Which Phone to Buy? Apple iPhone 5 Vs. BlackBerry Z10

iPhone 5 vs BlackBerry Z10

A lot of changes have come about in the smartphone market since the release of iPhone in 2007. Apple’s entry has paved way for other OEMs to innovate in smartphone design. This particular graphic from BBC shows it pretty clearly.

BBC image of iPhone changing smartphone world

On the other hand, since its inception in 2003, BlackBerry has been quite a unique force in the professional world, with mostly business class users. Its technologies, including BBM and the signature keypad have been instrumental in its success.

However, after 2007’s full-touch iPhone, BlackBerry slowly gave the market away to Apple and other companies like Samsung. The comeback that BlackBerry made this year with the release of Z10 is probably proving to be profitable for the company. Here, we will review the features of both the current iPhone and BlackBerry Z10 and see which is the better smartphone.

Tech Specs Comparison

First of all, let’s compare the technical specifications of both these devices.

Feature Apple iPhone 5 BlackBerry Z10
Display 4 inch LCD IPS Retina Display (326 ppi) 4.2 inch LCD IPS (356 ppi)
Processor Apple A6 1.3 GHz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus 1.5 GHz dual core
Graphics card PowerVR SGX543MP3 Adreno 225
Storage 16/32/64 GB 16 GB with expandable micro SDXC for up to 64 GB
Battery 1440 mAh 1800 mAh
Camera 8 MP 8 MP
Full HD video capture YES (front-facing 720p) YES (front-facing 720p)
Front-facing camera 1.2 MP 2 MP
Connectivity features Lightning connector, Bluetooth 4.0, no near field communication NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, micro HDMI
Network HSPA+, LTE HSPA+, LTE (quad-band)
Dimensions Height 123.8 mm (4.87 in) Height 130 mm (5.1 in)
Width 58.6 mm (2.31 in) Width 65.6 mm (2.58 in)
Depth 7.6 mm (0.3 in) Depth 9 mm (0.35 in)
Weight 112 g (3.95 oz) Weight 137.5 g (4.85 oz)

In terms of the technical specifications, the clear winner is BlackBerry Z10 with the larger screen, faster snapdragon processor, more RAM, major connectivity improvements including micro USB and NFC, and quad-band LTE.

When we compare these two smartphones, the major defining factor is the operating system running on them rather than the hardware specifications. When we compare the operating systems, the table may turn in Apple’s favor. Let’s check out various differences.

The Performance

Clearly the faster one of these smartphones is BlackBerry Z10 with a much better Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.5 GHz processor. Apple’s custom-designed Swift microarchitecture powers A6, while Qualcomm’s Krait microarchitecture powers Snapdragon. In the industry circles, there is a hushed acceptance of the superiority of Snapdragon processors. All of them perform in stellar fashion in benchmarks.

For instance, let me attract your attention to this particular benchmark. This is Geekbench results obtained for iPhone 5 and Z10, the data was given by various tests conducted.

Geekbench tests for iPhone and BlackBerry Z10

BlackBerry Z10 can perform a little better than iPhone 5 based on these tests.

In terms of browser performance, Ars Technica found out these details. In JavaScript performance on SunSpider, BB10 browser performed worse than iPhone 5. iPhone 5’s SunSpider score was 914, while BlackBerry 10 scored 1724 points; you should note in this lower score is better.

In other JavaScript tests also (like Google Octane) iPhone 5 performed much better: iPhone 5 scored 1672 while Z10 scored 1002 (higher is better).

It is safe to assume iPhone 5 shells out quite a bit of performance with its low end hardware. One other thing is iPhone 5 was released much earlier than BlackBerry Z10. Four months of smartphone market is equivalent to four years in literature.

The Display

BlackBerry Z10 clearly has a better display than iPhone 5. The technology used is the same. What set Z10’s display apart are its larger size and much larger resolution. The ppi ratio of 356 is better than Retina Display touted by Apple.

The only thing that sets the display back is its brightness factor. iPhone 5’s display can provide 525 lux of brightness, while Z10 gives only 295 lux.

The Operating System and Apps

The most important difference between these two phones is in the operating system in use. BlackBerry Z10 uses the latest QNX-based BlackBerry 10 operating system, while iPhone comes with iOS 6.1. Both these are proprietary mobile operating systems that perform really well.

One of the reasons why iPhone performs in benchmarks even with less than amazing hardware is due to iOS and its app ecosystem built to work perfectly with the hardware provided.

