A second look at the BlackBerry Q5

BlackBerry Q5
By Simon Sage on 2 Sep 2013 01:56 pm EDT

I have been rocking the BlackBerry Q5 for a few weeks now, and since it’s recently been released in Canada, I thought it might be worth a second look beyond Adam’s review of the UAE model. The short story is that I’m finding the BlackBerry Q5 offers about 80% of what you get out of the Q10 for $200 less. For anybody that’s looking to buy a BlackBerry off-contract, that should make the Q5 a no-brainer. That said, the on-contract price for the Z10 has dropped enough that it could be a viable alternative, and if the physical keyboard is a dealbreaker, odds are the Q10 price will be coming down soon enough. 

I’ve found the compromises the BlackBerry Q5 made for price are few and far between. I don’t miss being able to pop out my battery or use the micro HDMI slot. Yes, the frame is all plastic, and the microSD/SIM slot cover is a little loose, but I still find the build quality solid. The sharp edge around the front makes calling a little uncomfortable, but the shallow curve around the rear makes holding it and slipping it into a pocket way more easy than the Q10. Though the keyboard style is dramatically different from the Q10, I found initially that typing was actually a little bit easier - the spacing between the keys certainly helps differentiate by touch, and I found the clicking action stronger and more distinctive.

BlackBerry Q5

The worst thing I can say about the Q5 is that I’ve had some connectivity issues that I think can be chalked up to a loose SIM tray. On about two or three occasions, I’ve had connectivity cut out in areas where friends on the same provider had fine service. Rebooting didn’t work, but replacing the SIM did. That may just be an issue with my specific unit though - your mileage may vary. Also, yeah, it’s a little on the ugly side, but if you’re on a budget, looks aren't likely a secondary consideration. Even then, there are some people who really dig on the red model

The fact that you aren’t losing out on screen resolution and only an imperceptible amount in processing power is what really impresses me about the BlackBerry Q5. The performance smoothness was certainly one of the first things that stuck out for me when first playing around with Q5 at BlackBerry Live. After having more time to play with it, graphics-heavy games like Modern Combat 4 played without a hitch (though the smaller screen certainly makes playing a little awkward). 

That's about all I've got to say about the BlackBerry Q5. Even though it's not the flashiest phone out there, strategically, it makes sense to offer handsets that fit into the multiple price points, and not just by virtue of being old. That's something even Apple is starting to wise up to

Read our original BlackBerry Q5 Review

Reader comments

A second look at the BlackBerry Q5


If you're switching SIMs between devices, I've found that the micro SIMs are vulnerable to poor connectivity due to poor metal contacts being made on the micro SIM card. Sometimes the SIM contacts are "shaved off" a bit when put the SIM in a take it out again. The more you do so, the more it wears, and eventually a new SIM is the answer to your connectivity issues.

Saw the q5 in the store yesterday, eww it is so ugly, nobody gonna buy it, back looks exactly like iPhone 3gs from like a million years ago!

Posted via CB10

I played with Q5 in a Toronto store the other day (Superstore)........ I think it looks really good. The Red one is smoking Hot..........Q5 and Q10 look like blackberry whereas my Z10 looks like an iPhone........i am thinking about moving to a Red Q5 if Rogers ever gets it...........

Sexy White BlackBerry Z10

I too saw the q5 up close in real life, and was very impressed with how good it looked, love the design. It also looks really solid. Wasn't expecting that.

Posted via CB10

Haha u must be kidding? I own this phone n I fking love it. Its an awesome device!

Posted via CB10

I had a loose SIM tray on the Dev Alpha A. Which would cause the same results you had. But I'm happy to report the Q5 I received doesn't have that issue at all. And I'm constantly moving SIMs from the other BlackBerry's.

Posted via CB10

I thought it would be a good option when it got released, but the 5MP camera just isn't enough and the build quality doesn't justify the price.

This device would have knocked the Nokia lumia 520 (and plenty of other low end phones) out of the water if they had put it at the same price point :(

Your Big Three have it, but I don't know what their no-contract policy is. Last week, Best Buy and Future Shop (which I think is owned by Best Buy?) had the Virgin Q5 for $300.

