If the phones were to be classified on the basis of usage and benefits, there are only 2 kinds of phones that exist in the market. One is BlackBerry and other is the army of iOS, Windows and the Droids. While the popular droids and iOS are aimed to provide users with full-fledged multimedia experience, BlackBerry targets the corporate world that demands security, enterprise services and messaging. BlackBerry smartphones have always been the primary or secondary phone for every user who wants the best of both world, Work & Play. iPhone on the other hand, has seen a tremendous growth since the introduction of iPhone 3GS, mainly because of its super-clear display, unmatched build quality, stable OS and population of applications. The benefits of Apple’s flagship devices soon started to superimpose over that of BlackBerry smartphones and people started to prefer Apple devices over it, resulting which BlackBerry lost a huge market share and following droid launch, it remained nothing more than a drawf star. BlackBerry made an attempt to extend its subscriber base beyond the QWERTY lovers and the outcome of the 3 year struggle is what is throbbing in the industry as BlackBerry 10 and the first phone to be rolled out of the box with this revamped and revolutionary operating system is BlackBerry Z10. While the comparison of BlackBerry devices with iPhones is like comparing a chalk with a cheese, but now and then they just cannot be kept apart. BlackBerry is now back to avenge Apple, with new platform, new device and even a new name, the brand name is now the name of the company.
So here you have it, the new iPhone against the new BlackBerry. One of the fiercest battles in the industry is about to begin. The multimedia champion v/s the enterprise leader. We spent quality time using the 2 phones and that’s the reason for the delayed shootout.
The 2 phones might be more or less similar in terms of looks and aesthetics. The BlackBerry Z10 resembles a lot with iPhone 5, probably due to its rounded corners. Apple has everything tightly locked down. Perfection, as they see it, can only be achieved in their walled garden.
The new iPhone is taller and thinner than its predecessor, makes no changes in the screen width and pixel density, and ensures the hand feel is not challenged. Apple also went with a new connector design – the Lightning port. The inconvenience of yet another standard aside, it is better in every way and has allowed Apple engineers to build a phone that’s more compact.
BlackBerry on the other hand, is with a completely new look and feel, brings along a massive alteration in both design and feel. Existing BlackBerry users wont even feel that they have switched to a device from the same maker. Only the BlackBerry logo compels you to accept that yes, you have a superior BlackBerry smartphone, boasting of its enterprise supremacy.
Lets take a closer look at the specs contrast between 2 devices.
Apple iPhone 5
|Status||Available. Released 2012, September||Available. Released 2013, January|
|Dimensions||123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm (4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 in)||130 x 65.6 x 9 mm (5.12 x 2.58 x 0.35 in)|
|Weight||112 g (3.95 oz)||137.5 g (4.83 oz)|
|Type||LED-backlit IPS LCD, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors||Capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors|
|Size||640 x 1136 pixels, 4.0 inches (~326 ppi pixel density)||768 x 1280 pixels, 4.2 inches (~355 ppi pixel density)|
|Card slot||No||microSD, up to 64 GB, buy memory|
|Internal||16/32/64 GB storage, 1 GB RAM||16 GB storage, 2 GB RAM|
|Speed||DC-HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps, LTE, 100 Mbps; EV-DO Rev. A, up to 3.1 Mbps||HSDPA 21 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps; LTE, EV-DO Rev. A, up to 3.1 Mbps|
|WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual band|
|Bluetooth||Yes, v4.0 with A2DP||Yes, v4.0 with A2DP, LE|
|USB||Yes, v2.0||Yes, microUSB v2.0|
|Primary||8 MP, 3264×2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash||8 MP, 3264 x 2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash|
|Features||Simultaneous HD video and image recording, touch focus, geo-tagging, face detection, panorama, HDR||Geo-tagging, face detection, image stabilization|
|Video||Yes, 1080p@30fps, video stabilization||Yes, 1080p@30fps, video stabilization|
|Secondary||Yes, 1.2 MP, 720p@30fps, face detection, FaceTime over Wi-Fi or Cellular||Yes, 2 MP, 720p@30fps|
|OS||iOS 6, upgradable to iOS 6.1.4, planned upgrade to iOS 7.0||BlackBerry 10 OS, upgradable to v10.1|
|Chipset||Apple A6||Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon|
|CPU||Dual-core 1.2 GHz||Dual-core 1.5 GHz Krait|
|GPU||PowerVR SGX 543MP3 (triple-core graphics)||Adreno 225|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass||Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS support and GLONASS||Yes, with A-GPS support|
Well, the specsheet clearly says that BlackBerry Z10 is more powerful than Apple iPhone 5 in terms of almost everything. Starting from the processor to screen size, BlackBerry Z10 wins over iPhone by a clear margin. It was supposed to be since users needed a lot of reasons to switch from already established Apple devices. With BlackBerry market share shrinking by the quarter, the Canadian company really needs a winner and the BlackBerry Z10 surely looks to have the potential to reverse the downward trajectory.
