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BlackBerry Z30 Review – Smartphone Without Competition

If you would have told me that I would be starting a report with that title 3 weeks ago, I would have said you were nuts.  A necessary evil of my work, I have been carrying around a BlackBerry for several years now and have never been impressed.  I am sorry but it is true.  Right now, I have in my hands the BlackBerry Z10, as well as the Z30, and you will be hard pressed to get either away from me any time soon.  The only reason that BlackBerry hasn’t stolen millions of smartphone sales away from IOS or Android is an unfortunate amount of bad press, and bad timing with respect to release of this phone.

BlackBerry Z30 1


Don’t believe me? Three days ago I was traveling at just under 300km/h on the THSR (Taiwan High Speed Rail) from Taipei to the Fo Guong Shan Temple on  the south end of Taiwan and I received a call via Skype.  Normally that wouldn’t be such a feat, but for the fact that I happened to only then realize how many programs were open on the Z30 at that time.  All active and available with a quick swipe and tap were Skype, the camera for both pictures and video, my Facebook, my wife’s Facebook, a translator program and a money conversion program.  This was the most intense multitasking that I had ever seen from a smartphone, and something that neither IOS or Android devices are capable of.

This was always the thing that bothered me about, not only BlackBerry, but all smartphones in general.  Multitasking was very limited.  I can’t tell you just how many times I had to end a call to find info and then call back with that info.  BlackBerry has solved this…and then some.  Not only have they improved on the truly limited multitasking we have come to know in all cell phones, but better yet, one can use up to eight programs simultaneously and each is just a quick swipe to get back to without having to close down the other.  Now even completing the easiest task of forwarding the info of any of our contacts to a person that you are speaking with on the phone, won’t intimidate us any longer.  The BlackBerry Z30 is here.

BlackBerry Z30 2


Admittedly, I hit you with the hardest punch to get your attention right off but let’s examine just how we got where we are. Without warning a few weeks back, my BlackBerry Bold was replaced with a new BlackBerry Z10 as part of our corporate IT structure; the OS of the new Z10 had greater security features for our company needs. What that meant in laymen’s terms was that ‘they’ didn’t like the visiting of social sharing sites along side of sensitive work data and a solution was now available in the BlackBerry 10 OS. This ‘fix’ maintains separate business and personal areas on the device where work data is off limits while one checks personal sites such as FaceBook , these sites still being technically off limits in any case.

For me, that meant that I was now carrying a BB Z10 alongside my own Samsung Galaxy Note II, the Note II being a necessary evil for website business. Admittedly, the larger screen and fonts were also more suiting to my 50 years and slightly jaded vision. I had some hesitation with BlackBerry and this was compounded by the fact that I was a phone junkie who had previously moved from the iPhone to the Galaxy Note II. My work BB Bold (and all versions prior) had always been a paperweight that had to remain by my side 24 hours a day.

BlackBerry Z30 3


Within that first week with the Z10, my Samsung Galaxy Note II was parked at the office, the number and all e-mail accounts forwarded to the BB. The Note II had now become the paperweight and one that was being fought for by both of my children. It seems that the new BlackBerry 10 OS had won me over, but trust me; it wasn’t a walk in the park.  The BB 10 OS is totally different than that of Android and IOS. If you are used to either, get ready for a learning curve but once you get things going, watch out because no other device can run anything like this. BB 10 is based on swiping in every direction from the outside of the screen to the inside.

Let’s start with the home screen. It has several icons and many more can be found if you swipe right to left across the screen. By swiping left to right, you return to where you started. Now, if you continue to swipe left to right, you come to the notification area where you can instantly access all notifications including such things as e-mail, text messages FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, BBM and PIN messages. Swipe back right to left to get back to your home screen.

BlackBerry Z30 8

If you now swipe from the top down, you get easy access to all settings and device information. If you quickly swipe up from the bottom, you will notice that the left notification screen becomes visible where you can see if you have any new notifications. Swiping up also changes the battery meter on the top left to the percentage of the battery life remaining. Now press the phone icon. The phone is now active and you can swipe from the top to see any ‘extra’ settings that may apply to the phone, or other app.

