back to article BlackBerry Priv: After two weeks on test, looks like this is a keeper

I seem to have spent my life getting through, testing, and handling a lot of phones. A lot. But I hate phones. I hate all the hundreds of them I have lying around my house and the countless thousands of pounds I have spent on them. I hate that despite having tried, and bought, what seems like every combination possible, …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    ...the problem: this phone demands that you exist in Google’s universe, not just BlackBerry’s one. Doesn’t make me feel more secure at all.

    Quite.

    Any sign/prospect of CM or the like?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Can you not sideload apks with this, to get e.g. FDroid then from there Firefox?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        From the article, with added emphasis:

        > even downloading a new browser without being more geeky than I had time for required using Chrome, which wouldn’t do anything without me signing into a Google account first.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Only the review not mentioning sideloading means I'm left doubting that the sideload option actually exists on the Priv.

      2. Ken 16 Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Settings > Allow Unknown Sources, go to Aptoide site and no geekiness required, I'd have thought.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Aptoide? You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy...

    2. TheVogon Silver badge

      Apparently it plays "Nearer, my God, to Thee" as the default ring tone....

  2. werdsmith Silver badge

    I know when I have the right phone, because I forget all about phones, stop shopping for phones and just use the phone for what it's good for without thinking about it.

    I too belong in that club that just can't get along with Android, I would sooner have no phone at all than use it.

    1. dogged

      Agreed. I've just trialled a Blackphone 2 for a month. I love everything about it except Android.

      What a horrible, wasteful, battery-burner of an OS.

      1. dogged

        This forum contains fanboys.

        1. danR2

          When one-article Dominic Young mentioned his Passport. HIS Passport...

          I guess that passes for HIS full disclosure, but I'd have preferred it a little more up-front.

          1. Ambivalous Crowboard

            Disclosure?

            What disclosure? To be honest, I'd rather the person that reviewed the new blackberry had possessed the old blackberry. Makes perfect sense. I bet most people in the comments are of the "have the old, want the new" variety (or they are trolls come to sentence blackberry to death again).

            Time to get down off your high-horse, I think.

    2. Bluto Nash
      Thumb Up

      Can't get along with Android

      How odd, since I was the same way, constantly fiddling with it, until I got a Nexus 5 and after updating to 5.1.1 and loading the Apex launcher on it (and rooting for Titanium Backup), haven't looked back. I'd had a few other Androids as well - Skyrocket 2, Note 1, some Motorola thing - but I haven't felt the need to futz about with this one like the rest. I just use it. Decent screen, decent camera, decent battery life (for my use case), decent phone, wireless charging. Overall a winner in my book.

      1. cambsukguy

        Re: Can't get along with Android

        I did that with my phone, bought it, installed updates as they arrived and used it.

        Didn't do any of that launcher stuff, didn't root it, can't AFAIK.

        A device should be usable as is, shouldn't need hacking to stop it draining the battery or being repulsive to use.

        I will stick with mine and upgrade when I feel flush or it finally succumbs after the umpteenth drop.

    3. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

      I've generally liked my Xperia Pro; unfortunately things don't stand still in the mobile world. The Facebook app consumed increasing amounts of CPU in later releases, and needed so many privileges I had to drop it in favour of a web browser. Web sites have increased in complexity, and despite the fact it's now on Lollipop (third party rom, sort of works..) the hardware just isn't capable.

      For a year and a half to two years it was pretty good. Now it's just not fast or reliable enough - might be the third party rom, might be the aging hardware.

      I can't say I'm an actual fan of the OS, though, it's mostly improved in each release but it reminds me of the early releases of Windows. Gingerbread was 3.1. Ice Cream Sandwich was 95. Kitkat was OSR2. Lollipop is Windows 98 (unpatched).

      The last phones I really liked were Nokia not very smartphones, which had a passable web browser for a year or two, and some Java based apps, but couldn't cut it in the end.

  3. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Yes!

    I'm looking at the Priv as my next phone. I was a committed Android fan but every single one had niggles and I kept swapping phones and burning custom ROMs and I could never make them all go away...then I got a Blackberry z10 and it just works.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Yes!

