Finally another BlackBerry release day yesterday… and as usual I caved and went and picked it up: the BlackBerry Priv. I had already somewhat pre-decided that I wanted to get one but both outright pricing (carriers were rumoured to sell for $799.99 CAD, some how Telus went with $890 CAD, go figure) and missing wireless charging on the carrier models had me a little reluctant. As stupid as it may sound, as soon as I walked in to the store and slid up/down that keyboard I knew I wanted it for sure. The build quality looked and felt great in hand, especially the smoothness of that slide. I ended up jumping on another 2 year contract with Telus for $310 ($410-$100 promo) and keeping my 6gb plan as is, which was crucial to me, so that I’m good with. A bit more about the hardware:
- Keyboard is obviously smaller than Passport and even the Q10 (never had a Classic), but is not too cramped for me and is becoming easier to use as I go
- Lock button being on the side is a bit weird for me but makes sense
- I don’t use wired headphones usually but jack has moved to bottom as well
- Cameras: haven’t used too much yet, but random shots and my selfies look fine lol
Jumping into the software side of things, I had already had limited experience in Android previously with a Samsung Galaxy S4 and a few other tabs here and there, so there wasn’t much issue there. The layout is very much the Android I recall. I will preface this with some of these might just be Android features that I’ve never seen on the devices I’ve used, but a few things I like so far are:
- Keyboard shortcuts: You can open app, add speed dial, send message, and a variety of others. There are also short and long press options available
- Home button: Hold and drag to circle of choice, default choices are Device Search, Google and BlackBerry Hub
- Vertical scrolling on the app screen
- Search bar atop the app screen
- App screen sorting – Default, Alphabetical, Newest, Most Used
- Battery percentage and time to charge when charging
Coming from BlackBerry 10? Here are some some suggestions for getting your new BlackBerry Priv set up right out of the gate.
- BlackBerry Apps: After running through the initial setup, make sure to open up the Play Store and search for BlackBerry Limited. You will see many of the BlackBerry apps come up on the list, click into each app on its own and tap the Update button. Not sure if you were to open the app if it would show them as updates. This should be a one time deal though and in future they will just show up as regular updates.
- Google Apps: I also noticed there was quite the list of the pre-installed Google apps that required updates as well. I just opened the Google folder on the home screen and then went to the Play Store and they all showed up.
- BlackBerry Hub: Make sure to download the respective apps to add accounts to the hub, specifically Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I didn’t know this initially so was looking for how to add these accounts unsuccessfully.
- Gaming: If you’re a Google Play gamer, don’t forget to download Play Games from the store as well.
- File Managers: There isn’t one off the hop either, many people recommend ES File Explorer. I know I will miss the native Remote File Access of the BB10, hopefully there is something to replicate this in the store already or in future.
- Always look for the settings button on each screen, there is a fair bit of customizability to make the experience similar to BlackBerry 10 (example: in BlackBerry Hub settings, you can change the swipe gestures)
In closing, I am relatively impressed with the phone and am enjoying the learning curve that comes with it. I know I didn’t touch on everything, but I’ll add more as I learn them myself. Hopefully this will help get some started.
TLDR: Went to Telus, bought the phone, like it with some minor issues.