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BlackBerry Priv Review: Blackberry goes for Android

There was a time when BlackBerry was on the peak. It was considered to provide elegant, premium and high tech phones at that time. But when a smartphone was introduced to the world, Blackberry lost the fame as quickly as it gained. The new BlackBerry Priv is something we never thought we’d see; a BlackBerry-made device running on Google’s Android software. Seriously friends, an Android smartphone with the partnership of world’s most renowned companies Blackberry and Google, QWERTY keyboard and Android.

Priv, an elegant smartphone

 

Why BlackBerry Adopted Android?

So, a question arises that why Blackberry used Android instead of other OS? The reason has something to do with the developers. Those developers which are probably now the part of Android or iOS. Developing BlackBerry 10 or Windows Phone seems to be a foolish act due to the few number of audience attracted towards them. As far as iOS is concerned, we know that it’s just available for Apple products. For business the company goes for a choice to get fame and a profitable margin. Thus, due to the massive yield of users, the superb choice for them is Android.

Graph of Priv
The graph shows the users of different OS and Manufactures

This has irked a lot of hardcore BlackBerry users, those loyal to BB10. Thus, it makes sense for BlackBerry Priv to feature Android, as they have no more cards to play. John Chen has even stated that:

the company will exit the phone-making business if it doesn’t return to profit in 2016.

So, yeah, the stakes are pretty HIGH.

Specification & Hardware of BlackBerry Priv:

Attention: The internal data of table “37” is corrupted!

Unboxing BlackBerry Priv:

The new Blackberry Priv comes inside a stunning black rectangular box. On the top is the name of the phone and the whole box is printed with BlackBerry logo.

Packing of Priv

If you open the box (after removing the tapes from the two sides), you would see the gorgeous phone. The Priv is covered with the front and back transparent lamination.

After withdrawing the phone, you can see some papers (about Snapdragon etc) and a user manual in it. Next is the SIM slot opener, which comes with the phone. If we further look in the packing, we can see there are three compartments in it. Well, those are for the earphones, charger and the data cable. The earphones and the charger looks absolutely beautiful with the BlackBerry logo on it.

 

Detailed Review of Specs Featured in Blackberry Priv:

We have categorized Priv according to the aspects of it. We have done so, in order to make this a much more clearer and detailed review for our readers:

Design & Button Placement

From the leaks and the first impression of Priv, we had a solid idea about it’s marvelous appearance. We have to admit that the new Blackberry Priv looks phenomenal in reality, apart from the pictures.

Back view while slide up
Back view while slide up

The Priv is much bigger and a lot more presence than we anticipated. The best aspect of the design is the Curved QHD screen that looks utterly breathtaking. The design, the finishing and the gait of Priv is pure BlackBerry. Although, the design seems to be a completely new look of BlackBerry. But, believe us the appearance including the curve display (and entire front of chassis), Priv looks like the younger brother of Samsung S6 Edge. Apart from the curves, the top and bottom of the phones are flat. The back seems to be soft, yet hard and creates a premium holding experience.

Priv fits perfectly in hands while using keyboard
Priv fits perfectly in hands while using keyboard

The physical dimensions of PRIV are 147 x 77.2 x 9.4 mm and weights 192g. It’s robust in the hand and feels sturdy, but this was down for two reasons. First is that it is large and BlackBerry wanted the users to feel solid in their hands. Second is the introduction of a large battery inside it, which obviously requires some space. Besides the thickness, it still slips from the hands

Dimensions of Priv
Dimensions of Priv

The PRIV features micro SD-support, which can be found next door to the SIM-tray on the top of the handset. The Power/Unlock key is located on the left side of the handset, just over mid-way up. The volume rocker is on the right side in the same position. Both are easy to access but you can wake the handset simply by double-tapping on the display. The QWERTY keyboard can be seen, after sliding the phone upwards.

While using Keyboard
While using Keyboard

In short, BlackBerry’s never had any issues with creating premium, great-looking handsets, so we weren’t surprised by just how attractive the BlackBerry Priv was. It’s not a copy of any phone. It’s modern-looking and the best thing is that it’s bold.

The curved edges seems to create a perfect design for Priv
The curved edges seems to create a perfect design for Priv

 

Screen & Display

If we look at the past, BlackBerry was never good in providing a good display. But, this time BlackBerry just broke the trend by launching a phone with a 5.4 inch, curved, Quad-HD display.

Side view of the curved display of Priv
Side view of the curved display of Priv

The display is one of the most impressive panels we have ever seen. Especially, the resolution (1440 x 2560 pixels; 540 ppi pixel density) BlackBerry Priv offers, making it a solid high-end terminal for the users. Another awe-inspiring feature is the Gorilla Glass Protection 4.

QHD display of Priv showing richness of colors and depth
QHD display of Priv showing richness of colors and depth

Moving to the view angles, the Priv display looks perfect, Hands up for black and color contrast! The display is close to that of Samsung S6 Edge. But, as we know that it’s bad when something is less or in excess. Thus, BlackBerry Priv highlights the statement making it simply amazing for all angles.

Side angle view of screen
Side angle view of screen
Hardware & Performance

If, we again look at the Hardware of Priv:

Attention: The internal data of table “38” is corrupted!

This is where BlackBerry lacks. According to them, BlackBerry Priv is the most powerful and featured phone they have ever released. But for us, it still lags when hardware and performance comes into discussion. Priv has a heart of a Hexa-Core, 64 bit, Snapdragon 808 (Dual-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A57 & quad-core 1.44 GHz Cortex-A53). Well, a Hexa-Core processor is one of the drawback of Priv. They could have provided an Octa-Core processor like Snapdragon 810 for that price. But, it’s find as long as the processor is Snapdragon 808. Here is a benchmark (GeekBench) of this phone as compare to Motorola X:

Comparison Benchmark of Priv on Geek Bench
Comparison Benchmark of Priv on Geek Bench

Apart from the processor, the 3 GB  low-powered RAM and GPU known as Adreno 418 (600 MHz) maximizes the speed of Blackberry Priv. A benchmark comparison on Antutu has been provided for our readers for further analyses.

