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Mister Mobility’s BlackBerry Priv Review: Hail Blackberry’s 1st Android phone

Avatar of Mister Mobility By Mister Mobility Aug3,2016
BlackBerry Priv keyboard
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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.

BlackBerry Priv Review Mr Mo scream
Yes; this was how I felt the first time I took the BlackBerry Priv in my hands.

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.

BlackBerry Priv edge

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

BlackBerry Priv app drawer

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

BlackBerry Priv charging hand open

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

BlackBerry Priv 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

BlackBerry Priv Review Mr Mo hand

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

BlackBerry Priv Review charging two hands

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:

BlackBerry Priv camera sample: indoor flash
Click to view full-sized image


BlackBerry Priv loudspeaker

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

BlackBerry Priv lockscreen 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

BlackBerry Priv Mr Mo two hands straight

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.

Avatar of Mister Mobility

By Mister Mobility

Founder, MobilityArena. Way back from the days of EPOC, Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems, I have owned a few hundred smartphones and tablets, and counting.

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