If the Z10 looked something like Blackberry was trying to build an iPhone copy to house its BB10 platform, the just announced Z30 would be the BB10 Galaxy S4 or HTC One. After holding it for a few minutes, I'm convinced it's something I wouldn't mind holding for at least a few minutes more.
OK, so it's a phablet world full of Galaxy Notes and Galaxy Megas, and by comparison, the Z30's 5-inch screen just isn't that big. But Blackberry's clearly responding to the trend from bigger phones, which isn't a small deal considering how small Blackberrys tend to be. Here it is next to my Galaxy Nexus—the size feels totally natural.
I used the phone inside one of the company's new flip-cover cases that actually replaces the removable back panel instead of going over it. But even with that extra bulk, the phone felt slight and sleek. Immediately, the Z30's silver trim reminded me a bit of the HTC One, and 1280 x 720 screen radiates the familiar, saturated AMOLED color.
I haven't used BB10 in a few months so it took me a minute to recall all of the gesture conventions, but once I'd settled in, it was clear that the platform scales to larger screen easily. The phone's performance on the 1.7 GHz Snapdragon S4 guts was plenty snappy we flicking between home screens and launching apps.
As we learned with the Z10 earlier this year, BB10 looks great from the outset, but its shortcomings only reveal themselves after some time. We'll have to reserve judgment until we've had a chance to feel out for failures. But even if it's amazing, the Z30 will be fighting a battle against the public perception that Blackberry is on its way out.
The phone will be available "before the holidays"on Verizon, according to a Blackberry rep.