The New York Times tackles BlackBerry versus iPhone

By Joseph Holder on 29 Jul 2011 11:44 am EDT

Oh my stars, folks; someone got it right! The debate over which smartphone is better, BlackBerry or iPhone, has raged since the dawn of...well, the iPhone. In this video from The New York Times, assistant technology editor Sam Grobart, and Dealbreak editor Andrew Ross Sorkin finally have it out. Mano a mano, suits versus khakis, iPhone vs. BlackBerry.

The two swap smartphones (and their clothes transform, apparently to great surprise), and hilarity ensues. Well, no but the pair do come to a bit of a realization. The phones both have nice features and are great pieces of technology, but the borrowed devices just "weren't right for" them.

At, we're firm believers that there is no one smartphone perfect for each and every person. Kevin's Hierarchy of Smartphone Needs explains this in much greater detail (it's classic Kevin, but it's a good read).  The video up there gives a great demonstration of the hierarchy in action. The best smartphone is the one that best delivers what the user wants to do. Communication and security are the BlackBerry's forté, media and entertainment are the iPhone's.

In the end, the question isn't "What's the best smartphone?"  It's "What's the best smartphone for me?"

Thanks to Jake-44 

Reader comments

The New York Times tackles BlackBerry versus iPhone


This is very true, my friends are having arguements with me right now in regards to Android vs blackberry. I tried the Android and I prefer my torch.

I agree! I've found myself in countless debates with IPhone'ers and I've had to conclude the same everytime. I'm a business person, so I need my phone to specialize in those features. The entertainment is far as my phone goes. I'd rather use the memory for emails and documents, and when I do want listen to some music I have what I'd like to listen to downloaded or good ol' Pandora!

So funny... and just goes to show, one is not necessarily better, just different! I may dress like Apple, but I'm a BB girl to the core!

The more I look at the Iphone the more I want to get one. Its beautiful and I'm sure its a lot of fun. I do wish i could download an entire book to my Blackberry 9700.

But at the end of the day, there is something about the BB thats more about me.

How smooth does it run on the 9700? Not a troll question, I'm genuinely curious. I always wanted to download it on mine but I was afraid loading a whole book would prove to be too laggy.

I have had it on 9700 and 9800. In both cases it was fine, I didn't notice any lag except a bit when first opening it; or sometimes when opening a book this is a small delay. Turning pages is smooth with no delays,and that's what counts.

The Kindle app runs smooth on my Storm2 so I'm sure it's good for the 9700. I have the Bible on it and quite a few others. You see, it's sort of like dropbox or the other cloud services so you won't necessarily use up space on your card and it's free. There's no harm in trying it out

Kindle app for BB is great! It even ran well on my Storm 1 but I gave it up to use the memory for other apps since also have a Kindle and iPod Touch. Anxiously awaiting the 9850!

It's very smooth. No problems at all. I've read several books without any issues. You can change the font size, shop in the Kindle store, etc. Whispersync keeps your place if you switch between your berry, computer, or Kindle. One of the best apps I have that I use quite a bit!

I've just never once found myself "limited" by the media experience on my Blackberry. Maybe my needs aren't as great as I think they are... But my torch is my dedicated music player and I listen to it anywhere from 1-6 hours a day. I have it streaming my 32 gigs of music to my car stereo anywhere I go. I only buy music from Amazon anyway, whose store is available on the blackberry.. but frankly I never buy music on-the-go anyway. As for video.. I may watch a youtube video here and there, but for the most part i don't really get what an iphone could do that my phone couldn't do.

Not including flash sites of course. The webkit browser on the Torch might not be as good as the iphone browser but it's definitely close enough.

Actually, the Torch browser is better than the iPhone 4 browser and gets a higher score for HTML5 rendering. The limitation with the Torch is the slower processor and not the browser.

I have a BB currently, but find myself craving apps that would make more job easier and all of these types of apps are written for iPhone first, Android second, and BB last or not at all. The only app I have on my BB that I would miss is BlackBerry Travel. It's true, BB does one thing very well and that's communication. But today's tech geek wants more from their phone. They want it all. In my travels, I'm seeing more and more business people with iPhones and iPads than ever before.