It’s a well-designed, solid device with sleek design that has all the connectivity features and tricks that high-end Androids have, LTE, NFC, with all the works. We have to commend BlackBerry on the hardware execution – they have a reputation for solid, durable hardware and the Z10 is a shining example. Actually, not the least bit of cheap shine there. Sorry Samsung. Sometimes we have to bring the point here.
So let the battle begin. Before we start, let me specify the details of the handsets we used for shootout. On one hand we have the Apple iPhone 5 running on Apple 6.1.3 OS. Unfortunately we could get the flavor of iOS 7 which is scheduled to come this fall. But we assume the things to remain more or less same. iOS 7 has a major change in the UI part only.
Defending the honour of BlackBerry is the Z10 running on 10.1 update which is so far the latest one available for the device. 10.2 update is under process and will be available later this year.
So, lets go by the numbers:
Apple’s design team has been in love with iPhone 4 (the milestone in Apple’s design history), which explains why the new iPhone 5 (two generations newer) looks almost identical. They targeted something similar but better and pretty much nailed it, barring some issues with the finish.
BlackBerry on the other hand is keeping things fresh. The design team has done a solid job with the BlackBerry Z10 design. With the touchscreen bar form factor admittedly offering little creativity, the Canadians have crafted a handset which has enough character, without being overdesigned.
We won’t debate over aesthetics. That’s solely over your mind-making. We’ll rather take a more practical look instead.
Let’s start with the iPhone 5. Apple replaced the thick, heavy glass on the back with aluminum. This made the phone both thinner and lighter, plus aluminum is usually appreciated when it comes to high-end feel, though it’s scratch-prone. The device was designed to be more durable. Scratches on the back will spoil the aesthetics but won’t impede functionality. For example, It has a scratch-proof sapphire to protect the camera lens. The home button have been known not to age gracefully and while it feels different on the iPhone 5, only time will tell if Apple has really taken care of the issue.
The 3.5mm audio jack in now in the bottom, so you can listen to music with the phone upside down in your pocket. This has been made possible by squeezing the connector size. The advantage of this is that you can reach in and pull the phone out holding it the right way up, without having to adjust your grip. Good experiment !!!
BlackBerry, as already mentioned, is back with something completely new. The entire design has been revamped.
The BlackBerry Z10 measures 130 x 65.6 x 9 mm, which isn’t too big for a smartphone with a 4.2″ screen. It seems BlackBerry could have done better with the space above and below the display. On a second thought, considering that swipes are central to the navigation and many of them start off the screen, they have an excuse. We mean to say that the thick boundary across the screen is touch sensitive and is also a part of the display and controls. So whether you assume the display to be 4.2” or 4.5”, its one and the same.
We appreciate the patterned plastic back, which not only looks cool, but also feels nice to the touch and provides excellent grip. The front is not bad either, although certain similarities to the iPhone will have some people impressed for the wrong reasons.
At any rate, the BlackBerry Z10 is awesomely- looking smartphone, that everyone would love being seen with. It also feels pretty sturdy, so we can be sure that looks won’t fade too quickly.
