The BlackBerry Z3 is the first offspring from the well accepted BlackBerry and Foxconn relationship.
The Z3 ‘Jakarta Edition’ is a unique device built with the Indonesian market in mind. The aim of this entry-level all-touch device is to attack the lower tier market which is dominated by cheap Androids.
Lets see how the third all-touch BlackBerry 10 device stacks up:
Here is the Z3’s full spec sheet:
My biggest fear when I saw the specs on the Z3 was how underwhelming the screen resolution would be at 540 x 960 qHD. However, I found myself not hating it as much as I thought I would. Keeping the Z3’s price point in mind, the screen is vibrant and colorful. When comparing to a Z10 or Z30 you are left wanting more but your wallet will thank you.
Processor & Memory
The Z3 is no slouch in terms of performance. Expect the same speed and fluidity you get from its more expensive counterparts. The dual core 1.2GHz processor handles all commands and BlackBerry 10 goodies with ease leaving any doubt about performance in the dust.
The device comes with only 1.5GB RAM, which has prompted BlackBerry to limit the amount of open Active Frames to 4, as opposed to the standard 8. I would have loved 2GB of RAM in this device, but to be completely honest, after 4 days of heavy usage I haven’t noticed any lag.
The Z3 has a 2500mAh non-removable battery to help you get through multiple days. I consider myself an extreme power user and I have only had to charge the device twice in the last 4 days, which is very impressive.
I am using it on the T-Mobile network, which does give me HSPA+ speeds. Even though this particular Z3 model doesn’t have LTE, I get decent speeds without the need of extra juice. If battery is your key factor when purchasing a device you need to not look further than the Z3.
The device comes with a 5MP rear camera and a 1.1MP front facing camera. I spent a lot of time taking pictures with Z3 and was very impressed, to say the least. I haven’t spent much time with the Q5 devices, so I cannot comment if it’s the same 5MP lens. However, I consider the Z3 to have one of the best cameras for a BlackBerry 10 device. Colors look great and images come out brighter. Look at the comparison pictures below:
If you’ve ever owned a BlackBerry Z30, you’ve been spoiled by the speakers. To me the Z10 speakers were average at best and I wasn’t too impressed with the Q devices either. As a huge music fan my first test of the Z3 was the speaker.
I have mixed feelings about the Z3 speaker. First, I love how loud and clear it is. My issue is the placement of the speaker which is located to the bottom of left side of the device, which takes away the “surround sound” feeling you get from other devices.
Second, even though the device can be very loud, if you place the device on its back sometimes the sound gets clouded, again courtesy of the speaker placement. Being a Z30 owner has definitely spoiled me.
You can see how the Z3 speaker compares to the Z30 in the video below:
In terms of device “beauty” the Z3 doesn’t disappoint. An all (BlackBerry) black design with bold BlackBerry lettering in the bottom keeps the “Premium BlackBerry” feel. The power button has been shifted to the side and the charging dock to the bottom.
I am a huge fan of the latter and makes using your device while charging it a breeze with no wires in the way. The Z3 reminds me of a Nokia design, but without all the unnecessary bulkiness. Absent is the HDMI port, which we are used to on the Z10 and Z30. Though, it was expected due to the price point of the Z3.
The sim card “flop” is very well made and as you see in the picture it is perfectly placed. Inserting or removing a sim or a an SD card is pretty easy.
The back has a very nice texture with a great grip ensuring your device won’t slip out of your hand.
BlackBerry 10 With No compromise
When BlackBerry 10 first released we were told that nothing less than 2GB of RAM would do. Today, we are talking about a device with much less specs and only 1.5GB of RAM. The beauty is that you will get an unchanged , unaltered, and uncompromised BB10 experience with the Z3.
Only limitation on the device is the number of Active Frames that can be opened which has gone down from 8 to 4. BlackBerry took this route to ensure that the customer never has a bad experience where memory is an issue.
The Z3 comes with all the goodies you have come to love about BB10 including the Timeshift camera, Story Maker and Docs to Go. A cost efficient non-compromising BlackBerry Experience is what you get when buy a Z3.
BES? No Problem
When we first heard of a Foxconn made device , security came front and center. Loyal BlackBerry users have been very adamant about their security and I am happy to say that this hasn’t changed with the Z3. The device is as secure as any BlackBerry 10 device made before it and it will be available to all enterprise customers in the regions made available.
One of the best assets of this device is that Z30 apps are automatically scaled to work on the Z3. Taking a look through BlackBerry World all of your favorite apps are available for download. It’s a very good way for BlackBerry to accommodate developers and help them get their apps out there to new Z3 owners.
BlackBerry has a major problem when it comes to third party applications available in BlackBerry World. One of my fears was that a low-end device wouldn’t have the resources to handle Android applications as well as the Z30. Check out this video comparing the Z3 with the Z30 and Z10 on rendering Android app launching:
As you can see the Z3 outperforms the Z10 by quite a bit and actually hangs a little with the Z30. I have been surprised at how much better Android apps perform on a Z3 compared to the Z10.
If you keep in mind that the Z10 has a faster processor you would think it would be the opposite. I have loaded the Amazon store and the 1Mobile Market store for easily downloading android apps. Again, there’s hardly any compromises with the Z3.
After using this device in the market it wasn’t meant to be used in, I am left happily surprised. In a time where phones cost between six and seven hundred dollars it’s refreshing to see BlackBerry release a sub $200 device that still performs like a high end device.
I’m not as thrilled about the screen resolution, but as much as I wished it was a 720p device I can live with the qHD by reminding myself of the great $189.99 price tag. BlackBerry has a huge hit in their hands and I would strongly encourage an LTE version for the rest of the world as soon as possible.
Reading through press releases about BES10 adaptation I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of these companies are purchasing the cheaper Q5 and Z10 devices. Bringing the Z3 to BlackBerry’s core customers will definitely increase customer satisfaction and lower device costs, a win-win for both BlackBerry and its customer-base.