BlackBerry Z10 vs. iPhone 5: User Interface Comparison (Opinion)

I've been using a Verizon BlackBerry Z10 review unit for a few days now and want to give you an idea of how it compares to the iPhone 5. My current smartphone of choice is the Verizon iPhone 5, so it's the perfect opportunity to look at how these leading smartphones compare in one key area. Today let's take a look at how the BlackBerry Z10 stacks up against the iPhone 5 when it comes to user interface.

iPhone 5  - iOS is still, in my opinion, the most polished and stable mobile OS available. Unfortunately, iOS still looks and acts pretty much the same as it did when the original iPhone was released in 2007. To get to apps you can swipe the home screens, or swipe to the left of the first home screen to access Spotlight. Multitasking on iOS has not changed since it first debuted; it's still only the app's icon. We have Notification Center, where select widgets can be displayed. When Apple unveiled the first iPhone it also launched a revolutionary on-screen keyboard that is still basically the same now as it was in 2007.

Apple has stuck with the "if it's not broke, don't fix it" mentality with iOS, but it's time to give iOS users a major update.  iOS is beginning to show its age. There's a reason why Android has taken the lead in market share: it's mostly due to its many licensees, but Android has also evolved over the years with complete re-designs, added features, widgets and more. As beautiful and easy as iOS is to use, Apple needs to step up its game. The good news is that iOS 7 is rumored to be a complete re-design of the OS, so hopefully we won't have long to wait to get a more up-to-date and feature-rich version of iOS.

BlackBerry Z10 - The BlackBerry Z10 is the first BlackBerry to run the company's new BlackBerry 10 OS. It looks and feels fresh and new, intuitive and polished. It's clear that BlackBerry knew BlackBerry 10 was going to either keep the company afloat or completely sink it. BlackBerry put a lot of thought into focusing on something Apple began, but hasn't followed up on: gestures. Once you get the gestures down in BlackBerry 10, it becomes second nature and just feels like the natural way to get things done. There are nice touches throughout the OS, such as: swiping up on the screen while the smartphone is powered off will turn it on, and it's a swipe up and swipe to the right to get to BlackBerry Hub from anywhere on the smartphone and while in any application. BlackBerry Hub is the central place in BlackBerry 10 that stores your email, messaging and social network accounts.

BlackBerry 10 handles multitasking in a a new way with major inspiration from Windows Phone's Live Tiles. Your open apps appear as cards on a home page that can be opened, minimized, and they even automatically update themselves with relevant information from weather apps, social networking apps and more. It's a clever way to handle multitasking while also giving you the added benefit of keeping the app open and also seeing important information without ever opening the app. Very nice!

BlackBerry has a similar pull-down menu like Android and iOS, but instead of placing widgets and notifications in it, BlackBerry has added shortcuts for common settings like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Rotation Lock and more.

The virtual keyboard on the BlackBerry Z10 runs circles around iOS, even Apple fan-boy Walt Mossberg said this when reviewing the BlackBerry Z10: "The Z10 keyboard is the best and fastest out-of-the-box virtual keyboard I've used." The keyboard works by predicting what word you're going to type based on the letters you press, and as you type more letters, words appear above the key of different letters that it thinks you are going to type, you then flick the word up and you're done. It takes a little while to get used to it, but once you do, the famous BlackBerry keyboard has once again become its killer feature, in my opinion.

This was only a quick look at the user interface of both smartphones and while I don't know if I could ever switch, the BlackBerry Z10 and, more importantly BlackBerry 10, is a very impressive mobile operating system, one that's sure to gain even more fans. I'll be updating you over the next few days on more, so stay tuned.

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