The displays of iPhone 5 and BlackBerry are completely different. iPhone 5 has 16:9 aspect ratio while BlackBerry has 15:9. This is due to the same screen height but larger width in the BlackBerry Z10’s display. The BlackBerry Z10 offers a 4.2″ display with an aspect ratio of 15:9 and WXGA resolution (1280 x 768 pixels). So it’s clealy HD display. Those figures add up to a nicely sounding 355 ppi pixel density, which means the screen is tack sharp and you’d be hard pressed to discern individual pixels.
The iPhone gets outbeaten here. The Apple iPhone 5 comes with a 4″ IPS LCD with a resolution of 640 x 1136 pixels, with pixel density of 326ppi. This makes Apple’s latest smartphone the first mobile device from the company to feature a 16:9 aspect screen. But still way behind BlackBerry Z10.
Awesome features are great, but a phone with a flat battery is about as useful as a paperweight. This is why a long-lasting battery is a major consideration when buying a new phone.
We test for three use cases – talking, browsing and watching videos – and give each phone a battery rating, which is an estimated time between going from full charge to empty if you do each of those activities for an hour each day.
Before we begin, let’s check the stats. The iPhone 5 has a 1,440mAh battery, while the Galaxy S III has a beefier 1800 mAh battery. Apple has its chipset designed on its own while BlackBerry depends on Qualcomm for the same. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon lineup has been a very battery friendly series. So, lets see how well they did.
Yet, Apple iPhone 5 manages to snag a narrow victory here. One can make 8:30 mins of voice calls over 3G network and do almost 10 hrs. of web browsing on Apple flagship. With push mail and NFC services active on BlackBerry Z10, you can make 8:20 mins of 3G calls and 6:27 hrs. browsing the net. Considering NFC consumes very less power, the result would have hardly be different with it being off.
So, this bagde seems to go to Apple.
Apple has been criticized badly for making no major changes in its OS since it was introduced in iPhone 3G. The same set of icons and the same navigation has now made their own subscriber base to consider switching over to something different, probably more interesting. Apple says, iOS is a legacy, but they sometimes forget that legacy attracts buyers only for a year and then a massive alteration is required in this fast moving world. Things might already be clear to you so far, what we have been trying to tell.
Apple, with their 4th update have not shown any major changes in the UI. The icons of iOS have always been attractive and the user experience is butter smooth. The same lock screen, as seen in previous versions, has been retained. The same set of icons has also been brought forward. Yes, the change in length does show some change in the UI. Navigation and operations are smooth as always has been.
BlackBerry Z10, which introduces the, QNX based BlackBerry 10, has been a completely a new phone. The completely new OS works with gesture. The screen can be unlocked by simply using a swipe up gesture from the BlackBerry logo. This is what they claim to be a part of BlackBerry Flow. Applications can be started from menu and can be minimized by again using the same swipe gesture.
Another very interesting thing introduced is the BlackBerry Hub, which displays mails, notifications, facebook feeds, tweets, whatsapp messages all in a single screen. This eliminates the time consumed in switching from one to other app again and again for checking the notifications. Whatsapp, the most popular IM app is now directly integrated into Hub. Users can simply move from any applications to Hub by gesture called Flow and peek into hub. Brilliant job. That is also called peeking into hub, in Company’s term. BlackBerry has always been inclined towards user-friendliness and enterprise supremacy.
As for the default video player iOS 6 is packing on the iPhone 5, things aren’t so rosy. Granted, with its 4-inch screen boasting an aspect ratio of 16:9, watching videos is far more enjoyable than on any of the previous iPhones, but video format support is extremely limited. DivX and XviD videos are a no-no, and don’t count on .WMV playing either. To play those, you can have iTunes convert them beforehand, which is a bit tedious. Urghhhh. Apple, will you listen??
As for options for video viewing, the iPhone 5 video player offers fit-to-screen and full screen modes. There aren’t color tone adjustments. Also, don’t count on subtitle support, unless the subtitles are built into the video file itself.
BlackBerry has, again, revamped its Video player. You can search for a video, mass delete videos, share them or push them through DLNA to a compatible player. There’s also the HDMI port with which you can output the video to any HDTV, as long as you have a microHDMI cable (those are more popular and cheaper than MHL adapters). The video handled all the popular file formats (AVI, MP4, MKV) and 1080p videos easily. Codec support is pretty great too – DivX, XviD and h.264 are ready to go as is Dolby Digital audio. The one thing the player choked on was DTS audio (video still worked).
