Welcome the new BlackBerry Priv! Our reviews

January 27, 2016 Blackberry New Launch Reviews

Blackberry finally goes Android - welcome the new BlackBerry Priv!

BB Priv 1

The brand lovers have been waiting for this move for quite a long time. And finally on November 6th the newcomer has been released. From the first glance it’s definite – new Blackberry is still business on the outside, but there’s definitely the fun now in the back. There were tons of rumors going around about the device and now that it’s finally available we can’t but share our review of the model with you.

By the way, “Priv” is supposed to stand for Privacy, though the box has also Privilege on it. So is it Privacy is Privilege or rather Privilege in Privacy? It can be both as long as it is really good, let’s check.


We have to admit, BlackBerry 10 was quite niche. Finally the Canadian manufacturer admitted the need to keep up to date and implemented Android platform in BlackBerry Priv and with it access to the app-packed Play Store. In fact, the Priv sports the stock version of Android 5.1.1 Lollopop. BlackBerry has also confirmed that the Priv will be updated to Android Marshmallow, which can be expected in 2016. Is it not to late though to catch up with the original smartphone revolution?

Specs and design

BB Priv 2

Let’s see what exactly we are talking about: 5.4-inch QHD display, 32GB of internal storage, 3GB of RAM, Snapdragon 808 processor, and 18mp rear camera and 2mp front one. Optical image stabilisation and 4K UHD video recording up to 30 frames per second are the highlights. The BlackBerry Priv is powered by a 3410mAh battery, which is a pretty large capacity, with BlackBerry promising 22 hours of calling. It’s pretty big and not exactly light: 147 x 77.2 x 9.4mm, 192g.

That seems like something you might really fall for. The picture misses an important detail though – all that is available by the higher price than Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, LG G4, Nexus 6P, Sony Xperia Z3+.

How long ago have you used a slide phone? Well, with the Priv you can have that experience back. You have to just slightly push the screen and it will slide up further by itself.

The casing is a kind of plastic, which doesn’t give the Priv the elegancy of an iPhone for example. On the other hand, you are sure to hold it securely in hand.


The newcomer has a full QWERTY keyboard and it's a keyboard you'll know and love. Importantly, the keyboard feels and behaves like the BB keyboard you expect it to be.

The physical keyboard is the biggest element of the new device, offering up a BlackBerry keyboard, as well as the touch screen experience. It’s also capacitive, supporting swipes for additional navigation options. When you open up the keyboard the length of the device extends to 184mm.

If you really don't get on with BlackBerry's board you can always download a third-party offering from the Play Store – after all, it’s Android.


BB Priv 3

BlackBerry does follow Samsung as to the screen – Priv has the dual-curved sides, although not as sophisticated as the ones of Galaxy, but still pretty eye-catching.

With AMOLED technology the Priv uses you are getting bright and vibrant colors. And the resolution of 2560 x 1440 is definitely not worse than the one the Android flagman models (LG G4 and Galaxy S6) at the moment have.

Camera – what to expect

Historically BlackBerry has struggled to put decent cameras in its smartphones, but that's not usually been a huge issue due to the firm's focus on business users. But in Priv you are definitely going to like the 18mp camera. Even though the functions and settings are nothing new compared with the rest of the Android world, it performs very nicely. You really are going to love most of the photos you take. Especially great is the experience of taking pictures in low-light surrounding.

The front camera, 2mp, is okay. That’s it – it’s okay, you will be able to make regular selfies, but don’t expect anything extraordinary from it.

In video mode and you can choose from 720p, 1080p or 4K recording. It won't let you down when you play it back on your computer or TV.

Extra Security

Once you ask BlackBerry true admirers what one great catch for them is, it’s definitely going to be the extra security. No wonder it’s got a fame of a truly business phone, where security of the data is the primary concern.

BlackBerry has hardened both its hardware and software to make them more secure, and you can control various privacy settings via a dedicated app on the Priv – the DTEK by BlackBerry.

The app easily introduces your current gadget’s security status and offers a number of settings to increase the security level. This very solution is a step forward compared to many other Android smartphones.


Our definite likes:

  • Android! Nothing to add, it’s just been so long waited for.
  • The display with dual curved edges is a strong one.
  • Added security with DTEK by BlackBerry
  • The notifications on Android are some of the best around. There are direct actions from notifications and lots of control over what gives you what type of notification when.

We dislike:

  • The performance could definitely be better. For most of the time Priv runs smoothly, but at times you do get the noticeable lags in the system and within the camera app.
  • The Priv lacks premium build quality. BlackBerry has clad the back and sides of the Priv in what it calls a tensile weave which feels like plastic.
  • Let’s admit – it is pricey.

Our verdict – BlackBerry still seems to target the audience of business world with the Priv newcomer, which is quite reasonable. Definitely a welcoming move from Blackberry and a good effort to win back its past glory. Combines the best of Android and Traditional Blackberry. I want to Have it!