Swipe up and watch the phone reduce. This is the beauty of BlackBerry. Regardless of what program you reduce, it remains active and you can swipe from the left to check notifications or from the right to access other programs. You can keep up to 8 of your most used programs available at all times. Open a few programs and pull up to reduce them and then swipe left and right to understand the access you have to notifications and programs. Remember when we said we had two instances of FaceBook, a translator, money converter, camera and Skype all in use; we weren’t kidding. You can close the active programs easily by pressing the ‘x’ bottom right when they are reduced in the active screen.

If you would have told me that I would be starting a report with that title 3 weeks ago, I would have said you were nuts.  A necessary evil of my work, I have been carrying around a BlackBerry for several years now and have never been impressed.  I am sorry but it is true.  Right now, I have in my hands the BlackBerry Z10, as well as the Z30, and you will be hard pressed to get either away from me any time soon.  The only reason that BlackBerry hasn't stolen millions of smartphone sales away from IOS or…

Review Overview

Product Build
App Support

Multitasking Genious!

If you are one to use your phone extensively, the BlackBerry z30 is the only option as its multitasking capabilities have yet to be seen in any other smartphone.

User Rating: 2.91 ( 60 votes)

About Les Tokar

is a technology nut and Founder of The SSD Review. His early work includes the first consumer SSD review along with MS Vista, Win 7 and SSD Optimization Guides. Les is fortunate to, not only evaluate and provide opinion on consumer and enterprise solid state storage but also, travel the world in search of new technologies and great friendships.Google+

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  • Caleb

    Fantastic review. Could not agree more.

    Thank you.

  • John Hanks

    It is a great phone. Your review got kinda dis-jointed, you started talking about the Z10 and somehow got off onto the Z30.
    Personally I prefer the Q10 or Z10 for better one-handed use, but otherwise the Z30 is a powerful smartphone.

    • Les@TheSSDReview

      We needed the Z10 in order to demonstrate the separation between business and personal environments. Thanks!

  • Sixtyseven

    Yes Blackberry makes very very good phones. Too bad some people can be paid to write bad articles. But you know what they say Trend is your Friend. There are more sheeps in this world. All the leaders and the Rich have Blackberry’s. All the poor and the Clowns have iPhones and Samsungs, who like toys.

  • Quasimodo

    Finally a review of the BB10 phones and OS where the author doesn’t feel the need to state BlackBerry’s current situation to make you second guess whether you should get the phone or not. Just an honest review that is informative and unbiased.

  • Frank

    I got a Z30 about 6 months ago. Everyone who sees what it can do is amazed, sharing easily, remote access, quick browser and long battery life to mention just some of the highlights. It is truly an excellent work tool.

  • xBURK

    I actually just won a Z30 from attending the “BlackBerry Experience ” in Toronto. Love it. Can’t wait for the Z50.

    • Les@TheSSDReview


      • xBURK

        Ty. I never win anything.

        • Guest

          Nobody ever wins anything until they do.

  • Greg

    I’m surprised that you found the BB10 operating system to be a learning curve, but maybe it’s just a distant memory for me. The great thing about BlackBerry is how easy it is to remain on a call, switch to speakerphone, and search for information pertaining to your call.

    • xBURK

      I remember when I first set up the Z10 just after it launched in Canada. I also thought it was easy to learn, but I can see how some would have troubles for the first few days. It’s not so much hard, it’s just different. The older we get, out minds get in the way in this regard. Honestly, my two year old daughter was actually navigating the Z10 in no time. I don’t mean just swiping here and there, I mean opening YouTube, Piano apps, Games. I was shocked how she did it with such purpose in such a short time. When I won my Z30, I noticed that BlackBerry made changes in how they set up the tutorials when you first boot the device up. They also added a tutorial icon with how to videos included. Hopefully this will help new customers.

      • Les@TheSSDReview

        Thanks Burk.. For me, I RARELY rave about a product and there is nothing better than finding a winner in an underdog. A few weeks back I swore by my Note II. Today, unintentionally I have converted at least 3 friends to new Z30 users with multi-tasking demonstrations. More and more we realize how, before this phone, multi-tasking really wasn’t that apparent and simple.