BlackBerry is a clear winner in this panel. So, its back on multimedia.
Let’s come to Audio scene:
In the history of tech companies, there are very few ones that can match the expertise of Apple when it comes to audio playback. Ever since the Cupertino-based company launched the first iPod back in 2001, they’ve been constantly refining and enhancing the experience of its audio players. The culmination of those 11 years of constant refinement is packed in the iPhone 5 and its Music app (formerly known as iPod). The interface is polished, simple and so straightforward that an infant could use it.
The Music app on the iPhone 5 enters funk mode once you flip the phone into landscape, initiating Cover Flow. It lists all the albums from the library – a tap on an album thumb lists all the tracks in it. Once you choose a song, the player brings up the Now Playing screen. It’s clean in design and packs all the controls you’ll ever need when dealing with music. There are also other notable features such as an equalizer with presets, playlists and different sorting modes (artists, songs, albums. genre, compilations or composers).
The UI of the BlackBerry Z10 music player is pretty similar to the image gallery and video player. It has three tabs, the first of which displays recently added and recently played music. The second organizes the music library by Artist, Album or Genre and the third one displays all the playlists.
But that’s not all. What we are interested herein, is the sound quality and not the interface. Whats the use of a beautiful player that doesn’t even make us feel the beat. Lets see what BlackBerry Z10 has to offer in this regard.
The BlackBerry Z10 put up a solid performance in our audio quality test, demonstrating a nicely clean output. When you use the smartphone with an active external amplifier you get great scores all over the place. The frequency response was spot-on and there was no detectable distortion. The signal to noise ratio and the dynamic range are very good too and the only thing average was the volume level. There is a pretty big increase in stereo crosstalk when you plug in a pair of headphones. iPhone’s sound output is no match for the BlackBerry Z10’s. Agreed, that the sound output of iPhone is clear, but BlackBerry doesn’t spreads out noise either.
While it’s the 2nd Apple phone coming with a 8 MP Full HD 1080p camera, BlackBerry is rolling out the first phone with 1080 compatible 8 MP camera. BlackBerry phones have always been hated for camera quality. BlackBerry claims that the camera is a brand new one, while Apple explains it with a tough heading called iSight camera. Cupertino engineers never explained what that means, but they simply have to say that its more clear than any other cameraphone in the market. Guess, Finnese at Nokia office might be taunting since they are not in the arena right now. 😉
The BlackBerry Z10 comes with an 8MP main camera with an LED flash and a secondary 2MP camera. Both cameras can shoot HD video, 1080p for the main camera and 720p for the front-facing one. The interface looks pretty familiar at first – not too different than an Android camera – but much like the rest of the interface, the camera app has some handy tricks up its sleeve. The BlackBerry Z10 offers three shooting models – Stills, Video and Time shift, the mode toggle is in the top right corner. Below that is the Menu key, which offers several settings including a front/back camera switch, flash mode and aspect ratio (4:3 or 16:9, there’s no resolution setting). Also here are the Scene mode toggle (Auto, Action, Whiteboard, Night, Beach and Snow) and the Shooting mode toggle. The still camera can just snap pics, do digital image stabilization or enable burst shot. Burst shot photos are snapped at 6MP resolution.
You get some more settings for the camera if you swipe down – where to put photos and videos (internal storage or microSD card) and geo-tagging. Photos are taken by just tapping the screen, long press to trigger the auto-focus before taking the shot. If burst shot is enabled, then the camera will snap pics in quick succession while you have your finger on the screen. There’s also touch focus on board, though you have to drag the focus point to where you want the focus to be. It can take some getting used to if you’re used to just tapping to move the focus point. Digital zoom is available too, it’s done through pinch zooming. The BlackBerry Z10 camera UI has two handy shortcuts. A thumbnail of the last photo you’ve taken is in the lower left corner and you can tap it to go to the gallery. Better still, you can swipe it to enlarge that photo for a quick view of how it turned out, it goes back to thumbnail when you lift your finger.
