Device Reviews: The BlackBerry Priv
By Quinton Lawman, OverDrive Product Owner
Full disclaimer: I haven’t had much in the way of hands-on time with the BlackBerry Priv, so I’m basing this review on other reviews I’ve read as well as the specs and design of the Priv.
OK, now that that’s out of the way, let me tell you a little bit about the Priv. It’s aBlackBerry. and it runs Android. Yup, it’s a weird world we live in, my friends, but this particular odd-ball combination appears to be a good one.
The Priv comes equipped with one of BlackBerry’s famous physical keyboards, arguably the best thing that BlackBerry could have possibly brought to a new platform. On the Priv, they’ve taken the keyboard a step further, and made it into a capacitive touchpad so you don’t have to constantly reach up to the screen while you’re using it. It’s a pretty fantastic idea, but takes a little getting used to.
The screen is really good, but not revolutionary, and the same goes for the camera. The battery is decent, but not the best, and the same goes for the processor driving this thing.
What I’m getting at is this: the BlackBerry Priv isn’t the best in its class in anything, but it’s not particularly bad at anything either. The phone is well made, and it does its job as a high-end smartphone admirably.
So, you get an all around performer, plus the extra security that comes along with owning a BlackBerry and an honest-to-goodness physical keyboard. I, for one, sincerely miss buttons. There’s something magical about the tactile feedback a button offers. Every keystroke is more sure, and I like it.
The Priv also runs Lollipop (Android 5.1.1), which is one version behind the latest. They’re saying that the Marshmallow (6.0) update is coming in the next several months. However, Lollipop gets you the latest version of the OverDrive app, along with compatibility the latest versions of every other app in the Play store.
To sum up
For it’s unique utility, I can officially say the BlackBerry Priv is a device I’d recommend. If you want the best screen and the best processor, you may want to look elsewhere. And, while the device feels well made, this is new territory for BlackBerry. I’m not saying it’ll fall apart–BlackBerry has a pretty solid track record with hardware quality–just that the newness of this kind of device of them is something to keep in mind.
Like I said earlier, I haven’t spent a lot of time with the Priv. Because of that, I’ve gathered some reviews from some of my favorite sites:
- Engadget: Android alone can’t save the company
- TechnoBuffalo: I’m in love with a BlackBerry again
- Android Central: It turns out BlackBerry can make one $#!% of an Android phone
There are also some reviews out there that are less flattering, but most of what I’ve read has leaned toward positive. Remember, while the internet is a magical place, filled with knowledge and wonder, it’s also a place where you can find data to support whatever predisposition you might have.
In other words, take these reviews (including mine) with a grain of salt. The best thing you can do is to go take a look at one of these in person. All I’m trying to say with this review is that it’s worth the trip.