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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The BlackBerry Z30 comes with a Maps app that includes turn-by-turn directions. The maps it draws on are from TomTom and they seem fairly accurate.

BlackBerry Z30

The Maps app

The app is also able to give you an indication of how heavy traffic is. Green roads are clear, orange is moderate, and red indicates heavy traffic.

Visually it's very basic, just a top down map, or a bare bones turn-by-turn angled view. There aren't very many POIs marked and searches for specific places are patchy, but we did find a handful of local businesses covered.

The GPS was very fast to get a fix on our position, but the Maps app is generally sluggish and it takes a while to load in as you zoom in and out. Compared to Google Maps, it feels dated and slow.

Turn-by-turn navigation is a great feature, but we definitely have our concerns about its accuracy. We checked a route on the Z30 Maps app and on Google Maps, from Dunbar on the east coast to Edinburgh Castle right in the heart of Scotland's capital.

While the directions were very similar and both sets would get you there, the time estimates showed a large discrepancy. Google Maps estimated a journey time just under 50 minutes, but the BlackBerry Maps app was more optimistic with an estimate of 33 minutes.

The journey actually takes around 50 minutes, so the BlackBerry app was way off.


One of the main weaknesses of the BlackBerry 10 platform is a lack of apps compared to its competitors. The last we heard, in May of this year, there were over 120,000 apps available, but it's all about quality not quantity.

Even if we overlook the fact that many BB10 apps are quick ports of Android apps, we can't overlook the fact that there are some major omissions from BlackBerry World.

BlackBerry Z30

BlackBerry World apps

You'll have to make do without things like Google Maps or Chrome, there's no Netflix or Sky Go, and you won't find Skype. Much depends on what you use. Many people won't miss these apps, but some definitely will.

You will find things like Spotify, SayIt, Flixster, ReadItNow, and there's a nice Guardian app. Recent additions include heavyweights such as Evernote and Flipboard, not to mention cool wee apps like Hype Machine. The list is growing, but it's growing slowly and not all of the missing apps have an alternative.

It is also apparent with some apps that they've been ported without much thought for how BB10 works.

Apps like Goal were clearly not designed to be used without a Back button, and navigation can be a real chore. The obvious lack of effort on the part of the developers shows how little BB10 figures in their plans – and that's very unlikely to change now.

BlackBerry z30

Options when editing a Word document

The pre-loaded apps cover a lot of bases. BlackBerry's reputation for productivity is reflected in the likes of Documents To Go and BlackBerry Remember.

You'll have no trouble keeping on top of your schedule and your inbox with the BlackBerry Z30 out of the box. The on-board apps tick all the business boxes.

Sure, some of BlackBerry's offerings may lack elegance, but they're always fit for purpose. Substance over style sums it up neatly.

There are two standout inclusions. Smart Tags allows you to scan or create your own QR codes and NFC tags.

They can work as handy timesavers for giving out directions or creating a business card. There's also an app called Story Maker which allows you to combine your photos and videos with music and filters in a timeline to create your own multimedia compositions. It's quite fun and very easy to use.


If you were saddened by the lack of apps then close your eyes now. BlackBerry 10 is horribly short of good games. Like the apps, there are new games coming out on the platform all the time, but the vast majority are poor quality clones of classics or ports of old hits from iOS and Android.

The Games app allows you to tie in your BBM account so you can compete with friends more easily. It also gives you a profile to show off your achievements.