BlackBerry PRIV ReviewBlackBerry Priv 7.2
There’s also Microsoft, a company that has taken pride in its line of Windows devices, but has yet to make any sort of impact in the mobile space. You know who else in this situation? BlackBerry. Countless times already, they’ve tried to reinvent themselves for the modern times, but they, too, failed in generating any interest from consumers. Instead, it’s only the diehard BlackBerry faithfuls that have been able to keep them afloat for all this time.
Well, here we are at the tail end of 2015, and the future is still uncertain for BlackBerry. The company is still acclaimed for its unrivaled commitment to security, but rather than just build upon that with its existing platform, BlackBerry is now ready to try its luck in the Android business.
Say hello to the PRIV by BlackBerry – a charming portrait QWERTY slider that’s distinguishably BlackBerry, but powered by Android. Can this sacrilegious venture prove fruitful for the company, possibly becoming the catalyst in reestablishing their direction towards greener pastures?
The package contains:
- BlackBerry PRIV
- microUSB cable
- Wall charger
- Quick start guide
- Safety & warranty information
- SIM removal tool
In the world of portrait sliders, this is as good as it gets.
Phones with physical keyboards, they’ve become quite uncommon, as touch input has very well become the prime choice for today’s modern smartphones. At first glance, most people will easily mistake the PRIV as an all-touch device too, but this wouldn’t a true BlackBerry without its signature keyboard implementation.
In terms of design, the PRIV borrows heavily from the Passport, which isn’t a bad thing, seeing it exudes an industrial styling that’s attractive. Naturally, the PRIV is longer due to the larger screen, but what’s really impressive is that it achieves a profile of 9.4mm. For a phone that packs a keyboard, that’s not too shabby at all – while also sporting dimensions that are a smidgen more compact than the iPhone 6s Plus.
Attention to detail is evident with the PRIV’s design, made obvious by the materials they opted to employ. In particular, its aircraft-grade aluminum frame accents nicely against the black rubbery texture of its casing – where it sports this almost carbon-fiber-esque pattern. There’s no slippery feel to the phone thanks to this finish, but its construction isn’t as solid as that of the Passport considering there are two components that primarily make up the phone; the sliding front panel that accommodates the screen and the other for the keyboard.
The sliding mechanism is smooth and locks into position, while giving us those satisfying clicking sounds that are typical with portrait sliders. In the Android space, the PRIV’s design is undoubtedly original.
BlackBerry’s signature styling is plainly evident just looking around the PRIV. For one, it features the same volume control/mute button configuration around its right edge. The power button, however, is situated all by itself along the left edge. Yes, it’s one of the few phones that opts to place it there, but it’s merely a matter of getting acquainted before it becomes natural.
Interestingly, the speaker takes position directly below the display, in the small nook that’s there towards the bottom. While the micro dots extend throughout the entire width, because the speaker is mainly driving sound through the left-most area of the grill.
Rounding things out, there’s a multi-colored LED notification light above the display that can be adjusted for specific notifications – yet another rarity we don’t see in many phones.
147 x 77.2 x 9.4 mm
6.77 oz (192 g)
154.4 x 75.8 x 6.9 mm
5.40 oz (153 g)
159.6 x 79.3 x 8.6 mm
6.77 oz (192 g)
153.9 x 76.2 x 11.06 mm
6.31 oz (179 g)
Above all else, the keyboard merely offers convenience – a pleasant alternative to touch input.
What makes it even better is the fact that additional buttons, such as shift, symbol, alt, and others, are here in the layout. Each press is accompanied with a satisfying level of tactility to ensure something has been pressed, so for those who really enjoy a physical response, it’s no doubt present here. Other features taken from the Passport include the keyboard being touch sensitive, enabling us to use it to precisely place the cursor in a passage of text, highlighting stuff, and also scrolling – all of them help to complement the experience.
As much as we’d like to say that we favor this method, we still find our pace considerably slower than touch-input via its on-screen keyboard. Nevertheless, the main selling point here is that we have the best of both worlds at our disposal.
Very good AMOLED screen, with options to tweak color balance and saturation.
