BlackBerry Priv Review

BlackBerry brings something fresh and different to the Android world.


When I think about BlackBerry, I’m instantly reminded of how productive I am while using their devices. For me, it has always been a tool to get things done and while there are many people out there who enjoy that experience alone, there’s a growing number of folks who expect more from their smartphones. They want productivity, they want security, they want privacy, and they want all the fun stuff as well. Now with Priv, they can have their cake and eat it too, if they wish.

The quick take

For it being their first run at building an Android-powered smartphone, BlackBerry has delivered a compelling hardware and software package that caters to both the Android and BlackBerry experience. While it’s not going to be a device for everyone, everyone should consider it.

The good

  • Great battery life
  • Great sounding front facing speaker
  • Great physical and virtual keyboard
  • Mostly stock Android experience
  • Best camera BlackBerry has ever put out

The bad

  • BlackBerry Blend not ready
  • Launching with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • Front-facing camera could have been better
  • Speaker grill gathers dust
  • Headphone jack placed at the bottom

Well, here we are. After many months of rumors and speculation, and an arguably somewhat quiet announcement, we have finally reached the point where it’s time to take a look at the Priv by BlackBerry. Unlike every BlackBerry smartphone released before it, the Priv strays from the path of using BlackBerry’s proprietary OS and instead comes loaded with Android, Lollipop 5.1.1 to be specific, and pairs it up with the best of BlackBerry security, privacy and productivity.

Priv stands out in a world of Android slabs, thanks to its fantastic physical keyboard, focus on security and privacy that BlackBerry has long been known for.

When the BlackBerry slider, or Venice as it was known early on, was presented briefly during Mobile World Congress 2015, the BlackBerry community lit up with excitement under the impression it was running BlackBerry 10. The rest of the world, though, looked, laughed a little and moved on. However, when it became known that the Priv would be released running Android, that interest level changed and those who dismissed the device were almost forced to take another look at it. Suddenly the device mattered because not only does it signal a change within BlackBerry and their operations, but the Priv stands out in a world of Android slabs, thanks to its fantastic physical keyboard and the focus on security and privacy that BlackBerry has long been known for. Plus, it brings empowering productivity features such as the BlackBerry Hub, Productivity Edge, Calendar peek, and more.

BlackBerry didn’t simply slap Android on their hardware and call it a day. No, the move to Android was a calculated one that took a lot of planning and ultimately had to be something special and something with enough differentiation to stand out. Will it pay off for BlackBerry in the long run? That remains to be seen. The potential is now there for BlackBerry to reach a new audience and expand their customer base.

I am sure with the Priv BlackBerry will be able to capture some of the Android market.



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