      I think BBs problem given recent history is that a lot of people will hold off from buying one for fear it won't be supported in a year's time. Although the keyboard/touchpad is a good idea, would a custom ROM be able to use it? I somehow doubt it.

      Enthusiasts managed to keep webOS going longer than anyone expected, but I can't see the business people that will fork out for the (expensive) Priv doing that.

      1. Paul Shirley

        Re: Yes!

        @Voyna

        If BB are making security claims, I'm going to assume there won't be any 3rd party ROMS, the bootloader will be locked so hard installing them will be impossible!

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Yes!

          The bootloader cannot be unlocked, according to BB's Head of Devices:

          http://www.androidcentral.com/exclusive-interview-blackberrys-president-devices-about-their-first-android-phone

          If I read the PDF linked to in the following article correctly, the bootloader is a major security weakness on many Android phones, should the attacker gain physical access for just a minute:

          http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/11/16/faux_disk_encryption/

          1. Shades

            Re: Yes!

            "The bootloader cannot be unlocked, according to BB's Head of Devices"

            Well thats like waving a red flag at a bull for some people. Give it time...

  4. Ian Entwistle

    I've used Android from 1.6, bought a Passport to replace my Note 3 in Jan as I have always preferred a hardware keyboard and like others, suddenly I stop thinking about how to do stuff on my phone and just got on with doing it. The Passport has been a revelation to me and took me back to how I felt about my Nokia N900 before I switched to droid, that I have a device really focused on function/usability over fashion. I quite like the quirky nature of the device, the square screen, the HUB, the amazing battery life and most of all the truly awesome keyboard and track pad function. I only miss one app that I can't run from Droid land for my Banking and can make do with the .mobi site for that.

    I do quite fancy having a play with the PRIV but in all honesty it will have to be significantly "better" than my PP for me to make the switch. Having a normal rectangular ratio is not enough for me, I care little for a curved edge as I always use a case which would cover it anyway. The hardware in itself doesn't appear to be much better than the PP which has never felt slow or lacking to me either. right now I'm feeling less inclined to want to throw X hundred quid at something no better at doing what I want it to than what I have already.

    1. Inspector71
      Facepalm

      Sigh...

      The N900, I loved that phone. Still fire it up occasionally. Nokia were idiots.

      1. cambsukguy

        Re: Sigh...

        I worked on that phone at Nokia, loved it despite may failings - many of which would which more memory would have fixed.

        I used to leave it running a vnc server for remote (graphical using X) access even after I got a new phone.

        And I had an N9 for a fleeting moment before leaving, before it was released even, brilliant, sigh indeed.

        1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

          Re: Sigh...

          I still have my HTC desire z as a backup phone. Now that had a good physical keyboard. Shame it was underpowered for the day.

        2. bhaskardangat

          Re: Sigh...

          N900 and then N9, i was so expecting another device on Meego, But Elop killed the whole program, and then BB Z10 gave me that feeling, felt like, Nokia Guys came over to BB, :D

      2. bhaskardangat

        Re: Sigh...

        Same here, I loved my N900 what a device, then got the N9 that was awesome too still working great. Elop killed Nokia, i hate him, Meego was a great OS, unfortunatley my N900 is dead now, it has gone in a continous reboot mode, and i cant flash the OS as i don't have the files. Sigh :)

  5. AMBxx Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Phone OS

    In summary:

    Android - it's Google, no thanks

    iOS - Appled Walled Garden, no thanks

    BB- dead

    Windows - no apps and now privacy issues.

    There's a niche for someone!

    1. Permidion

      Re: Phone OS

      you forgot Sailfish OS

      1. mythicalduck

        Re: Phone OS

        Now you see, I looked at the Jolla... Guesture based and few to no buttons instantly killed this idea; otherwise I would have dived in pretty quick.

        What happened to the other low-key OSes?

        1. Permidion

          Re: Phone OS

          I guess you meant buttons as in hardware keyboard, which may be interesting indeed.

          otherwise I dont really see the possible usage if you are just talking about some "home" button and the like, Im curious to know whats your use-cases ?