The PRIV comes at us with a pretty formidable screen that clearly dictates it as being an elite-oriented smartphone. Fashioned with a 5.43-inch 1440 x 2560 Plastic AMOLED screen shielded by Gorilla Glass 4, there’s certainly no shortage of crisp details with this one and its 541 ppi pixel density. What’s most peculiar, though, is the realization that they went with AMOLED technology, marking the first time we’re coming across a BlackBerry-made smartphone using the technology.
Beyond the specs, it’s the subtle sloped edges that make it unique, following in nearly the same manner as the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge/edge+. The curve is a very gentle one – nowhere as dramatic as the Galaxy S6 edge/edge+ curves.
So what about the screen’s quality, is it any good? Generally speaking, yes, it manages to produce some very favorable results. Color balance is quite natural on the whole. There's a bit of oversaturation, but it's not extreme. Interestingly, there are adjustments in the settingsfor display color balance and saturation, so it can be tweaked to the user's liking.
In the past, BlackBerry’s line of smartphones have always been known to be accompanied with the brightest of screens. Impressively enough, the BlackBerry Q5, Classic, and Passport take up the top 3 spots in our testing. Going with an AMOLED panel here for the PRIV, however, it only reaches the decent, but not great, 404 nits – far short of the blinding glows of those previous efforts. And with that, it doesn't come off as particularly easy to view outdoors.
Overall, the display here is no doubt the most ambitious to date with BlackBerry. While some of us will try to overlook the potential novelty of the dual-curved edges, the display is a good complement to the company’s footing into Android land.
Display measurements and quality
|Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better||Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better||Contrast Higher is better||Color temperature (Kelvins)||Gamma||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (2015)||715
|Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+||502
The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.
|Maximum brightness Lower is better||Minimum brightness Lower is better||Contrast Lower is better||Color temperature Lower is better||Gamma Lower is better||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+||73.5%
|Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (2015)||85.7%
The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
1. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1230; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)
A little harsh with the rating, no? A simple patch update should fix the Bluetooth, GPS, and earpiece in about 2 weeks.
10. Rafishant (Posts: 187; Member since: 13 Oct 2015)
Actually, it is so reasonable.
Have you read other sites reviews?
17. Rafishant (Posts: 187; Member since: 13 Oct 2015)
35. meanestgenius (Posts: 9263; Member since: 28 May 2014)
There were more positive Priv reviews than there were negative. And it's completely laughable that you would choose Gizmodo. There disdain for anything that's not the iPhone is well known.
36. meanestgenius (Posts: 9263; Member since: 28 May 2014)
Engadget's review was much more fair and reasonable.
178. meanestgenius (Posts: 9263; Member since: 28 May 2014)
And yet, it was more reasonable than this.
33. Dr.Phil (Posts: 1097; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)
I do have to point out that Blackberry chooses to not offer a fingerprint scanner because they believe it is not a secure method (so I disagree with John V. saying it is a secure method of getting into a device). The reality is that this phone is being offered in the same form to government and enterprise employees, so it has to offer the same amount of security. It's actually easier than some think to reproduce a fingerprint. Plus, a lot of that fingerprint scanning data can make it's way into the wrong hands.
Blackberry, however, does support iris scanning technology as it's almost impossible to reproduce the same biometric data of an individual's eye. I wouldn't be surprised to see an iris scanner on future devices but that's dependent on how well iris scanners (like those found in the Lumia 950) work out.
176. medic2003 (Posts: 6; Member since: 19 Jan 2014)
picture password is great and no one gets to use my fingerprint lol
124. marorun (Posts: 2896; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)
8 to 8.5 in my book.
But yeah 7.2 because of overpricing.
135. roldefol (Posts: 4097; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
PA certainly takes value into account. If the Moto X Pure cost $600+, they wouldn't have rated it so highly.
39. zeeBomb (Posts: 1733; Member since: 14 Aug 2014)
Damn....honestly though other than some hiccups with the software side of the camera, and the slightly power hungry SoC (and also the price point) I would a gave it an 8. Very fair reasoning on your points though John V. Good stuff man!
59. Commentator (Posts: 3655; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
Based on specs alone I'd give it an 8.5, only real negatives I see are the lack of some form of biometric security (because passwords and PINs blow), and Android 5 instead of 6.
Granted, I haven't used the device and some initial reviews are saying the software is a bit buggy, but what new device isn't a bit buggy?
Also, how is the display not listed as a pro?
92. meanestgenius (Posts: 9263; Member since: 28 May 2014)
BlackBerry's Picture Password is actually pretty good.
95. Commentator (Posts: 3655; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
I wasn't even aware of it! Was it mentioned in the review? You'd think that would be a "pro" too...
123. meanestgenius (Posts: 9263; Member since: 28 May 2014)
No mention of it at all. Not a very well done review, from what I'm seeing.
99. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
Android Lolipop is fine. I think it would have gotten a better review without a keyboard because it's not necessary anymore and just adds to the size.
102. Commentator (Posts: 3655; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
I'm torn on that.
On one hand, yeah the keyboard is just extra weight, and almost definitely contributes to the price.
On the other, it's one of really only two things that set BlackBerry apart from the competition, and you're cutting the physical keyboard niche out of the equation.
BlackBerry has some pretty tough strengths to sell, as strong as they may be.
127. meanestgenius (Posts: 9263; Member since: 28 May 2014)
The PKB is how BlackBerry differentiates from other Android OEM's. Seriously, if BlackBerry had released an all touch "me too" Android slab, how would it stand out in the Android crowd? And the PKB on the Priv is innovative, just like the one on the BlackBerry Passport. The Priv is no bigger or heavier than the G4, Moto X Pure or the OnePlus two. And the slide out PKB never has to be used, if one so chooses, due to the vkb on the device.
177. Suo.Eno (Posts: 475; Member since: 17 Feb 2013)
I'd argue that the Bb's secure back end, diff app ecosys execution and the general intrigue of how will Bb fork Android further post Priv are ample enough differentiators. Big Bb critic I may be but I never doubted Bb's ability to improve on vkb. Priv's primary gripe point from some reviews center around its RRP which while understandable from Bb's biz PoV, irony is on the form factor precisely because it's well designed and yet the premium has to be there for adopters to enjoy the build quality.
I just hope that this hits the 5mill mark or even exceed it for the sake of its user base moving on forward. On my end I'll drop my droid full time gig in a dime if they score the numbers and bring us a full touch Priv 2.
110. sniper1087 (Posts: 499; Member since: 31 Dec 2011)
hmm the nexus 6p doesnt lag or the droid turbo doesnt either and those are new o.O
141. bambamboogy02 (Posts: 502; Member since: 23 Jun 2012)
Biometrics aren't THAT secure. If you are asleep, I get your phone, put your finger on the scanner, and presto I'm in your phone. Or I chop of your hand. Can't do that with a password.
142. roldefol (Posts: 4097; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
If you work in a field where someone is going to sabotage your phone and your finger in your sleep, you need something a bit more powerful than a BlackBerry.
163. Commentator (Posts: 3655; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
I think/hope he's joking...
...Although this is also a world in which people will chop out their own kidneys for a phone, so...
205. An.Awesome.Guy (Posts: 338; Member since: 12 Jan 2015)
Well, someone may steal the phone and take the fingerprint from the rear of the phone, then put them and open the phone and take some secrets and informations belong to the owner (personal or company).
Let us says that banks are using the fingerprint screen too ,then a thief in a bus or train may take the phone from the person sleeping next to him, open the phone by fingerprint and send to himself $200 which the owner may never found out .
I mean he may wonder where the money has gone but not a lot of money to search for the money that has gone away or to go to court.
235. medic2003 (Posts: 6; Member since: 19 Jan 2014)
Look at it this way. I'm not anti cop, but there are some here lately that insist on looking at phone content, with or without warrants. With a fingerprint scanner they could, if determined, get into your phone by just putting your finger on it whether you agreed or not. Court opinion right now, is that you do NOT have to give them your password. It's about privacy. I'm a law Abiding person, but I'm also my own man and I expect the authorities to follow the same laws.
257. roldefol (Posts: 4097; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
That's an argument for you choosing not to use the fingerprint scanner, and to stick with a passcode. I think it's nice to have the option.
119. plasteek (Posts: 109; Member since: 07 Jun 2015)
I would not buy a 700$ smartphone if it's not ok out of the box... :(
260. downphoenix (Posts: 3151; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)
PhoneArena is infamous for giving low ratings to BB, they gave the passport only a 7 even though most other sites gave it at least an 8.
5. jellmoo (Posts: 1462; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
Seriously? This is just getting ridiculous. The reviews have become so utterly vapid that they have next to no value. It's just a template that gets some words tossed in. There is no individuality and no effort made to differentiate anything. Just pop in some info and attach an arbitrary score. This phone could have cured cancer, and it still wouldn't get the same score an Apple or Samsung device gets.
When you list this as a con: "No fingerprint sensor for increased security", you lose any and all credibility.
15. Rafishant (Posts: 187; Member since: 13 Oct 2015)
Stop bashing every review in PA.
It doesn't have fingerprint scanner.
Good back camera but not great.
Below average front facing camera.
Thick and heavy.
Physical keyboard that the majority of users don't want.
Too much plastic with only one color available.
And most importantly, OVERPRICED
21. jellmoo (Posts: 1462; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
It is a security and productivity based device. Here's a crazy thought, maybe do some sort of review that goes over these features? Is that really too much to ask in a review? If they actually made an attempt to review the devices as opposed to quickly fill out their review template, it would be fine even if I didn't agree with the score. But we're getting lazy review after lazy review that just keeps regurgitating the same pieces.
25. Johnnokia (Posts: 1059; Member since: 27 May 2012)
I just read many reviews from different sites. Most of them were positive about the Priv, but they did not claim it is perfect or revolutionary. Even Crackberry put some cons for the Priv.
However, I guess it is the best BlackBerry to date, and I hope it will sell well to keep the handset division alive
30. jellmoo (Posts: 1462; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
Which is totally cool. I've seen positive and negative reviews too. The one on Android Central is the best by far yet published. It actually goes into detail about the Priv features. What upsets me about the PA review (and really all of their reviews lately) is that they just don't. They just check items off on their template, and not go into any detail on the key features of the devices.
256. joey_sfb (Posts: 5256; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)
Its ok. Nobody in their right mind would take PA review seriously. If I am truly interested in buying a device, I would read every review available to me minus the one from PA. For PA, I just read the score for a good laugh.
Then I would proceed to play with the device in a store before I part with my money.
88. tacarat (Posts: 724; Member since: 22 Apr 2013)
Maybe if they had a general score and "niche" score. It'd be D&D for phones. +2 vs hackers, but -2 charisma to non-BlackBerry users.
42. meanestgenius (Posts: 9263; Member since: 28 May 2014)
People bash PA reviews because they seem to favor the iPhone over anything else. Readers have a right to complain if they feel something is unfair and biased.
It doesn't need a fingerprint scanner, as fingerprint scanners have been easily defeated in the past. BlackBerry's patented picture password is much more fool-proof.
Other sites rated the camera better than PA.
You must take a lot of selfies. BlackBerry devices have historically never been used for that, as their devices offer productivity first.
The thickness and weight is fine for a device with a slide out physical keyboard. Other sites didn't list this as a con.
The physical keyboard is a staple of BlackBerry and is how they differentiate in a sea of "me too" devices in the Android field. It's also undoubtedly a plus, as you have the option of two best-in-class keyboards on the same device, one pkb and one vkb. Plus, you have the option of never using the pkb if you so choose.
Android is populated with "plastic" devices. And most reviews said the Priv had a nice, premium feel.
Really? You're complaining about one color option at launch? Smh...
Some reviewers have said that for what the Priv offers, the price is warranted. I tend to agree.
74. jellmoo (Posts: 1462; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
I don't get the "thickness" thing. Devices like the Moto X Pure, OnePlus 2, LG G4 are all thicker, and aren't housing a physical keyboard.
83. meanestgenius (Posts: 9263; Member since: 28 May 2014)
Agreed. That was just pure BS on his part, as other devices are thicker without them having a slide-out physical keyboard housed in it, as you mentioned.
170. javy108 (Posts: 1004; Member since: 27 Jul 2014)
I just agree with the overpriced and that it doesnt have fingerprint which most of the users are looking for as a gimmik-feature add.
