The BlackBerry Priv has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 64-bit hexacore processor, with two Cortex A-57 cores running at 1.82GHz, and four Cortex A-53 cores running at 1.44GHz, and an Adreno 418 GPU. It has also has 3GB of RAM, which allows for quick app switching with little to no app reloading.
The Priv does pretty well on the Geekbench 3 benchmark considering its older processor. It garnered a 1142 on the single-core test and 3115 on the multi-core test. The Droid Turbo 2, with its Snapdragon 810, scored a 1281 and 4656 respectively, while the similarly spec’d Moto X Pure Edition scored 1256 and 3558.
While the Priv doesn’t run Marshmallow/the latest version of Android, BlackBerry has done little to aesthetically change Android 5.1.1. And in fact, these little changes are welcome. For example, its launcher includes some great additions. The app drawer includes apps, widgets and shortcuts, as well as a few hidden settings. But the best, by far, is pop-up widgets, allowing you to swipe up on homescreen apps with three dots to instantly display their corresponding widget. This works best if you like keeping your homescreen clean but still want access to quick information. This feature should be turned on by default.
Blackberry brought over universal search with Device Search, which allows you to search files, contacts, browser history, messages, calendar events, emails and anything else on your phone. Password Keeper allows you to save your passwords to log into websites and apps. Calendar, Notes and Tasks sync with Microsoft Exchange, and all of them are attractive, capable apps. Although BlackBerry Hub has some really granular controls, automatic filtering in Gmail and Yahoo has become essential for everyday users.
Still, there are a few things that BlackBerry didn’t get quite right. First off, while BBM had to be included, the nine AT&T apps and three other third-party apps definitely did not have to be. Also, you can’t change an event color in the BlackBerry Calendar, which seems like an oversight for a productivity-first device. BlackBerry also added a row of icons to the notification tray that display the number of each type of notification, which is both redundant and cluttering.
Not only does BlackBerry position the Priv as a productivity first device, but it also positions it as a secure and private device, hence the name Priv. Along with coming encrypted out of the box, the BlackBerry DTEK app shows you the steps you can take to make your device more secure. BlackBerry has also done some work in the software to secure your device even more. To that end, the company has committed to monthly software updates to constantly keep the Priv up to the latest security protocols. Security is also the reason why BlackBerry didn’t include a fingerprint scanner. The Canadian company claims that unlike a password, a fingerprint can never be changed if someone steals it.
Apps that BlackBerry added: BlackBerry Hub, BBM, Calendar, Contacts, Content Transfer, Device Search, DTEK, Password Keeper, Notes, Tasks
Preinstalled apps: AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T Navigator, AT&T Protect Plus, AT&T Smart WiFi, AT&T Drive Mode, AT&T Mobile TV, myAT&T, AT&T Smart Limits, AT&T Visual Voicemail, Amazon Kindle, Yahoo Finance, Yellow Pages
With a 3410 mAh nonremoveable battery, you would expect the battery life to be pretty great. In our tests, it lasted throughout the workday. However, our battery test showed the Priv lasting 5 hours and 49 minutes streaming a video over Wi-Fi on full brightness. The Samsung Galaxy Note5 lasted 7 hours and 10 minutes on the same test, the Droid Turbo 2 lasted a whopping 10 hours and 10 minutes.
This is a bit disappointing. With a battery that big, you would expect it to last at least a full work day. With a BlackBerry, you want this phone to be able to get you through the workday and well into the night or your flight that night.
The good news is that the Priv supports Quick Charge 2.0, allowing it to charge about 60% in 30 minutes. The bad news is that it doesn’t come with a compatible charger, so you’ll have to buy one of those yourself.
Similar to the battery, the camera is underwhelming, but by no means bad. Image quality isn’t the problem, as the 18-megapixel Schneider-Kreuznach lens with OIS takes pretty solid pictures in both well-lit and low light conditions. The range of colors it captures is also pretty striking. The camera app itself offers simple, convenient controls. Dragging your finger left or right across the screen decreases or increases the exposure. Up top, there are shortcuts to HDR mode, timer, aspect ratio, and flash. On the bottom bar, you’ll find live filters; a mode button to switch between panorama, photo and video modes; the shutter button; the selfie button and the camera roll.