BlackBerry PRIV first impressions
BlackBerry Philippines, yesterday, introduced its latest smartphone that run on Android’s platform — the PRIV. It boasts a QHD display that curves on both sides, a sliding QWERTY keyboard, and data encryption that promises utmost privacy on whatever you use the handset for. Here are our first impressions on the device.
With a 5.4-inch display, the PRIV’s size feels just right on the hand when you navigate using its touchscreen display but becomes taller once you slide its physical keyboard out. It actually brings back the feeling of using a Nokia 7650, if you ask us.
The keys are squeezed tightly together which we think is going to take some getting used to — in addition to the fact that we haven’t used a physical keyboard on a handset for quite a while now. Additionally, the company made sliding the QWERTY keyboard up and down feel natural on the device so that’s a good thing.
The back panel is made of what appears to be a carbon fiber of sorts, with a slight rubbery feel to it. This makes the device almost stick to your hands due to the grip it adds when it comes in contact to the palm or other surfaces. This is a good move in our book since we’re tired of dropping smartphones when they accidentally slip out of pockets.
We see the company’s logo proudly sitting at the center.
Its QHD display also doesn’t disappoint — images are vibrant and sharp, while brightness is sufficient. Overall, we would say that the BlackBerry PRIV could go toe-to-toe with other flagships in terms of display quality.
Overall, the device feels solid on the hands, but is a bit heavy to hold. It also feels premium enough to somehow justify its steep Php45K price, but do keep in mind that its physique is just half the story as BlackBerry also poured in a great deal of effort in integrating BlackBerry’s security features into Android’s ecosystem.
With that said, the PRIV has command gestures that aren’t present in other Android devices. Some of it include swiping from the bottom and quickly accessing BB Hub, swiping from the right edge of the screen to show shortcuts to apps. and using the keyboard as a trackpad to scroll up and down and navigate through the menu (as shown in our hands-on video) or while browsing the Internet.
People who have never had a BlackBerry device (like me) might be alienated at first with the handset’s UI, but its integration makes sense in a way that users will, in no time, get used to it. We’ve only fiddled with it for a short while and we already got the hang of pulling the “hidden” shortcuts from different sides of the screen.
So far, we see the BlackBerry PRIV as a handset with potential for BB loyalists who want access to Google’s wide selection of apps. We weren’t able to test just how secure the device is, but as per the company’s claims, they look pretty serious in keeping your sensitive data to yourself. We will make a full review as soon as BlackBerry sends a demo unit.
Meanwhile, below is our quick hands-on with the device during its launch:
BlackBerry PRIV specs:
5.4-inch dual-curved QHD AMOLED display @ 2560 x 1440 pixels, 540ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core chipset
32GB internal storage
18MP Schneider-Kreuznach rear camera with OIS, PDAF (phase-detection autofocus), and 6-element f/2.2 aperture lens
2MP front camera with large 1.75um pixel and f2.8 aperture
Qi wireless charging