        2. bhaskardangat

          Re: Phone OS

          I thought Jolla would do well, but they took a lot of time to come with a phone if they could release a phone soon after N9, that would have got them some market share, but as it was a small company, marketing and distribution took ages for Jolla phones to go other markets. wonder if they are doing well.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Phone OS

            Jolla had to come up with a new UI, Nokia kept the rights to the N9's swipe UI. Hopefully Nokia still has those rights instead of MS.

            The last I heard Jolla had decided to stop selling devices themselves and just concentrate on licencing out their OS.

      2. Quortney Fortensplibe

        Re: Phone OS

        ...and Ubuntu Mobile

      3. Ken 16 Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Phone OS

        Hasn't everyone?

    2. Ken 16 Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Phone OS

      Android Wear, locked down, 2.4 inch screen, T9 keyboard, detachable battery - basically a Nokia 6310 with the option of using it as a wifi hotspot.

    3. jason 7

      Re: Phone OS

      Indeed...bring back WebOS!

    4. Orwell

      Re: Phone OS

      Jolla?

  6. Permidion

    Tested them all?

    I just wonder, as you say you have tested all phones out there,

    did you test a Jolla? and if yes what did you think about it?

  7. Paul Shirley

    what about the camera?

    I suppose we'll have to wait for Orlowski's inevitable review to find out if the camera's any good.

    Sad that I think of mobiles as a camera with 'other bits' but that's how mine get's used ;)

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: I suppose we'll have to wait for Orlowski's inevitable review

      Where have you been? http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/11/06/blackberry_priv_review/

    2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: what about the camera?

      re. Paul Shirley's inevitable whinge:

      I can EXCLUSIVELY reveal that we ran our Priv review two weeks ago:

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/11/06/blackberry_priv_review/

      Do try and keep up, lad.

      1. Paul Shirley

        Re: what about the camera?

        Damn, you slipped it out just as I was knocking off for a well earned weekend drinking session. Let's say several days were lost that weekend...

    3. cambsukguy

      Re: what about the camera?

      You must have a Lumia 1020 then.

    4. Whitter

      Re: what about the camera?

      A snag with the Nexus "get all updates" approach is while this is good for security, there can be downsides in usability elsewhere. Namely my Nexus 4's camera used to work very well but, after some long-forgotten update, forgot how to autofocus properly and quickly.

    5. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      Re: what about the camera?

      Designed for you tube freedom fighters. I wonder if ISIS are still waiting for the appropriate review. Up/downvote to get women and children killed (Paris, Damascus or/and Riyadh)

  8. strangeed

    Interesting take on the priv, though I do feel the author may have misjudged the audience by stating no-one cares about it being the latest version of Android. Given Blackberry's stated commitment to quick updates I would hope that it is kept up-to-date for a considerable time.

    Though to be really interesting I would have hoped for water resistance and dust protection.

  9. fatty lewis

    I love my priv. There are still a few little niggles. The hard keyboard sometimes misses key presses, though i think this is a software issue also the hub isn't anywhere near as integrated as it is on bbos10. Again though this is software and will no doubt be fixed.

  10. Ali on the Reg

    What's so bad about Android?

    There are quirks certainly but the versatility makes it worthwhile.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: What's so bad about Android?

      Google

      1. dogged

        Re: What's so bad about Android?

        Security. Malware. Endless repeating notifications. Apps that demand access to everything for no reason (a good example here is Google Clock which is an alarm clock created by Google that claims it needs access to your wifi settings and contacts list - what the actual fuck?!?).

        Apps that don't close. Apps that autorun. Opaque settings. Lag. Battery life. Is that enough for you?

        1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

          Re: What's so bad about Android?

          No sensible way to easily see what's running in the background. No easy way to turn the background services on and off. No multiple profiles to manage all this by default.

          Apps that don't save their state properly (especially web browsers) and re-load the entire page from the network when you switch back to it, when the request is now invalid.

          General pain in the arse to get around (better with later releases). Apps dying unexpectedly. Inability to manage permissions.

          Apps that update *all the fucking time* and gradually get worse.

          I generally like Android, but let's not pretend it's perfect.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Beg pardon ?

    No lamenting over how many cores, no griping about the lack of memory, no goings on about benchmarks, no disappointment about the lack of pixels in the camera, no fulminating about the qwerty keyboard, but a review of a guy who actually uses a smartphone, i.e. a live test on how it behaves in real life ?

