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Blackberry Z10 vs. iPhone 5

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January 30, 2013

How does the BlackBerry Z10 compare to the iPhone 5?

How does the BlackBerry Z10 compare to the iPhone 5?

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Pre-2007, “BlackBerry” was practically synonymous with “smartphone.” Then the iPhone came along ... then Android came along ... and eventually “Blackberry” became synonymous with an inability to adapt. Now, in 2013, the company is finally doing something new. Does its first serious multitouch handset, the BlackBerry Z10, have what it takes to take on the iPhone 5? Let’s see how their specs – and harder-to-define intangibles – compare.

Size

The Z10 is slightly larger in every dimensions

The Z10 may resemble the iPhone 5 more than any other non-Apple handset. BlackBerry’s phone is a bit larger, though, in every dimension. Its height and width differences are negligible, but the Z10 is 18 percent thicker.

Weight

The iPhone 5 is significantly lighter, but there are much heavier phones than the Z10

The Z10 is also much heavier than the iPhone 5. But as the iPhone 5 is still one of the lightest phones around, the BlackBerry isn’t uncommonly heavy.

Display

The Z10's display is slightly larger and packs more pixels

The BlackBerry Z10’s display is slightly larger, and packs more pixels. You could argue that anything over about 330 pixels per inch (PPI) is overkill, but an ultra-close examination of the Z10 would, nonetheless, reveal a sharper display.

Processor

On paper, the Z10's processor has a slight edge ... processors, however, don't perform on ...

On paper, both CPUs look similar. The Z10’s chip is similar (or identical?) to the Snapdragon processors in the Lumia 920, Motorola Razr HD, and HTC One X. It should pack plenty of punch for anything available in BlackBerry World.

RAM

The Z10 doubles the iPhone 5's 1 GB of RAM

The Z10 has the edge in Random-access Memory (RAM), with 2 GB next to the iPhone’s 1 GB.

Storage

The iPhone 5 offers more storage options, but the Z10's is expandable with an SD card

While Apple sells the iPhone 5 in multiple storage models, BlackBerry only sells the Z10 in one 16 GB flavor. Unlike the iPhone, though, you can add (up to) 32 GB more with a microSD card.

Wireless

Where available, both phones support fast LTE mobile data

Both phones ride speedy LTE networks. If your local carrier doesn’t yet provide LTE, both handsets also support HSPA+ (faster than 3G, but not LTE) and 3G networks.

Cameras

Both phones sport 8MP rear cameras

Both phones sport 8-megapixel rear shooters, while the Z10 has a higher-resolution 2 MP front camera.

The Z10’s BlackBerry 10 camera app also has a cool feature called Time Shift, which snaps still frames before and after you snap your pic. You can then scroll back and forward in the timeline to find the perfect shot.

Battery

The Z10 has a higher-capacity battery

The Z10 continues to look good on paper. Its battery is higher-capacity than the iPhone's. Unlike Apple's, it's also removable: great for business customers on the go. Just remember that many other factors determine actual battery life.

Intangibles

BB10's cool new keyboard might not be enough to compensate for the App Store's utterly sup...

If BlackBerry 10 wasn’t so late to the party, it could potentially serve as a serious rival to Android and iOS. But, like Windows Phone, it’s likely destined to a fate of distant third or fourth place. Customers love quality, but timing is important too. BB10 took too damn long.

Still, BlackBerry 10 isn’t without its perks. Its keyboard may be the most innovative virtual QWERTY since Swype and SwiftKey. Like SwiftKey, it thrives on prediction, but here the tiny suggestions float on the keyboard. If you see your word, swipe up to select. It makes Apple’s unchanged-since-2007 keyboard look antiquated.

Mobile devices, though, are nothing without apps. Here there’s no contest: the iOS App Store beats BlackBerry World – in both quality and quantity – by a colossal margin. In time, BBW can grow, but early adopters will feel like they travelled back in time to the earliest days of the App Store or Android Market.

Wrap-up

Looking at specs alone, the BlackBerry Z10 more than holds its own against the iPhone 5. But you’d be foolish to start and finish with specs.

It comes down to your overall experience. Both platforms have their perks. If they launched simultaneously, it would be a tough decision. As it stands, though, the App Store’s maturity may outweigh BB10’s keyboard, BlackBerry Hub or BlackBerry Flow.

We don’t, however, pretend to have a one-size-fits-all answer. A mobile market that stretches beyond iOS and Android is good for everyone. If you fall in love with BlackBerry 10 and the Z10, don’t hesitate. At the very least, you’re showing your appreciation for a company that – on its deathbed – rose to its feet for another fight.

About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica.
  All articles by Will Shanklin
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14 Comments

I hate to be the one to say it but Spec wise, Android is leap and bound ahead of both iOS and Blackberry. This is the year for Android, not only specs but OS is the most innovative out there!!

phissith
30th January, 2013 @ 11:50 pm PST

Yes, why the comparison only (or primarily) with the iPhone 5? Is there an implication that the iPhone 5 / iOS6 is way ahead of the Samsung Galaxy SIII / Android OS, or is there an implication that the Samsung Galaxy SIII is way ahead of everything else? A 3-way comparison would be more useful.

mez
31st January, 2013 @ 01:23 am PST

You forgot to mention than plenty of Android apps will be compatible with the new Blackberry OS.

