I used to own a Blackberry Bold 2. Or was it 3?
Finally, a Blackberry phone that not only the mother would love. This is Blackberry’s latest offering, the Priv, where Priv stands for Privacy. What makes this device so unique is that it is running Android for what would hopefully be the first in a long line of such phones. It hasn’t lost its Blackberry identity entirely, as it still comes packaged with some native software, and a gorgeous slide out keyboard, but more on that later.
I am actually quite excited about this phone, especially because it was so sad when the company, which was a giant in the smartphone industry, was usurped by the likes of Apple, Samsung, and not forgetting their own ineptitude. I can’t wait to get a unit to personally examine, but from my research, here is the GOOD and the BAD about this phone.
This piece of hardware, akin to the Blackberry Messenger might just be the remaining icons of the Blackberry identity remaining. And this doesn’t disappoint at all. This would be the selling point to Blackberry purists (all 13 of them). Still as tactile as ever, and made even better with Gesture Control. Also it’s pretty cool when you slide it out and show off to your friends (can your phone do that?). Frees up more screen estate so you can see more, but you might not be able to install your preferred third party keyboards like SwiftKey or Fleksy. Double tap on the keyboard and it becomes a cursor so you can move around documents. Neat.
Interestingly, this wasn’t supposed to be the first Blackberry device running Android, and what a game changer it would have been for the company, but they decided to go with BB10 instead. But it’s here finally, running a skin on Android 5.1.1, hopefully with guaranteed updates in the future. Blackberry were smart to keep the Android experience as pure as they can, and with the keyboard tucked away, one could be forgiven for forgetting it’s an android device.
The Device Build
I already mentioned that this device feels premium and solid. About the same height as the Note 5, if you don’t mind big phones (phablets) you’ll feel right at home with this phone. Built to play with the big boys, it has a gorgeous AMOLED screen, and an 18 MP camera on the back. The back is not smooth and slippery like we see in a lot of phones today, so it is easy to hold in the hand.
The Device Build
This phone is heavy comparatively. The Galaxy S6 weighs 138g, the iPhone 6S, 143g, and this one comes in at almost 200g. It is weight you will notice. It comes only in black, and it sn’t exactly a sleek phone, so it is not a pretty phone. When you slide the keyboard out, it feels top heavy, so two-handed use might be necessary. The camera is hit or miss, and even with the 18MP sensor with optical image stabilization, there are many other phones out there, some cheaper that will take better pictures of what you’re having for lunch. Nothing wow about the battery life.
Blackberry Hub/Notification Tray
One thing that is synonymous with Blackberry for me is clutter. That is so evident in the notification tray. It looks too busy, and there is too much going on. Keep it simple, like other android phones do. The Hub is a literal dumping ground of all your notifications in one place without any categorization, and it just looks like a mess.
The PRIV Part
This sounds like a good idea in itself, but also sounds like a marketing gimmick. Who buys a phone these days, and says, I really want a phone built with enhanced privacy features in mind? If they really wanted to nail down the privacy part, such new features like a fingerprint scanner to unlock the phone should have been necessities.
This is a lovely phone. Built well too.Coming from any other Blackberry phone you would love it, and let us not forget this is the first of what would be more phones to come, so let us encourage them for their effort. Is this a contender for best Android device? No, but it is an indication that there might just be salvation for this company yet.