RIM’s (now BlackBerry’s) customer base. After all, it was the budget-conscious crowd that embraced BBM to the point where London’s 2011 civil unrest was nicknamed the “BlackBerry riots,” not to mention the company’s popularity in the developing world. Given that the business most recently posted an $84 million quarterly loss and has only managed to ship 2.7 million BB10 devices, it’ll be these customers, then, who the company will need to win back in order to keep its head above water. Unlike its struggling rivals, however, BlackBerry does have one thing its rivals do not: a pedigree in QWERTY keyboards that offer a real alternative to the legion of Android and Windows Phone touchscreens out there.
That’s where the Q5 comes in — a portrait QWERTY handset with a 3.1-inch display described as “youthful” and “fun,” designed for markets outside of the US, with a variety of color options. But is that enough to tempt back the text addicts of Latin America and the disenfranchised voters of London? It’s available for £320 ($490) off-contract in the UK, or free on plans from £21 ($32) per month, but is it enough of a handset to justify its mid-tier price? Can this form factor work in a world where even the cheapest phones can offer 4-inch, pixel-rich displays and broader app support? Is this the handset that BlackBerry needs, or the one it deserves? We could tell you at the top here, but that’d kinda negate the point of the following 2,613 words.
BlackBerry Q5 review