    What IS the world coming to ?

    1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      Re: Beg pardon ?

      > What IS the world coming to ?

      If the material used in the feet is reinforced concrete aka USA (well at least WE got to be Iron:~)

      Now all we want to see is what the stone is.... Wait a minute... ... stone should be obvious!

      "And upon this stone..." etc. etc..

      Hah! Not long now.

  12. Jess

    When the time came for me to update from my N8

    The choice was between a Q5 and a Fonepad.

    (The reason I didn't stick with the N8 longer was that I either need a tactile keyboard, or failing that a tablet size device. I would have been better with an E7x type device, had the plugs not been pulled).

    I couldn't bring myself to buy android and went for the Q5, which it turns out I really like.

    If I am forced into having a choice between Android, iOS or Windows it will be a large phablet, and I will probably carry a dumb phone for emergencies.

    It certainly won't be a BlackBerry.

    However, I eagerly await the BlackBerry Passport fire sale (As I'm sure do many)

    1. fruitoftheloon
      Thumb Up

      @Jess: Re: When the time came for me to update from my N8

      Jess,

      re the Passport, I have had mine for about a month now.

      It is frikkin' awesome, esp. as the Hub works v. good through my laptop or 'droid tablet - it sounds like an oxymoron, the reality is a most useful bit of kit indeed...

      I ordered mine via CPW.

      Regards,

      Jay

    2. bengoey49

      Re: When the time came for me to update from my N8

      I bought Blackberry Passport last year in the US during Black Friday sale, I am still using it. Provided you are happy with the square shaped phone and the weight of it, the Passport is a great phone. Two days battery life, superb loudspeaker and great Operating System ( as long as you don't need too many apps ).

  13. John Stoffel

    Z10 user forced to iPhone... wishing for Priv I think

    So I just migrated from my work Z10 which I really liked, to an iPhone 6 with a Pelican case and holster on the belt. After using it for about a week now, I'm really missing the great blackberry features. But I'm also liking some of the Apple features...

    1. It has the magnet in the case, so it lights up automatically when I pulled it out to glance at it. So useful! I'm still finding myself waiting for the Jesus phone to respond when I pulll it out. Win, BB.

    2. The apple keyboard, esp in a good case, isn't as good as the Z10's. Win BB.

    3. The fact that I can get at the camera, flashlight, etc without unlocking the phone makes the iPhone easier to use in some situations. Win Apple.

    4. I'm in a love/hate relationship with the thumbprint reader. It's nice and quick and let's the get into the phone easily, but the phone itself seems just a touch big. And I worry it's going to be a problem point. I've already got some crub on my screen and it's been a week with it!

    5. I played with a Priv for about 10 minutes. Seemed nice and fast, and felt good in the hand. One nice thing was the grippy back, which means it doesn't slide around like a bar of soap in your hand or on your leg when used in map mode. Win BB Priv.

    6. As someone who's never used Android for any length of time, I *still* think I miss that back, home and menu buttons. Having all of these functions in one button (or in a randomly moving part of the screen) drives me a little crazy. I think this is a Z10/Android win.

    7. The slide up keyboard of the Priv finally fixed the issue that the old 9800 slider had, and the other BB slider, which was that there was never enough grip for your thumb to slide it up without touching the screen and such. And after having using the Z10 for so long (I think three years?) going back to the physical keyboard wasn't what I really wanted. But at least the BB soft keyboard was still there and still working just as well as before. So I'd really like to have a Z50 come out, which is Android, touch screen, BB software. Then I'd be even happier!

    8. Apps, apps apps... the iphone wins for now over the Z10. No idea about the priv, but I suspect it will be a tossup and won't really matter in the long run.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Z10 user forced to iPhone... wishing for Priv I think

      If you're not worried about privacy and giving an uncontrolled and unaccountable 3rd party full, perpetual rights to everything you do on the device, get a priv.

      However, I tried to get the PRIV up and running without giving it a Google account login, but I didn’t last long. The new BlackBerry DTek security app kept popping up and telling me my phone was less secure without a Google account. is the main reason why I will never be able to use the priv.