There are quite a number of features that BlackBerry 10 holds against iOS. Let’s check them out.

iOS is your plain vanilla mobile operating system that introduced quite a number of features in 2007. It has all the favorite touch gestures and apps that you need for regular smartphone operations.

We discussed the app availability by operating systems in another post. Looking through that, you will get an idea of the difference between Apple iOS’s nearly 800,000 apps and BlackBerry 10’s slightly over 70,000 apps. In terms of app ecosystem, iPhone is way ahead of BlackBerry and Windows Phone. The only mobile OS that can match iOS’s app availability is Android.

BlackBerry 10 OS has certain important features.

BlackBerry Hub is an app tightly integrated to the OS. It can be viewed from any app. The feature known as Peek lets you do a simple gesture (swipe up and then right) and see the BlackBerry hub app. The Hub gives you a number of notifications, email, SMS, social media updates, etc.

Another feature known as Flow keeps BlackBerry Z10 glued to your social media profiles. A simple swipe to the right and you are looking at some important notifications.

In this video prepared by the biggest fans of BlackBerry from CrackBerry.com, you will get an idea of the operating system.

Multi-tasking with BlackBerry is much improved. Here, you can open up and keep up to 8 apps at the same time. In our first review of Z10, we did look at the various features including the keyboard, time shift camera, improved interface, etc.

Another important thing is Flash support in the browser. While Apple iOS doesn’t support Flash, BlackBerry 10 does. Also, HTML 5 support on BlackBerry 10’s browser is at 485 points (11 bonus), while iPhone 5 browser scores only 386 points (9 bonus).


Both these cameras have autofocus, but on BlackBerry Z10, you can move the autofocus to a different object if you wish. Also, Z10 allows you to select the aspect ratio of the picture—16:9 or 4:3. Also, Z10 gives you a number of shooting scene options, which are not there on iPhone 5.

However, the actual comparison comes when we look at actual pictures taken with these devices.

Digit has done a pretty good camera comparison between these devices. Here are the pictures.

[Z10 left, iPhone right; click to enlarge]

photo with Z10photo with iphone


Image taken with z10Image taken with iphone


low light Z10 imagelow light iphone image

In another comparison, CNET found out BlackBerry Z10’s amazing capability in the outdoor situations. In low light, it shows again how BlackBerry is no match to iPhone 5.

Image taken with Z10Image taken with iPhone

Z10’s camera gives much better outdoor shoots and color reproduction than iPhone 5. It however fails in low light conditions. It has long way to go to be able to compare to one of the best cameras available in the smartphone world today, Nokia Lumia 920. Here is a comparison done by Gizmodo between Z10 and Lumia 920 in low light.

low light on Z10low light on Lumia 920low light on iPhone

The Price

Z10 is not yet in the US. Recent report gives us that one of the carriers is selling unlocked Z10 for a thousand dollars. While Apple iPhone 5 is available to purchase

, BlackBerry Z10 will soon come to the market.

In terms of price, both these devices are on par with each other. iPhone 5 sells with contract anywhere from 199 dollars. In the UK, BlackBerry Z10 price is around 500 pounds which will be around 750 dollars. This is the unlocked version. Most of the outlets are selling the contract version of BlackBerry Z10. BlackBerry has tie-up with almost all carriers out there—Orange, T-Mobile, EE, O2, Vodafone, EE, 3, etc.

Find the prices in these links:
Carphone Warehouse;
Phones4u (outlet)

In the US, Z10 is available via Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, and AT&T, while Apple iPhone is now available in T-Mobile network as well.


So, that’s it. These two smartphones are coming with amazing capabilities. They have great hardware specs and amazing build quality. BlackBerry Z10 has Gorilla Glass protection, while iPhone doesn’t say what protects its glass, but we know its Gorilla Glass. It is also one of the toughest smartphones. They are both premium devices running premium operating systems. Also they are user-friendly.

The price is the only thing that separates them from other smartphones in the market. They tend to be a little more expensive than Android devices. It is also one reason why I would suggest one of these devices only if you are absolutely certain you want one of them. Otherwise, you could simply go with an Android phone. BlackBerry Z10 wins in areas other than app availability. Even though BlackBerry Z10 was released with the highest number of apps for any first generation OS, Apple is far ahead in an unreachable position with the highest number of apps for any mobile platform.

If you really need to get your work done and have quite a bit of fun with games, then iPhone is the device to go with. If you are willing to wait for apps to come in the future, and you need slightly better hardware, then select BlackBerry Z10.

[Image: ITProPortal]

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