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Samsung Galaxy S4 vs BlackBerry Z10 smartphone comparison review

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The Samsung Galaxy S4 is one of the most anticipated smartphones ever. It is likely to be the most popular high-end Android phone on the market when it launches in the UK. But how does the Galaxy S4 shape up when compared to the best BlackBerry phone: the BlackBerry Z10. We compared the two phones to find out.

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs BlackBerry Z10: Design

The Galaxy S4 looks quite similar to the Galaxy S3 in design: it's pretty different to the BlackBerry Z10, which from the front at least looks like a squarer iPhone 5. The Galaxy S4 is rounded and pebble-like, the BlackBerry Z10 a thin and stylish rectangular slab of black. The Galaxy S4 is mostly plastic with a removable cover, while the Z10's front is almost all black, but it also has a thin plastic removable cover.

With a 5in screen and measuring 69.8 x 136.6mm the Galaxy S4 is a pretty big smartphone. It is wafer thin at 7.9mm and at 130g light too. By contrast the Z10 measures a smaller 66x130mm and is a not quite as slim 9.2mm. It's nice and light at 135g and fits snugly in your hand.

The Z10 is BlackBerry's first fully touchscreen smartphone - it has no physical keys or buttons for navigation. It is clean, simple and stylish; with straight edges and rounded corners.

The Z10's rear cover is slightly rounded at the edges making it more forgiving and comfortable in the hand than the iPhone. The rubbery texture made up of tiny dimples is very similar to that of the Nexus 7. When you take off the rear cover it feels thin and bendy, but robust.

The BlackBerry Z10 has a slightly less premium feel than some current smartphones in part because of its removable plastic back cover - given the Galaxy S4's similar plastic build this is no criticism. Use either phone for a while and you'll see that there are sound reasons for this. The Z10 and S4 are both workhorse smartphones, designed to travel everywhere and fulfil a variety of work and play functions without breaking.

BlackBerry Z10 video review

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs BlackBerry Z10: Screen

The Galaxy S4 has a 5in display with a Full HD resolution of 1080 x 1920, giving it a whopping pixel density of 441ppi. At 4.2in the screen on the BlackBerry Z10 is quite small when you compare it to Galaxy S4. But the size isn't a problem; it's big enough to comfortably browse the web, use apps and watch video content.

The screen size coupled with the resolution of 768x1280 used to give the BlackBerry Z10 the highest pixel density of any phone we'd reviewed, but the Samsung Galaxy S4 beats it (as does the Sony Xperia Z and the HTC One). At 355ppi the BlackBerry Z10 beats the Nokia Lumia 920, iPhone 5, HTC Windows Phone 8X and Sony Xperia S, however. Both the Galaxy S4 and the BlackBerry Z10 have sharp screens.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 display uses SuperAMOLED technology and Gorilla Glass 3.

It's hard to find fault with the BlackBerry Z10's screen. At 355ppi it's not really a surprise that text and images look crisp and clear. Colours are vibrant, contrast is good and there's plenty of brightness should you need it. Our main concern is how quickly the display gets dirty with finger print marks, there's clearly no kind of oleophobic coating on the Z10.

We haven't spent enough time with the Samsung Galaxy S4 to make a fair comparison, but both the Z10 and S4 have great screens, unimaginable even 18 months ago.

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs BlackBerry Z10: Processor

Going on the specification, we'd expect the Galaxy S4 to beat all comers in our benchmark tests. That's despite the fact that Samsung has confirmed that the UK model of the Galaxy S4 will use a 1.9GHz quad-core processor instead of the octa-core chip. We'll let you know how this affects performance as soon as possible. But it's important to remember that, aside from benchmarks, both the Galaxy S4 and the BlackBerry Z10 are two highly powerful smartphones.

BlackBerry has opted for a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 2GB of RAM for the Z10's engine room. The dual-core chip might sound mid-range since most top end smartphones have a quad-core processor, but with the BlackBerry 10 OS we don't see this as a problem. The BlackBerry 10 operating system is nippy and shows no signs of lag in use on the Z10. Indeed its Geekbench 2 score of 1725 puts it in the upper echelons of current smartphones, even if it does mean the Xperia Z is marginally faster of the two.

Browsing the web is particularly speedy, as BlackBerry said it would be. The relatively slow result of 1710ms in the SunSpider JavaScript test is slightly faster than the Xperia Z, and doesn't anyway reflect the browser's performance in our tests. It wasn't flawless, but it wasn't far off.

Because of the relative lack of third-party software for BlackBerry phones we can't run our GLBenchmark graphics test on the Z10, but don't let that put you off. It's a fast phone. They both are, and performance is neck and neck.

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs BlackBerry Z10: Storage

The Samsung Galaxy S4 comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models. It has a microSD card slot that takes 64GB cards as standard.

The BlackBerry Z10 is a bit limited on the storage front with only 16GB models. There is a microSD card for up to 64GB cards, though. Unfortunately, before you even go downloading some apps, adding music and taking some snaps, a total of 4GB, a quarter of the storage, is already used up by the BlackBerry 10 operating system. Not ideal.



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