        • xBURK

          Hey Les. I hope you don’t mind, but I posted your last comment and this article on my BBM Channel titled “BB POWERED ” Channel Pin C001C1D66 (Thursday June 12th)

          • Les@TheSSDReview

            Why would I mind…this article seems to have taken on a life of its own…great to see people sharing it!

  • FS

    Yes, i love my Z30, it’s a great smartphone. The battery is really great and BlackBerry 10 is very fast and easy to handle. Best phone ever.

  • Darryl

    I really love my Z30 and BB10.

  • socialdiscard

    Nice to see a positive review! I love my Z10. Running leak of 10.3 and it’s great! Would love to have Z30 or coming Z50..phablet. Bring it on BB. I don’t need no crApple.

  • consultingsince78

    Maybe I’m missing something. I have a Samsung Galaxy S5 (after my S4 which was after my S3). I typically have four or five apps running concurrently. I could have more but the phone, calendar, email, browser, messaging and Waze apps are typically running all day. You can even have two of them running side-by-side on a split screen. It does take two taps to switch from the app on the display to one of the other apps that are running at the same time. I know that this is real multitasking because I can make an appointment in my calendar while I am on the phone with a client, email is arriving all the time and Waze can be watching my driver’s progress.

    Am I not multitasking?

    • Les@TheSSDReview

      In my use of the word ‘can’t’ I include the fact that 99% of Galaxy or iPhone users will never multi-task as it is not an easily recognizable and accomplished task. Going back less than 2 years ago, we attended South Korea at the request of Samsung and were shown and discussed unreleased product where this exact topic was discussed at length. If you remember back then, multi-tasking was followed by a delay in moving from one app to another, followed by the global release of the multi-tasking bar. The ‘delay’ was solved by more efficient use of memory and suspending apps not front and center, and the multi-tasking bar was intended to try to introduce people to multi-tasking. It still meant cutting the screen in half and, until recently, only specific programs being acceptable for this purpose. The Z30 tackles these problems head on by creating a new screen that can contain 8 active apps or tasks that are easily identifiable and can be moved between at a moments notice. BB’s presentation makes multi-tasking a natural function, whereas others do not. Admittedly, my test subject on this is my wife who is very average with respect to technology. As I, she has had the Galaxy Note for years. If I put it in her hand today and asked her to show me a sample of multi-tasking, she cannot. If I then placed the Z30 in her hand, she would fly…it is just that…natural.

  • Gerald Shaffer

    I’ve been rocking the z30 for 9 months now. It is simply better, in every way, than anything else. Im still learning things that keep moving it closer to perfection than i thought the day before.

    • Les@TheSSDReview

      Agreed… Every day someone notices and asks about this phone…looking forward to that Z50 release soon enough!

  • pacman84

    Thanks for the review. It was a joy to read, I really like the style. Anyway, good to finally read some unbiased reviews about BlackBerry devices.

  • MichaelG

    Thanks for the objective review! Owned Z30 for 5 months, I can say that everything you wrote is true. Amazing phone, most of all I love the Interface of Z30, BlackBerry Hub, PC Sync, Camera, etc, etc. I can name the features for a long time. And more to come in BlackBerry 10.3.1 we are waiting for. So thanks again, great review!

    • Les@TheSSDReview

      Thankls for taking the time to write and thanks for the comps!

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  • zhu rui yin

    BlackBerry cannot get both phone and data on the same card, at least in
    Asia where we used it in Taiwan and China on data plans only. Could you please elaborate what that means. I am trying to get myself my first smartphone and I travel to Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong frequently. Would that affect this BB Z30 routine phone operation at all. Thanks.