The iPhone 5 is the epitome of point-and-shoot, but the deceptively simple interface of the camera actually hides a few of advanced features. There’s tap focus, geotagging, HDR mode and the new Panorama mode. Hey, one thing is interesting to see here. Apple is the first and only company to incorporate a AF lock. That says, you can lock the auto focus functionality. Might be, in many cases you appreciate the fixed focus. This feature hasn’t been seen in pureview either.
Yet, iPhone scores above BlackBerry Z10 here. The 5’s camera is not only sharper, as they claim, but they also catch more detail than the one in BlackBerry. So results are favouring iPhone in this category.
Apple wins this from BlackBerry Z10.
When it comes to Internet on a mobile device, the things that have the biggest impact on the experience are the screen, the performance and the browser. There are other considerations, of course, like connectivity (e.g. LTE) and battery life, we’ll cover those too.
While Apple is still with the Safari, BlackBerry incorporates a completely new browser, a much powerful one.
In iPhone, You get more content per page and the benefits are especially felt in landscape mode using the new fullscreen feature. For starters there’s iCloud tab syncing, a new full-screen mode in landscape and page loading seems overall faster than before. The user interface of Safari hasn’t really changed and what we still miss is a unified address/search bar like on the desktop Safari. The new full-screen mode is available only in landscape, which makes sense. It would have been better if Apple had found a simpler way of activating it, like a double tap or pinch gesture but the dedicated virtual button still does a fine job. Once in full-screen mode, you get a shortcut, which reveals three onscreen buttons: Back, Forward and Exit Full-screen.
The BlackBerry Z10 has a WebKit-based browser with full Flash support. The 4.2″ WXGA screen isn’t as big as most droid flagships at the moment, but it is still bigger and sharper than that of an iPhone 5. The interface is pretty straightforward. The first thing you see is the New tab interface, which shows thumbnails of recently visited sites. It’s a bit annoying that these can’t be deleted. There’s no Incognito/Private mode either, so be careful what sites you open. Entering URLs is pretty quick thanks to the autocomplete feature, which managed to guess correctly what we’re trying to type most of the time. Anyway, the UI that displays websites is pretty Windows Phone-like – the web page takes the whole screen, except for a line at the bottom (it even covers the status bar at the top of the screen). The line at the bottom holds a Tab switcher button, Back button, URL field and a Menu key. The Tab switcher button brings up a list of currently open tabs, along with Bookmarks, History and a New tab shortcut. The current page you’re browsing is pushed to the right to reveal all those. Instead of tapping the Tab switcher button, you can swipe to the right but the gesture needs to begin at the bottom where the Tab button is.
The HTML5 score of BlackBerry Z10 is 485. Very very impressive.
BlackBerry gets a sweeping victory here.
Those hoping for an X-is-better-than-Y-period-! answer will be disappointed. The way the crowd at a boxing match will feel about a win on points instead of a knockout. Like someone running for office wins debates to lose an election. Let’s not get carried away though. It’s just phones. Worse yet, they’re soon to be last season’s phones. Yet, we all vote for them with our hearts, minds and, ultimately, wallets. So, which one is better? We know you look to our conclusions for buying advice and some kind of closure. We don’t think you need to look any further. Just this once, go a few pages back.
BlackBerry Z10 wins over Apple iPhone in most of the cases. The camera performance is poor in Z10, yet that’s the only point where it looses out. Also, if you need applications more and more, BlackBerry has an answer to you. Its confessing that it doesn’t has as many apps as iPhone but, its saying that the QNX based Z10 can run the most of the Android apps. That’s brilliant. To ensure this thing, I personaly downloaded FIFA, NOVA 3 and Asphalt 7 Heat. Luckily, they all were free. And I didn’t notice any difference. The response was snappy as always. BlackBerry also doesn’t restricts users from sending files via Bluetooth, and you can use mass storage on any computer, even without BlackBerry Link installed.
LAST WORDS: If I am a layman customer, entering into a store with BlackBerry Z10 and Iphone 5 offered on table, post hearing all their features and benefits, I would surely go for BlackBerry Z10.