Chart: How the BlackBerry Z10 stacks up against its rivals
BlackBerry’s Z10 smartphone and new BlackBerry 10 OS made a great first impression during their debut Wednesday, but it remains to be seen whether the phone can help the BlackBerry regain a bit of the market share it lost to the iPhone and Android phones.
BlackBerry’s previous attempts at touchscreen phones did not fare well, so can the Z10 do any better? Let’s take a look at the sleek new phone’s hardware specs to see how they stack up against the competition.
Measuring up against the competition
The BlackBerry Z10 is set to arrive in March on all major U.S. carriers, and it will cost $199 with a two-year contract, so it won’t try to sway you with a lower price like Nokia's Lumia 920 with Windows Phone 8. The Z10 has 3G and 4G LTE connectivity.
BlackBerry has chosen a middle-ground display size for its new phone as compared to the big-screen phones and "phablets" we've seen recently. The Z10 has a 4.2-inch display, which is slightly larger than the iPhone 5 (4 inches) but significantly smaller than the likes of the HTC Droid DNA (5 inches) or the Samsung Galaxy S III (4.8 inches).
In keeping the 1280-by-768 pixel screen smaller, the Z10 display has a 356ppi pixel density, which is second only to the Droid DNA’s 440ppi; it's a higher pixel density than the iPhone 5's 326ppi "retina display." Despite this, the Z10 is almost as svelte and light as the Galaxy S III at 0.35 inches thick and 0.3 pounds, but it's not as thin and light as the iPhone 5.
The BlackBerry Z10 is made of plastic and metal, and its rubberized back pops off so that you can access its battery and MicroSD slot. The display features an all-glass panel fitted into a metal frame. It’s not made of Gorilla Glass, but the material has similar properties and an anti-grease coating.
Inside, the Z10 has competitive but not groundbreaking specs. It’s powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor with 2GB of RAM. That’s twice as much RAM as the iPhone 5 or the Galaxy S III, but not a match to the likes of the Droid DNA or Nexus 4, which run on more-powerful 1.5GHz quad-core processors.
In the multimedia department, the Z10 stacks up well. It has an 8-megapixel camera on the back that takes 1080p HD videos, in line with most phones. On the front there’s also a 2-megapixel camera capable of 720p HD video, which is also common.
BlackBerry has announced only one storage capacity for the Z10: 16GB. But if you find that you need more space for your music and photos, the phone's MicroSD accepts cards with capacities up to 32GB. In theory, this makes it cheaper to add storage to your phone instead of paying $100 extra to double your storage with a higher-capacity iPhone 5. But even with a 32GB card on the Z10, you still won’t be able to match the storage capacity of the 64GB iPhone 5.
Comparing the hardware of the BlackBerry Z10 to its rivals, the phone has competitive specifications, but it doesn’t leap out of the charts when it comes to processing power. Hardware, though, is only half of the story.
The BlackBerry 10 OS
The Z10 also comes with BlackBerry 10, a completely revamped OS with several interesting features. There’s a universal messaging "Hub" for all your emails, social-networking messages, incoming Tweets, and other notifications that you can “Peek” at with a swipe of your finger without leaving the app you have running. There’s also BlackBerry Balance, which separates personal and work profiles in two modes with different sets of apps. For Balance to work, however, the phone must be managed via the BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (BES 10) suite for IT departments.
BlackBerry says 70,000 apps exist in the new BlackBerry World app store, and BlackBerry 10 also has baked Instagram-like filters into the camera app. In the revamped BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), you can make video calls and also share your screen in real-time. That way, the person at the other end can see whatever you are looking at, whether it’s the browser, photos, or slideshows.