Rogers will unlock your phone if you buy outright
For 50bucks
if you take a subsidized one you must wait at least 90days into your contract

I agree. If the Q5 had its brightness turned up, I'd expect it would perform better in direct sunlight than the Q10 with its vibrant, low-power, but somewhat dim creen

Posted via CB10

You're right, this actually merits a closer investigation. Gonna put them side-by-side and maybe do a comparison post this week.

Posted via CB10

Ya, this is a qwerty device that should have been released two years ago at least. It will sell horribly, especially in North America.

Posted via CB10

I would buy it again, if I lost my beautiful red Q5. It's so hot. A really good device and for 340 Euro outside a contract it is affordable and not too expensive for the performance you get for that.

Btw.......Q5 is a pretty big phone than it looks in the pictures......i held one in my hand and it's nice and big.......
Folks go and see it in person it looks bigger and better......

Sexy White BlackBerry Z10

I honestly dig it. And if I didn't have money for a Q10 I would've got the Q5 for sure. Now I just want the. Z30/A10

Posted via CB10

The Q5 is a fine phone, the only issue is BBRY should have released the Z5 full touch instead. The Z5 would have had a better chance in convincing younger students to go full BB10.

If they had done that, we would not be seeing a huge price drop on the Z10.

On another note, I really don't know why Apple gets away with all sorts of antics. The price of the current 5th gen iPod stayed the same, but now they've added an extra 8 GB to give you a 16 GB device for about $200. Before you would only get 8 GB, but you can't add more RAM or a microSD card to an Apple device, so I would never consider this device to friends - 8 GB isn't enough for apps, music, videos, and docs. The 16 GB iPod looked good until you realize there is no rear camera! All you get is a lame 1.2 MP front camera for video chat, but they didn't make it too public that they were taking away the rear camera, and now you must pay an additional $100 to get an iPod 5th gen with 32 GB and rear camera.

I played with one at Telus and it looks much better in person, overall I was impressed other than the slippery back.

I bought the q5 yesterday here in Honduras, Central America, and let me comment that the Q5 is a Great Smartphone!!!

Q5 looks great to me. Played around with one at BlackBerry Live and thought it was a fine smartphone in looks, performance and quality.

It will be a tough sell once iphone 5c is out since it will be more or less priced the same ballpark as the Q5.

Posted via CB10

Q5 is awesome. I love mine. My favorite phone ever is the Q10, but the Q5 is also really good. Z10 is also awesome, lol. Can't wait for the Z30!!!

Posted via CB10

I am planning to buy a red one for my mother this month. Your 2nd look review is almost a conformation for me to do igt. MY reasoning is quite similar to yours.......It's basically a Q10 built with cheaper materials. Same resolution, same performance. Not at all like the Curve of old.

So this is comparable in model to the rumoured iPhone 5c? Wonder what the "C" stands for LOOL answers below.

Posted using my Z10STL100-2/

You are very generous. A loose sim tray is a major diaster. I have a feeling this is not an isolated incident. Look like BlackBerry has some quality work to do.

Posted via CB10

Q5 is amazing. You can get them on Kajiji for 300 new in box. Awesome. Its basically a Q10 cuz for bb spec's don't matter so much you wont notice the difference.

Q5 is a really good low end device. We have 2 in black in the house for both my daughters. Running smooth and fluid using BB10 on these LOW end devices. Thanks to the Berry Team and CB, both are running on 10.2 with the unlocked Android player so the kids can play with Subway surfers, Minion Rush (no sound :( ), Temple run 2, etc. What I find amazing and I've posted this before, is that both Subway surfers and especially Minion Rush run way faster on the Q5s than on my one daugher's ipod 5 - that's just crazy.. games running on a low end BB device running through an emulator..

Not really a big fan of the Q5 other than for a budget off contract buy.

I played with one at a Best Buy last week and the performance was extremely good. The let down is the body material andover all look.

I would buy one as a back up phone if they ever get down to the $200 to 250 level.

Posted via CB10

Who is the manufacturer of the Q5? Is it Jabil Quad?? Huge BB fan, but wish they would have dove in with Celestica instead of Jabil... Jabil is a big and greedy non verticly integrated CM that are a much larger company than BlackBerry, I think Celestica would have been a better supplier match than Jabil... I deal with Jabil on a regular basis and do not like their approach to dealing with most of their smaller customers...My 2 cents. Cheers.

I bought an almost brand new red Q5 off kijiji for $255 last week or so to replace my 9360 while I wait for my contract to end. Gotta say it has really surprised me! In relativity to the Q10, I don't feel like I'm missing out on much. The higher camera would be nice but that's all. Less processing power doesn't factor in with BB10, and the screen is a great size. For people wondering about the size of the phone, screen itself is roughly the width of an iPhone, and the ppi is higher than the i5 and S3, for what it's worth.

Throw in 10.2 with some sideloaded apps and I'm not in a rush to buy a new phone on contract.

I have had a play with the Q5 and I think it's a great phone it's not an ugly phone as I have the Q10 and that is great phone too

Posted via CB10

I like the sharp edges at the front, but the back feels cheap. There are good BB covers to hide the back though.
With a Z already in my collection, I will wait for the prices to drop to get both the Qs

Q5 is to expensive in europe and z10 price looks good. My opinion sell out z10.

Use the concept of z10 for a plastic z5 with 1.0/1.2 ghz, 8MP camera and 16 gb. Also use the same concept for a z10plus with the same specs as Z30 but both with 12MP camera.

Why buy 1.7 with 8MP and 5 inch or is the price midrange? Because that is the newbee and repeat buyers market.

Commercial and in the forum I already spread this get lose of qwerty because BB10 was made for touch and also the presentations were with the amazing virtueel keyboatd. Wow.

BlackBerry must act now before europe is gone also.

Posted via CB10

Bought a q5 unlocked for 220 from car phone warehouse in UK. A very good phone for that price

Posted via CB10

I bought a red and white one for my kids over the weekend. I have to say I'm very impressed with them, battery life is exceptionally good so far, as is the build quality. I did try to persuade them to go for a Z10 but they weren't having it. Keyboard was the deciding factor with this one, oh and as for the colours, really think the red is awesome. Having managed to extract one of the devices out of my kids hands for a bit of a play, I'm a convert and would have no problems using one of these as my main device.
The price has now come down which makes it even better, £229 sim free. Appreciate the design won't suite everyone but then that's one of the things I love about BlackBerry, it's consumer choice. They realise everyone is different.

Posted from my Z10 with CB10

Will there ever be a Verizon CDMA compatible Q5? This could be a great option for the wife. Been looking for a good phone to replace her cracked iP4. Had her on a Palm Pixi back in the day, and this is a great callback to that. Plus it comes in different colors.

Just as a side note, although the $200 price difference may apply when buying a Q5 outright, on a 2 year term from bell, say, the Q5 is $50, whereas the Q10 is $70... for $20, i'm taking the AMOLED screen, better processor, removable battery, etc

Posted via CB10

Yep, totally true. Anybody that's going to bother with a contract should probably just get the Q10 (unless they're really strapped for cash, and they need the device for free). 

You can have as many looks as you want...a second, a third and a fourth...if these are the devices BlackBerry is hedging its future on, then they might as well pack it in and go home...It should support the Z10 and the upcoming Z30 primarily, the Q10 and the Q5 should be more afterthoughts than your flagship devices.

They are fine for those who are still ok with tiny screens and QWERTY keyboards, as long as they sell why not? But they are increasingly representative of an ever shrinking share of customers. Say what you want but the Z10 is a step forward and to my mind a better representation of the versatility and operational capabilities of the BB10 OS. The Q10 and Q5 are just supped up versions of the legacy devices that are being rapidly abandoned. Don't get me started on the "new" BlackBerry Bold...

BlackBerry has to transition to different devices and move away from being seen to be stuck with one foot in the past while they are proclaiming to be telecom visionaries operating with the future in mind.

The Q10 and Q5 are NOT examples of that...quite the opposite...

Posted via CB10

"That's something even Apple is starting to wise up to."
I love this line. To smirk at Apple's business decisions when Blackberry is sinking due to completely inept management sounds like something from the Onion.

personally i dont like the Q5 in black.. but omfg in white it is sexy as f*** !! i saw my first white q5 today on a bus and it looks pretty dam sexy i have to say i was shocked, in a good way :)

I use this for more than 2 weeks. It’s a great smartphone, fantastic typing, really nice touch screen and of course OS10.
Should be mentioned the best battery life,i have ever met.
Again it is a great phone.

