BlackBerry Z3 Review
BlackBerry launched the BlackBerry Z3 in India recently. It is the company’s first smartphone as the result of its 5-year Foxconn partnership. After the BlackBerry Z10 and the Z30, this is the third full touch BlackBerry 10 smartphone. The BlackBerry Z10 that was launched for Rs. 43490 in India last year got a price cut to Rs. 17,990 earlier this year, which made more people try out the BlackBerry 10 platform. Priced at Rs. 15,990, the BlackBerry Z3 has a large screen, more RAM and a slightly larger battery compared to the BlackBerry Z10. Is it worth the price? Let us find out in the complete review.
The phone has a 5-inch IPS display with a pixel resolution of 960 by 540 with a pixel density of 220 PPI. The display is bright, has good viewing angles, but it is too glossy and is prone to fingerprints. It has an ambient light sensor, but it doesn’t have auto brightness option, hence the sunlight legibility is not the best. Display is good in indoor environment, even when the brightness is low, but you have to increase the brightness manually when you move to bright outdoor environment to view the content properly.
There is a 1.1-megapixel camera on the top, next to the earpiece. It can record videos at 720p HD resolution. There is a tiny LED notification light on the other side of the earpiece. It also has a proximity sensor and an ambient light sensor.
The camera UI is simple. It has options to switch between camera, video and time shift mode on the top right corner. The Time Shift mode captures multiple shots, so that you can select the perfect shot you need and save it. The menu has different options such as option to switch between front and rear cameras, different shooting modes (Normal, Stabilization, Burst and HDR), different scene modes (Auto, Action, Whiteboard, Night and Beach or Snow), Flash toggle and option to select Aspect Ratio (1:1, 4:3 and 16:9).
Daylight shots and HDR images are decent and the macro shots are good too, but the details are missing and the colors are not vibrant. Low light shots are below average with a lot of noise. Flash helps a bit even though it’s not powerful.
Even though it has just 5-megapixel camera, it is capable of recording videos at 1080p full HD resolution at 30 fps. The video looks good and the audio is also crisp since it has a secondary microphone. Check out the 1080p video sample below.
The BlackBerry Z3 runs on BlackBerry OS 10.2.1. The OS 10 is completely based on swipe gestures since it lacks capacitive or on-screen touch buttons. BlackBerry has added several new features to the OS 10 in recent months, so the experience is better compared to the earlier versions. Lockscreen now has actionable notifications. You can launch the camera easily from the lockscreen.
The search has improved a lot, which now offers universal search results as you type. The Quick Settings Menu is now customizable via settings so that you can select what appears on the drop down menu. It offers notifications on the top and the Hub that are different from Android and iOS. It might need some time to get adjusted to the gesture-based interface and the notifications if you are new to BlackBerry. BlackBerry OS 7 devices requires BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) package, weekly or monthly subscription for Email and BBM, but the BlackBerry 10 doesn’t require BIS or any other subscription, which is great.
Since it has built-in BlackBerry Runtime for Android apps, it can run Android apps just by side-loading an APK. Most apps run fine, but these are not smooth and lags often, compared to native BlackBerry apps. You can also side-load Android app stores like Aptoide to download more apps directly. Still BlackBerry OS 10 lacks a lot of apps compared to Android and iOS. If you are from Android, you miss Google Apps such as Google Docs. BlackBerry recently tied up with Amazon to integrate Amazon App Store in BlackBerry 10 later this year. This will improve the app count.