Samsung's Tizen OS was supposed to be a big project that could have reduced the South Korean giant's reliance on Google; however it did not quite came out to have met the expectations. The OS, instead, kept a low profile. It became the chosen platform for Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch.
The company worked for long on the first Tizen OS smartphone, the Z1, and launched it earlier this year in India. The low-end Z1 smartphone's launch was much delayed than initial plans, but it did manage to catch attention. Now, after months of working on software and hardware, Samsung on Thursday made global announcement for the Z1's successor smartphone, the Z3 in an event hosted in India. Samsung claims that the Z3 is much advanced than the Z1, and has features and specs that should have been be there on the third generation ‘Z' series Tizen phone. Hence, the company chose to skip the Z2 moniker to instead name it the Z3.
The Z3 combines an improved software interface, with good specifications and design. And in Order to make the Z3 a much better offering, Samsung brings lifetime free MixRadio service on the phone. Another key addition this time is the My Galaxy platform that is a hub of deals and offers from a variety of service providers. The company has currently partnered with 9 companies, including Paytm, BookMyShow, GoiBibo, Pizzahut and more, and is looking forward to bring more players on board. However, Samsung has introduced this service on its Android smartphones as well. The phone has been launched for Rs 8,490 in India.
We got to check the Z3 at its launch event, and here are our first impressions of the device.
Design and display:
The Samsung Z3 Tizen OS smartphone looks pretty nice for its price. Moreover, considering that Samsung does not have many smartphones in this price range, this one makes for a good looking phone in the company's portfolio. Samsung has made this phone look like any of its Android smartphones. It dons a plastic body which gets metallic shine and is designed to match Samsung's typical design language for its Android smartphones. The company mentioned that this phone is targeted at those who want to upgrade from a feature phone to a smartphone. The interface of the phone also matches that of an Android OS', but differs in functionality and features.
Front panel has a front facing camera with earpiece, display and a home button sandwiched between two capacitive keys. The top and bottom sides have 3.5mm audio jack and microUSB pin. The back is home to rear camera with flash and speakers, and Samsung branding. The rear panel can be removed to put dual-SIM cards and a microSD card.
The Samsung Z3 smartphone flaunts a 5-inch HD Super AMOLED display with 720p resolution, which offers good visual and good angles. The display size is apt and makes the phone pretty comfortable on hand. The Z3 is a pretty light phone and feels decent for smartphones in this category.
Processor and memory:
The phone runs on a 1.3GHz Spreadtrum SC7730SI chipset with quad-core CPU, which is paired with 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage. The phone supports microSD card with up to 128GB of storage space. The processor should ensure smooth performance of apps, considering that the UI seems light. We could not test the chipset performance in the brief hands-on experience but we could notice the difference in performance, than the Z1.
Speaking of camera, the Z3 smartphone features an 8-megapixel rear camera with F/2.2 aperture and LED flash, and a 5MP shooter up front. For Selfie lovers, the company has added a wide-angle selfie mode with 120degree angle, besides the default mode with 90degree wide angle. The camera is supported with modes and editing tools. The ambient lighting conditions were not the best to test the camera. We reserve our take for detailed review.
The Samsung Z3 runs Tizen OS 2.4 which is intuitive and smooth. It looks more or less like Android's interface, but has its own elements and features. The company claims that they have designed the OS for first time smartphone users, hence have made is simple but intuitive. Well, that how's it looked to us as well - Simple but interactive. We will talk about it in detail in our review of the phone.
The Z3 houses a 2,600mAh battery with Ultra Power Saving mode, like the Z1, to enhance its performance. In addition to that the company has added an Ultra Data Saving mode which is powered by Opera Max. It compressed data and manages apps to save data consumption by up to 40 percent, and to increase the standby time by up to 50 percent.
We understand that the smartphone has been designed for first time smartphone users, and does bring decent features and specs on board. However, considering that Android OS is well know and perceived even in small towns and tier 2 and 3 cities, the Tizen OS run Z3 will have a very tough competition in the market. Moreover, Tizen lacks developers' support, which results in very few apps and games for the OS, especially in comparison to Android OS. This again is a strong reason which can hamper the smartphone's uptake in the market.
Samsung might still be able to achieve its targeted numbers for the phone, considering that many buyers value brand name over other features, and the phone does not exactly lags in specs department.