Totally been my experience. I switched to iphone for 2 months last year and went back to my 9700. Almost had a nervous breakdown without the BB messaging capabilities! LOL. My wife (stay at home mom) has an iphone and loves it. I (business owner) have a blackberry and love it. Love it even more BECAUSE I had an iphone for 2 months. No longer tempted by the competition. I know why I love my blackberry.

My sentiments exactly! I have an iPod for games and fun. My 9700 is my workhorse. You cannot beat the messaging capability, REAL keyboard, calendar syncing with Google, etc. I use my iPod for multimedia stuff (video, podcasts, etc) However, my 9700 works great in this area! I have multiple videos, music, and games that are great. For the games, I have chess, Nintai, Chuzzle, and a few others. I watch the videos and listen to music everyday without any issues. Youtube has been much better with OS6.

I tried doing email for a while with my iPod as a test run for an iPhone and found the virtual keyboard annoying. Also, iPod or iPhone cannot match the messaging capability/strengths of my 9700. I quickly missed the ease and convenience of that function (BerryPopup helps make it even easier to manage incoming messages!). I will hold out for the 9900. Just hope it comes soon!

The crazy thing is that I have never thought my BB was weak at playing music (some think it is) or even video for that matter--the things that iOS is heralded for. I only like to carry one device that does it all and I want my BB to be it. The only thing I need is a BB content store for music and video. Buying/ripping DVDs is too involved--need a download store (ahem, RIM) and the hodge-podge of other sites just doesn't cut it.

I just got back from Vietnam. To my surprise, I've seen more blackberry (9700 and 8900) and Nokia users than iPhone.

If Apple provided a version of the iPhone with a keyboard, I wonder how much things would change.

I tried for weeks to get used to the virtual keyboard on my iPod Touch. It wasn't happening. Even on the Torch I keep using the physical keyboard.

Good balanced video there, and fun to watch.

i love my blackberry but i want blackberry to improve their media side to compete with the iphone as the iphone is doing on their business side. i do think we will see this with bb7 and new comers to the smart phone world wont think of bb being limited.

definitely BB all the way...i bought a white iphone4, set it all up for two days and returned it immediately. push email and bbm and keyboard are things i need for work, not games and apps.

my sister also had an Incredible and couldn't wait to get a torch.

This was entertaining and absolutely true.

I had an iPhone 4 and switched back to BB 9780. The iPhone and all of it's apps were great, but it just didn't feel right. I need my mobile device for messaging, email, and phone. The iPhone does everything well except those primary features I look for in a mobile device.

The only draw back to blackberry for mac users like myself is the non-existent syncing capabilities with iCal and BB calendar app.

With iOS5 coming and cloud syncing, this is going to be huge for anyone who lives by their calendar. I just wish RIM would develop something that could easily sync my BB with my desktop without the cord.

After three yrs of using my curve 3g, and soon to upgrade to new curve or torch2. My berries gonna go with me till the day i expire. The berries are the best comm devices ever; esp as an international com device, to me anyways". But as they say " to each his own". If i want some entertainment. real entertainment I just head over to australia and do some base jumping or go scuba diving in malayisa. Or just jump on my bike and ride the asphalt. I just cant be bothered to always stick my face in front of a tiny iphone screen all the time. Although that might change somewhat when i finally get my playbook. Sorry to sound a lil obnoxious. Luv my wife iphone but doesnt do anything for me at the end of the day. By the way, luv this site.

I used to think BB was the best communication tool until I used wp7, puts everything else to shame, and I'm an android user

I use my ipod to listen to music daily, and if im at home or work i usually use my laptop. One thing that wud defenitely make everything easier if blackberry had a wireless hotspot function. I have unlimited data and tethering on it. So if im on the bus, i can just leave my wireless hotspot on, and browse the web from my ipod.

Nicely done. Can't be said any better. I've had Android and Windows phones in the past as well as BB. I haven't owned an iPhone, but I have test driven one. I like Android, will never buy another Windows Phone again, and I don't like the iPhone for a few reasons. I just love my BB! It is the only I will own.

I just synced a load of itunes podcasts and music to my 9700 via wifi for a long road trip starting in an hour, iphone can't do that. Laptop downstairs, blackberry in the bedroom.

