We thought it was time to see how well the Apple iPhone 5 would stand up to a comparison with the BlackBerry Z10. Our findings may not totally surprise but will the old war-horse hold off the new contender !
There was a time when Blackberry (formerly RIM) all but had the smartphone market to themselves, but in the last few years they’ve been having a hard time. Apple burst on to the scene, closely followed by Android and then Windows Phone, all of them bringing fresh ideas and a desire for dominance which quickly ate into Blackberry’s market share and left them by the wayside.
Blackberry hasn't given up though and the Blackberry Z10 is testament to that. It’s almost certainly their best phone yet, running a brand new operating system (Blackberry 10) and setting its sights on both business and leisure users.
It’s undoubtedly a good handset, but we’re pitting it against the iPhone 5 – the most popular smartphone on the planet, so it’s going to take a lot for Blackberry to take the win. Have they done enough not just to become relevant again but to topple a giant? Read on to find out.
The iPhone 5 is undoubtedly one of the best- and most premium- looking smartphones on the planet. Its shiny metal body oozes quality and at only 7.6 mm thick it’s remarkably slim. It does have quite large black bars above and below the screen which don’t look great and having a physical button on the front of the phone not only spoils the lines but seems almost quaint in this day and age. Despite all that, with most phones still sporting the non-descript plastic rectangle look the iPhone 5 is certainly distinctive and good looking in comparison.
Unfortunately the Blackberry Z10 falls firmly into the aforementioned plastic rectangle camp. The all-black chassis and metallic keys leaves it looking somewhat classy if a little bland and does nothing to distance it from the business phone image that Blackberry has developed. That may put leisure users off and in any case its plastic body is nothing on the iPhone 5’s metal.
The durability of the Blackberry Z10 is also a little suspect in comparison to the iPhone 5, as it has a fairly flimsy and loose back cover, though at least being made of plastic it would probably cheaper to repair if any damage did befall it.
The iPhone 5 bumped the iPhone screen size up to 4 inches, with a 640 x 1136 IPS LCD display rocking a 326 ppi Retina Display. While some other phones have since topped the iPhone’s pixel density it still has better contrast than most other phones on the market, with deep blacks and blinding whites. Apple have also set the iPhone 5 apart by giving it a true 16:9 wide-screen display, which means that it’s quite long but narrower than most handsets. It’s a slightly odd look and makes it great for watching movies on but we’re not entirely convinced it helps any the rest of the time.
The Blackberry Z10 is both bigger and higher resolution than the iPhone 5, with a 4.2 inch 768 x 1280 screen and an impressive 355 pixels per inch. It’s a great screen all in all, though it doesn’t have quite as good contrast as the iPhone 5 so we’ll call this one a draw.
The iPhone 5 is powered by a dual-core 1.2 GHz Apple A6 processor with 1 GB of RAM, which might not sound like much but its real world performance is way beyond what you’d expect from those specs, easily matching quad-core Android phones.
The Blackberry Z10 is slightly more powerful in theory as it has a 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and 2 GB of RAM. We’ve seen the Snapdragon S4 in other handsets, for example the Nokia Lumia 920, and it performs as well here as it did there. But it still doesn’t quite seem to match the performance of the iPhone 5.
The iPhone 5 thoroughly impressed us with its 8 megapixel camera. It does a great job of stills, better in fact than many other 8 megapixel phone cameras. On top of that it can also manage full 1080p video at 30fps.
The Blackberry Z10 stacks up pretty well though. It matches the iPhone 5 with an 8 megapixel camera of its own, which produces similarly good results- particularly in daylight, and like the iPhone 5 it can also shoot 1080p video at 30fps. It doesn’t quite top the iPhone 5 but it certainly matches it.
The iPhone 5 only has a 1440 mAh battery, which is disappointingly small, particularly when you consider that the Blackberry Z10 has an 1800 mAh one. That extra size makes all the difference too, giving you up to 10 hours talk time and 312 hours standby time on the Blackberry Z10 compared to just 8 hours talk time and 225 hours standby time on the iPhone 5. We’d actually love to see bigger batteries in both of them, but of the two the Blackberry Z10 undoubtedly has the most juice.
For on-board memory the iPhone 5 comes with either 16, 32 or 64 GB, but with no micro SD card slot that’s all you get. The Blackberry Z10 comes with just 16 GB of memory but it also supports micro SD cards of up to 64 GB, which potentially gives you more total storage- and that’s before you consider the fact that you can easily swap out micro SD cards to give yourself near infinite storage.
In terms of connectivity options the iPhone 5 has 3G, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi and potentially 4G (though currently only if you buy it on EE). The Blackberry Z10 has exactly the same options but with the addition of NFC, making it a win for the Blackberry.
The Blackberry Z10 definitely puts in a solid performance, leading to a surprisingly close contest. It matches the iPhone 5 for display and camera and even tops it for battery life, memory and connectivity. But with the iPhone 5 out-powering it and delivering far better build quality and durability it’s enough for the iPhone 5 to be crowned the victor- just.
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