BlackBerry Q5 review: Not the bargain you're looking for

CNET UK goes thumbs-on with the BlackBerry Q5, a QWERTY-equipped smartphone that's built like a bargain, but isn't necessarily priced like one.

Jessica Dolcourt Senior Director, Commerce & Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
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BlackBerry Q5
Less pricey than the BlackBerry Q10, this Q5 is a budget phone at a higher-than budget price. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

There are certain acceptable trade-offs that come with a bargain phone: a smaller screen, more modest camera performance, a slower processor. Compared with the higher-end hardware specs on the BlackBerry Q10, the equally keyboarded BlackBerry Q5 fits the bill, except for one major snag: its price.

Coming in at 320 British pounds (or $488 at today's exchange rate), the Q5 is pricier than we'd expect for what it is. BlackBerry does like to think of its smartphone experience as premium, but with the inchoate BlackBerry 10 OS and an app store still trying to find its feet, the embattled smartphone-maker isn't giving us a compelling enough reason to root for this starter QWERTY.

For staunch keyboard fans, the Q5 does distinguish itself from the slim pickings of QWERTY phones by being one of the most affordable, but you'll still have to reach a little deeper in your pockets than you may have initially thought.

The Q5 will come in black, light gray, and hot pink, and will ship to select regions in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

Get the full low-down in CNET UK's BlackBerry Q5 review.