Chip-Monks  ⁄  Blackberry  ⁄  BlackBerry Priv
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Released: Nov, 2015
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  • Display : 5.4 inches, AMOLED
  • Max OS : Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • Storage : 32 GB
  • RAM : 3 GB
  • Body Material : Fiber Glass
  • Cameras : Rear: 18 MP, Front: 2 MP
  • Dimensions (L, B, W) : 5.79, 3.04, 0.37 in.
  • Connectivity : 4G, VoLTE

It’s no secret that BlackBerry was facing a hard time for the past couple of years, with their BB OS 10 not really winning the hearts of the average tech consumer. And like Windows, the issue seemed to stem from the OS (and rather arid landscapes in their App Stores), than from their devices. So it was almost inevitable that the Canadian telecommunication giant would have to turn gravitate to a more popular OS to catalyse a change in it’s fortune.

That expectation stood vindicated when BlackBerry announced it’s choice of Google’s Android OS for it’s upcoming devices.

The BlackBerry Priv, the first Android-based BlackBerry device was released in October 2015.

It has many other distinctions too – its the first ever BlackBerry device to run on a non-BlackBerry OS. It is the first recent BlackBerry to feature a slide-out keyboard, it is the first to run a hexa-core processor (and a very contemporary one, at that).

First things first. The BlackBerry Priv sports a 5.4 inch, 540 ppi AMOLED display (resolution being 1440×2560 pixels). The Priv comes with a curved edge screen which offers a different approach than the traditional flat screen displays.

Under the hood, the Priv houses a hexa-core Snapdragon 808 processor clocked at 1.8 GHz and backed by the Adreno 418 GPU and an industry-standard 3 GB of RAM. This device comes loaded with Android v5.1.1 Lollipop with a possible upgrade to Marshmallow sometime soon in the near future. BlackBerry has included some really nice tweaks on the software front as well.

There weren’t any problems doing just about anything on this device, and any stutters and bugs we did run into felt more like the fault of BlackBerry’s Android iteration. General web browsing and media consumption are as smooth as you’d like it to be and the device handles moderate to heavy gaming pretty well. While the 32 GB of internal memory might seem sufficient for most, BlackBerry has earned some praises for including a microSD card slot in this device, which lets you expand storage by upto 200 GB!

The pièce de résistance though, is the return of BlackBerry’s vintage physical keyboard. It’s not old-world tech though. The Priv borrows from the Passport, the 4-row capacitive touch BlackBerry keyboard, and tweaks it to now offer an insane amount of features that are very easy to get used to and kind of hard to ignore.
This keyboard is clearly the Priv’s USP and also a clear example of how BlackBerry wants their phones to look like in the future – i.e. with a physical keyboard. And that’s a great idea, we think.

There’s a downside though – much as the keyboard feels stock BlackBerry quality (excellent build, comfortable buttons with good travel distance), it impedes phone handling; the already-large phone becomes harder to maneuver with the screen further away when slid up. In fact, a lot of users that Chip-Monks spoke to, felt more conscious and less-confident using the phone fully extended.

On the camera front, the Priv employs an 18 megapixel rear shooter with optics designed by Schneider-Kreuznach. It features optical image stabilisation as well as phase detection autofocus, dual-LED flash, face detection, HDR and panorama
The camera app itself is pretty simplistic, as BlackBerry would like to call it, but it has it’s drawbacks; image processing is a tad bit slow and the camera app goes back to it’s default settings everytime you close it, forcing you to redo all the hardwork for your manual mode. 

The optics are capable of some good detail capture, but processing looks to be the worst of it. Pictures in bright light look quite good with adequate color saturation and a bit of a boost in HDR, but lower light situations really show the flaws.

The 2 megapixel front camera is pretty mediocre and will just about suffice for video calls, and not so much for selfies. 

Coming back to the good stuff. There are some very interesting features on the BlackBerry Priv-  The Priv supports active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic, fast battery charging (60% in under 30 min), wireless charging and finally some really intuitive tweaks on the physical keyboard. Short/long press can be used to trigger shortcuts, the entire keyboard supports touch and swipe sensitivity which makes swiping through webpages seem very breezy.

Overall, our experience with the device was a very good one, and despite the niggles (of a large size and a poor camera experience), the BlackBerry Priv will be a great productivity-oriented smartphone, with plenty of apps available to add infinite capability and functionality.

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  • Cost : Rs. 250/-
  • Developer : GS Studio
  • Category : Productivity
  • Downloads : 234
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