It’s been a long time coming, but last month, BlackBerry finally revealed its first BB10 smartphones, the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10. We’ve already had a chance to spend some quality time with the Z10, which has gone on sale this morning and, surprisingly, is the model that doesn’t have a keyboard. BlackBerry plans to release the keyboard toting Q10 at some point in the near future, but for now we have the Z10, a big black slab. You might even say it looks sort of similar to another smartphone you may have heard of, the Apple iPhone 5.
Now, there’s no denying that Apple has the best apps in the biz, but what if you’re not a fan of the operating system? Or what if all your friends use BBM, not iMessage? Does the Z10 stand a fighting chance against Apple’s smartphone titan? We’ve stacked up the specs for the BlackBerry Z10 against the iPhone 5 to help determine which phone is right for you. As you’ll see, it’s a pretty close match-up.
Size and weight
From a design standpoint, the phones are actually quite similar. Each features a rounded slab design, and both are produced with high quality materials. Compared with the large Samsung Galaxy S3 and smaller iPhone 5, the BlackBerry Z10 is a very comfortable size that falls right in the middle. At 137 grams, the Z10 is 25 grams heavier than the iPhone, but you also get 0.2in more display real estate.
The Z10 features a 4.2in, 1,280 x 768 LCD. At 356 pixels per inch, that’s actually higher in density than the iPhone 5 and its vaunted 4in Retina display, which boasts 326 pixels per inch. However, this difference is essentially imperceptible to the naked eye, so we can call this one a tie.
The iPhone 5 is powered by Apple’s A6 chip, which it claims is up to twice as fast as the A5 processor found in the iPhone 4S. The Z10, meanwhile, is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4. We’ve tested that chip in lots of phones – for example the Nokia Lumia 920 – and it’s very fast. In our early usage of the Z10, we didn’t encounter any performance problems with the handset, and it turned in some very respectable browser benchmarks.
Both phones feature 8-megapixel rear-facing cameras. The iPhone 5 has one of the best phone cameras we’ve tested, along with features like the ability to create seamless, high resolution panoramas up to 28 megapixels. But the Z10’s camera is no slouch either, and took some excellent images in good light in our tests. And while the Z10’s camera isn’t loaded with features, one of them – TimeShift – is killer. It takes a burst of photos, detects the faces, then lets you swap them in or out from other photos to make sure everyone looks perfect.
Both phones feature support for 4G LTE, as well as Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi on 2.4 and 5GHz bands.
The iPhone 5 comes in either 16GB, 32GB or 64GB storage options, while the Z10 comes with 16GB of internal storage, expandable up to an additional 64GB via microSD card.
The numbers don’t tell all when it comes to battery life. We got 10 hours and 54 minutes of talk time with the Z10, compared with 8 hours and 40 minutes of talk time on the iPhone 5. But the Z10 only lasted for 3 hours and 34 minutes when streaming video over LTE, which is a lot less than other results we’ve been seeing lately.
On the software side, the iPhone 5 is running Apple’s iOS 6, while the Z10 is running the brand new BlackBerry 10. iOS 6 is smooth, simple, and chock full of app choices. BB10, meanwhile, is full of promise, like seamless messaging and support for corporate management. But the fate of the Z10, and BlackBerry 10 in general, largely rests on the strength of its apps. BlackBerry already has 70,000 apps available for BB10 in the app store, which is impressive, but lots of big names are missing, which can be a deal-breaker for lots of people.
There are plenty of other features, like voice control, which both phones have, and NFC, which is only available on the Z10. But in general, both of these phones are pretty evenly matched from a specs perspective. The Z10 can be picked up at £480 sim-free, whereas the iPhone 5 starts at £529 for the 16GB model – with prices ramping up to £699 for a 64GB phone – so BlackBerry has the edge here. However, for a fair few people, it will boil down to the apps and ecosystem, where Apple is dominant – but it’ll be interesting to see how quickly BlackBerry can gather pace on the app front going forward.