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Thursday, September 19, 2013

BlackBerry unveils the Z30 as its new flagship smartphone (specifications)

Review

BlackBerry just pulled the wraps off its

new flagship smartphone, the BlackBerry

Z30. Billed by the company as its biggest,

most capable handset ever, the Z30

features a large 5-inch AMOLED screen,

updated BlackBerry 10.2 software, and a

high-capacity battery.

Design

If you were left underwhelmed by

BlackBerry's first BlackBerry 10

smartphone, the BlackBerry Z10, you're

not alone. Sales figures for the device

apparently have been dismal and even the

more traditional physical-keyboard touting

Q10 didn't exactly fly off store shelves.

With the Z30, however, BlackBerry decided

to make a larger splash. Most notable is

the Z30's massive footprint and

gargantuan 5-inch screen to match. Sure,

compared with the latest Android monster

devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S4,

HTC One, Motorola Droid Maxx, not to

mention the Galaxy Megas and Xperia Z

Ultras of the world, the Z30 isn't that huge.

Stacked up against the BlackBerry Z10

with its smaller stature, and 4.2-inch LCD

screen, the Z30 represents a significant

departure. Its sizable display, which uses

AMOLED technology, is a first for the

company and should (hopefully) offer

image quality on par with competing

superphones.

Another interesting twist is the Z30's array

of stereo speakers which seem to be

ripped right out of the HTC One's playbook.

BlackBerry doesn't call it BoomSound

though, but instead refers to its audio

solution as Natural Sound. And true to

BlackBerry's business cred, the Z30's

enhanced speakers are touted to not only

pump up music and video but also video

conferencing and spoken communication

as well.

Core components

Inside the Z30 is a 1.7GHz processor

coupled with quad-core graphics.

BlackBerry doesn't cough up more detail

than that, but I can read between the lines.

This sounds like the same 1.7GHz dual-

core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU that

Motorola's X8 chip is built around. The X8

also relies on quad-core Adreno graphics,

which is awfully coincidental. Whatever

silicon this is, it's a bump up from the

Z10's 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4

hardware.

Brainy messaging

Running the new BB 10.2 operating

system, the Z30 has upgraded message

handling. Called the Priority Hub, this is

the same as the previous BlackBerry Hub

found on the Z10 and Q10, only smarter,

according to BlackBerry.

The Hub on those phones put all your

messages across e-mail, social media,

texts, voice mail, and so on in one handy

spot. The Priority Hub is designed to take

things one step further, intelligently

analyzing who you chat with most often

and placing higher-priority conversations

up top where you'll see them.

Keyboard fanatics will be glad learn that

the Z30 will also feature the well-designed

virtual text entry method first offered by

the Z10.

One big battery

BlackBerry devices in my experience have

always exhibited excellent battery life, at

least compared with power-hungry Android

hot rods. The Z30 though, perhaps to

bolster its large display, comes equipped

with a high-capacity 2,880 mAh battery.

That's even larger than the Q10's sizable

2,100 mAh battery and a lot more robust

than the Z10's 1,800 mAh power source.

More impressive is the claimed 25 hours of

"mixed use" BlackBerry says you can

squeeze out of the gadget.

Availability and outlook

BlackBerry hasn't announced pricing for

the Z30 just yet but it does expect the

device to hit store shelves in the UK and

the Middle East next week. It could also

end up in "other regions" by the holiday

season. I hope that means we'll see the

Z30 globally soon, since I'd love to give

this gizmo a spin.

Basic Specs

Style Candybar

Weight 5.99 oz

Width 2.83 in

Depth 0.37 in

Height 5.54 in

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