Plus, BB still has the reputation to be very safe and to well secure your messages and mails on their own servers (remember recent riots in England or north africa where governments were not able to control the communication between BB owners).

JN
31st January, 2013 @ 03:05 am PST

Apart from being a touchscreen phone, the Z10 looks nothing like an iPhone. Honestly, did you run out of things to say?

What's interesting to me about the Z10 and Q10 are how much effort BlackBerry is exerting to please their base. They've paid a lot of attention to the keyboards, for instance, whether onscreen or physical. And the messaging features are strong as well.

I think that if you were holding onto an older Blackberry handset, this or the Q10 would be an obvious and attractive upgrade.

Jon A.
31st January, 2013 @ 12:15 pm PST

When considering an iPhone, Blackberry, or Android phone keep in mind Apple's One-On-One option at the time of purchase. To my knowledge, no other company offers this degree of customer support and/or instruction.

Facebook User
31st January, 2013 @ 01:48 pm PST

I do find this article to be staunchly biased against the Z10. "but the Z10 is 18 percent thicker." (that's a 1-ish mm difference, or 0.05".) vs "The Z10 continues to look good on paper. Its battery is higher-capacity than the iPhone's. " followed by some not-so-optimistic caution against the battery life of the BB.

I get that you don't want to get the hype up too high, but isn't pointing out that the BB will most likely be worse, even when it is better, a bit much?

And I know we're not getting into the software side of things since this is a strictly hardware review, but BB really shines in the software. Any veterans would tell you that once you go BBM, you don't go back, period. Sure, other chat clients are cute..but BBM is just so much better. What about the new BB10's voice recognition, which proves to be about 10% faster, and 30% more accurate than Siri? What about BB's unique ability to actually multitask (not only do you not have to reload the site again upon switching back to browser, your other programs can still keep running too!)

Oh, but we did talked about the amount of Apps, didn't we?

Personally, I do agree--BBmarket is going to be dominated by ports early on. But I think that is wayyyyy better than Apple's 50thousand clones of everything. There are like 2000 versions/updates/clones of Angry Bird/Temple Run alone, not counting a gazillion skins for the OS, all of which counts as App. Let's admit it--both Apple Store and Google Play are flooded with crap and clones too.

In terms of actual quality apps, I think all three (plus windows store) will end up with very similar amount right off the gate--which may number in high hundreds. Everything else? Let's face it--crap ware.

@phissith: It would be quite interesting to see, but I guess we don't have a de facto Android phone to compare to. But more importantly, while I'm not sure how RIM is proceeding with Z10, BBs are usually at a lower price point than actual premium phones of the same class. The Torch only costs the same as Galaxy (Torch was about $70 cheaper than Galaxy in my country, actually) back when it was released, even though it was RIM's premium phone. And we know that Galaxy is on the value side of the Android lineup So for a fair comparison, I would reckon that it will have to be compared to the 2nd class Android phones.

Savin Nay Wangtal
31st January, 2013 @ 05:00 pm PST

The world has changed in the last 12 months: Apple ain't cool anymore... Google Play has close to the quantity and quality of apps as iTunes... Android phones make up the bulk of smartphones sold.... Android Jelly Bean is as good (arguably better) as iOS and Samsung SIII beats off the iP5 in performance.

I await your real comparison, against the SIII.

Hsan
31st January, 2013 @ 06:58 pm PST

I'm glad I'm not the only one wondering why the Blackberry is being compared to a model of phone which does not dominate the market.

PatrickEB
31st January, 2013 @ 11:26 pm PST

BB10 clearly offers the fastest browser.Just having the fastest browser isn't everything, of course, BB10 also has the best HTML5 support -- beating out every desktop browser.

- Lisa

Lisa Scott
1st February, 2013 @ 01:56 am PST

Of course the Blackberry is the better choice..relly why are they comparing them at all....I had an iphone and it was a completely disappointment, not only that I have to pay for all the apps and the music that i use and the most stupid thing was that I actually couldn't make a normal conversation with it..couldn't hear a thing nor the people that I'm talking..

katiejones
1st February, 2013 @ 06:23 am PST

Cant wait to get my hands on this baby

supernova
1st February, 2013 @ 11:23 am PST

this is biased... the z10 is at least on par with the iphone 5.

Ryan Gibbons
1st February, 2013 @ 11:30 am PST

I know this article is a little old (just saw it), on top of everything else people mentioned, I would like to point out that you can use a 64GB sd card: http://crackberry.com/using-64gb-microsd-card-your-blackberry-10-smartphone.

For battery life, there was a recent update that dramatically improved the life.

You also forgot to mention the NFC available in the BB (was in the Bold 9900 also). This is starting to pick up more in North America now and you can see quite a few applications for it on the BB and Samsung phones.

Martin Carnegie
27th March, 2013 @ 09:24 am PDT

I personally love my BB10!! I've never had an iphone, partly because I don't like them at all. And androids had a couple apps I really liked, but other than that is the only thing I dislike with the BB10.This is the, hands down, best phone I've ever had. And if they upgrade their app selection, I think it will be the best phone out there.

CoNiHodge
15th June, 2013 @ 08:13 am PDT
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