Is BlackBerry Really an Option?

So here’s some preliminary information about me that will be relevant: I’m an Android user. A Samsung Galaxy S3 to be exact. Before I got this Android for Christmas, I owned an iPhone, a Blackberry, another iPhone, and another Blackberry, in succession. And since acquiring my Samsung Galaxy S3, I had the option to swap to the iPhone 5. I turned it down.

You see, I’m not an Apple fanboy. I like my Mac and I appreciate using my iPad on the go, but I very much dislike iOS. I know. This is going to upset some people. We get attached to our phones like we get attached to our parenting styles. It becomes highly personal and disagreements about rival phone choices turn into outright wars.

I’m not trying to start a war. So, if you’re a diehard iOS lover, you might not want to read this post. But, if you’re interested in technology, as I am, or if you’re looking for a new smartphone in a ever-growing market, or if you’re getting a little tired of iOS, or if you just like to read the words I write (aww, I love you too!) then this post is for you!

I recently had the chance to use the BlackBerry Z30, the current flagship Blackberry, for a few weeks. We’re no stranger to BlackBerry smartphones in this house. My husband uses one through work and (because we believe that Canadian cellular companies are robbing Canadians blind because they can) he recently decided that it would be his primary phone (his current model is the Z10, though he recently used the Q10). And, as said above, my first and third smartphones were BlackBerry (though I couldn’t tell you the models now. I suck at this tech reviewer thing).

But the question is – is a BlackBerry Z30 really a good option for busy Moms?

Is BlackBerry really an option?

We know that smartphones are a critical item in many a Super Mom’s utility belt. It is our wallet full of photos, our memory keeper, our scheduler, our distracter, our novels, our coffee money, and sometimes our work. It is our line to the outside world when we’re home and our line to home when we’re out. We have them, we use them, we love them.

But, what kind should we use?

iPhones and Androids are incredibly popular with the Mama crowd. I’ve found conflicting reports about whether iPhones or Androids come out ahead in the demographic, but they are definitely the front runners. I was left wondering if BlackBerry could compete.

The short story is, it can now. I was actually surprised. BlackBerry smartphones are known for their security and their keyboard, none of which were particularly applicable to my life as a connected mother. But the Z30 was a massive step up from the previous Blackberry smartphones I had used with the keyboard and trackpad and small screen. The Z30 is a slick looking phone. At a few millimetres taller than my Samsung Galaxy S3, it fit incredibly nicely in my hand and it didn’t have the awkward keyboard that I never really liked (though I know some people love it, which is why BlackBerry continues to make phones with the physical keyboard). The thing is, the BlackBerry Z30 could be mistaken for any other large-screened smartphone, and that isn’t a bad thing.

My biggest concern with the BlackBerry operating system was the lack of app support. It was the reason I left BlackBerry all those years ago – I wanted Instagram. And while Instagram (and other equally important apps) are not native to BlackBerry, the most recent update to the BlackBerry operating system (named 10.2.1 by a dysfunctional marketing department) allows users to access the Android app market and the Amazon app market, essentially making any concern about missing apps disappear.

The BlackBerry ecosystem has some pretty neat features, including a hub that manages all notifications and updates, the ability to wirelessly charge, a beefed up version of BBM, a feature that lets you take multiple photos in one sitting and choose the best looking face for everyone in the image, and an app called Story Maker that is likely the easiest video creation app on any smartphone.  If you’re used to the iOS, you’ll also notice a pretty awesome notification light that notifies you of updates without needing to listen for alerts, a much better keyboard, a larger screen, and the ability to multi-task between apps.

What the BlackBerry Z30 has that neither my Samsung nor the iPhone can compete with is battery life. The Z30 could withstand more than a full day of my heavy use and notifications without being charged. Neither my Samsung nor any iPhone that I’ve ever heard of has been able to do that.

Is BlackBerry really an option?

All in all, the BlackBerry Z30 would be a good phone for a Mom. It doesn’t reek of bureaucracy. It can do nearly everything the iPhone and the Android can do with a few extra cool features of its own. The BlackBerry Z30 is a legitimate phone choice and shouldn’t be overlooked the next time you’re looking for a phone upgrade. (Especially if you’re on iOS.. ahem).

I was loaned a BlackBerry Z30 to review but received no compensation for this post. Okay, perhaps I won a little goodwill with my husband, but that’s about it. 

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About Laura O'Rourke

Laura is a Mom of three who lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Currently on maternity leave, she blogs about life at home with her husband Dan and three sons Cameron (age 5), Gavin (age 3), and Logan (not yet 1). When she has time, she can be found reading, writing, snapping photos, or awkwardly running. Laura has been recognized as one of Canada's Top 10 Mom Bloggers by multiple publications, including Reader's Digest. Keep up with the fun by following @LauraORourke on Twitter or liking Mommy Miracles on Facebook. Like what you see? Have something to add? Be sure to leave a comment!


  1. It’s nice to know that there’s another option out there if one isn’t a fan of the iPhone (I’m not – I’ve always been an Android user)!