BlackBerry Priv Benchmark comparison with other phones
BlackBerry Priv Benchmark comparison with other phones
Camera

The rear setup, to be specific, is an 18 MP Schneider-Kreuznach-certified imaging sensor. Looking at this we can say that it isthe  finest camera unit ever fitted to a BlackBerry handset. Think Carl Zeiss optics, like on old Nokia handsets, and you’re in the same ballpark of what this essentially means — very good imaging but not quite as good as it sounds. The front camera which is 2 MP is not quite interesting, so its better to focus the rear one.

Rear Camera view of Prius
Rear Camera view of Prius

It can’t replace your DSLR, but the camera of Priv has the 99.99% features required for the users in a camera. The UX seems to be perfect in regard of capturing professional pictures. Don’t believe us, look at the samples we have provided in the below slide.

As far as video-recording is concerned you can get a Full-HD video at 60 fps out of it. The BlackBerry PRIV also features optical image stabilization (OIS), phase-detect auto focus and the ability to record 4K video at 30 fps. So regarding the camera of this phone, we have no complains at all.

Storage & Battery

The internal storage of Priv is 32 GB. If you want more you can add an SD card (up to 128 GB ) in the SD card slot. The read and writing speed seems to be normal. We think that they are using the eMMC 3.5 storage.

The percentage of screen usage on Priv
The percentage of screen usage on Priv

Meanwhile, the phone is powered with a Li-Ion 3410 mAh battery. Too bad it’s non-removable. The capacity seems to be large and no doubt the phone can spend a whole day with normal use. But, when it comes to the mix use, Prev fails to bring an impact. After a test from us, the battery seems to go down 15 % after a mix use for about 30 minutes. The reasons for that quick use of battery is obviously the QHD screen, Hexa-Core processor running at different frequencies and the use of 3G and 4G LTE networks.

Operating System

Now coming to the most surprising aspect of this phone. Most of the BlackBerry users know that previous models of the company were based on BlackBerry OS. So ,traditionally Priv should also come with BB OS 10. But, in reality that’s not the case. BlackBerry Priv runs on a modified Android OS known as Android Lollipop (v 5.1).

Android Lollipop on Priv

We mean to say modified in that sense that the OS is a mix combo of Android and BlackBerry. But how? The Android OS contains all the features that google offers like Play Store, Google Maps etc. But, on the other hand the OS also features the old BlackBerry apps like BB Hub.

BlackBerry Hub

Apart from this, a little bit modification has been done to the notification bar on the top.

 

The modification of notifications in BB Priv OS
The modification of notifications in BB Priv OS

In Settings, the keyboard Hotkeys have also been added – Long press button on keyboard to open a function.

Apart from this, the company also talks about the OTA Updates. The updates includes a whole new Android Marshmallow (v 6.0 ), the fixes as there are small bugs in the current one, updated BB Hub, keyboard UI and many more.

The OTA updates on Priv
The OTA updates on Priv
QWERTY Keyboard

Lets review the last and the actual aspect for what BlackBerry is known for centuries. The QWERTY Keyboard, and this time On-slide. And we think that it is the first Android phone with a QWERTY keyboard, obviously the separate one. Nowadays, the touch screen seems to be awesome, but BlackBerry wanted to retain their tradition that’s why they added this keyboard in Priv.

Side view of the Keyboard of Priv
Side view of the Keyboard of Priv
The Glorious QWERTY Keyboard of Priv
The Glorious QWERTY Keyboard of Priv

It lacks the tactility and precision of the Passport’s and, while it does have a few nifty tricks up its sleeve, you can use it to scroll through menus and the like, it just doesn’t live up to expectation. To us the phone could be better without it and a way more thin, less heavy. But, we can’t deny the fact, a unique look for a phone and most importantly a tradition and the sign for a company called BlackBerry.

Summary:

In short, the BlackBerry Priv is a good high-end phone. Although it’s expensive, but if you’re a BlackBerry lover who loves QWERTY Keyboard, taking pics or even like a curved high resolution display and can afford the price. For those readers, we have opted BlackBerry Priv as the only option which comes with Google and BlackBerry partnership and features.

Rating BlackBerry Priv with reasons:

  • Design and Button Placement: 10 out of 10 (Sleek, Elegant, Curved edge, Slider and QWERTY keyboard)
  • Screen and Display: 9 out of 10 (4K Display, Curved display, Gorilla Glass 4)
  • Hardware and Performance: 7 out of 10 ( hexa-core processor, 3 GB RAM, Adreno 418, should have an Octa-core)
  • Camera: 8 out of 10 (18 MP Rear, Schneider-Kreuznach optics, old sensor but awesome/2 MP Front)
  • Storage and Battery: 6 out of 10 ( 3410 mAh battery, not enough to power a 4K display and OS for long time)
  • Operating System: 8 out of 10 (Due to some small bugs)
  • Performance/Price Ratio: 7 out of 10 (Seriously, a Snapdragon 808 for a huge cost of $ 699.99)

Price & Availability:

Priv is available at Amazon and the official site of BlackBerry for a price of $699. To buy this phone click the below boxes:

 

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Roman.T

Started blogging at the age of 18, Roman is a techie with 3 years of blogging, SEO, and Wordpress experience, totally opposite of his health & nutrition career. He is a die-hard Xiaomi fan and an avid gamer, working hard to provide valuable information regarding Tech & Gadgets. You can contact him on this email: [email protected]

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