Hands-on With Priv by BlackBerry

It's finally here.

The BlackBerry Priv was officially unveiled today, marking a new generation in BlackBerry hardware. If you haven't taken notice, this is the company's first smartphone powered by Google's Android operating system.

The device could arguably be called their most innovative, and it's not just for the enterprise folks this time around:

"PRIV will be the solution for smartphone users who are learning daily of the lack of privacy they have on their current devices. PRIV will be the answer for former BlackBerry users who miss the physical keyboard but needed apps. And, we’re responding to current – and prospective – BlackBerry users who need it all: choice, innovation, security, privacy and productivity." - John Chen, CEO, BlackBerry

The Priv is no ordinary Android phone however. With core applications that BlackBerry built from the ground up; such as Contacts, Calendar, Hub, Password Keeper and more, you aren't missing out of the apps that keep you productive and moving. There's even DTEK by BlackBerry that actively monitors the security of your Priv and alerts you of any risks and steps to take to neutralize threats.

A big 3410mAh battery, dual-curved OLED display, 18MP Schneider-Kreuznach® certified camera and other top specs bring the Priv right to the top of competing flagship devices. Let's take a closer look at the device briefly:

K E Y B O A R D

BlackBerry is king of the physical keyboard, and there's no denying that when you use the BlackBerry Priv. In fact, the physical keyboard is going to be one of the biggest selling factors for the device - since it allows consumers a reliable typing experience they cannot get elsewhere or with third-party accessories.

The 35-key, backlight keyboard is an absolute pleasure to type with. Not only do we get a superb keyboard, but we get it in an incredibly thin package that provides the physical feedback you'd expect. The keys have been slightly rounded at the sides to create a smooth sliding mechanism, and actually bring an even smoother feel when swiping along the keyboard for the integrated gesture support.

 

D I S P L A Y

You may have noticed that the Priv comes with a dual-curved display, which actually has many purposes within the OS -- and is expanding with updates.

First, the display uses a curved OLED panel that brings a powerful 540ppi in a 2560x1440 resolution. It's crisp, and the colours pop well. Use this curve to bring out the Productivity Edge, or even monitor the charging status of the device - two features you'll actually be using on a daily basis.

The display's edge actually goes beyond the OS, and into your pocket. By this, we mean the display provides a slimmer and easier feel in the pocket or hand. Something traditional displays and handsets would bring a feeling of discomfort at times.

 

C A M E R A

BlackBerry has had a bad reputation for skimping out in the camera-optics department. Something we don't necessarily agree with, since the images in both our hands-on and review were shot using a Silver Edition BlackBerry Passport.

Nontheless, BlackBerry has kicked it up to a full 10 with the Priv, and in our opinion, knocked it out of the park. The device packs an 18MP Schneider-Kreuznach® certified camera (f2.2) with dual-tone LED flash - and it can outperform some of the best mobile handset cameras available.

With Fast-Focus; close-up and macro photos are incredibly easy to take. Rarely did we have focus / clarity issues on the Priv's camera.

You can check out our full, incredibly extensive review of the BlackBerry Priv in the coming days. In fact, we have a mini-marketing campaign we'll be launching this upcoming week - and a new contest.

 

Are You Sold On The BlackBerry Priv Yet?