BlackBerry Q5 Launched in Malaysia

Last night, on 4 July 2013, I attended the launch of BlackBerry Q5 – the mid range, consumer level,  BlackBerry 10 OS smartphone with a hybrid touchscreen and hardware QWERTY keyboard. This smartphone is the latest in the stable of 3 BlackBerry 10 OS smartphones – first with the all touchscreen BlackBerry Z10, followed by the high end touchscreen and hardware QWERTY keyboard BlackBerry Q10 and now this mid tier BlackBerry Q5.

Read Also : 4-part CNET Asia Tech Factor Review on BlackBerry Z10

 

BlackBerry Q5 Malaysia Launch event

The launch event was held in Black Box at MAP, Publika. The venue was decked out with BlackBerry Q5 branding, wallpapers, banners, and cute human sized mocks of BlackBerry Q5.

BlackBerry Q5 MY Launch
Beautiful girls and cute human sized mocks of BlackBerry Q5

Since the event started late, I took the opportunity to pose with the awesome mock BlackBerry Q5.

Winnie with BlackBerry Q5 mocks
Me and the giant mock of BlackBerry Q5

Here at the BlackBerry Q5 launch!!! #blackberry #q5

A photo posted by Winnie Chen-Head (@winniekepala) on

BlackBerry Q5 Malaysia Launch
Mr Annamalai Muthu, Managing Director of BlackBerry Malaysia

Mr Annamalai Muthu, Managing Director of BlackBerry Malaysia welcomed the guests and briefed us on BlackBerry’s journey thus far with their new BlackBerry 10 OS smartphones. BlackBerry realises how our lives are revolving more and more around our smartphones, hence BlackBerry wants to create a seamless and intelligent device to fit into our ever connected lifestyle.

The BlackBerry Q5 is their new mid level smartphone running the new redesigned BlackBerry 10 OS. In case you’re wondering, it looks just like the BlackBerry phones in the past for that familiar recognition. It also looks just like the BlackBerry Q10. So, what’s the difference?

See Also : BlackBerry Q10 keyboard-touchscreen hybrid Launched in Malaysia (Update: On Sale NOW)

BlackBerry Q5 is the mid tier version of the touch and type smartphone. Materials used are not as premium as the BlackBerry Q10 to make the phone more affordable for the general market.

BlackBerry Q5 Malaysia Launch - Experience Zone
BlackBerry Q5 Experience Zone where we get to play with the new phone

After the speeches were the Q&A session, where Mr Annamalai Muthu assured us on BlackBerry’s commitment to international and local developer community (where’s Instagram?), support for current line of BlackBerry 10 OS smartphones in future firmware updates, and others.

We then got to head to the “Experience Zone” where multiple BlackBerry Q5 phones in different colours are displayed.

 

Hands on with the BlackBerry Q5

BlackBerry Q5 Malaysia Launch

Just a quick specifications overview of the BlackBerry Q5:-

  • 3.1″ IPS LCD touchscreen display (720 X 720)(329 ppi) with QWERTY keyboard
  • 1.2 GHz dual core processor
  • 8 GB internal storage (expandable up to 32 GB microSD) + 2 GB RAM
  • Powered by new Blackberry 10.1 OS
  • 5 megapixel auto focus rear camera (1080p HD video recording) with LED flash, 2 megapixel front facing camera (720p video recording)
  • 2,180 mAH removable battery (up to 12.5 hours 3G talktime)
  • 10.8 mm thin (10.5 mm for non-NFC model); weighing 120 gram
  • Connectivity : 4G LTE/HSPA+, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, NFC

For more information and features list, check out BlackBerry Q5 Product Page at http://www.blackberry.com.my/smartphones/blackberry-q5/overview.html

BlackBerry Q5 - Hardware
Hardware overview of the BlackBerry Q5

BlackBerry Q5 comes with all the features you’d find in the higher end BlackBerry Q10. This includes some amazing features like:-

  • BlackBerry Hub – Unified inbox for all your email, notifications, social media updates, BBM and more
  • BBM Video with Screen Share – BlackBerry Messenger has evolved beyond chat and video calls. Now you can put a video call on hold and share your phone’s screen, in real time, with whoever you’re chatting with / speaking to.
  • Time Shift – Snap a burst shot of image and select the right frame for the best picture to save, or select your subject’s face and change the frame where he/she is smiling <– Samsung Galaxy S4’s “Best Face” / HTC One’s HTC Zoe “Always Smile”
  • Story Maker – another great camera feature to stitch pictures and videos together to make a multimedia album <– Samsung Galaxy S4’s “Story Album” / HTC One’s HTC Zoe
  • BlackBerry World – the redesigned app store for all BlackBerry 10 OS apps, games and more

and many more…

Previously, I’ve done an extensive review of the BlackBerry Z10 – the all touchscreen and first BlackBerry smartphone on their latest redesigned BlackBerry 10 OS.

