BlackBerry 10 is about to launch, but a new system doesn’t mean a great deal unless you have the phones to back it up. The RIM OS is set to launch with two handsets, the BlackBerry Z10 and the BlackBerry X10. Each has its own personality, its own intended audience. Let’s take a closer look at the differences.
The BlackBerry Z10 is likely to become BlackBerry 10’s flagship handset. It’s the phone that ties-in most closely with the state of the industry as a whole.
It is a full touchscreen phone that you could mistake for an Android device, or even an iPhone 5, from a distance. Get up close and you couldn’t mistake that big BlackBerry logo on its front, and the sorta-distinctive look of BlackBerry 10.
However, the BlackBerry Z10 can’t quite go head-to-head with the very latest Android phones on specs. It has a 4.2-inch 1,280 x 768 pixel screen, dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 16GB storage (expandable via microSD) and 2GB RAM.
The top Android phones, such as the Sony Xperia Z, offer quad-core processors and 1080p 5-inch screens, but RIM’s BlackBerry 10 most likely doesn’t need such power to fly. And the games it’ll offer in its early days won’t make that much use of a bleeding-edge GPU.
A 4.2-inch screen also feels like a very accessible size these days, without the palm-worrying expanse of a 4.8-inch phone like the Samsung Galaxy S3. Glance at a photo of the BlackBerry Z10 and you could be forgiven for mistaking it for an iPhone 5. It’s slim, a little boxy-edged, although it is significantly wider than an iPhone 5. A less widescreen aspect than the iPhone ensures this.
Price: £480 SIM-free
This second BlackBerry 10 phone is a nod to veteran BlackBerry acolytes. The BlackBerry X10 features one of the most important things of classic BlackBerry devices – the full Qwerty keyboard. This is the BlackBerry Bold of the new wave.
It lays the letter keys of the Qwerty keyboard along three lines, just like you’d find on a standard computer keyboard. The BlackBerry X10’s keys are also contoured in Bold fashion, with little waves that work their way away from the centre of the keyboard. You’ll be typing blind within hours with one of these phones.
Less is known about the BlackBerry X10’s specs, although it does not appear to be a dramatically cheaper, lower-end option than the Z10. Its screen aspect is 1:1, or close to it, and appears to be roughly 3-3.5 inches in size. You can expect similar pixel density to the Z10, suggesting vertical and horizontal pixel pixels of either 720 or 768.
There are reports that the BlackBerry X10 uses the same 1.5GHz dual-core processor as the Z10 too. It’s likely to match core specs across the board, including 16GB internal memory, microSD slot and 2GB RAM. We'll be back with more details on the BlackBerry 10 when the phone officially launches - expected on 30 January.
Which BlackBerry 10 phone would you pick? Let us know in the comments.