Great companies evolve. In 2007, Apple redefined the smartphone with the release of the iPhone. Google then responded quickly with the iPhone-inspired Android OS. But BlackBerry (known then as Research in Motion) stood still. Six years later, the company is finally embracing keyboardless, multitouch handsets. Does the new BlackBerry Z10 stand a chance against Samsung’s record-breaking Galaxy S III? Let’s see how their specs – and harder-to-define intangibles – compare.
The Galaxy S III is longer and wider – but also a bit thinner – than the BlackBerry Z10. Three years ago, both handsets would have looked enormous. Today, they both look smallish next to 5-inch behemoths like the Droid DNA and Xperia Z.
Despite being smaller, the BlackBerry Z10 is a bit heavier than the Galaxy S3. You can find lighter phones, but neither one of these is ridiculously heavy.
Take your pick: the Galaxy S III gives you an extra 0.6 inches of (diagonal) screen real estate, but the BlackBerry Z10 gives you more pixels.
The North American version of the Galaxy S III has the same processor as the Z10. Both phones – as well as the quad-core international S3 – have plenty of power under the hood.
Random-access memory (RAM) is also equal in the Z10 and U.S. Galaxy S III, while the global S3 lags with just 1 GB.
Samsung gives you more choice. Like the Z10, the S3 sells in a 16 GB model, but Samsung’s phone also comes in 32 GB and 64 GB flavors. Both devices support microSD cards.
If your local carrier provides LTE, both phones will deliver.
On paper, cameras are nearly identical. The BlackBerry camera, though, has a new Time Shift feature that snaps multiple frames and lets you choose the best.
The Galaxy S III has a higher-capacity battery. Many factors influence battery life, but with identical processors, the S3 could potentially have the edge.
BlackBerry 10 has a groovy new predictive keyboard. It’s similar to Android’s SwiftKey, but with a twist: tiny suggested words float above corresponding letters. Swipe up to select, and save yourself some keystrokes.
Keyboard innovation is nice, but can it make up for a dearth of great apps? The Z10’s BlackBerry World is but a newborn, while the Galaxy S III’s Play Store is mature and thriving. If app selection is your priority, then forget BlackBerry: it can’t compete with Android, and won’t anytime soon.
Three years ago, the BlackBerry Z10 could have been a revolutionary phone. But back then, RIM was still doubling down on 2005-looking phones and drowning with their failed PlayBook. We have to tip our hats to BlackBerry’s big comeback attempt, but the odds are long that the platform will ever post Samsung-like sales.
If you want to size the Z10 up to Apple's finest, check out our BlackBerry Z10 vs. iPhone 5 specs comparison.