BlackBerry decided to adopt Android as an operating system for its smartphones, perhaps adding a bit ‘of its recognized quality hardware and software in the world of Google’s operating system. Finally happened with the BlackBerry Priv, we tested properly in the last 10 days and of which we are ready to talk in detail in our review!
Design and Display
The BlackBerry Priv brings a special design and instantly recognizable. E ‘with a physical QWERTY keyboard that is accessed through vertical slide at the bottom of the device. If you did not know of the presence of the keyboard is probably not it would show, even, since the thickness is 9.4 mm (not so exaggerated, in fact). It ‘still the size of a smartphone rather generous, given the height of 147 mm and width of 77.2 mm. It weighs 192 g: hand is felt, but it is well distributed. Once you open the keyboard the BlackBerry Priv becomes rather difficult to use with one hand, at least to keep it in the lower (right where the keyboard). This location is very convenient for typing with one hand, even if given the weight and size we think that the keyboard has been designed and built for use with two hands. The buttons are well accessible and there is also a handy button in the middle of the volume keys to mute the sound with multimedia applications.
The display has a diagonal of 5.4-inch with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 (QHD with 540 PPI) and the screen is made with Corning Gorilla Glass 4. Panel technology it is SuperAMOLED. E ‘it presents a slight curvature on both edges, very similar to that present in the series Edge Samsung but not so pronounced; from the point of view of design is a solution really nice to see. The resolution is very high, as the quality of the display. But not at the top: the blacks are perfect, whites (which can be calibrated) are very good, the contrast in black and white is excellent, colors are saturated but not excessively, but the white is a strange grit that there appreciated the most of every content displayed. As already mentioned is a really good display, but does not reach the levels of excellence seen on other SuperAMOLED QHD as Samsung Galaxy Note 5. The maximum brightness is very high, but the light sensor tends to keep it lower than what we would like. Hopefully BlackBerry best this aspect in a future firmware update.
The build quality is excellent, also with regard to the keyboard and the mechanism for opening and closing. However on some BlackBerry Priv are crunches if pressed in the back (where the symbol of the BlackBerry) or the frame. Nothing to worry about but it should be noted.
Hardware, Connectivity and Battery
The processor that moves the BlackBerry Priv is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 (dual-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A57 + 1:44 GHz quad-core Cortex-A53), accompanied by the Adreno 418 GPU and 3GB of RAM. The internal memory of 32 GB expandable via microSD up to 200 GB. We did not detect excessive overheating. Indeed, the heat management looks very good.
Connectivity is complete: LTE (with all bands required for operation in Italy), AC WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS and A-GPS, NFC and microUSB 2.0 with support for SlimPort displaying 4K content on external displays. The reception is exceptional: BlackBerry has accustomed us (always) a unique quality and so it is in its first model with Android. This is one of the characteristics of the know-how of the BlackBerry that we were pleased to find in Priv.
The 3410 mAh battery allows you to cover our day of intensive use, with a total of active screen of 3 and a half hours. We are at levels more than good for a top of the range Android. It ‘still slightly below the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, at the time one of the best smartphone as regards autonomy.
Software and overall performance
Performance is very satisfactory. The Android interface (slightly customized BlackBerry) always flows smoothly and without jamming. Chrome runs without problems (the only small difficulties are attributable to the Google software and not the hardware Priv) and gaming runs smoothly.
The BlackBerry Priv mounts Android 5.1.1 slightly customized in appearance. The launcher appears that stock of Google, if it were not for the support of third-party icon pack, for a different implementation of widgets and shortcuts (which are well organized directly in the drawer) and the ability to access the widget in the app homescreen with a swipe up on the icon of the app in question (similar to what was seen on Action Launcher).
But the more substantial implementations of BlackBerry are others. First, the software keyboard is very similar to that of BlackBerry OS, both in appearance and functionality, and handles very well the physical keyboard .
Taking a swipe at the top of the home button, you can access Google Now, the search BlackBerry (doing a global search on the phone, going to find almost anything) and the BlackBerry Hub. The latter is like the one seen on the BlackBerry OS, at least from the aesthetic point of view. Includes all notifications of supported apps (for now only calls, email, SMS, Facebook and LinkedIn) and allows us to filter notifications for app, but there does respond directly to all notifications: the app for some clicking the notification refers the app in question. There remains the possibility of repeat notifications in the future, either to a desired time, both when we are under a specific Wi-Fi network. Hopefully in the future the Hub is made available with a swipe to the right, as it does on the BlackBerry OS, for Blinkfeed on HTC and Google Now Launcher for Google Now.
It ‘also a suite of security that informs us about the state of security of the device and shows us how to make the BlackBerry Priv 100% safe. There is also a password manager.
Multimedia: speaker and camera
The audio quality of the call earpiece is superb. Here too, the credit goes only to BlackBerry and commitment for years put into this aspect. We believe instead that the speaker is understated: it is positioned in front, below the display, but despite this not get a powerful sound. The audio quality is there, but not the power. This applies to both the music playback both the speakerphone.
The rear camera is 18 MP and is equipped with optical image stabilizer, autofocus and dual LED flash. The lens is made by Schneider-Kreuznach, synonymous with quality. The photographic yield in optimal lighting conditions are good, but we noticed some difficulties too in the dark or in poor lighting. Focus and Shooting are slow, but this is solely due to the software, which will be improved with future updates. BlackBerry has developed its camera app for this smartphone (greatly appreciate this choice) that has already been updated a few days ago and has brought considerable improvements. We believe that in the future the speed of the software will be improved and the photo quality will reach higher levels, even if the camera is not the strong point of this smartphone . BlackBerry Priv can record video in 4K at 30 FPS and in Full HD at 60 FPS. The front camera is 2 MP more than enough.
Price and final conclusions
For now the BlackBerry Priv costs $779 . The overall quality of the phone is good.