BlackBerry Priv: physical keyboard or on-screen, what's better?

BlackBerry Priv: physical keyboard or on-screen, what's better?
Touchscreens have revolutionized the way we interact with our mobile devices. During the early days of the smartphone, many of them packed along physical keyboards to give users a quick and useful way of inputting text. Now, the reason why so many of them packed physical keyboards is that the resistive technology of touchscreens back then, combined with the small size of their screens, made it nearly impossible to keep a good rate of speed.

Capacitive technology changed all that, which has undoubtedly become the dominant technology employed in today’s modern smartphones. Very recently, we’ve been getting acquainted with the BlackBerry Priv, which not surprisingly enough, sports the signature keyboard that BlackBerry is known for. The device as a whole, is a refreshing change from the usual all-touch smartphones, seeing that the physical keyboard offers users the convenience of having that tactile feedback when typing something up – complementing the touchscreen keyboard it also offers.

Well, it got us thinking about whether or not using the physical keyboard is actually better than the on-screen one. We’ve grown quite fond of how touchscreens have improved the way we type things up with the on-screen keyboard, seeing that auto-correct and predictive features have virtually made it error proof. Therefore, we decided to give it a quick test to see whether the physical keyboard proves to be better or not.

We’re not stopping there, just because we’ll also pit it against some other phones and keyboards – such as the iPhone 6s, Galaxy S6 Active, and the SwiftKey keyboard. Don’t forget to check out the video below to see exactly how it all turns out. And oh yeah, we’re also going to check out their accuracy by typing stuff up with our eyes closed. You don’t want to miss which of them offers the best experience.



26. shinywindow unregistered

but john "the krapple pillow biter" v. gave it a 7/10 so surely his opinion matters that the priv is an undercooked, dated device. bahhhhhhhhh.

25. tobico

Posts: 6; Member since: Sep 16, 2015

Any software keyboard can be used to quickly type sentences composed of only common english words, when autocorrect is enabled. T9 could do that just fine, too. In the real world, we often need to type sentences with things like email addresses, uncommon last names, product names, and foreign words. That would be a more meaningful test.

23. kabhijeet.16

Posts: 897; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

Physical keyboard is better, but not one which is very small like on BB Priv. A standard sized keyboard is better for productivity on laptops/tablets. But on smartphones', touchscreens are more productive.

24. meanestgenius

Posts: 23173; Member since: May 28, 2014

I take it you've never used the Passport, then?

22. 99nights

Posts: 1152; Member since: Mar 10, 2015

Phyisical. One of the main reasons i get a blackberry, it has the best physical keyboard around.

21. KillerKeyboard

Posts: 372; Member since: Nov 21, 2013

I just hope the novelty of it doesn't wear off fast.

19. meanestgenius

Posts: 23173; Member since: May 28, 2014

Physical keyboard all the way for me!

15. Ikechukwu

Posts: 264; Member since: Oct 03, 2011

Installed the BB keyboard on my moto X pure and never looked back :)

14. Lauticol

Posts: 404; Member since: Jun 25, 2011

I'm using the BB Keyboard since yesterday in my LG G2 just to try it out and it's pretty good. A little difficult to get used to and it's cumbersome to add new words, but very good.

12. justReLaxx

Posts: 31; Member since: Nov 03, 2015

I'm old school. I prefer the number pad. Click #2 twice to get to letter B.

11. ablopez

Posts: 235; Member since: Apr 15, 2014

It all comes down to what one is willing to learn. My first smartphone was the BB Curve, then I got the Bold. I got really good at using a PKB. I even raced my brother with his iPhone, and I beat him easily with no mistakes. However, if I were to race him with another VKB phone, I think he would beat me. I have a VKB now, but I'm looking forward to getting the Priv when it comes to Verizon. Bottom line: there are no advantages or disadvantages with either one. It comes down to preference and what YOU prefer. Stop knocking other people's choices.

10. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3208; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

The best function of a BB keyboard is one-handed use. With their shortcuts (example: double tap for the period that everybody copied) you can type on the go. Long press for caps is indispensible for one-handed operation.

6. EC112987

Posts: 1216; Member since: Nov 10, 2014

Haven't used it but I hate how these reviewers knock the physical keyboard saying it's weird..smh

5. cncrim

Posts: 1591; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

There is pro and cons with physical keyboard pro: type without look at it, give a better feel when hit on it, customs shortcut. Con: moving part will worn out and easy to break, take up space for battery for instant, can't customize to apps.

4. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

I get my priv tomorrow so I'm extremely excited to get it in my hands.. One of my favorite parts is taking the plastic off the new phone and the way it smells haha

3. engineer-1701d unregistered

i played with it yesterday felt like a bigger palm pre a bit but i loved it screen amazing contrast and i used the scrolling on the keypad to move around nice i could see this saving bb if not for the price, like the htc a9 mega over price should be 250-300 no more for what you get.

2. jellmoo

Posts: 2715; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

For serious productivity, a physical keyboard is next to impossible to beat. It lets you use all of your glorious screen real estate whilst still putting together your text. This is especially useful with long email threads or when editing documents on the fly. On screen keyboards have improved a huge amount, to the point where they might win in pure speed, but it's the ability to have that whole screen dedicated to content that keeps the physical keyboard as the king of productivity.

1. techandbeers

Posts: 110; Member since: Nov 02, 2015

On screen so I can use my junk.

13. QWERTYphone

Posts: 654; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

The FACT that laptops with keyboards are used by EVERY executive proves that physical keyboards are superior. The LANDSCAPE slider is the ultimate phone design. (Samsung EPIC)

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless