back to article A year with Canada's Volvo-esque smartphone – The BlackBerry Z30

Why return to the Blackberry Z30, a phone that's over a year old? Well, the smartphone has matured impressively since its launch in 2013, and BlackBerry is about to introduce a major revision to its software: BlackBerry OS 10.3.1. The Z30 remains the most up-to-date all-touchscreen BlackBerry to run this operating system. …

  1. AMBxx Silver badge
    Joke

    I'll take one

    Just needs a proper keyboard

  2. ZSn

    Oi!

    Speaking as an old Volvo driver, oi!

    1. eternal cynic

      Re: Oi!

      Funny how my 16 year old Volvo V70R is one of the few cars able to make it to work today... just saying.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oi!

        I was slightly confused by the Volvo wanker comment....

        At best Volvo drivers are wannabe's in this department no?

        Surely that's a special position with specific procedures that must be adhered to that's reserved for those who lease either a BMW or an Audi....I believe these cars come specifically configured among other things with deactivated indicators, and a buzzer that goes off unless you're less than 1 foot behind the car in front.

      2. Frank N. Stein

        Re: Oi!

        My 96' Volvo 850 GLT is pushing over 302,000 miles with the original motor and 5 speed transmission. The clutch was only replaced a year ago. #WORKHORSE.

  3. ZSn

    Calendar

    The font change in calendar is nice. The font on the calendar in windows phone is all but ilegible at my age. Why they can't increase it on a bigger screen? Perhaps at our age they expect us to have secretaries to read it aloud to us?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I love my Z30

    I've been using a Z30 for a year now, and had a Z10 on trial before that, and it is hands down the best phone I've used. I loved my Android phone before I had the Z30, but it just handles everything I need from it easily and quickly, and better than Android every did.

  5. Glenn Hunt

    As always .... an excellent article Andrew. I am running the Z10 on 10.3.1 and I love it. For me it is 90% about messaging - the apps are quite secondary - and that's why I have a BB, and not an iPhone or Android.

    A few comments though:

    Deleting emails on 10.3.1 is WAY easier than the iOS. Instant actions can be shown or hidden by pressing the icon in the top right. If "confirm delete" is turned off, you can delete a message with one press. I can clear my inbox of crap in a few seconds. Also, you can customize what those instant actions are, or turn them off completely.

    If you want a bigger font in the hub, then just to Settings | Display and pick a larger size. I know that doesn't change the font, but it might help.

  6. RaidOne

    My experience with Z30

    Sick with Google's data grab, in November of last year I decided to ditch my Nexus 4 for a Z30. Brand new for $300 CAD, unlocked and no contract, why not?

    It was on 10.2, I know I could have downloaded a build of 10.3, but I did not bother.

    I was of two minds about the hub - my personal email together with company email in the same place sometimes seemed like a good idea, sometimes not. Email handling overall was great.

    My main complaint about it is the speed. Very slow to load apps. Once loaded, they are generally responsive. Also, boot is very slow, in good Blackberry tradition.

    I don't use my phone to watch videos or listen to music. All I want from it is email, web browsing and navigation. While the former two are fine, the later was subpar. Besides the fact that the Maps app was very slow to load, it was slow to use - an exception to the rule. Traffic display also was definitely not as good as in Google Maps.

    I know why - not so many people use BB Maps compared with GMaps. I know also that I could get GMaps on the Z30, but that comes with the whole Google services, so it would defeat the purpose of going away from Google. And I am sure it would have been slow, as well.

    The Z30 feels well made, and the gestures in BB 10 are a nice way of controlling the device.

    The battery was lasting me two days sometimes, one day and a half for sure. I was still charging overnight if I was at less than 60% at the end of the day, because I hate running out of juice.

    I am traveling relatively frequent, and I hated the long loading times when switching between SIM cards.

    The sound quality was good, but I did not find the reception out of ordinary, at least compared to the Nexus 4. I know all about that, my fellow Wind customers know why.

    At the beginning of January I decided to sell the Z30 at a loss (at the end of December it could be bought new for $250 CAD) and i got a Huawei Mate 2.

    Back to Android, and an older version of that. But what a difference in experience. While far from being a top of the line device, the Mate 2 is very fast, at boot and at loading apps. The battery is good for 3 days at least, 4 days if the weekend is included. Reception again, seems about the same as with the Z30, a bit lower than the Nexus 4. The massive 6.1" screen of the Mate 2 makes all the text visible to my tired eyes.

    I think I will stick with this phone for a while. I would be willing to try the Passport, but I refuse to pay more than $400 for a phone. When it gets to that level, I will decide.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: My experience with Z30

      10.3 is faster than 10.2. That was your problem. Probably.

  7. MattW99

    Data contract requirements?

    I have an old and greatly prized O2 sim only contract with unlimited data. This is obviously great with Android phones but I'm looking to replace my ageing S3 and this article has made me wonder about the Z30.

    Does the Z30 require any blackberry specific data features which would mean me having to take out a new contract (hence losing my existing contracts favourable terms)?

    Ta

    Matt

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Data contract requirements?

      Do you mean like a specially provisioned SIM? No.

      1. MattW99

        Re: Data contract requirements?

