The Priv is Blackberry’s first Android smartphone ever released. With a physical keyboard, strong security, and stylish design, could the Priv be the next big hit for Blackberry?
Here’s what you need to know if you’re trying to decide whether or not to buy the BlackBerry Priv.
“Delivers Strong Performance in a Sleek, Solid Package”
In CNET’s Priv review, they claimed that the Priv delivered strong performance in a stylish package.
CNET praised the Priv for its subtle Android tweaks and useful, compact keyboard. They also appreciated the satisfying click of the keyboard that was fun to slide open over and over again.
Despite these strengths, CNET felt that the Priv’s keyboard with a bit too narrow for large hands. Since the physical keyboard is one of the most important unique selling features of the Priv, this is a major drawback. CNET also claims that the device felt top heavy and unbalanced when the keyboard was fully extended.
CNET also disliked the weak camera and lack of security features (there’s no fingerprint scanner or iris scanner, for example).
Ultimately, CNET awarded the Priv a 3.5 out of 5 and called it “the best BlackBerry in years”.
It Has a Dual Curved Display
One surprising feature on the Priv that isn’t really being talked about is its dual curved display. The display slopes away on both the left and right sides of the device. The entire screen is obviously touch-enabled.
Just like the curved display on devices like the S6 Edge, the Priv’s curved display doesn’t seem to have very many unique purposes aside from looking kinda cool.
You can, however, still use the curved display for its Productivity Edge, which lets you look at notifications, messages, calendar events, and other details with a swipe.
When your phone is charging, the edge also acts as a charging bar.
The display, by the way, is the sharpest we’ve ever seen on a Blackberry: the Priv’s 5.4-inch AMOLED display features a quad HD resolution of 2560×1440 pixels and 543 ppi. It’s in the same upper tier of Android phone displays as devices like the Galaxy S6 and LG G4.
The Priv’s display isn’t the only thing that makes it a top-tier Android device. The Priv also has some impressive tech specs, including:
-1.8GHz 64-bit hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor
-32GB of storage
-3410 mAh battery
-18MP rear camera and 2MP front camera
22 Hours of Talking Battery Life
I don’t know about you, but there are two things I miss about my old Blackberry Bold: the physical keyboard and the ridiculously good battery life.
The Priv brings back both of those things: Blackberry claims the Priv’s enormous 3410 mAh battery allows it to last for 22 hours of talk time.
Engadget Awarded the Priv 77/100
The Priv’s 77/100 review on Engadget praised the successful mix of Blackberry and OS systems (you can use BBM and Google Maps at the same time!).
However, Engadget disliked the high price tag and the fact that the Priv ships with Android Lollipop – which is a year old version of Android – instead of the more modern Android Marshmallow. Engadget also didn’t like the keyboard, which they called “slightly lackluster”.
High Price Tag
Of course, you’re not going to get these performance specs without dishing out a significant amount of money. The Priv is far from cheap: it costs $750 USD ($949 CAD).
AT&T is currently carrying the Priv with monthly plans starting at $24.67.
That’s actually less expensive than people were predicting with the Priv: a lot of people tagged the phone as costing over $1000. With these specs, $750 USD for an unlocked Priv is actually less than you would pay for the similarly outfitted Samsung and Apple devices.
Nevertheless, almost every Priv review – like this review on Globe and Mail – complains about the high price when there are lower options available – like the Nexus 6P:
“If you absolutely have to have a BlackBerry, and your company is willing to spring for it, then you’re not going to be disappointed by the Priv.”
Of course, the reverse of that statement is that average consumers will have trouble justifying the high price tag when there are other, cheaper Android phones on the market.