I also attended the BlackBerry Q10 launch and got to play with that phone at the event. The user experience for the Q10 touch and type smartphone is exactly like the Z10, with the added comfort of hardware QWERTY keyboard for those of you who can’t live without your hardware keyboard.

Last night, I got to play with the BlackBerry Q5, where the user experience and navigation is exactly like the BlackBerry Z10 or Q10 before it. BlackBerry Malaysia executives stressed this during the speeches. From a software point of view, just because this is a mid range phone, your experience is not compromised in any way. You get the same experience, navigation, feature and functions exactly like the higher end Z10 and Q10.

BlackBerry Q5 software experience and features are exactly the same as higher end Z10 or Q10.

Hardware wise, on the other hand, is where you can immediately see the difference compared to the higher end BlackBerry phones.

The BlackBerry Q5 is a mid range device. The build quality is plastic, or maybe what device manufacturers call “polycarbonate”. It doesn’t feel as premium in your hands as the Q10. It is still almost as bulky, if not more than the Q10.

BlackBerry Q5 Colours - Winnie
Posing with all 3 colours of the new BlackBerry Q5

On the insides, spec wise, there’s a bit of compromise – BlackBerry Q10 has a 1.5 GHz dual core processor, and the Q5 has a 1.2 GHz dual core processor. Q10 has an 8 megapixel rear camera, while Q5 has a 5 megapixel camera instead. Q10 has an AMOLED display, and Q5 has an IPS LCD screen. Q10 has 16 GB of storage, while Q5 only has 8 GB. Q10 has a micro HDMI out port, while Q5 does not.

Hardware wise – specs are just slightly lower than the flagship BlackBerry Q10.

Having said that, swipes, gestures, opening and closing apps etc, is not sluggish. The BlackBerry Q5 feels just as fast and runs just as smoothly as the higher end Q10. The default browser has been improved with the new BlackBerry 10.1 OS. Browsing is fast and fluid. According to BlackBerry executives, other reviewers have pointed out that this new BlackBerry browser is faster than browsers on other competing OS (ahem, iPhone’s Safari, Android’s browser / Chrome). I need to test this one day.

BlackBerry Q5 Malaysian Launch
Beautiful girls at the BlackBerry Q5 Experience Zone posing with different colours of the phone

In conclusion, I really like the BlackBerry Q5. This will be the perfect mid range BlackBerry smartphone that runs on the latest BlackBerry 10.1 OS and has the all familiar hardware QWERTY keyboard and touchscreen for the gesture based OS.

Personally, I feel the BlackBerry Q5 is the equivalent to the previous BlackBerry Curve series for the new OS. And we all know how popular the BlackBerry Curve was.

 

Pricing and Availability

BlackBerry Q5 - Colours
BlackBerry Q5 is available in Black, White and Red colours

If the higher end flagship BlackBerry Q10’s RRP at RM 2,388 is too expensive for your wallet, then you’ll be happy to hear about the pricing for this new mid range BlackBerry Q5.

BlackBerry Q5 will be on sale for the Recommended Retail Price (RRP) of RM 1,299 very soon.

Yep – RM 1,299!!!

Unlike the previous higher end flagship BlackBerry Z10 and Q10, the BlackBerry Q5 will be available with all possible dealers and distribution points. You can get the smartphone with all the major telcos – Maxis, DiGi, Celcom, U Mobile and other authorised dealers.

The BlackBerry Q5 will be available in 3 colours – Black, White and Red.

Hands on with BlackBerry Q5
I’m a sucker for RED coloured devices

I read somewhere recently, that the BlackBerry Q5 is the device that will save BlackBerry. This is the mass consumer device most BlackBerry loyals have been waiting for. At such an attractive price tag, those who love their hardware QWERTY keyboard and would like a no-nonsense BlackBerry phone, this BlackBerry Q5 will be the perfect phone for you.

Are you planning to get this phone? Do you think this phone will sell well to the existing BlackBerry users who wishes to upgrade to the new BlackBerry 10 OS? Let me know.

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