      No, it is not just the "you'll be more secure if you succumb to Google" bollocks, but getting a Google account means agreeing to Google Terms of Service. You really, really ought to read through that and work out what they really say - it's buried quite deep in the semantics but it's onerous to such a degree that I could never justify exposing my customers to that. As it appears it's not optional on the priv, that's that. A shame really, I rather liked the hardware - I consider it about the first really good looking phone produced by BB in quite a while.

      Sigh.

    2. AV8

      Re: Z10 user forced to iPhone... wishing for Priv I think

      Some interesting points about your former Z10:

      It has the same ability to lock and disable the screen with magnetic phone cases. Blackberry cases (both pouch type and cover type) have the magnetic feature.

      The camera is accessible from the lock screen, you just hold the camera icon and it launches in a few seconds while displaying a progress circle. But you're right about the flashlight...good idea !

      I've been on BB10 for a couple years now, and I keep finding new little features.

      The Priv is an interesting proposition though.

  14. Yugguy
    Coat

    Bog test.

    You missed the most important test.

    Can you take it to the bog and play games on it?

    So I'm afraid it's time to...

    Take your Priv to the privy!

    BADUMTISH!

    1. Blank-Reg
      Coat

      Re: Bog test.

      Would like your coat, sir? Here let me help you with that...

  15. tiggity Silver badge

    fussy

    Why are people so fussy about smart phones?

    A bit of texting, phone calls, probably email, web.

    Some phone camera use for rough & ready images (compared to a dedicated camera)

    Possibly using mapping app to find your way around somewhere new.

    Possibly music listening / TV or other streaming viewing.

    Then some random selection of apps, anything from twatter, facebook through to useful things.

    I have used a variety of phones & it's no real hassle to get used to quirks of a particular phone be it Apple, Android or whatever, so long as the apps you require are there & phone stable enough that it it does not crash frequently / battery lasts a while.

    I'm more bothered about dual SIM, sd card expansion & removable battery than the OS (though obv those requirements tend to preclude apple as a first choice, though I do use iphone as a spare in case of breakage / theft of main android phone (iphone was one of my partners "cast offs" after upgrade, not cutting edge but it is sufficient for my needs))

    Most people have enough important things going on in their life to not be overly bothered about presence or absence of some particular gestures on a phone.

  16. jzl

    Meh

    Still prefer the iPhone. Less complicated.

  17. Bob H

    Sounds like it would be perfect, shame it doesn't seem to be a dual SIM phone otherwise I would jump on it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      otherwise I would jump on it.

      The screen isn't *that* strong ..

  18. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    BlackBerry keyboard

    The absolute best thing about the Priv is that I can now install BlackBerry's seriously excellent on-screen keyboard on my garden variety Android phone.

    I wasn't particularly heartbroken to lose my Z10, but boy oh boy was it painful to go back to trying to write using the utterly crap Android keyboard.

  19. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge
    Pint

    more-or-less pointless curved edges

    Ah such a brilliant observation.

  20. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    So near, and yet.. so far

    It looks good, and I want to buy it, but five hundred and sixty quid SIM free? Thank you, but no.

    I note the Passport, which is now a year old, is available for 3-400 quid, which is more like it. Here's hoping the price drops once the exclusivity period ends.

    There's no way this will ever get unlocked, so the assumption has to be the phone will be a doorstop inside two years, and will never get an update to Marshmallow.

    My actual requirements are a physical keyboard, a great screen and being able to install random Android apps if need be. I would really like a removable battery too, but that dream may die with the Xperia Pro I'm currently using. I'm wondering if another alternative is the Passport - I have no attachment to the OS being Android, so long as the apps run..

    1. Ian Entwistle

      Re: So near, and yet.. so far

      Any specific android apps and I can test them for you to check they work. it appears the only ones that have had issues for me are ones that care if its been rooted( Banking/SkyGo till i binned SKY/some bespoke work apps that demand non rooted).

      I can heartily recommend the PP though, I thought i was taking a bit of a risk and it turned out to be best decision on a phone I made in a long time.

      1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

        Re: So near, and yet.. so far

        Thanks, that's very kind. I don't run too many Android apps these days because the more background services my phone runs, the more unusable it is :(. I want to run more..

