Product BlackBerry Priv
Specifications 5.4in 1440x2560 QHD AMOLED display, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB RAM, 32GB built-in storage expandable via microSD up to 2TB, 18MP rear-facing camera, 2MP front-facing camera, Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, 3,140mAh battery, 147x77.2x9.4 mm, 192g
Price From £549
THE PRIV IS, jokes aside, BlackBerry's last chance in the smartphone market. In its bid for survival, the company has decided to equip the BlackBerry Priv with Google's Android software, admitting to The INQUIRER that the lack of big-name apps on its own BlackBerry 10 alternative has contributed heavily to its long and well-documented downfall.
Not only is BlackBerry looking to Android to save its ass, it's also hoping that the inclusion of a slide-out Qwerty keyboard will appeal to those who have been longing to ditch on-screen keys. The question is, do these people exist anymore?
The first thing you'll notice about the Priv is its size. The 5.4in screen, coupled with a discreet slide out keyboard, mean it's by no means the thinnest or lightest of devices at 9.4mm thick and 192g. Saying that, we could squeeze it into our skinny jeans pocket, and we didn't find the Priv too cumbersome to use comfortably and the keyboard-come-trackpad makes for easy one hand operation.
There's something oddly great about the BlackBerry Priv in terms of design. Sure, we've had a lot of people asking 'What the hell is that?', but the overall appeal of the handset is that it's different to most others out there. The rear of the phone is made from the same Kevlar material seen on BlackBerry smartphones of old which, while lacking the glitz or glamour of the iPhone 6S, feels pleasing to touch and retains BlackBerry's business-style heritage.
The BlackBerry Priv has a 5.4in 1440x2560 QHD AMOLED screen, complete with functional curved edges similar to those seen on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. The pixel density of 540ppi makes the screen as gorgeous as you'd expect, and it easily matches its Samsung competitor thanks to the deep blacks and punchy colours that the onboard AMOLED technology offers.
This display is toughened with Gorilla Glass 4. We've had a few, beer-induced clumsy moments with the phone, and the screen has come out unscathed.
It's been a long time since we've included a 'keyboard' section in a smartphone review, as BlackBerry has equipped the Priv with a slide-out Qwerty keyboard in a bid to set it apart from other devices on the market.
We didn't expect or want to like this keyboard, but our week with the Priv seems to have changed our mind. Rather than opting for the onscreen keyboard when typing an email, we've been using the physical alternative, making use of the full 5.4in of screen real estate. The keys are small, but so are our fingers, so we've found typing satisfying and quick, but those with bigger digits might struggle somewhat.
This speedy typing is helped by BlackBerry's intelligent predictive text, near identical to that found on the Z10 smartphone running the BlackBerry 10 OS. The Priv will show three words you're likely to type next, and to select one you simply swipe up on the keyboard. This means that the keyboard can also be used as a makeshift trackpad, while individual keys can be set as shortcuts to fire up apps - 'i' for Instagram, for example.
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