The keyboard is easier to use and it feels nicer in the hand.

I sold my Q10 and bought a Q5. 'nuff said.

(with the change, i bought an N9) :D

really that shocks me - I don't have either phones, played with both of them love the Q10 feel and look, the Q5 looks ok but not sold on the keyboard. Thanks for this info. though. Cheers

Isn't there a difference in the camera as well?

My wife is looking to upgrade from a Torch. (Among other things) she doesn't like the camera. Isn't the Q5 the same Mega-pixels as the Torch?

Posted via CB10

Had the Q5 for a few days. Really like this phone. Firm keyboard and amazing battery life. Some of us need to use smartphones for business (not games and social chats, although I'm sure it would be great for this too) and the Q5 reviews from tech sites so far completely miss the point of this device. A great value I think!

Posted via CB10

This is my favorite blackberry yet, including z10 and q10. I love the feel (in a gel case) and they keyboard is better than q10(for me).

Posted via CB10

Camera is better than the torch from my use.

Reviews knock it but so far what I use it for its been great.

Posted via CB10

I've bought a Blackberry Q5 unlocked and I was wondering if I would be able to connect it with AT&T Service?

I am currently on one now. I just purchased a plan last week and I feel great. Though the connectivity is not as good, I think as a smartphone it performs pretty solid. An android dual core would never run as smoothly as blackberry os. Well at least from my experience. I have an andriod 4.0 dual core phone clocked at 1.2 GHZ and it feels slow even though I don't abuse it like most andriod power users do.

I think if you are used to the keyboard you should go with any blackberry. The blackberry ten software is pretty smooth. I think the software issue people have is probably having to side load andriod apps. So far I haven't tried. My first blackberry and I love it!

Posted via CB10

BlackBerry Q5 is absolutely splendid. And yes I am saying this after years of Android usage. Those who are hating this beautiful product are cheating themselves because you can't comprehend the product unless you use it. And small screen is not a problem at all because it does it job very well and how many of us are using the net extensively on mobile other than the desktop or laptop? So I must say that BlackBerry Q5 is a good option against androids and iphones.

Posted via CB10


I am thinking of getting a blackberry q5 in place of my bold 9900. I would like to know if the screen is like the glass screen of a BlackBerry 9900 and not like those cheap screens on Blackberry Curves or the 9790.

Thank you.

Although this phone does not have the build quality of the Q10, it is still great for anyone who wants the BB10 experience, and the physical keyboard.

Posted via CB10

It's been just over two months since I started using my Q5. I like the "plain Jane" looks of it. It doesn't have the "bling" of the Q10 and it is a little larger than its BB10 Qwerty stable-mate. But that suits me me just fine. I'm 6'3" and 230 lbs with large hands so I really appreciate the new keyboard and the fact the the phone is a little larger. Not being a techno geek I do not miss any of the few item not included in the Q5 but which are a staple in the Q10. The device is easy to use, great screen (could be a shad bigger), love the keyboard, good size and great looks (love things on the Spartan-side). I do wish I could swap out the battery and that there were a few more OEM BlackBerry accessessories for the phone. The lack of selection of accessories makes one feel that the Q5 won't be around long or is considered to the ugly kid at the dance. Overall, the Q5 is an excellent device which I think will do very well with those who need a reliable handset, with fantastic features and an OS second to none. I'll be keeping the Q5 for a long time if it continues to perform as well as it has. Great work BlackBerry!!

Posted via CB10

I had the z10 then the z30 and went for the passport but found i had a few issues with PP that were never experienced on the z30, however i have gone for a q5 and i have to say what a fantastic device this is. In my opinion it is better than the q10 due to the clicky spaced keyboard as the q10 felt spongy and the lcd screen is much whiter ,clearer and brighter than the omoled q10. However i do think the q10 does have a great look and feel over the q5.
I think the classic is a winner with lcd screen but wish they had put same power as passport in it .
You cannot go wrong with q5 as i think it is probably the best of everything blackberry out for the price and specs. Passport had issues and classic is not big enough upgrade from q10. Wher do we go blackberry, may i suggest the idea of a Passport mini style with an extra row of keys. Anyone else agree????

Posted via the CrackBerry

The q5 has surprised me it is fantastic and it feels like a BlackBerry Curve with the clicky buttons

Posted via CB10