Blackberry was the go to brand before the iPhone emerged in 2007. Mistakes were made and lessons were learned– Fast forward to 2015, Blackberry has released a rather enticing product called the Blackberry Priv (Priv stands for Privacy and Privilege) based on both a popular Android mobile Operating System and the security it’s well known for. It’s also clear the company wants to woo back, those users who had jumped ship to Android or iOS. The Blackberry Priv is the company’s first Android phone in forever to have an actual, physical keyboard. It’s the phone that will, by BlackBerry’s own admission, be the thing that determines whether BlackBerry continues to make phones at all. So, Will the Blackberry Priv be the company’s savior? At about $700, would leave your current phone and buy the Priv?
So lets help you make the choice (sort of), I’m personally excited about the Blackberry Priv, if only because it is one of the few phones out there that’s fulfilling the promise that Android made us all those years ago: a big diversity of hardware choices. It looks like the Windows Dell Venue Pro and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus has a baby called the Blackberry Priv. It’s also always exciting to see a down-on-its-luck company swing for the fences. So, we shall give some reasons why the Blackberry Priv will be the company’s savior.
It runs Android
Android the the most used mobile OS and the decision for Blackberry to ditch their Blackberry10 OS for Android was the best decision the company would ever make and BlackBerry did a pretty good job. Although it is running Android 5.1 lollipop, it also doesn’t have any hellaciously ugly skins or bad ideas about how to use a phone. The best part is that if you don’t like the changes BlackBerry did make, you can just turn them off.
A bit buggy
Going in bed with Android as your OS of choice, you have to live with bugs. Expect some apps freezing and device heating. Early adopters have reported that BlackBerry has been furiously updating different pieces of the software over the past few weeks and expect more updates to come as the company tries to refine the experience on the Priv.
Hardware is great
From the first time this device was shown off at CES early this year, I always thought it hardware is hot. It has a curved 5.4-inch screen that feels nice and big without being unwieldy — even with the slider open. You will not have to worry about a slippery or fingerprint magnet situation, The back is really grippy without being tacky, thanks to a “glass-weave” finish that we really like.
Welcome back Physical Keyboard
As part of Blackberry’s signature hardware component, the Blackberry Priv comes with a Physical keyboard. Early adopters have reported that it’s not the same good old keyboard you might remember with BlackBerrys of yore, because there’s not that much key travel. But it’s still pretty good. Plus we thing most of these reviewers including me are now used to the virtual on screen keyboard as some muscle memory is required to adjust to the hardware keyboard. It will also be good to mention that the keyboard can act like a cursor, which is a cool feature.
BlackBerry’s software customization are a not as insulting
BlackBerry’s privacy software, DTEK, is really smart at showing you the details of whether your phone is secure and also what your apps are doing. The little slide-in widget on the side is smarter than what Samsung does on the Galaxy S6 Edge. You can slide up from the home button to get access to three different apps. BlackBerry search is often more useful for on-device stuff than Google’s.
But then there’s the BlackBerry Hub, which is supposed to be an everything-in-one solution for your email, BBM messages, SMS, tweets, and calls. The idea of a super powerful and customizable super messaging app is really smart — but it’s also really hard.
Slow Camera and Horrible Selfies
Equipped with an 18-megapixel sensor, the Priv gives you shots that aren’t quite as good as what you’ll get from other top-tier phones, ealry users have reported even in low light, the Priv’s camera consistently outclassed their expectations. In the Blackberry circles, this could be the best camera BlackBerry has ever made. The issue it has is that its slow in HDR mode, plus the 2 Mega Pixel front facing camera is a total insult for a $700 phone so don’t expect great selfies out of this.
No fingerprint sensor
For 2015 standards, a high-end Android smartphone should have fingerprint sensor, especially for this price. And, Blackberry’s response to why they never incorporated a fingerprint sensor, it’s because it is not secure. Whether fingerprint sensors are secure or not, high-end phone users have become accustomed to this feature and not having it in the Blackberry Priv might be the reason why some users might not jump ship.
Pricey for an Android Phone
I know that there are other Android phones that cost around this much, and I also know that the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus can cost this much off contract or more when similarly speced. But even so, the price of Android phones has mostly been driving down, and I’m not sure this is really worth $699 (UGX 2,380,000).
Do you think the Blackberry Priv will be the company’s savior?