The folks at Pfeiffer Consulting dove in hands first to find out once and for all just how iOS 7, iOS 6, Android, Windows Phone 8 and BlackBerry 10 all stack up. They issued a report of their findings which compares only software and not hardware, so it puts the devices on more of a level field. They broke things down and really got an in-depth look at just how each OS works and how friendly it is to the average user.

They looked at four different areas of comparison:

  • Cognitive load - How difficult it is to use an OS 
  • Efficiency - How efficient a device is
  • Customization - How many customization options are available for a device
  • User experience friction (UEF) -  The things that drive you nuts when dealing with an OS

The way they conducted the tests really gives us a good angle that we wouldn't normally see. In simpler terms, they look at how hard a device is to pick up and use the first time, how much it can be customized, how efficient the OS is and just how insane you get when using a particular OS. 

In terms of cognitive load, BlackBerry 10 didn't do all that bad and was also had faced far less difficulties than Android. BB10 also pulled in a respectable 5/10 for efficiency though many users would certainly argue that number. Customization showed BlackBerry 10 at the bottom of the pack and unfortunately the UEF for BB10 was the 2nd highest of the bunch.

Of course all of these points can be argued any which way depending on your allegiance, but the report does make some valid points about BlackBerry 10. 

"BlackBerry 10 has a lot of promise - the basic idea behind the BlackBerry Hub is a clever take on the notifications feature in iOS and Android - but the operating system is hampered by inconsistencies, unexpected behaviors and user experience friction that makes it frustrating to use."

It would be interesting to see how BlackBerry 7 would stack up in this comparison as far as efficiency and usability go. For some, using BB7 is much more efficient and intuitive than BB10. 

"...but the implementation is such that, at least in the current release, the frustration created by incoherently implemented features outweighs the benefits of the new system."

So while iOS 7 reigns supreme, BlackBerry 10 ultimately wins out over Windows Phone 8 on overall user experience and it just narrowly misses the mark (by less than one point) of beating out Android as well. Most of the points made here are valid whether we like them or not. BB10 could stand to be a bit more user friendly in some areas, and perhaps over time it will get there.

You can view the full report in PDF format here.

So what say you CrackBerry fans - does BlackBerry need to be things up and make the OS easier to use? Are the "efficient" features like the Hub actually slowing you down? Sound off in the comments!