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Blackberry’s Z3 has been specifically designed with BB fans in mind and is only being released in the countries where BlackBerry is most popular. South Africa is definitely one of those. It’s a reasonably priced, good-looking phone and benefits from many improvements on previous models. The Z3 runs BlackBerry 10 and offers all the operating system’s updated functionality. 

Go Android

The Z3 is Android app compatible and – in a big step forward for the company – BlackBerry recently struck a deal with Amazon to offer more than 200 000 Android apps to BB10 users. Go to Amazon’s mobi site, download the Amazon app store and install to your heart’s content. Amazon even offers one free app per day to delight its app-dicted users.

Save battery life

Although the battery on the Z3 is pretty powerful, a few simple actions will keep you mobile for longer: 

  • Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
  • Set the phone to refresh applications less frequently (in Settings > General).
  • Dim the display (Settings > Display > Brightness).
  • Adjust screen timeout (Settings > Display > Screen Timeout).
  • Close active apps (Press X on the active frame).

Share with ease

The Z3 comes loaded with both Twitter and Facebook and features an incredibly simple way to update your status in a hurry. Simply open the search bar (tap the search icon at the bottom of the display), type the social network name (Twitter or Facebook) followed by a space and your status update. Then press the enter tab and you’re done!

Multitask

View all your notifications (emails, text messages, chats and more) at a glance with BlackBerry Hub. It’s available at all times, no matter what you’re doing on your phone – just swipe to the right on the homescreen. Instant Preview allows you to preview incoming BBM, text and email messages from within any app. Touch the notification to be taken directly to that message in the BlackBerry Hub, or respond immediately without leaving the app you’re in. 

Back up

Using BlackBerry Link (available on all BB10 devices) you can back up your data, music, pictures and more so it’s all there if your phone goes missing – or ends up in the toilet. The first time you plug the phone into your computer’s USB port, you’ll be prompted to install BlackBerry Link. You’ll need to supply your BlackBerry ID and the answers to a few questions. After that, every time you plug in it will back up automatically. 

No BIS? No problem

If you’re a BlackBerry old-timer and have only just upgraded from a BIS (BlackBerry Internet Service) contract, learn how to maximise your data bundles and control your usage. Follow these tips to make sure you don’t use your data unnecessarily : 

  • Use Wi-Fi wherever possible.
  • Check the small print of the apps you download to make sure they don’t continuously run in the background.
  • Set up apps which send notifications, such as Facebook and Twitter, to refresh less frequently.
  • Avoid uploading and downloading large photos and streaming videos or audio unless you’re in a Wi-Fi zone.
  • Turn off data services and switch them back on only when you want to receive notifications.
  • In BlackBerry’s Device Monitor screen, you can view how much storage space and battery power each of your apps is using. You can also see information about CPU, memory, and mobile network or Wi-Fi network usage. Go to Settings > App Manager > Device Monitor.

Take great photos

The Z3’s 5MP camera can take a decent photo and BB10’s Time Shift camera will ensure you get perfect group shots. The camera records a few frames each time you take a photo. You can move back and forth between each frame to choose the best shot of each person in the picture and Time Shift will use your choices to produce the best image available.

FM radio on call

For fans of radio, BlackBerry has brought FM back to the Z3. You can listen to your favourite local radio stations even when there’s no network connection as it doesn't require any data.

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