Connect with us

Tech News

First Impressions Review Of The BlackBerry Z30




The BlackBerry Z30

The Z30, BlackBerry’s fourth smartphone based around the BB10 operating, was announced last week by the Canadian company, and I’ve spent time this week with the 5 inch touchscreen handset to see what BlackBerry can offer in this ‘second generation’ handset.

Last week also saw a few other announcements from BlackBerry, ranging from extensive job losses to a bid that would take the company back into private ownership. These are all going to have an impact on the Z30, but I’m going to address them in a more detailed article in the near future. Right now I just want to look at the Z30 ahead of its availability in the UK tomorrow.

Out of the box two things struck me. The first is that they’ve got the presentation sorted. A matt black box, with the Z30 proudly on the top tray. Below that a cardboard sleeve for the flip cover, and then the USB cables, AC charger, and in-ear headphones in the lower level. It all feels rather slick, professional, and gives a great first impression.

And then I found the spare battery. Because the Z30 is a sealed unit, this is an external battery pack for recharging the handset through the micro USB port. It’s one way to get around the short battery life that the Z10 suffered. The other way is to put a really big battery cell inside the handset, which they’ve done. With a 2880 mAh battery, the Z30 has a lot of power.

But that power does come with some caveats. The first is that much of the extra capacity is going to be used by the larger 5 inch capacitive touch-screen (now using Super AMOLED, rather than the LCD technology of the Z10), while the second is that the BB10 OS does not seem to be as efficient as other mobile operating systems. I’ll be watching the battery life as I review the handset and cover this more in the main review next week here on Forbes. BlackBerry has stated the Z30 will run for 25 hours with ‘varied use’.

Spec wise the handset is powered by a 1.7 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, an Adreno 320 GPU, and 2 GB or RAM, which is a similar load out to the middle-high end Android smartphones this handset will be in direct competition with. BlackBerry is also pushing the ‘natural sound’ capabilities of the device, with stereo speakers and improved audio handling for media playback and video calling.

The BlackBerry Z30 Hub

The BlackBerry Z30 Hub

The other notable change in the Z30 (apart from the general scaling up of the size and specs) is the OS. The Z30 comes with v10.2 of the BB10 operating system. As a point change there’s nothing fundamentally new about the use or operation of the handset from the Z10, Q10, and Q5 that we’ve looked at previously. You still have the fascination with gestures replacing the home keys and status bars of other handsets, you still have the glance functionality to look at incoming messages over a number of social networks, services, and email boxes, you still have access to BBM, and the third party application support is still patchy.

Visible highlights of the 10.2 update can be seen in a number of places, but given the focus on messaging in the handset, the addition of the ‘Priority Hub’ is one to draw attention to. Over time, the Z30 will learn what messages are important to you, and will endeavour to highlight these so you can have quick access to them. With the potential avalanche of messages from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other sources, this could prove useful to the busy Z30 user.

You can also reply to incoming messages without going to them through the hub. Receive a message alert across the top of the screen when you are working, and a quick swipe gesture down and you have the option to reply to the message from that screen. A nice touch, and one of many that have been added since the Z10 to help with your workflow around communications.

From this short time, the Z30 takes many lessons from the Z10 and the BlackBerry team has applied these to make the core experience of BB10.2 one that fits better with the connected experience of 2013, although I still think that being limited to a single Twitter account, and a lack of Facebook Pages inclusion in the hub, stops BB10 overall being anything other than a consumer focused OS, which is unfortunate given the focus on the prosumer that BlackBerry is now pushing for.

The BlackBerry Z30 on the Z10

The BlackBerry Z30 on the Z10

Putting the new handset next to the older Z10, and you can see that the Z30 is a clear improvement. The physical styling of the handset is more welcoming and is a better fit in my hand; the increased screen size blends in to the front of the handset and the extra size takes away the cramped feeling of BB10 that hindered the first all-touchscreen  on the Z10 (and show just how poorly suited a physical keyboard is to the new OS).

But being better than the last handset is not enough. The Z30 is going to be placed alongside handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S4, the iPhone 5S, and the Nokia Lumia 925/928. My gut feeling is that while the Z30 handles the basics well, it will struggle when you push the envelope.

So for the next week I’ll be living with the BlackBerry Z30 to see how well you can push the envelope with the handset, both as it stands now, and if all of BlackBerry’s online services were to be switched off. There’s a strong chance that this could be the last new handset from BlackBerry, and if that is the case I hope they can go out with their head held high.

