BlackBerry Z30 review

BlackBerry goes big with the 5-inch Z30

BlackBerry Z30
It's big, it's BlackBerry, but will it sell?

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If the BlackBerry Z30 had been released in place of the Z10 then the company might not be in so much trouble now, although realistically it could have done with landing at least six months before that to have had a real hope of arresting BlackBerry's decline.

It is a good smartphone with a premium feel and it performs well, but there's just no avoiding it, this is too little, too late.

We liked

There's a reassuringly expensive feel to the weight and finish of the BlackBerry Z30. You enjoy slipping it in and out of your pocket.

The camera is relatively fast and we captured some good shots with it. It's also a good phone for web browsing, thanks to the speedy performance and the big, attractive screen.

The unified hub for messages is really good once you've tweaked it for your own needs. The Z30 is also a solid phone for calls and it has real staying power thanks to that big battery.

We disliked

The dropped Wi-Fi was the main low point, particularly as it didn't seem to register properly. The Maps app was also a real let down.

Some big players are absent from the app list and the general standard is quite poor. You'll find a lot of apps in BlackBerry World with very low ratings, and too many of them simply haven't been designed for the BlackBerry platform. We can't see this being resolved as an issue given BlackBerry's current health.

Final verdict

It's sad to think that this might be BlackBerry's last release because with the Z30 it has finally, belatedly, figured out how to make a really good touch screen smartphone.

The trouble is, the Z30 is up against the Samsung Galaxy S4, the iPhone 5S, the LG G2, and even the Nokia Lumia 925. In terms of pricing and features you could make a compelling argument that every one of those devices would be a better buy right now than the BlackBerry Z30.

Make no mistake, the BlackBerry Z30 is a good smartphone, but in today's competitive market, good simply isn't good enough. Like some of Nokia's recent offerings, the Z30 feels like a solid piece of hardware that's let down by the software running on it.

We enjoyed our time with the Z30, but it won't be too difficult to say goodbye.