        What I need : Decent web browser, National rail enquiries app, IMAP client with lots of mail stored locally as well as left remotely and support for multiple accounts without enforcing a unified inbox (currently using K9 Mail), maps, PDF viewer, a Facebook client that doesn't use up 100% cpu and need access to everything on your phone (I use the web interface currently because of this), Whatsapp, Kik Messenger, twitter client, ebay app, Youtube, Kindle client, FTP client, SSH client.

        Nice to have : Skype, jabber client to access google talk, memrise, OS MapFinder, iPlayer for radio would be lovely, nethack, some sort of app to automatically download web pages to read later, and ideally random gaming apps off humble bundle (I did a bit of a search last night and found there are hacks to get Google play services working, which allows games such as Plants vs Zombies 2 to work).

        On a practical note, how well does the PP fit in a jeans pocket?

        Whilst on computers I have a bit of a preference for Windows and BSD, I don't think I'm quite so bothered on phones, provided they don't overly restrict what I can do.. I like Android, but I don't necessarily want Google to win the mobile phone wars.

  21. MrDamage

    No keyboard, no sale.

    Call me old fashioned. Call me a relic, but I'm not interested in phones which are touch only.

    The only media consumption that occurs on my phone is music, and the occasional web page while waiting for a bus/train, the rest of the time it's used for emails and messaging, which the keyboard makes so much faster and easier.

    1. therebel

      Re: No keyboard, no sale.

      You know the Priv has a keyboard right?

    2. lsces

      Re: No keyboard, no sale.

      I am sure there is still a market for a bigger version of the n900 with a HORIZONTAL display and keyboard?

  22. Adrian Tompkins
    Coat

    "holster on the belt" 'nuff said.

  23. dr john

    Tiggity is right - it's a phone

    Tiggity got it right.

    This is a phone we are talking about, not some life or death option that will affect the future of the universe and world peace. It's a PHONE.

    Everything else is an extra, a bonus. I am on my third or fourth smart phone, I only change when the contract needs renewing, and get one with a sharper screen, faster processor and more memory. And the same contract price.

    A phone is NOT my main computing device, it just has to work.

    My partner just got her first ever smart phone two weeks ago when her antique eight or ten year old Nokia stopped sending texts. £25 it cost her. And do you know, you can phone and text people using it! Truely amazing, eh. You've probably guessed it wasn't an Apple device, something that is simply a veblen item (like that silly watch)

    Now I admit that when I get a new phone, once every two years, free with my contract renewal, I look for one that's better than the previous one. But it's not a life or death decision. And it's not something costing £300 - £600 if I were to buy it outright either. That's more than my car cost!

    Now go play nicely with your expensive toy.

    1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

      Rubbish. Smartphones are genuinely useful.

      Making phone calls is in the extreme minority of things I do with my smartphone. Texting is somewhat more prevalent.

      It's important to have access to Facebook, as that's where friends arrange events. Maps access to navigate is staggeringly useful. Being able to see if trains are running on time is vital. Checking your e-mail. Being able to download PDF e-tickets for events and display them, without printing them out. etc, etc. A friend uses theirs to learn Japanese on the go, and I'm ideally going to use mine to keep up with Russian.

      It's not a toy. It genuinely improves my life. The only reason I'm looking at updating my current phone is that it's far too slow to access more modern web sites. It's cracked and peeling, not a fashion item.

      As to watches, well, I've recently been looking at the Neptune Pine cheap on Morgan Computers. Yes, it's a ridiculous smart watch for every day use, but the key issue that decides if I bother to go for it seems to be the waterproofing. Without water resistance it's a toy, with water resistance it's not a watch - it's a cheap, portable running/biking/hiking activity monitor and map..

      1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

        Re: Rubbish. Smartphones are genuinely useful.

        ..and I've just found a more definitive statement on that. The Neptune Pine is not water resistant. Bloody useless, then, I'll stick with my Casio sportswatch for running, for now.

  24. HKmk23

    Easy...root your phone...

    Install Nova desktop, then just get rid of all the Google crap and you end up with a really nice useable android phone....and....as you have rooted it they will/can not "upgrade" it while you are asleep!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some good points have been raised in these comments. Some of them reminding me just how much I missed my n900 and a company could make a killing releasing something of similar design with the slide down keyboard....

