The BlackBerry Z10 was the first ever smartphone to run the Canadian firm's latest BlackBerry 10 software and was intended to reverse the firms ailing fortunes. Sadly, while the Z10's software boasted a host of enterprise-ready productivity and security features, sales never really took off and consumers and businesses continued to flock to competing Android and iOS handsets.
Putting aside the difficulty of any new mobile operating system to gain any headway in the current smartphone climate, a big reason for this was the Z10's slightly boxy, cheap and flimsy feeling design. One year on BlackBerry's attempted to rectify this, releasing its brand new flagship smartphone, the Z30.
However, with the phone arriving mere days after confirmation BlackBerry planned to be purchased by Fairfax Financial Holdings, a deal which has since fallen through, many have questioned whether the Z30 has any real long term appeal, or chance of helping the firm finally win back some of its former glory.
Design and build
Visually the Z30 looks very different to the Z10. Unlike the boxy Z10, the Z30 boasts a patterned removable backplate that wraps round the phones sides. It also has a metallic lining around its sides similar to those seen on Samsung's top-end Galaxy range of smartphones. This makes the phone look a little like a hybrid of the Galaxy S4 and Motorola Razr HD.
The Z30's also significantly bigger than its predecessor, measuring in at 141x72x9.4mm and weighing 170g. The Z10 by comparison measured 130x66x9mm and weighed 137g. The increased size and weight make the Z30 feel slightly chunky in hand and will likely be a sticking point for smartphone buyers used to smaller and lighter devices, like the Apple iPhone 5S. However, to those familiar with larger Android smartphones, like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One, the Z30, despite being 30g heavier, won't feel entirely uncomfortable in hand.
While the Z30 does feel heavy, it also feels very solidly built - especially compared to the Z10, which as well as being prone to picking up marks also boasted a backplate all too happy to detach from the phone when met with even the slightest force. The Z30's backplate is made of a significantly more robust polycarbonate and is far thicker. Testing the phone we found it made the device far more scratch resistant than other BlackBerry handsets and left us suitably sure it could survive the odd bump and scrape.
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