I've got a whack of kids ranging from tweens to adults. The adults are BB users while the tweens are iPhone users. Both have iPods but it came down to how much they need to do email vs one line tweets. I've tried both the iPad/iPhone for email/calendar and for me it isn't even close. I've been wondering about Android but after running their email/calendar client on the PlayBook the last few days, I know why BlackBerry still sells tens of millions of smartphones - nothing else comes close - and it's not just the keyboard. I felt the same way with my old Storm.

That's why I have the best of both worlds... iPod touch 4 gen and my awesome Blackberry Curve 3G... Media and functionality in both hands... Gotta love it!

I agree. It's funny to always see people arguing about what is better and putting down the other phones. To each their own, so if the phone does what you need it to do well, then it's the best option for you. Just because a phone may not fit your needs, doesn't mean you have to bash it like a lot of the fanboys do.

To each their own. No problem with that. My problem is when someone seeks our others that have chosen differently to pick fights. There is enough stress in life without dealing with that.

I love how the BB user has a rolls-royce and the iphone user has a bike! rofl!!!!!!

It is also funny that the stock broker is talking about BB's being cheaper when he drives a rolls-royce! too funny!!!

I have had many bb and I thought I was in cell phone heaven. After buying many bb I realized I was buying the same phone with a tweak. No good updates, you gotta search for what the updates are, look here and all everybody says is first or as soon as I get home. Dont miss the batter pulls and the hour glass spinning. The apps were horrific. I had to switch. The iPhone is waaaay better, touch screen is on point and I dont have to beat it like the storm2. The apps are GREAT and everything I need is right here. I don understand why everybody make a deal out of messaging. Only difference is bbm and that didn't work if you were on the phone. I get all my emails, text and all. Only thing I do miss is the customized text and calendar alerts. Other than that I will never go back to bb

I have said this before and agree, there is no one and only best smartphone for everyone. I am fortunate, I have a BB Torch and an iPhone 4 and I see that each has it strengths and weaknesses. If I had to choose it would be difficult and honestly I am not sure which would win. I love the way BB's handle messaging, email, and calendars. I think the iPhone does a better job browsing the web, because the Torch has a slower processor and less memory or it may do just as well. As for music, it is easy to put the music from iTunes onto my BB. I am really waiting for the new BB's and iPhone to come out and see. I would love to go down to one device and honestly would prefer the BB's. I carry it more now than the iPhone.

After 2 years on a Curve 8900, I recently switched to Android (Nexus S). It wasn't an easy decision, and I don't leave with spite.

I think what tipped me was the long delay in getting the new BB handsets out. It gave me time to ponder where things are going. The action right now in app development is in iOS and Android. I worry if the app support will be there for BB going forward. The BB apps *created by RIM* are stellar! But will the other players continue to update their BB apps? Especially Google (maps, YouTube, Google+)?

My Android experience after 1 week? I'm happy. The Yahoo! Mail app pushes my Rogers email to me and syncs nicely. I moved my contacts to GMail and that syncs beautifully. The Google Maps app is drool-worthy! The Android Market rivals iTunes for assortment - all the big app players are there.

I miss my keyboard and BBM already, but not enough to overcome the benefits. For me.

I can't say I'll *never* be back, but I wish RIM and its users well. It'll be fun to watch what happens.

Great video. Shows the strengths of both devices without bashing the other. I love my 9700 for the exact reasons they helps me focus on work, get things done and communicate. A gazillion apps and entertainment are not a priority for me. Really looking forward to 9900. Loving my Playbook.

I'm a BB user at heart, my wife loves Iphones. The keyboard is unbeatable and also it is easier to customize. Not only that with BB I don't have to fight with trying to put music or videos that i already own on it because RIM doesn't have a money making machine like I tunes attached to it. I also don't understand why everyone is so in loves with apps. In my opinion most of them are novelties and don't make your life a whole lot easier.

Cant Wait for the 9900. I just need to decide which company I' m going to go with.

Any one can say that because of certain things their brand is the best! I'm glad the Blackberry is the best in the most vital areas in a smartphone/computer Security and Emails.