        Thanks Andrew - was just concerned that O2 may have to provide any blackberry specific services at their end for mail etc.

        Cheers

        m

    2. nemasus

      Re: Data contract requirements?

      No, it does not require a separate BlackBerry plan. New BlackBerry 10 devices use data similar to other smart phones.

  8. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    I'm waiting for the Z80 so I can run CP/M and Jet Set Willy on it...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You have to try to know how good this is!

    I suspect if the whole world could be made to use this phone for just one week then BB's market share would rocket thereafter. This is a superb phone at any price never mind at £250. for a while I have an Android I loved for personal use and a Z10 for work. After about a month I realised that I keep trying to do the things on the Android the way I did on the Z10 - and never vice versa. Not massive things just wee things we do all day like check email, texts etc - the BB OS10 was just so much handier that the Andriod. So I ditched the android and bought another z10 for personal use. Got a z30 in November when the price dropped and absolutely love it. Go on - try it

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A super, super phone!

    I suspect if the whole world could be made to use this phone for just one week then BB's market share would rocket thereafter. This is a superb phone at any price never mind at £250. for a while I have an Android I loved for personal use and a Z10 for work. After about a month I realised that I keep trying to do the things on the Android the way I did on the Z10 - and never vice versa. Not massive things just wee things we do all day like check email, texts etc - the BB OS10 was just so much handier that the Andriod. So I ditched the android and bought another z10 for personal use. Got a z30 in November when the price dropped and absolutely love it. Go on - try it

  11. de leurg

    I have Z10 and I use DocsToGo a lot. I write when I am outside. On Z10, screen luminosity allows me to write without being bothered by the sunlight. Please, is the luminosity of Z30 screen sufficient or comfortable to write outside, in the light of day?

  12. Douchus McBagg

    had a range of berry's from work

    8300, 9700, 9780, 9790, 9900

    then the OS10 variants

    Z10, Q10, Z30 and got a passport in my work draw.

    The Classic is effectively just a Q10 in a revised 9900 body. nice look and feel though

    Z30 is ideal for me. ok, no keyboard, but the screen makes up for that. one of my colleagues has ditched his Q10 for a Z30 as well. you aren't going to be banging out any novels on the touch screen, but it is responsive. agree on the boot time and apps are slow to load, but once they are there, I don't worry about just flicking them into the background as it has the battery to cope.

    the passport is a speed demon! apps and boot loading is very quick!

    all OS10 blackberry devices don't need the blackberry add-on on your carrier's tariff. used to be a fiver a month with Vodafone. no idea now. but they use ActiveSync and your data allowance for their email and messaging transport rather than a hook back to RIM's infrastructure.

    sticking with my Z30 to see if OS10.3.1 makes it over...

    1. MattW99

      Thanks for that post - clears up my concerns regarding needing a BB add-on for the Z30.

      As far as I can work out, it'll play nicely with gmail / google contacts and google calendar via DAV (as I've been on android for years, I'm pretty heavily tied in to the google infrastructure).

      I only have a few android apps which I use regularly but I'm happy side load them as and when but it's the 'workhorse' communication focus of the Z30 that's attractive (as is the new price).

      I think I'll give it a go.

  13. Keith Langmead

    Z30's a superb phone

    Have to agree, it's a superb phone. I've had mine for about a year, and before that had an XDA Exec, Nokia E90 and Nokia E7, so I was used to having a physical and large keyboard. The Z30's virtual keyboard beats them all hands down (which really surprised me), and I found I can type faster and more accurately on it than I could on any of the others. The way the phone learns and adapts the keyboard (or specifically where on each key it's most sensitive) as it learns your typing style is superb, but equally I think one of its weaknesses, since anyone picking it up for a play doesn't immediately experience it at its best.

    The only niggles I've found with it are 1) on the lock screen preview, if you have multiple mailboxes configured (eg home and work), it will always display both. In all other views you can customise it, so for instance my hub only shows home email, and if I CHOOSE to I can open my work email. 2) I wish they'd get with the 21st century and let me COMPLETELY disable the download restriction for installing Blackberry updates. You can allow some app updates to crack on and download, but blackberry updates refuse if you're doing it over a mobile data signal. I've got unlimited data, so having to connect to a wireless connection just to install updates is frustrating.

  14. Frank N. Stein

    When the Z30 first appear, I was laying in wait for it to appear at Sprint, but that never happened, so I couldn't get one. Have yet to actually see one in the wild.

  15. Dinsdale247

    z30

    I couldn't help myself and bought a Passport when it came out, which I love. I had a z10 and loved it, but it was "a little slow". I wanted a Z30 but wanted to wait for a better resolution display, which obviously didn't happen.

    I'm a big fan of BB10 Hub and their auto complete/swip. My biggest grip with my Passport is that a truly usable SSH environment is at my fingertips, but there is no native BB10 SSH app to take advantage of the keyboard. JuiceSSH is awkward. Also would like IRC to show up in Hub.

  16. MattW99

    Well, I've just bought one.

    Time to see what this. BlackBerry malarkey is all about...

    1. MattW99

      It's arrived and I like it.

      Big change after years of Android but after a half a day, I'm getting used to the BB way of doing stuff and I think we're going to get along well.

      Good call Andrew.

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