28. TheJewishMerp (Posts: 12; Member since: 20 Sep 2015)
Well, I'm pretty sure that 7.2 is just average...don't know why people see 7.2 and think that it's a bad score. It's a decent phone, but the price point is way to high for what you are getting, if it was lower in price, a la $450-500, it would have done better. The fact is there are better phones you can buy for that price point.
66. Crispin_Gatieza (Posts: 1559; Member since: 23 Jan 2014)
Not only does John V. not know that biometric (fingerprint) sensors are unreliable, he also doesn't know that the Priv is NOT BlackBerry's first AMOLED display. The Z30 had a 5" Super AMOLED display. He also finds the text prediction not user-friendly and it slows him down. I don't like it either but many BB users swear by it so maybe John just needs to get the hang of it before summarily dismissing it as a con.
Sorry John, but if you can't get a few simple facts straight it's very difficult to take your reviews seriously.
237. medic2003 (Posts: 6; Member since: 19 Jan 2014)
I love the text predictions on BlackBerry keyboard. Beats any android keyboard I ever tried. I've never used a pkb so that will be new to me if I end up doing the Priv but their vkb is outstanding.
262. downphoenix (Posts: 3151; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)
true, and even if the text predictions were bad like John said, the physical keyboard should allieviate any issues with it.
129. marorun (Posts: 2896; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)
PA review are getting boring just look at the start of the review we dont give a s**t about all those crap talk about the phone not about how you feel about company...
6. Sheppard (banned) (Posts: 8; Member since: 06 Nov 2015)
Will it support BIS? If so, I'll definitely buy it.
111. Crispin_Gatieza (Posts: 1559; Member since: 23 Jan 2014)
BIS has not been available since the days of Legacy OS7. The only US carrier left that still supports BIS is AT&T since T-Mo dropped it in September.
12. phonefan68 (Posts: 10; Member since: 02 Dec 2013)
Didn't they just post the unboxing earlier? Where was the time to get a good feel of the phone? How long was it really tested before cranking out aa review?
19. ibend (Posts: 3192; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)
as soon as they can find enough cons for this phone
26. Martin_Cooper (Posts: 1368; Member since: 30 Jul 2013)
Let me explain to you how phone reviews work. My dear clueless phonefan68. The companies usually send review devices to all big sites etc. They tell them and they usually sign a paper where they cant post a review until certain date. That date is/was today. They usually have 7-10 days to review it. Anything you see today like unboxing video comparison etc it was all done days ago.
38. VZWuser76 (Posts: 3633; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)
All these sites that do these kinds of things have the unboxing videos a week or so earlier. Those aren't precluded from the embargo. Even camera reviews come out before the embargo lifts. The only things that are held up by these embargo are the full reviews.
I'm not saying that they didn't do all of this much earlier, but they always publish the unboxing video about a week before the actual review is published, embargo or not. This is the first time I've seen an unboxing video followed by a full review a few hours later.
77. phonefan68 (Posts: 10; Member since: 02 Dec 2013)
I am not clueless. I know they get their review devices before the phones are released, but John V. is wearing the same thing in his unboxing as the review making it seem to have been done the same day. Also reviewers usually have a few days between releasing the unboxing video and the video of their review.
13. Arch_Fiend (Posts: 1940; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)
Hmmm Got A Better Score Than I Thought It Would Get From Pa.
18. Arch_Fiend (Posts: 1940; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)
Ok What's With That Huge Difference Between Geekbench Single Core An Multi Core Scores VS Other 2k Devices Rocking The 808.
130. marorun (Posts: 2896; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)
Its using a newer version of the 808 better optimized.
27. senseiJ (Posts: 121; Member since: 02 May 2015)
Should have been 8. I think the security and privacy is its crowning glory and, you're looking (rating) this phone in the wrong way.
|Display||5.4 inches, 1440 x 2560 pixels (541 ppi) AMOLED|
Qualcomm Snapdragon 808, Hexa-core, 1800 MHz, ARM Cortex-A57 and ARM Cortex-A53 processor
3072 MB RAM
|Size||5.79 x 3.04 x 0.37 inches|
(147 x 77.2 x 9.4 mm)
6.77 oz (192 g)