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What's Hot: Attractive and well made, large screen, great on-screen keyboard.
What's Not: 720p and older dual core CPU won't attract specs-conscious buyers, app selection still sparse.
Reviewed January 16, 2014 by Lisa Gade, Editor
in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)
Is the BlackBerry Z30 a big BlackBerry Z10? Yes and no. The 5 inch Z30 has a larger display, sure. It was the first device to ship with BlackBerry OS 10.2, but that playing field is now even and my Z10 runs that OS as well. The phones obviously run the same software, share gesture-based user interfaces, and have LTE 4G and robust security. So what's different about the BlackBerry Z30?
BlackBerry, formerly known as RIM, has made their best smartphone to date (unless you prefer hardware keyboards). While the Z10 was nice looking but a little plasticky and boring, the BlackBerry Z30 is cool looking and chic in a manly sort of way. The edge-to-edge glass with rounded corners, grippy but very attractive boy racer carbon fiber back and metal sides equal a great looking piece of hardware. It's not light at 6 ounces, but that helps it not feel cheap. Port selection and location is similar to the Z10, with the volume rocker and voice command button on the right and the micro USB and micro HDMI ports on the left side (not the bottom as on most smartphones). This is one of the few phones that still have a dedicated HDMI port rather than a combo USB/MHL port. The Z30 also supports Miracast wireless display.
This is also BlackBerry's fastest phone ever, but Android users won't be impressed since Android is a land of feeds and speeds where megahertz wins hearts quicker than honey attracts flies. The BlackBerry Z30 runs on a 1.7GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro dual core CPU with quad core Adreno graphics. It has 2 gigs of RAM and 16 gigs of internal storage (there's a microSD card slot to augment storage). Since the same manufacturer tunes the OS and hardware, we don't need massive computing power to have a quick experience, and the Z30 does feel faster than the Z10. Though there's no quad core killer CPU here, the S4 Pro makes for a pleasant and quick experience on the Z30.
The BlackBerry Z30 has 4G LTE, dual band WiFi 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, a GPS, front 2 megapixel camera and a rear 8 megapixel camera with LED flash. The phone has stereo speakers that fire from the bottom edge (along the curve, so they're not muffled by a desk). The speakers are fairly loud and clear, but they're not as full and rich as HTC's BoomSound stereo speakers on the HTC One.
The BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Z30.
The software and BlackBerry OS 10, are largely unchanged from the Z10 (BlackBerry's first device to run that new OS). There are additions and improvements, notably in the Message Hub, which is our favorite among smartphones: it unifies text messages, notifications and emails in a very manageable way. It's a real time saver and intuitive. Other parts of the OS are highly reminiscent of webOS, complete with multi-tasking represented as a card metaphor and heavy use of gestures (some of which you won't remember even after a week of use). Overall, we really enjoy the operating system, but while some things are extremely intuitive, others will have you banging your head.
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