I keep saying that images and photos do no justice to some devices. When I took the Priv in my hands, I had a nerdgasm. This beauty oozes class and taste all the way. The Priv looks and feels so much better in real life. And it is so good that it immediately made a flagship like the Lumia 950 feel cheap. Everyone I gave the two devices to for comparison gave the same verdict too.
The 5.4-inch display is smooth and gorgeous. It is also a dual curved edge display. In other words, it curves at both left and right edges. I need more words to describe this. Also, BlackBerry has performed an amazing feat fitting a slider device into such a slim profile.
The BlackBerry Priv is heavier than most devices in its class. As such, it has some heft in the hand, but gives it a very solid feel.
BlackBerry Priv Review: Software
This is Android 6 Marshmallow with modifications to the UI and underlying security by BlackBerry. It looks good. It feels mostly good.
BlackBerry has baked in some security features into the Priv. Most of those features check to make sure that YOU the user take certain steps to keep your phone and data secure and then notify you of your security status. This reinforces my eternal position that the user is the single most important factor for security.
BlackBerry Priv Review: 4G LTE Compatibility
The BlackBerry unit I have is an ATT-branded one. As such, it is clearly not a model targeted at Europe, Middle East, and Africa. So, bear this in mind when I say that it doesn’t work with any of our 4G networks here in Nigeria. Also, beyond that, there is no LTE only mode in the phone’s settings.
BlackBerry Priv Review: Slide-out Keyboard
I have been a hardware keyboard advocate all my life, but the slide-out keyboard on the Priv feels out of the place to me. I have used it a few times, and each time I ended up hiding it away and using the onscreen keyboard. This time, I feel absolutely no need for the keyboard. Perhaps that is because the keys are small, or perhaps extending them out pushes the gorgeous display away from me. Anything that pushes the display of the Priv away should be considered a sin. That screen is absolutely gorgeous.
BlackBerry Priv Review: Performance
Sadly, it isn’t all good news with the BlackBerry Priv. Occasionally, it freezes during use and wont respond to touch for a few moments before it goes back to normal or displays an app not responding error. And to be honest, the benchmark results of the Priv do not look good either, considering this is a flagship. Have a look:
- Antutu: 54,484
- Geekbench 3: 900 Single-Core; 2,383 Multi-Core
- Quadrant: 12,070
The Priv also warms up quite a bit during normal use. Much more during intensive use.
BlackBerry Priv Camera
The 18 megapixel camera on the BlackBerry Priv sports a Schneider-Kreuznach lens. You know, same way Lumias sport Carl Zeiss. Having a big name brand on the camera is good. But is the camera really any good? From the few photos I took with it, it is. Here’s an indoor shot with flash:
First up, while the audio from the front-facing speaker is good, I am of the impression that it isn’t as good as what I got on the Passport. Unfortunately, I did not have a Passport to test this opinion with. But music is good on the Priv and if you plug in a very good audio headset, bam!
Of course, watching video on this beauty is an awesome experience. That display is just so, so beautiful and clear. Everything looks great on it.
BlackBerry Priv Review: Battery And Charging
The beefy 3,410 mAh battery performs well. It charges quite fast, thanks to fast charge technology. And it has a cool visual factor to the charging thing when the screen of the Priv is locked. Have a look at the photo above: there is a green vertical bar on the right edge. It is a charging indicator. When charging from 0%, it starts out red (see below) and turns green at some point. The bar extends all the way up at 100% charge.
BlackBerry Priv Review: Conclusions
I really like the BlackBerry Priv. It has one of the most tasteful physical build around. The display is gorgeous. Audio is good. Camera is good too. Battery performance is good. The Priv is good in many ways. I have a problem with the occasional freezing though. That should never happen on a smartphone that costs anything in the vicinity of NGN200,000.
I also wish this was a dual SIM smartphone. Yes; if wishes were horses. It does not appear that BlackBerry (or Apple) will ever produce a dual SIM smartphone. At least, they are both still forming big boys for now. But I am nitpicking. Minus a few niggles, the Priv is a really, really good smartphone.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.