Smartphone Showdown: BlackBerry Z10 vs iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy SIII

With the new BlackBerry Z10 on the market we have a new contender in the smartphone stakes, but just how well does the new Berry stand up to the established big names on the market today?

BlackBerry will be hoping its Z10 can steal some of the limelight from Apple’s iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy SIII, but it’s going to need impressive specifications mixed with a slick and easy to use operating system. Let’s see how the three phones compare


Processing Power

iPhone 5 : Dual-core 1.2GHz A6 + 1GB of RAM
BlackBerry Z10: Dual-core 1.5GHz Krait + 2GB of RAM
Galaxy SIII: Quad-core 1.4GHz Exynos + 1GB of RAM

WINNER: Galaxy SIII

Make no mistake about it, all three phones are extremely fast and capable. On paper the Galaxy S3 wins thanks to its quad-core Exynos chip, but the other two are certainly not slouches either. Overall we feel that the S3 coped better with the most demanding games even with plenty of other apps running in the background, but we were seriously impressed with the speed of the Z10.


Screen

iPhone 5 : 4-inch, 1136 x 640, 326ppi pixel density
BlackBerry Z10 : 4.2-inch, 1280 x 768, 355ppi pixel density
Galaxy SIII: 4.8-inches, 1280 x 720, 306ppi pixel density

WINNER: BlackBerry Z10

Screen size tends to be a personal preference, and for many the S3 screen may just be too big, or the iPhone and Z10 may be too small. However, clarity and quality is something everybody can agree on. The Z10’s 4.2-inch display is perfectly sized and beautifully sharp and vivid, boasting a pixel density that beats Apple’s famed Retina display by a fair bit. The S3 doesn’t come close.


Form Factor

iPhone 5 : 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm + 112g
BlackBerry Z10 : 130 x 65.6 x 9 mm + 135g
Galaxy SIII: 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm + 133g

WINNER: Galaxy SIII

The Z10 is technically the thickest and the heaviest of the bunch but it’s still slim and sleek, and not to mention more comfortable to hold than the iPhone 5, which is due to its slightly curved corners and edges we think. Nevertheless, the S3’s natural design with curves and rounded edges in all the right places make it the nicest phone to hold we think – unless you have tiny, tiny hands. Although beautifully slim and sleek, the iPhone 5 seems too sharp and uncomfortable to hold.


Software

iPhone 5 : iOS 6.1
BlackBerry Z10 : BlackBerry 10
Galaxy SIII : Android 4.1 + TouchWiz UI

WINNER: DRAW

Software is always a tough call, as many will prefer an operating system because they’ve been using it the longest. We feel that out of the three on offer Android offers the most freedom for customisation, whilst iOS offers the largest number and highest quality of apps. BlackBerry 10 is brimming with promise and has some great features, with the Hub and Camera two excellent highlights. For a newborn platform it’s doing well on the apps front too, with over 75,000 available including the likes of Skype, Whatsapp and Angry Birds Space.


Imaging

iPhone 5 : 8MP + 1080p + LED flash, 1.2MP + 720p
BlackBerry Z10 : 8MP + 1080p + LED flash, 2MP + 720p
Galaxy SIII : 8MP + 1080p + LED flash, 1.9MP + 720p

WINNER: iPhone 5

Apple really knows how to pick a camera sensor, and the backside illuminated 8 megapixel sensor in the iPhone 5 is king of the hill here. Both the iPhone and the S3 can take images at the same time as recording Full HD video which the Z10 can’t, but we feel it makes up for that with the ultra-cool ‘rewind’ feature that lets you take multiple images at once and pick out the best one using a scrubbing bar. We found that the Z10 had the best performance from the front facing camera, although it struggled a little with low-light shots using the rear camera, often producing grainy images. The S3 comes a close second in terms of rear camera image and video quality, but the iPhone takes the crown.


Storage

iPhone 5 : 16/32/64GB, 5GB iCloud (expandable with subscription)
BlackBerry Z10 : 16GB, micro SD up to 32GB, 2GB Dropbox
Galaxy SIII : 16/32/64GB, micro SD up to 64GB, 50GB Dropbox

WINNER: Galaxy SIII

For many people, 16GB of internal storage will be plenty. But, for those out there with loads of music and videos to store on their phones the Galaxy SIII is the best bet. It’ll take a 64GB card compared to the Z10’s 32GB maximum, and you also get a very generous 50GB of online storage with Dropbox. Apple’s determination to not adopt any type of expandable storage leaves their iPhone 5 in last place, although if you’re willing to shell out for both a pricier iPhone and an iCloud subscription you can get plenty of storage space.


Connectivity

iPhone 5 : 3G/4G, DC-HSDPA, Dual Band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, AirPlay (DLNA), GPS, Lightning port
BlackBerry Z10 : 3G/4G, DC-HSDPA, Dual Band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, DLNA, NFC, WiFi, WiFi Hotspot, micro USB, micro HDMI
Galaxy SIII : 3G/4G, DC-HSDPA (4G version only), Dual Band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, NFC, DLNA, WiFi Hotspot, micro USB (with MHL for video output)

WINNER: BlackBerry Z10

All three phones are bursting at the seams with connectivity options, as you might expect. We feel the Z10 just wins as it comes ready for 4G on networks that aren’t even in place yet, such as Vodafone UK’s. It also offers the simplest method of outputting video to a TV or monitor – via a straight micro HDMI cable – whereas both the iPhone and the S3 require adapters plus a HDMI cable.

The Z10 also has everything ready for mobile networks right out of the box, so you don’t necessarily have to go with EE to get fast speeds – 4G for EE and DC-HSDPA (or ‘3.5G’) for the likes of Three and O2. The iPhone 5 also offers 4G and DC-HSDPA, but it looks as though it won’t work with any 4G networks in the UK other than EE, unless Apple re-launches it with a compatible receiver.


Conclusion

Well, there you have it. The Z10 comes in as a strong contender with more than enough on offer to make it a worthy rival to the S3 and the iPhone 5. It shines in the screen and connectivity departments thanks to a gorgeous HD display and a wealth of wireless and wired connections, although we feel that the S3 and the iPhone 5 perform better in the camera, processing power, form factor and storage stakes.

If you’re a real storage hog then the Z10’s maximum of 50GB storage may not be enough for you, in which case the S3 would be the best bet. Similarly, if you like a phone to have a natural and comfortable feel to it, then the S3 is the one.
The Z10 rocks an impressive camera but it’s outshone by both the iPhone 5 and the S3, although its performance is still impressive, especially in the front facing camera department.

If the Z10 has ticked the right boxes for you then you can pick one up as of today in the UK. It will launch in Canada next week and in the US mid-March.

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