There is a market for the Z30, but I don’t think it’s as large as BlackBerry hope. In an unbiased world many people would happily consider the Z30 in-store, but I don’t see it being an immediate ‘must buy’, more like a handset that needs careful consideration.  That means the business issues around BlackBerry are going to come into the decision process, and that will make the Z30 an interesting purchase to justify.


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.





Advancing technology has collided with longstanding customer issues to create a series of deep, lasting, systemic challenges for insurance. How will these trends impact insurers’ businesses and the industry overall?

The rise of fintech, changing consumer behavior, and advanced technologies are disrupting the insurance industry. Additionally, Insurtechs and technology startups continue to redefine customer experience through innovations such as risk-free underwriting, on-the-spot purchasing, activation, and claims processing.

The report from Deloitte Global examines forces that are disrupting the insurance industry and presents four possible scenarios for the future. We explore:

  • Changing the channel: Partnerships with product makers and distributors, and embedding insurance into other products and services may enable customers to select products that best fit their lifestyle.
  • Underwriting by machine: Technology advancements including AI innovations and algorithms will likely individualize risk selection and pricing, and customers can select products based on a wider range of price points.
  • Rise of the flexible product: Time-flexible, event-driven, modular and adjustable coverage may evolve to accommodate life stage, lifestyle, and wellness changes among consumers.
  • E-Z life insurance: Given the growth and shopping patterns in emerging markets, insurers who introduce flexible term products, and master digital distribution without compromising underwriting are likely to win in the marketplace.

Read the report to understand what the future holds for the insurance industry.

Key Contact

Neal Baumann

Neal Baumann

Global Insurance Leader

Neal leads Deloitte’s Global Insurance practice and is the US insurance consulting leader. He has 20 years of experience advising financial services and insurance company clients on corporate and comp… More

Continue Reading





A team from EY triumphed in a 48-hour European Investment Bank (EIB) hackathon designed to find ways to use blockchain technologies to redesign the transaction processing of commercial paper.

The EIB brought together 56 coders from 15 countries in 12 teams for the hackathon, run alongside the bank’s annual forum dedicated to treasury issues.

While the conference was running, the coders were locked in an adjacent room, trying to prove that blockchain tech can improve the transaction process of commercial paper – a short-term financing instrument that is used worldwide in treasury operations and still relies on an ‘archaic’ and complex process.

In the pitching session, the EY team won the contest with an effort that taps a combination of blockchain, robotics and business AI tools to optimise the issuance process and reduce the number of exchanges between the EIB and its counterparties while maintaining each one’s role within the ecosystem.

The EY team won a EUR5000 cash prize and a contract with the EIB to further develop its solution into a proof of concept.

Alexander Stubb, vice president, EIB, say: “There will be major gains from the use of new technologies such as blockchain, generated from the simplification and streamlining of existing financial processes. The new perspectives opened up by digitalisation and Distributed Ledger Technology must be assessed and we must all be ready to make use of them and embark on this new venture.

“As the EU’s financial arm, we decided to be on the active side, learn by experience and make things happen, to be a facilitator and join with our banking partners to pave the way for tomorrow’s financial industry.”

Separately, Barclays is planning a hackathon that will see coders use blockchain technology for post-trade processing of derivatives contracts. The event will take place over two days in September in London and New York, according to Coindesk.

Continue Reading





More information is leaking out about just how Google is planning to re-enter the Chinese market with a mobile search engine application that complies to the country’s censorship laws.

The Intercept first broke this story when a whistleblower provided them documentation detailing the secret censored search project (codenamed Dragonfly). According to them, an overlooked Google acquisition from 2008 — — has been quietly laying down the foundation for the endeavor.

In order to run a business in China, tech companies are required to obtain a Internet Content Provider license from the Chinese government. As it’s difficult for foreign businesses to obtain this license, Google has long partnered with Chinese IT company Back in the early years of, Google actually operated directly off of’s license, even claiming the Chinese company was temporarily running its search engine. Facing intense scrutiny from the Chinese government and the media over this license arrangement, in 2007 Google formed a legitimate joint venture company with — the Beijing Guxiang Information and Technology Co.

Because of the necessity of that license, Google has maintained that joint venture and has been operating in China under the name Beijing Guxiang Information and Technology Co. ever since. Even after the shut down of, Google’s Chinese advertising enterprise has been operating under the joint venture company as well as, low and behold, A whois search of the domain name, which provides a record of the current domain registrant information, pulls up Beijing Guxiang Information and Technology Co. as the registrant organization.

A significant number of Google employees are reportedly none too happy about Google’s project complying with Chinese censorship laws. This most recent news, that the company has long been collecting data for a moment just like this, surely won’t make morale among these workers any better.

Continue Reading

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 671 other subscribers



%d bloggers like this: