In just a little under two months after it was officially announced, BlackBerry’s cheapest — and by no means the least capable — BB10 device gets its official Malaysian launch today. The BlackBerry Q5 will hit stores as as well as operators (Celcom, Maxis and U Mobile) from July 15 with a recommended retail price of RM1,299.
For the money, you get a BlackBerry 10 device with a square 3.1-inch 720×720 IPS LCD touchscreen display pushing a respectable 328ppi and a decent 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor mated to a generous 2GB of RAM. You also get a 5MP main camera (1080p) and a 2MP front camera (720p) together with some nifty features like Time Shift and Story Maker. There’s also microSD (up to 32GB) NFC and LTE support — which is always a good thing — and to top it all off, there’s a relatively large 2,180mAh battery that should give you a lot of up time between charges (we’re guesstimating 1.5 to 2 days running time easy). And if you’re wondering, all three colours (red, white and black) will be available.
The Q5’s trump card is its physical QWERTY keyboard which looks and feel similar to the one used in the BlackBerry Curve series. If there’s one company that know how to make physical QWERTY keyboards for phones it is BlackBerry. We like the keyboard and for those who always prefer physical keyboards over virtual ones, we’re willing to bet that you will too.
So what’s our take on the BlackBerry Q5? What’s not to like? The price may be a little bit higher than we expected. If BlackBerry was able to hit the RM1k mark, the Q5 would be unbeatable but as it is, there’s really nothing like the Q5 in the market. If you want to give BB10 a go, the Q5 is a great starting point. On the flip side, the lack of apps can be an issue with BB10 but if you’re willing to forgo that the OS offers solid benefits and features that is worth a look. Bottom line, the Q5 is a great and useful alternative to iOS and Android.