    • zhu rui yin

      After posting the question 4 months ago, I made a trip to Singapore and Malaysia with just a Nokia x3. I am sorry you didn’t answer my question, however I found out that’s how carriers operate there just like all the cells sold unlocked with several languages apps installed. On July 17, I decided to make a daring jump into BB Z30 upon against the advice from all the people I have talked to. Just like you have said that it isn’t the learning curve per se, it is just different. My wife has a Xiaomi (android) she bought last November when she visited her folks in Malaysia. I have learned to educate myself how to surf through android phones. My conclusion is that my BB Z30 on OS is just brilliant. I am going to get one for my daughter too. Many thanks to you though Les@TheSSDReview. Wishing you the best.

  • Susan Guindon

    had to post on this, I’ve had so many cell phones ! Samsung, iPhones, Sony, Ericcsons and on and on, years ago I also had a Blackberry Pearl, which was an amazing phone, but I wanted a larger screen more options . . . . years later after being totally fed up with the iPhone and it’s purely awful battery, I remember my old BB and how great the call quality was, how it never dropped a call, and it’s battery went on forever, I toyed with the idea of a Z10, but knew the Z30 was on the horizon, so I waited, so glad I did, this phone ROCKS, nothing touches it, I will never go back, I’m ‘for BB’ for good . . . . loving my Z30, picking up a second one, unlocked in white, currently have a black one locked to Rogers, get this phone folks you’ll never regret it, so in love with my BB ! I agree with everything this review says, the features on this phone are amazing

    • Les@TheSSDReview

      Wow….and I understand as even today it is still my number one in use! Thanks alot!

  • Bhanu

    BB10 is awesome operating system with fully graded features I made an complete Infographics regarding to enterprising security features of blackberry 10 ostechbulk

  • mmkkpro

    I want one , great review.

  • kiax0494

    I love this phone! And this might sound like a dumb question, but can the Z30 download the same apps as the iPhone?

    • Les@TheSSDReview

      No it cannot download iPhone Apps, unless there is an Android or BB version of the App. Quite frankly, this is still my go to phone worldwide and it is probably the only I have ever held on to for so long, especially where we have the opportunity for just about any phone we want.

      • kiax0494

        So Snapchat and Instagram and those things?
        and thanks for anserwing

      • kiax0494

        I’m so sorry to ask all those questions but, I have rally been trying to find out, but i found no answers :)

        • Les@TheSSDReview

          Both are Android Apps that users have been able to install on Blackberry yes. Google would be able to assist as I just looked that up as well.

  • kiax0494

    I love this phone! And this might sound like a dumb question, but can the Z30 download the same apps as the iPhone?

  • John 4870

    Good to see a clear and factual discussion from someone who really knows what he is talking about and is not biased by the ‘fads’ that seem to draw in so many with a lack of understanding of what a business user really wants and needs – Well done Les.

  • Sjoukelina Krijgsman

    Just ordered the Z30 now I still can.

    I have been using the Z10 for over a year now, non stop and I agree, nothing beats it’s OS and how it multitasks. It is just as fast now as it was when I bought it. I do not use “social” apps like instagram or snapchat, I guess if that is one’s cup of tea then head over to an Android.

    But for reading and composing emails (love the predictive text, it remembers e.g. those insanely long international bank account numbers and exactly when needed) and browsing (love the reader mode). My partner’s LG P880 Optimus 4x HD phone is so slow that I actually get annoyed seeing her using it. It once was LG’s flagship and got rave reviews, but really, it was the worst phone I ever handled. Probably Blackberry will abandon the BB10 platform due to miserable sales, but that doesn’t mean the phone will stop working any time soon.

    And I agree, everybody who see my Z10 are surprised they still exist. And are impressed by it’s capabilities. Ah well, let’s consider it our little secret and treasure it as long as we can….



    • Les@TheSSDReview

      I still carry the Z30 but have to admit I also jumped on board the new iPhone 6sPlus for its newest features. To be able to simply press on an icon and then a subsequent menu sure beats having to open the program to start…similar with e-mails…just press and read….

      • Sjoukelina Krijgsman

        For me, I cannot justify the cost of a new iPhone 6s (plus), or even an older model which sells for incredibly high prices. I’d rather carry the iPad mini instead for the “apps” when needed. Small and light enough to bring along basically everywhere, and gives me much more screen estate than a phablet. More bang for bucks as to speak :)