Iíve had a few days to get my hands on the BlackBerry Z3 Jakarta and I have to say that the Foxconn built phone is a real winner for BlackBerry. The phone is seriously thin when compared to the Z10, Q10 and Z30. It is smooth in its design lines and feels sturdy. BlackBerry has designed an entry-level phone that doesnít feel or perform like an entry-level phone. The only drawbacks for the phone are the lack of higher on board storage memory and internal RAM. The BlackBerry Z3 is a very good buy with a price point around $190 USD and should be a major seller in places like India, Vietnam and Malaysia currently as well as the rest of the world when and where BlackBerry chooses to release it.
Lets get down to brass tacks. The Z3ís processor is a pretty hefty 1.2GHz Dual Core Qualcomm 8320. It operates the BlackBerry 10 OS (10.2.1) with ease. There is no delay or lag that Iíve found in using BlackBerry 10 when putting it through its paces.
Memory and Storage
Here is where the BlackBerry Z3 has a shortcoming in my eyes. Although there is a good amount of RAM provided with 1.5GB it does limit one aspect of BlackBerry 10 with the number of open frames. It also has only 8GB of on board storage. In my honest opinion, this would be a killer if it had more than 1.5GB and only 8GB of internal device storage. Granted, you can add an SD Card to improve storage, youíre limited in the onboard area.
The Z3 carries an 5MP rear facing camera and a 1.1MP front facing camera. While the 5MP camera is decent with the specs for an entry-level device, the 1.1 MP front facing camera was poor in quality. Granted it is only 1.1MP but I found that when I used BBM Video, my image just didnít pass muster. My oldest son mentioned I looked a bit pixelated and blurry. Of course, heís a teen and could have been insulting me but I will have to agree with him.
The BlackBerry Z3 contains a powerful 2500mAh lithium-ion battery, which is not removable, unless you want to do some surgery on your phone. The battery life on the Z3 is more than adequate for a regular user and power user combined. I consider myself a power user and usually got a day and a half out of my Z3 before having to recharge. You will not be disappointed with your battery life.
Speakers And Sound
Well, I canít say Iím overly impressed with the sound quality on the Z3. Not that itís a flaw in the speaker itself. Itís a flaw in how many speakers there are. Two would have been great because there is enough room for two on the back of the Z3. But theyíve place only one speaker on the back, in the lower left hand corner.
The sound that comes out of the Z3 doesnít compare to the Z30 but thatís to be expected. The speaker location doesnít help matters if you lay it on a table and play music. The music has a tendency to get muffled as well as using the speakerphone function. Use the headphones included with the Z3 and there is really no need to even use the rear speaker at most times.
Screen and Resolution
The screen on the BlackBerry Z3 is good. Itís not great but then again, Iím not expecting a full HD experience out of the device. Remember, this is a phone to challenge inexpensive Android devices flooding the Asian market.
The Z3ís screen is 540x960 qHD and is impressive for the price. Itís a bright, clear 5Ē LCD display with great color saturation. Itís not going to win any competitions but it suits the Foxconn built device.
Device Build And Design
The BlackBerry Z3 feels just as thin as it is. Ergonomically it is a pleasure to hold and is easily capable to be operated with one hand or both hands if you wish. It is a solid phone with semi-square edges.
The charging/data transfer port is on the bottom center of the phone and doesnít get in the way when you have the microUSB plugged in. On the right side is the microSIM and MicroSD slots. The slots are covered with a tethered plastic pull out cover.
I did have a slight issue with my microSD card coming loose. I did get messages of a media card problem. Iím not sure if it was my fault or the SD card slotís fault. I only had the problem once and havenít had it since. I did find that a couple of times the slot cover did have a difficult time closing due to the tether not sliding back into itís space. A little push and it went in just fine.
On the left of the phone are the stand by/power on-off buttons and the volume controls with the play/pause/voice command button in the middle. On the top of the device is the industry standard 3.5mm headphone jack.
The back cover of the Z3 is a textured plastic that provides a good grip so the phone wonít slide out of your hands. BlackBerry says the back cover on the Z3 is not removable but if you look on You Tube, there are videos that show that it easily can be done. I wonít link anything, but you can go search for yourself.
The BlackBerry Z3 uses UMTS/HPSA+/EDGE/GSM for network use. You wonít get LTE Speeds on the Z3 but I ran an AT&T SIM in my Z3 and I had very fast network speed to suit my needs.
For full BlackBerry Z3 Specs, click here.
Overall, this is the phone BlackBerry needed to bring out. It is a winner in the low-end market. From the design, to the build, to the feel, to the internals, the BlackBerry Z3 should take the Middle East and Asia by storm. Weíve already seen the success in Indonesia as BlackBerry Z3 inventories ran low on the launch weekend.
I was impressed with this phone overall but like Iíve stated, the memory for me was a bit lacking. But in all honesty, I cannot really complain too strongly. Itís not a competitor of the Z30 and never will be. The Z3 is a specific purpose built device and it serves that purpose extremely well.
If you are overseas and read this review and are in a market that the BlackBerry Z3 is destined for or already in, please give the Z3 a good long consideration. Pick it up and handle it. See and feel the flow to the device. Watch how smoothly BlackBerry 10 runs. Take the time to appreciate this well built phone and test it. You will wind up buying this phone. You can see the unboxing video here.
I promise you, you wonít be sorry.