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Is This Slider The Savior BlackBerry's Been Waiting For?

The Priv is now here in the Philippines, which means we can soon make our verdict.
by Neps Firmalan | Dec 3, 2015
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Much has been said about BlackBerry's rise and fall. Once a highly-regarded tech giant with their super useful and professional-grade handsets, the brand has been struggling to keep up with the big names in the smartphone scene in recent years.

In 2013, BlackBerry (formerly known as RIM or Research In Motion) tried to stage a big comeback with a new line of smartphones running on their BB10 platform. This included the Z10 and Q10, and both phones are S-W-E-E-T in their own right (especially the keyboard-touting Q10 which really upped our productivity). That being said, neither can be regarded as BlackBerry's "savior." In fact, no BlackBerry launched since deserve that tag (otherwise, we wouldn't be having this discussion).

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While the company has experienced profit this year, we bet our balls they're still looking for that game-changer, a new device which puts them back on the smartphone map.

They may not admit it, but they're hoping their latest offering, the Priv, is up to the task.

Officially launched today in the Philippines, the Priv is—surprise!—BlackBerry's first-ever Android smartphone. It has been garnering tech buzz in recent months abroad and now that it's here, local geeks can soon pass their verdict.

It's too early to tell though. However, we can already mention a few things about this device that might just make it the real deal.

A fusion of BlackBerry and Android

As we've said, the Priv is basically a BlackBerry running on the most popular OS in the world. If we're to believe the company, it offers the best of both worlds—having BlackBerry's expertise in terms of messaging and security and Android's flexibility and ecosystem. Combine the two and you've got a killer recipe for a hit device, at least on paper.

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Hardware beauty

We'll say it—the Priv is among 2015's most handsome handsets. It has that manly, professional look BlackBerrys are known for as well as a sophisticated exterior that made us do a double take. In case you didn't know, the Priv combines a touchscreen and a full QWERTY keyboard (we'll get to that in a bit) which slides out so smoothly you'd want to say "Swabe, sir!"

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The best analogy we could make: it looks like a futuristic piece of dark chocolate with a touchscreen which spans almost the whole width of the device (a.k.a. almost bezel-less).

Return to basics

BlackBerry has experimented with touchscreen-only phones before. With the Priv, however, they're going back to one of their core competencies: the mobile keyboard. Based on our experience using BlackBerrys five or six years ago, BlackBerry makes the best full-QWERTY smartphone keyboards. We expect to experience the same typing ease we had with the Bolds and Curves of years past with the Priv.

But of course, the younger ones would probably not relate with our aforementioned tito musing. To this the Priv's answer is a 5.4-inch touchscreen with a 2560x1440 (that's higher than Full-HD!) resolution. In other words, they won't need to adjust if they're already used to tapping and swiping.

Impressive innards

In this day and age of smartphone popularity, one tried-and-tested way to at least attract attention to your handset is blessing it with drool-worthy specs. Of which, the Priv has loads.

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- Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor (that's six cores)
- 5.4-inch 2560x1440 AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 2 (for added durability)
- 32GB capacity, expandable to 2-friggin'-TBs via microSD
- 13-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilization, f/2.2 lens, and dual-LED flash
- 3G, Wi-Fi, and 3G LTE
- Android 5.1 Lollipop

BlackBerry brought out the big guns with the Priv, and rightfully so. We're a month away from 2016, going with dated hardware for your newest flagship is a death sentence for any phone brand.

Potential deal-breaker?

If there's one thing that can act as the proverbial monkey wrench in BlackBerry's plans for the Priv, it's the phone's SRP. Abroad, the handset goes for $700 or around P33,000—already waaay too expensive for most of us. But when they brought it here, the price tag surged to P45,000. Yes, a P12,000 increase. That puts it basically out of reach of 90-percent of Filipinos (we just made that figure up, but you get the drift). Bummer.

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That asking price won't make the Priv a best-seller, but it does say it's a premium device. We won't go out of our way and say this device is BlackBerry's much-awaited game-changer, but at the very least, it's a good start.

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