BlackBerry Z30 pictures and hands-on

The BlackBerry Z30 takes BB10 big in a number of ways, pushing the display out to 5-inches, making this the biggest BlackBerry around, but also pushing the battery up to 2880mAh - the largest of any BlackBerry device.

In the hand, it feels like a great quality device, bettering the Z10's design, running the glass up to incorporate the ear speaker and the front camera for a nice seamless finish.

There's a metal frame to the handset, running around the sides and forming the bottom lip, bringing an opulent feel to the device and offsetting the black of the display against the silver of the metal.

Around the back, BlackBerry has opted for the soft-touch glassfibre weave finish that we saw on the BlackBerry Q10, and following some of the same rounded curves to give the device a nice natural finish. 

The BlackBerry Z30 measures 140.7 x 72 x 9.4mm, so it isn't the slimmest handset out there, and weighs 170g, which is a fair heft for a smartphone. Putting those dimensions into context, the Z30 has a smaller footprint than the Sony Xperia Z1 which also offers a 5-inch display, so it's a pretty good effort overall from BlackBerry.

The back cover comes away to reveal the proud marking on the internals, proclaiming the 5-inch Super AMOLED display and the 2880mAh battery. That battery isn't removeable, but BlackBerry is claiming 18 hours of talk time from it. There's also space to expand over the 16GB of internal memory via microSD, for all those files you might want to port around with you. 

Returning to the display and first impressions are pretty good. The Super AMOLED screen exhibits the rich and vibrant colours that AMOLED is known for, although at first glance the whites look a little warm. Again, not uncommon for AMOLED displays.

There's a slight limitation when it comes to resolution: with 1280 x 720 pixels (295ppi) it won’t have the same sharp rendering of fine detail that the top Android rivals offer, where full HD is now becoming common.

However, BB10.1, which debuts on the BlackBerry Z30 looks nice enough from the time we've spent with it so far, bringing a few new features, such as better sharing, message previews in the BB Hub and support for natural voice using those four mics that the handset offers: it will do stereo BBM voice conversations if talking to another Z30.

Under the skin there's a 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset with 2GB of RAM and our first impression is that BB10 is pretty slick and fast, although obviously we need to spend more time testing it to see how it performs in daily use. 

The specs are rounded out by an 8-megapixel camera on the rear and a 2-megapixel unit on the front.

The BlackBerry Z30 leaves a good first impression, which you'd expect from a device that's going to sell for £600 SIM-free. We're going to be putting it through its paces to determine whether this is a sweet BlackBerry, or something turning sour. 



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