The Blackberry Z3 is the first Blackberry 10 device specifically targeted at the mid-range budget smartphone market. It is intended to give consumers similar Blackberry 10 experience at an attractive price point.

Since unboxing the Blackberry Z3 yesterday, I have been getting  myself familiar with the device.  The first thing I noticed about the Blackberry Z3 is that it is quite bulky. For a device with such a large display (5 inches), I feel like the Z3 is a little too rectangular in build.


It doesn’t help that it’s quite thick and a bit on the heavy side. Even without checking spec comparisons, I could immediately tell the that the Blackberry Z3 is heavier than the Blackberry Z10, and thicker than both the Blackberry Z30 and Blackberry Z10. The specs may say otherwise but, I don’ t remember the Z30 feeling this bulky. Let’s just say handling the the Z3 might take some getting used to, especially if you have average to small-sized hands.

I was warned about this, which is why I was very cautious before attempting but, for some odd reason, I have been unable to insert a SIM into the Blackberry Z3. Because it comes with a non-removable battery, you have to insert your SIM and memory card from the side of the Z3. The slots are clearly labelled and according to the manual, SD card goes face down in the left slot (with the back of the phone facing you) while the SIM card goes face up in the right. I have been able to slot in my SD card. No luck however with the Micro SIM slot. I tried 2 factory cut Micro SIMs and 1 adapted one with no luck. I’m looking at the possibility of my unit being defective. If anyone has gotten a Blackberry Z3 with the same issues, please let us know in the comments.

*UPDATE* I have been able to insert my mobile network adapted micro SIM. Making the SIM click into its slot often requires a few trials, depending on if you apply just the right amount of pressure. To improve your chances of inserting a SIM successfully in the Blackberry Z3, it is advisable that you use only a factory cut micro SIM (you can ask your mobile network to do  a SIM swap) or one cut professionally by your mobile network. Avoid roadside cut micro SIMs. 

To reproduce the Z3, Blackberry reduced some core specs of the Blackberry Z10, like the RAM (2 GB to 1.5 GB), processing power (1.5 GHz to 1.2 GHz) and internal memory (16 GB to 8 GB). That doesn’t seem to have affected performance at all. Of course, this is just my first impression. All I can tell for now is that navigating the phone is as snappy as I remember on the Z10 and Z30. Perhaps that has more to do with Blackberry 10’s amazing UI navigation features.

I honestly wasn’t expecting much from the camera, considering both the Z30 and Z10 have 8MP cameras that barely inspire. But the Z3 has a 5MP camera so I’m less judgemental. I’ll say it’s just okay for its class. Have I used better 5MP phone cameras? Definitely. However, for a phone camera in its class, the Z3’s camera isn’t half bad.

Overall, the Blackberry Z3 seems to have all the bells and whistles of a mid-range device. While I’m not sure if I can justify the N39,000 price point, it doesn’t seem like too much to shell out for a device of the Blackberry Z3’s class. Again, of course, these are just my first impressions. More detailed reviews to come soon

Muyiwa Matuluko | Author

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