BlackBerry Z3 review
A premium touchscreen experience
After recently testing the BlackBerry Passport and following the launch of the more affordable BlackBerry Classic I wanted to see if the same premium experience was available on a full touchscreen BlackBerry smartphone.
In my BlackBerry Z3 review I find just such a smartphone and incidentally note that it is the cheapest of these 3 BlackBerry phones to buy.
The build quality of the BlackBerry Z3 confirms the company’s passion to producing high-quality smartphones and with sharp square edges, a full glass face and a soft touch textured back, this is one phone that oozes style.
The 5” qHD display has a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels and this sits in a body that is 9mm thick and weighs in at 164 grams. The BlackBerry Z3 is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz processor with 1.5GB RAM and has an internal memory of 8GB, which can be expanded upon with a 32GB microSD card.
Phone Set Up
The BlackBerry 10 operating system is easy to get to grips with but it is still worth checking out the user guides which are pre-installed on the device. These will give you an insight into many of the handy features and enlighten you with plenty of tasking shortcuts.
Read our BlackBerry tips and tricks
When you connect the BlackBerry Z3 to your laptop or computer for the first time, BlackBerry software will automatically be installed allowing you to sync your devices and have control over files, photos and videos.
BlackBerry World access lets you download apps, music, videos, games and books but the feather in the cap is that this BlackBerry phone is Android app compatible, so you can also visit Google Play. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare are all pre-installed so setting up your social accounts will be a breeze.
The BlackBerry Z3 is absolutely packed with features, satisfying the needs of both personal and professional users. 3G or Wi-Fi provide your gateway to the internet which is accessed via the BlackBerry Browser. Pages load in fast and can be formated for the screen with the BlackBerry Screen Reader. This removes all of the ads and unwanted elements living you with just pictures and text. I can honestly say that as yet I haven’t found a better browsing experience.
BBM allows you to respond to any BBM messages from within any app and you can catch a glimpse of the BlackBerry Hub, home to all your messages and calls, by swiping in from the side. The BlackBerry Hub filters all your messages and re-orders them by priority based on your past interactions.
The BlackBerry Keyboard is one of the best I have ever used and learns how you write to make accurate next word suggests. These appear on the lines between the rows of keys and it is far easier to select the word predictions from there as opposed to above the keyboard, which is the way many other keyboards work.
Smart Sharing is another intuitive tool that learns from your past habits and offers suggestions on whom to share files, pictures and links with. Professionals will appreciate the inclusion of Documents To Go, Dropbox and Evernote while everyone will appreciate the pre-loaded BlackBerry Maps with GPS navigation.
Camera & Video
The 5MP camera has several neat features that really help you to get the best possible results. Time Shift mode is probably the most advanced as this captures several images a few milliseconds before and after you press the shutter button. Now you can move forwards and backwards through time to select the best shot. After this you can then highlight any area, such as a face and move forwards or backwards through time to, for instance, avoid blinks or find the best smile.
The 5x digital zoom allows you to adjust your frame and there is a Picture Editor for final touchups. Video can be recorded at a quality of 1080p and the forward facing 1.1MP camera can be used for selfies, video selfies and video calling.
The BlackBerry Story Maker puts it all together so you can link your special moments together in a slide show with special effects, filters and music. You final slide show movie can be edited enabling you to add or remove slides at a later date.
The 2,500mAh battery performs well and offers up to 15.5 hours of talk time or 16 days standby, 84 hours of music playback or 10 hours of video playback.
If you feel like purchasing a few accessories then the BlackBerry range includes an in-car charger with an extra USB port for charging a second phone and this charger is designed to charge a double the speed of a standard charger. You can also purchase a power bank if you intend to use the phone for extended periods without access to a charging point.
BlackBerry Z3 verdict: I love everything about this phone and yes a quad-core processor would have been nice but for the price this smartphone is an absolute steal!
Written by: Michael Brown