Can I find new love on Valentine’s Day? Is bigger really better? Is being able to go for days on end without needing a break to recharge, really the key to a successful relationship? Today, Valentine’s Day, I come clean and make a major announcement. For the past 7 days I have been unfaithful and cheating…on my iPhone 5. That’s right, I have been having an affair with the BlackBerry Z30 and now it is time to clear my conscience and tell all. Hopefully, others will learn from my journey.
Take My iPhone Away? You Must Be Crazy!
Had that not been my son prying my iPhone out of my hands, I probably would have tackled him. Still, a deal is a deal. The folks at BlackBerry asked if I would do a 7 Day Challenge. Swap out my iPhone 5 for a BlackBerry Z30 for 7 days and just honestly report on how it went. Honestly, I thought this was going to be a train wreck for BlackBerry. I love my iPhone and all I really knew about BlackBerry was that they were that company that made those phones with little keyboards. Still, I figured a week without my iPhone would make me appreciate it even more.
Please watch our video recap of 7 Days With the BlackBerry Z30 -
Being Bigger and Able to Go All Night Really Is Better!
Get your mind out of the gutter, I am talking about screen size and battery life of course! Without a doubt, those were the two things that really jumped out at me during the 7 day challenge. The Z30 has a beautiful 5″ Super AMOLED screen and an insanely large 2880 mAh battery. Many things can be debated when it comes to comparing smartphones, but it is a simple fact that my iPhone 5 only has a 4″ screen and 1440 mAh battery. I am no math major, but it would appear the Z30 has a battery that is double the power of my iPhone and I definitely noticed this in day to day use.
I Need a BlackBerry Hub For The Real World
As the video explains, I loved the BlackBerry Hub and the way that all messages (emails, text, Tweets, FB updates, calendar events) appear in one place, that can be easily accessed at any time. It all just works beautifully in real world use. I could be in Evernote (yes, there is Evernote for the BB OS 10) and see new messages come in, all without ever leaving Evernote.
Now, I just need this for the real world. Maybe some BlackBerry robot that could take all the mail we get, notices from school, birthday invitations and bills and put them in beautifully sorted piles, which the robot would carry around the house, so I could have easy access to the material, no matter where I am in my house!
How Does Your Current Phone Compare to the BlackBerry Z30?
We are not huge fans of tech specs. We are busy parents and we just want gadgets that work well and help us get through the day. For this reason, we focus more on real world reviews. Still, we understand some people will want to see how their current phone may stack up against a BlackBerry Z30 or another BlackBerry phone. We highly recommend you check out PhoneArena.Com for phone comparisons. Follow this link and see the Z30 vs the iPhone 5 vs the iPhone 5S.
What We Enjoy About Our 7 Day BlackBerry Challenge
We go over most of this in the video, but here are the key things that impressed us about the BlackBerry Z30…
- Big, Beautiful Screen
Not much more to say, the screen is big and looks fantastic. I know the pixels per inch are not the highest in the industry, but for real world use, we much preferred the 5″ screen over the 4″ screen on our iPhone 5.
- A Battery That Just Never Dies
This is a HUGE deal for us. Yes, there are a tons of cool apps on the iPhone that use GPS, location serives and Bluetooth – but the iPhone really doesn’t have a big enough battery to be able to run these things all day. The Z30 on the other hand has twice the battery of the iPhone 5, so it can run for days on a single charge. In the end, all the features in the world don’t matter if your phone battery dies half way through the day.
- BlackBerry Hub and Notifications
The whole way email, text and social media notifications worked on the Z30 was just wonderful. Everything felt natural and you pretty much always have what you need, just a simple swipe away.
- Clear Sound Quality
It is odd that almost no one talks about sound quality in a phone review anymore. As strange as it sounds, I do like to use my phone for voice conversations every now and then and the Z30 had excellent sound quality.
- Timeshift on The Camera
We figured this would just be a “wow” feature that you never really use, but we were wrong. We found the Timeshift really did help us get better photos of the kids.
- HDMI Video Out
Why doesn’t my iPhone have HDMI video out? Yes, there are various cables and workarounds to get the video from my phone to the TV, but we really loved the standard HDMI out on the Z30
- Predictive Keyboard
As we show in the video, the predictive keyboard on the Z30 works great. Once you get the hang of it, you just type a few letters, flick up and become much more productive!
What We Missed Most About Our iPhone
As much as we enjoyed many aspects of the BlackBerry Z30, there were a few things we really missed from our iPhone…
- Apps, Apps and More Apps!
Just as you can not debate that the screen and battery on the Z30 are bigger than on the iPhone, you can not debate that the app world is much smaller on the BlackBerry. No Netflix, no Instagram and tons of games are all missing. On a daily basis we use Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, What’s App – and those are all on the BlackBerry. However, if you love a wide variety of apps, you will have problems with the BlackBerry World.
Help may be on the way with a future upgrade. Right now there are various tricks and hacks to “side load” Android apps. The new 10.2.1 version of BlackBerry OS will support Android directly. This will mean many of the Android apps will run on the Z30 and that would be a HUGE deal.
- FaceTime and PhotoStream
If your friends and family primarily use iOS devices, it is hard to leave that world. You can not FaceTime or use Photostream from the BlackBerry Z30. Yes, BlackBerry Messenger has its own cool video chat and screen sharing app – but it only works if you have other friends running BB OS 10. As most of the people we know use iOS, we did miss the easy connections and sharing with them.
- Endless Accessories
When you have an iPhone you have endless choices for accessories and add-ons. Your choices are much more limited in the BlackBerry World. We loved the BlackBerry Music Gateway and External Battery pack we showed in the video, but there is just less to choose from when it comes to accessories.
The 90/10 Rule And Our Take On The BlackBerry Z30
Maybe I am just boring, but I would say 90% of the time I use my phone to check messages (email, Facebook, Twitter, etc), make calls, browse the web, get directions, take photos and schedule appointments. Here is the crazy thing, for that 90% of the time, I preferred using the BlackBerry Z30 over my iPhone 5. I know, I may have to turn in my Apple Fanboy badge now.
For the other 10% of the time, I use my phone to play games, check out new apps, watch movies and FaceTime with family. For this 10% of the time, the iPhone is much better equipped. If you have kids who love to load your phone up with all the newest games, they are not going to be happy with the current selection in BlackBerry World.
So, where does that leave us? My takeaway from the 7 Day Challenge is this - the BlackBerry Z30 is a fantastic phone, that in many ways provides a better user experience than my iPhone. If you are not a big app user and have not invested heavily in iOS apps, the BlackBerry Z30 is an excellent choice. Don’t worry about transferring all your contacts, emails, music, etc – this is all very easy now with Device Switch and the BlackBerry Link.
If you do love apps and use a wide variety on a daily basis, for now you probably want to stay with your current phone. This situation may improve as the new BB OS allows easy installation of Android apps. In addition, if your friends and family are in the iOS world, and you are a big FaceTime user, it is easiest to stay in the iPhone world.
We Will Keep You Updated…This Affair May Not Be Over…
While the 7 Day Challenge is done, I still find myself reaching for the Z30 to check email and make calls. We are taking the Z30 to ToyFair NYC and we will report back on how it does. Like any good love story, there are still more twists, turns and pages to be written…
UPDATE 3/31/14: Yep, the story continues. Please read our Updated Review on the Z30 with OS 10.2.1
Learn More About the BlackBerry Z30 (prices vary based on contract)