A few years ago BlackBerry, along with Symbian, dominated the smartphone world – until a certain iPhone came along, followed by dozens of Android devices. BlackBerry is back, with new OS determined to conquer again. How does the BlackBerry Z10 compare to the Apple iPhone 5?
Apple iPhone 5 VS BlackBerry Z10: Design
At first glance there are aesthetic similarities between the two smartphones, both have curved edges and metal controls, but on closer examination they are very different. With crystal-cut edges and glass and aluminium back, the iPhone 5 has an elegance and style missing from the Z10, which is arguably more pedestrian, thanks to its plastic construction, although the matt accents, metal controls and patterned back make it stand out from the crowd.
The BlackBerry Z10 is, wider, longer and deeper, but certainly more manageable with one hand than the Samsung Galaxy S3. Both feel solid and well built, although as iPhone 5 users will be able to testify the back is scratch prone – far more so than the BlackBerry Z10.
Winner: Apple iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5 VS BlackBerry Z10: Storage and Connectivity
The back of the Z10 is removable so you can replace the 1800mAh battery and expand the internal memory by an extra 32GB – and you’ll probably need too, despite quoting 16GB internal storage, just 11.3GB is usable.
The iPhone 5 doesn’t have a removable battery and there’s no removable storage, but you can choose between 16GB (£529), 32GB (£599) and 64GB (£699) versions of the phone. However the cost is significantly more than a card to expand the Z10’s memory, with 32GB microSD memory cards priced just £15. UPDATE (6/3/13): The Z10 may be able to accept higher capacity memory cards via a firmware update in the future
When it comes to connectivity with HDMI Mini, DLNA and NFC, the Z10 offers far greater flexibility, in contrast to a prorietary Lighting port and on-board Airplay on the iPhone 5.
Both phones support 4G, although the iPhone 5 will only work on EE (and later Three’s) 1800MHz network in the UK. In contrast the the BlackBerry Z10 supports 1800Mhz, 2600Mhz, 800Mhz and 900Mhz bands, so will work on future 4G networks from O2, Vodafone and Three when they launch in June.
Winner: BlackBerry Z10
Apple iPhone 5 VS BlackBerry Z10: Screen
The iPhone 5 has a 4-inch 1136×640 Retina display and the BlackBerry Z10 has a 4.2-inch LCD screen with a 1280×768 resolution. The Z10 has 356 pixels per inch, higher than the iPhone 5’s 326ppi and in extreme close up, edges are sharper on the BlackBerry, but in general use you won’t notice much difference between the two.
The iPhone 5 has purer whites and better contrast – whites in particular on the BlackBerry Z10 looks a little dull. The BlackBerry Z10 has more natural colours though. iPhone Off-angle viewing is good on both phones
Winner: Apple iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5 VS BlackBerry Z10: Performance
As flagship smartphones from their respective brands, both phones will be going head to head with quad-core phones like the Samsung Galaxy S3, but like the Nokia Lumia 920, both include dual-core processors.
The Apple iPhone 5 includes Apple’s A6 dual-core 1GHz chip with 1GB RAM and the BlackBerry Z10 has a 1.5GHz dual-core chip along with 2GB RAM. In day to day use when moving around the OS and launching games the phones are pretty much neck and neck and neither is slow, although the Z10 doesn’t feel quite as fluid. However when it comes to booting up the Z10 is signifiicantly slower. It could be because the hardware and operating system is so new, but our review unit of the Z10 crashed several times – particuarly in the photo app, although this could be an early bug and hopefully something BlackBerry can rectify.
Neither phone offers fantastic battery performance, with moderate use you’ll get the end of the day, but stream music and movies and browse the web and you’ll be charging every evening.
Apple iPhone 5 VS BlackBerry Z10: OS
The iPhone 5 runs iOS 6 and the Z10 BlackBerry 10. At first glance the interfaces are very similar, with regimented lines of icons and apps you can move and organise into folders. The Z10 supports true multitasking with open apps displayed as tiles you tap to close.
The main difference between the phones is navigation. On the iPhone you tap to open apps and return home using the home button. The Z10 has BlackBerry Flow instead of tapping buttons you progress between apps and messages using movements. Swiping up and right to peek into the notifications bar, you can then keep swiping to read a message or return to your application. It’s a very different way of navigating, but has a few quirks and doesn’t feel as quick as iOS. Read more in our BlackBerry Z10 review.
Unlike the iPhone, the BlackBerry Z10 supports true multitasking, so apps run in the background, although the chassis gets noticeably hotter if you have lots of programs open. The keyboard on the BlackBerry is the best here – we love the way you swipe up to select words and BlackBerry Hub is a great way to view messages.
We’ve been using both phones for a while now and iOS is definitely more user-friendly, BB10 takes more time to get used to, but we applaud RIM for taking a different approach. Neither OS offers the flexibility of Android though.
Winner: Draw (iOS is more user friendly, but BB10 offers better message integration)
Apple iPhone 5 VS BlackBerry Z10: Camera
Both phones offer 8-megapixel cameras, with f/2.4 lens and LED flash, but neither phone has many manual features, so we suggest downloading a free app to add extra functionality such as Camera FX for iOS or PicShop Lite for BlackBerry.
The BlackBerry Z10 offers four scene modes along with automatic, stabilisation and burst mode. The highlight is TimeShift, a cool feature whereby the phone takes a series of quick frames and you can select the best one – it’s great for taking group photographs where one person might close their eyes. The iPhone 5 offers an HDR mode and fantastically simple panorama too, along with editing tools for removing red eye, enhancing and cropping.
Photos taken using the iPhone are better, with more realistic colours, sharper detail and consistencey in tricky lighting conditions. Photos from the BlackBerry Z10 display more noise, softer detail and less accuate colours.
Both shoot full 1080p HD video. The Apple iPhone 5 only shoots in one resolution and the only extra features is the flash. The BlackBerry Z10 includes a flash and options to swap between 720p and 1080p resolution movies.
Footage taken using the iPhone 5 is smoother, with brighter colours and more fine detail. The Z10 isn’t as smooth, colours are muted, it occasionally flicks in and out of focus and struggles with some high-contrast lighting conditions. Overall it’s fine though and edges do appear shaper. Audio is louder, but lacks the clarity of the iPhone 5.
Winner: Apple iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5 VS BlackBerry Z10: Verdict
If you’re looking for a communication device don’t rule out the BlackBerry Z10, it’s a winner thanks to its fantastic keyboard, connectivity options and BlackBerry Hub. However with a better screen, camera and more user-friendly OS, the iPhone 5 is more of an all-rounder device and certainly a better choice for multimedia.