If you were paying attention to the late summer leaks, then the BlackBerry above won’t strike you as a surprise. That’s because it’s the newly announced BlackBerry Z30, the official successor to the all-touch Z10, and it matches up quite closely to what we’ve already seen. The Z30 is the company’s first smartphone to ship with version 10.2 of the BB 10 OS (yes, the naming scheme is a bit confusing) and arrives with a larger 5-inch, 1,280 x 720 Super AMOLED display. The device’s pixel density of 295ppi may pale in comparison to the more diminutive Z10’s 356ppi, but its internals are a different matter.
The Z30 takes a modest spec step up with a dual-core 1.7GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro (paired with 2GB RAM) and Adreno 320 GPU, putting its performance somewhat on par with the Nexus 4 and Moto X (sans the X8). There’s also a beefier 2,880mAh battery inside, which the company claims is a first for its product line and, this time around, it’s integrated (read: non-removable). In terms of dimensions, the Z30 comes in with nearly the same silhouette as its predecessor (9.4mm vs 9.3mm), but is substantially taller and wider at 140.7mm x 72mm owing to that 5-inch display. Internal storage remains at 16GB, but users will have the option of augmenting that via microSD. And, as for radios, the Z30 will support 4G LTE (exact bands haven’t been specified), dual-band WiFi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC. The Z30’s camera setup appears mostly similar to the Z10’s, with a 2-megapixel front facer capable of 720p video and an 8-megapixel rear module with an f2.2 lens that captures video in 1080p.
BlackBerry’s made some other subtle, yet notable tweaks to the Z30, all of which should make it a more solid buy for its target enterprise user. The company’s built this device with a better antenna, allowing for improved reception in low signal areas and faster data, as well as what it calls Natural Sound: audio enhancement for BBM voice and video chats. On the software front, version 10.2 ushers in the BB Priority Hub, a feature similar to Gmail’s Priority Inbox, except BlackBerry’s implementation indexes your emails, texts and BBMs, along with your social networking communications. But what’s likely to be the most useful BB10 enhancement for BlackBerry users is 10.2’s ability to preview messages throughout the UI and on the lockscreen. And this being BlackBerry, BBM messages can even be directly replied to from whatever app a user is in. Take note, BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 users won’t be left out of 10.2 either, as that update should arrive in mid-October pending carrier approvals.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any pricing or exact release information for the Z30, since BlackBerry’s leaving those announcements up to its carrier partners. But from the looks of its launch schedule, it’s clear that the company’s betting on its overseas market share, with the Z30 set to hit the Middle East and UK sometime next week. A pre-holiday rollout is expected for the US and other regions. In the meantime, check out the video below for a closer look at BlackBerry’s next best BB 10 thing.