The iPhone 5’s fit and finish are exceptional, with the glass inserts on the rear panel automatically selected from 725 subtly different shapes for the best fit into the aluminium shell.
Pick up an iPhone 5 and it feels impossibly light, yet also rock solid with reassuringly sturdy buttons. The tall, narrow shape is ideal for one-handed operation. See also Group test: What's the best smartphone?
The more corporate-looking BlackBerry Z10 also feels light and its rubberised removable back cover makes it easier to grip the phone. The front looks like the iPhone 5's back, with no buttons. On top is a microphone, headphone socket and power button.
A trio of buttons on the right-hand side control volume and launch the Voice Control service. On the left, you'll find standard micro USB (for charging and sync) and a handy micro HDMI output.
Overall, we've no real complaints about the Z10's design or build, but the plastic rear cover cheapens things somewhat, and the iPhone 5 easily wins the battle, despite its proprietary Lightning connector.
iPhone 5 vs BlackBerry Z10: screen
With similar size screens, there's not a huge difference between the Z10 and iPhone 5 when it comes to displays. Both use IPS panels for wide viewing angles, and they're both bright and have good contrast.
Technically, the Z10 wins this fight by having a higher pixel density.
Both screens are as good for watching videos and playing games as they are for browsing the web and composing emails.
iPhone 5 vs BlackBerry Z10: performance
Both the BlackBerry Z10 and iPhone 5 have dual-core processors, but the BlackBerry has an impressive 2GB RAM - the iPhone has 1GB.
Those results don't mean much, though, as the Z10 has a zippy browser and doesn't feel any slower than the iPhone 5 in practice. The Z10 also supports Flash.
In our brief gaming tests, we can say that casual games such as Angry Birds play smoothly on the Z10. The iPhone 5 has the faster graphics chip and should give you more frames per second in demanding 3D games.
iPhone 5 vs BlackBerry Z10: software
It feels more cohesive than iOS at times, as you can quickly switch between running apps, close them down, swipe right to your email or the BlackBerry Hub, or swipe left to see all your installed apps.
In iOS, you have to master the art of the Home button double-press to show running apps, then tap and hold to switch to 'wiggle mode' where you can close apps. It's one area where Apple's system simply isn't as good.
The BlackBerry has far fewer apps, though. Quite a few big-name apps are missing.
iPhone 5 vs BlackBerry Z10: battery
Both will get you through an entire day with moderate use, but neither can carry you through a second without needing a top-up.
iPhone 5 vs BlackBerry Z10: storage
The iPhone 5 is available in 16, 32 and 64GB capacities, and you can't add more via a memory card. By contrast there's only a 16GB model of the Z10, but it has a microSD slot which will accept up to 64GB cards.
iPhone 5 vs BlackBerry Z10: cameras
Here, the iPhone 5 is a stunner. Like all phone cameras, it performs pretty poorly in very low light, but as long as there's daylight and you're not trying to capture ever-moving small children, you will get excellent shots.
The Blackberry Z10 has similarly specified front and rear cameras, and a rear-mounted LED flash. We like the fact that the whole screen is used as a viewfinder; along with the bigger screen, it's easier to compose photos on the Z10 than the iPhone 5. There's also the option of shooting 16:9 or 4:3. The iPhone doesn't allow you to choose: it shoots in 4:3 only. To take a photo on the Z10 you can use one of the volume buttons or simply tap the screen anywhere.
For video, the iPhone 5 narrowly wins.
iPhone 5 vs BlackBerry Z10: verdict
Two excellent smartphones offering great performance, display, build quality and camera. For us the iPhone just edges it because of its better app support and marginally better build quality. But buy either of these phones and you won’t be disappointed.