The BlackBerry brand has suffered more setbacks than just about any other smartphone brand over the past five years, but it may be on the comeback trail. Late last year, BlackBerry announced the BlackBerry Priv, a 5.4-inch screen phone that not only displays 540 pixels-per-inch, but has a sliding thumb keyboard very similar to Blackberry’s beloved phones from a decade ago.
CNET liked the phone, but didn’t love it. They gave it a three-and-a-half star review.
“The BlackBerry Priv delivers strong performance in a sleek, solid package. The subtle tweaks to Android are useful, and the compact keyboard packs in useful functionality. It’s also fun to slide open, over and over again.”
However, the review criticized the fact that not only is the keyboard a little too narrow, but there is fingerprint reader security option.
TechnoBuffalo gave the Priv an almost perfect review.
“It’s the company’s first foray into a smartphone that runs a full version of Android. But it doesn’t compromise on what some of us still love about BlackBerry – the hardware keyboard, the dedication to security, and top-notch hardware design.”
The review adds that the display is crisp and colorful, even if it doesn’t get as bright as other smartphone screens do. They also like the thumb keyboard.
Engadget has mixed feelings about the device. Reviewer Daniel Cooper likes the sold build of the device, but thinks the keyboard is lackluster. He also thinks the $700 price tag will deter a lot of potential buyers. A lot of commenters after the article seem to think the review wasn’t fair.
“This is a terribly biased review as stated by countless others. Kindly invest in your writers and encourage them to learn about the issue of bias in tech journalism,” says commenter “emenindian.”
“Does Engadget write phone reviews or blatantly biased and inaccurate overviews of phone companies finances, business practices and historical performance, written by bloggers unqualified in those fields?” asks Sam299.
Many on Twitter think the Blackberry Priv is a great smartphone.
— MomBlogSociety (@momblogsociety) January 6, 2016
I love my BlackBerry Priv
— Nick Fasanello (@NickFasanello) January 5, 2016
The BlackBerry Priv has only been available on AT&T since November. However, according to Softpedia, that’s about to change.
“During its press event at CES 2016 trade fair, BlackBerry announced that aside from AT&T, three more US carriers will offer the Priv in the coming months: Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon,” the article says.
T-Mobile will start carrying Blackberry’s new device on January 26, while Verizon should start carrying the device by the end of March. There is an unlocked version of the Priv available now, but it has been difficult to find. If you are looking for the phone, it’s best to wait until your carrier offers it.
The Blackberry Priv is a great device for people who like big, colorful screens and miss the thumb keyboards of yesteryear. Apple has never offered a device with a thumb keyboard, but there were Android devices in the past (such as the Motorola Droid) that offered thumb keyboards. Smartphone manufacturers seem to assume that an onscreen keyboard is easier to use, but it’s obvious that Blackberry disagrees.
Are you interested in purchasing a BlackBerry Priv? Let us know in the comments section.
[Photo by Matt Dunhan/AP Images]