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BlackBerry Z10 VS Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE

The BlackBerry Z10 launched in the UK in February this year, debuting the brand new BlackBerry 10 operating system. We’ve already compared the Z10 to the Apple iPhone 5, but how does it stack up next to the 4G version of the most successful Android smartphone of the moment – the Samsung Galaxy S3? Let’s take a closer look.

BlackBerry Z10 VS Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE

BlackBerry Z10 VS Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE: Design

Constructed from black (or white) plastic, the BlackBerry Z10 feels tough enough to withstand a few knocks. Overall the look of the phone – the black version in particular – is a little underwhelming, although matt accents, metal buttons and a patterned back provide some differentiation point from other smartphones on the market.

In contrast the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE looks more ostentatious. Available in white or blue with a silver trim, it’s eye catching, with a distinct design language that really stand out from the crowd, however it feels far more plasticky and less solid.

To accommodate a bigger screen, the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE is about 4mm wider and 5mm longer but slimmer, measuring 8.6mm to the Z10’s 9mm depth. It sounds like a small difference but it makes the Z10 more mangeable in one hand, although the Galaxy S3’s curved back means it is more comfortable to hold.

Winner: Draw

BlackBerry Z10 VS Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE controls

BlackBerry Z10 VS Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE: Storage and Connectivity

The BlackBerry Z10 and Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE has 16GB internal storage, of which around 11.3GB and 10.94GB is usable respectively. The Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE comes in additional 32GB and 64GB versions. Both include micro SD expansion slots. The Samsung supporting 64GB and the BlackBerry  32GB, although it’s possible it may support a higher capacity with a future firmware upgrade.

Both include Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, DNLA, dual-band WiFi, WiFi Direct and HDMI (the S3 via it’s MHL port). 4G is on board and both support multiple bands, which means they’ll work on future 4G networks from O2, Vodafone and Three, as well as EE.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE

BlackBerry Z10 VS Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE depth and battery

BlackBerry Z10 VS Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE: Screen

The Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE has a 4.8-inch screen with a 720×1280 HD resolution and 310ppi rating, while the BlackBerry Z10 has a 4.2-inch screen with a 768×1280 HD resolution and ppi rating of 356ppi. This means text (in particular) is sharper on the Z10, but the difference is negligable. 

Both phones use differing screen technology. The BlackBerry Z10 is an LCD panel, while the Galaxy S3 LTE uses AMOLED – or HD sAMOLED to give it it’s full name. Colours are punchier and more eye popping and blacks deeper on the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE, which works particularly effectively when watching movies. Whites are purer and skin tones more natural on the BlackBerry Z10. Off-angle viewing is good on both phones, although the Galaxy S3 LTE has a blue AMOLED tinge.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE (this category is very hard to judge because the technologies are very different, so it’s very much personal preference and we suggest trying the phone out side-by-side to see what you prefer) 

BlackBerry Z10 VS Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE screen comparison

BlackBerry Z10 VS Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE: Operating system

The BlackBerry Z10 runs BB10 and the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE Android Jelly Bean with Samsung’s TouchWiz Nature UX interface. The two operating systems are incredibly different with strengths and weaknesses.

The Z10 uses BlackBerry Flow. Here you use single gestures to move between applications and quickly ‘Peek’ into your messages. Flow is a different method of navigation and takes time to become familiar with, it’s also got a few quirks – if you don’t back out from an email, next time you open Hub, you return to the email, requiring a few more taps than needed.

Highlights of the BlackBerry Z10 include: true multitasking, the excellent BlackBerry Hub which lets you quickly check multiple messaging accounts and the best keyboard we’ve used on a smartphone. Business users will appreciate Balance for swapping seamlessly between work and personal profiles.

Overall BB10 is a great option for messaging and business, but lacks customisation options, you can change the background and organise features into folders, but the experience never feels as persona as the Galaxy S3 LTE.

Navigation on the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE is far more straightforward, using the conventional method of tapping home button to leave applications. You can personalise with active widgets, shortcuts and detailed swipe-down notifications, the number of customisation options available can be overwhelming, but the Galaxy S3 LTE is infinitely more flexible. 

Finally we have to discuss app choice. The Galaxy S3 LTE has access to the Google Play Store with over 700,000 apps and Samsung apps, in contrast there are around 40,000 compatible BB10 apps. Over time it will grow, but at the moment there’s more choice with the Samsung.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE

BlackBerry Z10 VS Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE OS comparison

BlackBerry Z10 VS Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE: Performance

The BlackBerry Z10 has a dual-core 1.5GHz processor with 2GB RAM, the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE (international version) has a quad-core 1.4Ghz chip with 2GB RAM. Both phones feel fast, but the Samsung loads web pages slightly quicker.

We’ve got a few niggles regarding the Z10, namely crashes and sluggish boot times – gripes we hope BlackBerry can rectify with a firmware update.

The back of both phones is removable, so you can carry a spare battery. The Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE has a larger battery 2100 mAh in contrast to 1800 mAh. As with most high-end smartphones, with moderate use the battery lasts until the end of the day, however use multimedia more and the BlackBerry Z10 falters earlier. With both these phones using 4G impacts the battery, so it may be worth turning off if you are not using it.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE

BlackBerry Z10 VS Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE: Camera

Both phones have 8-megapixel cameras with autofocus and flash, neither of these phones has a market leading camera like the Nokia Lumia 920. Colours from the Galaxy S3 LTE are more natural, with less noise, but can be a little washed out.

BlackBerry Z10 (left) Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE (right)

The Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE offers a great array of features enabling you to adjust the ISO, EV, White Balanance and add filter effects to photographs. Features are scant on the BlackBerry Z10, with a smattering of scene modes although we like Time Shift, which lets you select a specific frame.

Both capture full HD movies at 1920x1080p, footage from the Samsung is the clear winner, it’s much sharper with bolder colours. Check out the samples below.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE

BlackBerry Z10 VS Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE: Verdict

The BlackBerry Z10 has respectable hardware and it’s certainly a great device for messaging, with a great keyboard, but it’s less of an allrounder and the software includes a few niggles -which  can be straightened out with future firmware upgrade. But the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE is the more rounded device. It’s more powerful, with better hardware inculding a (marginally) better camera and screen – it’s the superior device for consuming and capturing multimedia. The interface is more flexible interface, TouchWiz can be overwhelming, but offers a more personal experience and there’s a great choice of apps.


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