    I like that it has good battery life. I’m having to charge my Samsung every night, which can be slightly annoying.
    Alison recently posted..Writing: The ProcessMy Profile

    • My Android is CONSTANTLY on and in my hands when I’m not working, so I think the battery drains quickly, though I keep it on a wireless charger throughout the day on my desk, so I don’t really noticed it at all. But I DID notice the longer battery life on the BlackBerry. I could continue to charge my Samsung at night (because I was reading a book on the Samsung and didn’t want to lose my place, even though I could have easily read it on the BB too) and then charge the BB here and there throughout the day. I was very impressed by that.
      Laura O’Rourke recently posted..Is BlackBerry Really an Option?My Profile

  2. This is the way I feel too! And I love your words, but now love even more that you aren’t an I-addict. Thanks for the good info.
    Dr. G recently posted..Kids and Racism – How to Teach them Not to HateMy Profile

  3. In my heart I am still a BB fan, because it’s a Canadian company :)
    After 3 years with the BB Torch I made the switch to iPhone 5, because I really wanted to be in Instagram (I know, so shallow… but it was an existential decision ;) )
    Kerstin @ Auer Life recently posted..On the RadioMy Profile

  4. One of the things I loved about my old Blackberry was that you could set up different notifications and save those as “work”, “home”, etc. That was an awesome feature that I haven’t found replicated anywhere else. I don’t know if the new phone even still offers that.

    David is thinking of switching from an iphone to something else when he upgrades next time. I feel shocked and little hurt about it. I know that’s insane.
    Jennifer recently posted..Why I Love Netflix – TV is my FavoriteMy Profile

    • YES! And while it isn’t relevant to me in my life, apparently you can actually use your BlackBerry in two different modes – work and personal. It can keep them separate, which is totally cool.

      Your comment about David switching phones made me smile. See how personal we take these choices?
      Laura O’Rourke recently posted..Is BlackBerry Really an Option?My Profile

  5. I use the BlackBerry Q5 as a busy mom, freelance writer and teacher. I absolutely love it, though my family and friends are obsessed with the iPhone. No one can explain to me why it’s any better (in any way that satisfies me) and for my writing purposes, I absolutely must have a keyboard.
    Kate recently posted..Family Fun – Oasis at Sunset: Montego Bay, JamaicaMy Profile

    • I never loved the keyboard. It would make my thumbs cramp, but that is totally personal and I know that the physical keyboard is important to so many people. When my husband first chose a bb for work, he chose one with a keyboard but switched when it became his primary phone. If blackberry works for you then definitely don’t listen to the naysayers, especially when they’re pushing iPhone. ;)

    • I hear you on the Q5’s keyboard. I carried around a Q10 for 6 months. The keyboard is pretty awesome. I also love all the short-cuts you can do on that keyboard. Why boot up Twitter when you can just type: “Tweet This is the best pie every” and it tweets for you. I also loved the space bar as a page down button when reading web pages. Very cool.

      Ultimately gave up my Q10 because I wanted a bigger screen. This may, or may not have been related to my booking an optometrist appointment and discovering I need glasses.

  6. we’re pretty much an apple family. M and I are both iPhone users, mac, iPad, etc. I love how you likened it to parenting styles! Hahah. We get defensive of our choices whatever the topic. I enjoyed reading from another perspective though.

  7. I have an Android – my first smart phone. My husband has had several BlackBerries and has always liked them.
    I love the sound of the long battery life – I do find my battery drains quickly with my phone at times.

  8. The battery life of which you speak if very enticing! I hate having to worry about my phone dying, especially when I am out all day, etc. My hubby is anti-iPhone too. I get it. ;)

  9. I have the Q10. Its a great phone and runs most of the apps I need through Android or native to Blackberry. The only app I use that doesn’t work well is the Starbucks app. Rest are fine. Laura, did you install the Google Play store on your phone?

    • The offiicial Starbucks app works fine on the Z10. You just need to download it from one of the android app store (Amazon or 1mobile).

      When I carried my Q10 I used Make, a 3rd party Starbucks app. I imagine you know about it, but for others that may see your comment, know that if you’re carrying a Q10 or Q5 keyboard Blackberry you can still buy lattes with your phone! Just download the Make app from the Blackberry app world and you’re off to caffeinated heaven.

  10. I’m very surprised to hear about this Blackberry phone. I never would have looked twice in its direction nowadays. I’m an Android girl through and through (even in tablets!). My husband is currently a Windows Phone user, and he hates it. He wishes his phone were as user-friendly like my Galaxy S3, but an Android is a little overwhelming for him, plus he doesn’t really do social media like me. So maybe next time he’s due for an upgrade, I can suggest we look into a Blackberry! Thanks for broadening our choices!
    Janice Trinh recently posted..The Courage to Keep On MotheringMy Profile

  11. I never had a Blackberry but my husband did. He ran to iPhone and I could never get the hang of it. Now with my Android I’m quite sure I’ll never have an iPhone.

    I like all the features you do, particularly about the app multitasking and the battery life.
    Andrea recently posted..Getting AheadMy Profile

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