If you’re one of the few remaining BlackBerry owners, it’s pretty much impossible to brag about your phone, aside from noting that you got it free from work. This won’t be the case for long, however, as the new BlackBerry Z10 looks like it will offer more than enough to brag about.
Will the Z10 be enough to cause iPhone 5 users to feel the pangs of jealousy that BlackBerry users have felt for so very long? And when you put the iPhone 5 vs. the BlackBerry Z10, which is the phone for you?
The iPhone 5 and BlackBerry Z10 both have the same $199 starting price, and both phones run on the high-speed Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks, which means extremely fast upload and download times. Unfortunately, the BlackBerry Z10 doesn’t have any other storage options besides 16 GB, but it can be expanded by up to 32 more gigabytes with a removable card, which the iPhone 5 doesn’t have.
As far as processors go, the iPhone 5 is powered by Apple’s A6 system-on-a-chip solution, which is a dual-core processor that can clock 1.3 GHz; in comparison, the BlackBerry Z10 is powered by Qualcomm’s latest S4 chipset, also known as “Snapdragon,” which is a dual-core processor that clocks 1.5 GHz.
But while AT&T and Verizon Wireless will sell both smartphones from Apple and BlackBerry, Sprint will not be a carrier for the BlackBerry Z10. T-Mobile customers, however, will be able to enjoy BlackBerry’s latest offering, which is a nice deal since those customers have yet to get the iPhone.
Appearance, Size and Design
Both the iPhone 5 and BlackBerry Z10 are beautiful smartphones. The BlackBerry Z10 has slightly larger dimensions than the iPhone 5 across the board (4.87” x 2.31” x 0.30” for the iPhone 5 vs. 5.12” x 2.58” x 0.35” for the Z10), but the BlackBerry Z10 is nowhere as large as some other Android smartphones out there, including Samsung’s best, known as the Galaxy Note 2. Still, the iPhone 5’s smaller dimensions also give it a lighter weight than the BlackBerry Z10: The iPhone 5 weighs just 3.95 oz, while the BlackBerry Z10 weighs 4.78 oz.
While preferences for smartphone size vary from person to person, most people will agree that they prefer a thinner and lighter smartphone, which gives Apple the slight advantage here.
Advantage: iPhone 5
The iPhone 5 and BlackBerry Z10 both have two cameras on the front and rear sides. While both smartphones carry an equivalent 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video recording, the BlackBerry Z10’s front side camera has a slightly improved 2-megapixel camera, compared to Apple’s 1.2-megapixel camera.
Even though we can’t do a comparison of photos between these two phones, it’s possible that Apple’s rear side camera is more accurate than that of the BlackBerry Z10, considering how the camera features better specs and lenses for low-light settings and color accuracy. But while a comparison of the rear side cameras is currently impossible, the front-side camera of the BlackBerry Z10 is certainly a step up from the 720p HD quality video and 1.2-megapixel stills the iPhone 5 can take.
Advantage: BlackBerry Z10
On paper, the BlackBerry Z10 has a better battery life, even though its capacity is currently unknown. BlackBerry says the Z10 can accomplish 10 hours of 3G talk time and 305 hours of standby time, compared to eight hours of talk time and 225 hours of standby time on the iPhone 5.
However, in early reports anyway, some critics have said the BlackBerry Z10 battery did not last as long as they’d hoped. AllThingsD’s Walt Mossberg spent more than a week with the Z10, and found the battery life of his phone wasn’t exactly as advertised.
“I didn’t do a formal battery test, but in my moderate to heavy use of the phone, I found it didn’t last as long on a charge as the iPhone 5, and began to get pretty low by late afternoon,” Mossberg said. “It would last some people an entire day, but not everyone.”
Advantage: BlackBerry Z10
The Interface And Ecosystem
Operating systems are all different, and experiences are completely subjective. That said, Apple has a tried and true mobile operating system called iOS, while BlackBerry Z10 is introducing a completely new operating system – BlackBerry 10 – that heavily relies on swiping and gestures to navigate the phone.
On the iPhone 5, apps are laid out simply on your home screen, and users can swipe from screen to screen to access different apps, which can also be organized into folders. With BlackBerry 10 on the Z10, users unlock the phone by swiping up from the bottom border, which will show the last screen you were on; to get “home,” just swipe up from the bottom again. The “home” screen shows various minimized versions of one’s running applications – up to 8 at once – which are called “Action Frames.” From there, swiping to the left takes you through various screens of applications (like iOS or Android), while swiping from the bottom will minimize any open app into an Active Frame.
While BlackBerry 10 seems very intuitive and particularly useful for business and enterprise customers, there are many questions left about BlackBerry 10’s fledgling ecosystem. BlackBerry says it will have roughly 70,000 apps available at launch, with more promised to release shortly thereafter, but 70,000 is small fries compared to Apple and its iOS App Store, which is quickly approaching 800,000 applications. Even Android has more than 700,000 apps. BlackBerry’s marketplace, also known as “BlackBerry World,” will feature some of the most popular apps like Facebook, Google Maps, Netflix and Angry Birds, but the richness of the ecosystem is completely dependent on the number of participants, and for now, BlackBerry just isn’t quite there.
The interface and ecosystem in BlackBerry 10 is still largely untested, but it looks mighty promising.
Advantage: iPhone 5
The BlackBerry Z10 is a bold device from a company seeking to reinvent itself. Without any physical buttons, the Z10 is taking a big leap, assuming that customers want more screen space for gestures, movies, reading, productivity or creativity.
BlackBerry Z10 does a lot right: Its screen actually has a higher pixel density than the Retina display on the iPhone 5 (Z10 comes with a 4.2-inch 1280 x 768 display, compared to the 1136 x 640 display on the 4-inch iPhone 5), it’s fantastic at taking photos, and it lasts all day (for the most part).
For now, Apple and the iPhone 5 will win this particular comparison of features and specs, but only because the interface and operating system of the iPhone 5 is so strong, and so beloved. Simplicity, particularly with using smartphones, is at a premium, and while BlackBerry 10 is smooth and silky, there are clearly some kinks that need to be worked out to ensure navigation is quicker and easier. Still, this is an extremely impressive showing from BlackBerry, and we’re very much looking forward to this phone’s release date to test these two phones against each other. The iPhone 5 may still be the best smartphone available today, but the future is certainly bright for BlackBerry.