MOBILITY.ng has quite a rich variety of followers, from students to doctors, accountants and even musicians. Rap musician and tech enthusiast, Ib ‘Hi Beezle’ Sam-Epelle, is a long-standing mobilista. He sent in this review providing an early peek at BB10.3 running on the BlackBerry Z3. Enjoy! – Editor
The BlackBerry Z3 is a budget mid-range phone from the Canadian manufacturer and provides above mid-range performance. I use a Z3 as my data phone (no voice calls), and I have personally found it to be competent in this regard. I’m running a leaked version of 10.3 on it, and this has further increased my appreciation for the device.
The Z3 has a 5-inch IPS display which I found to be decent. It is not as sharp as that of the Z10; however individual pixels are not visible when the phone is held at a distance. I usually have the back light at the lowest level and still find it convenient for carrying out most tasks. Conversely, to enjoy video consumption better, I increase the backlight to half its upper limit.
The date displayed on the new home screen is both useful and elegant. In addition, I appreciate that BlackBerry has left an option to disable it in the display section of the Settings application, if a dedicated home screen is not your cup of tea.
The new v10.3 new dedicated homescreen, with date:
The Z3 is designed in a way that makes it easy to operate with one hand, but I find typing with both hands faster. Blackberry 10 OS has a feature where the user can flick words up into the body of the text. The keyboard does a good job at predictions, usually displaying the next word you want to input above a key. The keyboard is both intelligent and efficient. This article was compiled effortlessly using it.
The flatter design of 10.3, and the new revamped icons appeal to me, they even feel better suited for the gesture based operations of the OS. The new icons are colourful and help to leverage the weakness of the Z3’s screen. The level of colour saturation is part of the screen’s stronger qualities. However, the icon labels in the apps page reveal the lower pixel density of the 720p screen.
Here is the v10.3 appdrawer with new flatter, colouful icons:
Battery life is superb on the Z3. The device lasts a whole day on a charge, with – constant 3G data connection, email and social networks syncing, the occasional online video streaming, and all day correspondence on IM applications. In addition, it serves as a hotspot for my other devices. With heavy usage, the battery easily lasts 24 hours on a single charge, and recharging it from the low battery state to full, takes about 3 hours.
The leaked 10.3 update I am running has been stable so far. Maybe the OS might have presented issues if I used the device for voice calls. That being said, I can’t remember anytime anything unusual happened. Usually, it is network related issues that have been pinpointed anytime the device acted abnormal. The update generally brings a lot of welcome improvements, which further increases efficiency on an already ‘efficiency oriented’ operating system.
One new feature I found very useful is – the ability to swipe down from the top of the screen using two fingers, from within any application, to bring down the quick toggles. This gives you quick access to these toggles without having to leave the application you are working in, unlike previous versions of the Blackberry 10 OS. The BlackBerry Hub has undergone slight visual changes, and in 10.3, deleting multiple entries in the hub is an easier task than in previous iterations.
Quick toggles access while working in an app:
Customisation levels of the OS are not as elaborate as it is on the Android OS for instance, but I dare say that 10.3 is the most customizable BlackBerry experience ever. You see, what BlackBerry has done is incorporate more features that impact efficiency, rather than just change things up. They have given the user more options to choose from with this update.
The Z3’s 720p screen proof:
This article in no way mentions all the improvements 10.3 will bring to an already decent smartphone. However, it shows that improvements are on the way for the Z3, and makes it an even better bargain for people who need an affordable communication device.
Do you own a Z3 or any other Blackberry 10 device? Do you run 10.3 on it? What do you like about the device? What 10.3 feature do you find most useful? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below.