The Blackberry Z30 was the Canadian manufacturer’s flagship device for 2013, and was introduced to compliment the Z10, for those who want a BlackBerry smartphone with – a bigger screen, bigger battery capacity and the benefits of a more premium build. At the time of its release in October 2013, it was also the only BlackBerry device to be endowed with Blackberry’s then latest operating system, 10.2.
On the hardware…
The Z30 possesses a premium build, which is evident when it is held in the hand. The front of the device comprises mainly of the 5 inch screen, with the ‘BlackBerry’ logo just beneath it. The back door of the phone is removable; however the battery is sealed within. The back door of the Z30 is made of soft type plastic which makes the device pleasant to hold, and has the Blackberry logo neatly inscribed on it.
The right side of the device houses three buttons – two volume keys, and another button between them which can be used to trigger the Blackberry search assistant feature (on 10.3). On the left side, the device has two ports – one is the mini HDMI port and beneath it is the micro USB port, for charging the device or connecting it to another device.
The phone is quite compact, considering it boasts a 5-inch screen and one-hand operation while carrying out most tasks is not far-fetched. The micro SIM slot and memory card slot – for expanding the internal 16GB of on-board memory – are right next to each other, underneath the back door of the device.
The 5-inch screen of the Z30 is an AMOLED panel, with good levels of colour saturation. The screen achieves very deep blacks, that it is hard to establish the boundaries of the screen when looking at the phone, indoors. Above the screen, the earpiece and front facing camera are clearly evident; the notification light is next to them, but is not visible unless while blinking. The Z30’s dual core processor and 2GB of RAM keep the phone running smoothly. In addition, the built in stereo speakers are loud and produce clear quality sounds even at louder volumes.
On the software side of things…
Haven experienced 10.3 on the Z3 earlier; I installed it on the Z30, after running the inbuilt OS for a week. In that time it was solid and performed efficiently as I have already come to expect from Blackberry 10 devices. However, the upgrades that 10.3 brings are too useful for me to wait for an official release. I already discussed some of these improvements in an earlier article. (Link to Z3 on 10.3).
Email set up is as easy as entering an e-mail address and your password; the hub also does a great job at integrating all your accounts – making notifications easier to deal with.
BlackBerry maps has matured a lot since I first saw it on the first OS 10 iteration ; it is more stable and proved reliable to use both at home and while getting around outside the country.
The BlackBerry 10 file management system is arguably one of the most sophisticated that exists on a smartphone OS. Cloud accounts like Dropbox and OneDrive are seamlessly integrated and presented as just another drive, for easy access. Furthermore, sharing is as easy as hitting the ‘share’ button – it links to all applications that can be used to share the intended item.
BlackBerry 10’s app offering is not as large as that of the leading competing platforms ; however most apps that a large chunk of users find indispensable are available in the Blackberry store – either ported from android, or designed by 3rd party developers – who usually provide competent alternatives. iGrann is a good example – it offers Instagram features in the native BlackBerry 10 cascade layout.
The battery of the Z30 is rated at 2880mAH. I consistently get at least a full days use out of it, regardless of how extensively the device is used; the battery takes about 3 hours to be completely replenished from the low battery state. In addition, 10.3 brings a feature which triggers the device to go into battery saving mode when placed face down, on a straight surface.
The device is currently priced at about 60,000 – 65,000 naira in Abuja, Nigeria; that’s competitive, considering the price of competing flagship devices from its era.
What does this all mean?
With the Z30, Blackberry has given those who want a premium built phone with a larger screen what they desire. The smart phone comes with capable hardware and the future Blackberry 10 road map shows there are improvements that can be made from a software point of view – older Blackberry 10 devices are in line to get the 10.3 update that is currently exclusive to the Passport.
Considering that every software update I have experienced since the first iteration of Blackberry 10 have brought meaningful improvements to the device running it, gives me further confidence that the Z30 is only going to get better. This makes the device even harder to ignore in this era of – overpriced, data guzzling, resource hogging, or over simplistic smart phones.
Are you already on the Blackberry 10 platform and considering an upgrade? The Z30 might provide the most bang for your buck at the moment. Are you on another platform and considering a Blackberry 10 device? Do you already own a Z30? What do you love the most about it? What doesn’t cut it for you? Have any questions in particular concerning the Z30 or the 10.3 update? Feel free to drop a comment below and all concerns will be attended to.
IB ‘Hi Beezle’ Sam-Epelle is passionate about smartphones and mobile technology; a solution provider; critical thinker; entrepreneur; the founder, Grand-Monumental Ink.