    As for the Priv it'll be interesting to see just how secure the boot loader and Android is on this thing. Sounds like their version of Android still has a way to go. I find it strange that they actively want you to use a google account as well. Already that is causing division amongst reviewers.

    Personally for me I just want a phone that works. I've had several Android devices the latest being a Galaxy S4 and the android experience on it wasn't great. The nexus I had before it with pure Android was absolutely brilliant just how it should be used, but sadly getting a phone with pure android on it restricts the choice massively.

    I'd been waiting for the priv as I'm due an upgrade, but while it looks like a solid phone, but I think I'll go passport instead

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The author needs to learn the difference between security and privacy.

    Existing in Google's world might affect your privacy, but I'd argue that Google has pretty good security.

    1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      Google has pretty good security.

      True! We still don't know how much they tell the USNSA about us.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I'd argue that Google has pretty good security."

      Android has by far the weakest of security of any Smartphone vendor. For instance: http://www.cnet.com/news/researcher-finds-mother-of-all-android-vulnerabilities/

      Windows Mobile is currently by some distance the most secure mainstream mobile OS.

  27. Canonical Exegesis
    FAIL

    The 3 main areas that kill this for me are:

    1. The stupidly small portrait keyboard. There is absolutely NO POINT to a keyboard the same size as the SMALLER onscreen one. An E7 Nokia device of 5.7-6 inches wiuld be ideal

    2. The "security" mashup of Google and BB is utter foolishness; BB10 ALREADY HAD ACL for properly-sandboxed Android apps that DIDN T compromise the security and had better-than-Marshmallow fine-grained permissions without the leaky OS.

    3. Lack of removable battery and MicroSDXC card- plus IR port-same failings as Note5 but even more important for BB.

    The same dodgy Elop Nokia strategy is being played out by Chen who has refused to allow release of BB10 phones with updated hardware for more than 2 years; any OS that is NOT subject to the Patriot Act *must* be destroyed before it gets 5% of the market.

  28. danR2

    BB fanboi detector overload

    "...which one-ups my Passport."

    your Passport...?

    YOUR Passport...?!

    Suddenly the needle on the BB fanboi meter bent; I was wondering where one-article Dominic Young was coming from. That solved it.

    1. dominicy

      Re: BB fanboi detector overload

      Well, you know, I mentioned earlier in the piece that I had recently been using a Passport. Which I own. It's My Passport. And I quite like it.

      If that makes me a fanboi then I am also a fanboi of coffee, sleeping, cash machines, big pedals for my bike, torches and pizza.

      Doesn't mean I am incapable of critical or independent thought though. I thought I would hate the PRIV and it was the least worst android I have used with lots to like (must have had at least 10 android phones, by the way, does that me a fanboi? The Passport is only my second BB I have bought).

  29. Vince

    Things that I really need to consider the Priv:

    (a) An actual working unit in a Carphonewarehouse store (you know, the exclusive partners) rather than a dummy unit that tells me nothing.

    (b) Blackberry Blend to be available.

    (c) The Hub functionality to be restored to the same level as BB 10 - eg pinch to unread and so on, multi-select and so on. They're absolute showstoppers for me.

    and ideally the price to fall a bit, but I'm not too fussed.

  30. Tommy Pock

    I had a Pre3, and fell in love with that thing. I've hated every single touch screen phone I've had since; although the Lumia 1020 was the least worse.

    But, the 7th time that went in for repair, Vodafone replaced it - against my will - with a godawful Sony M4 Aqua. I hated that phone. I hated that phone more than any piece of tech I've ever used. So I sold it at CEX for £93 and put the money towards a Blackberry Classic. It really feels like I'm at home again. I have no Google services at all, I have all the apps I need (basically a browser and sat nav) and even the laughable camera isn't as catastrophically bad as the M4's.

    I've got a lot of time for Blackberry. Let's hope the Priv can get a lot of people to fall back in love with them again, so they can fuck Android off. BB10 blows it out of the water. Using Android is too high a price for me just to have a keyboard

  31. GoatCakes_HipsterPanties

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO....................... not gonna hear it not gonna hear it.

    NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

    I HATE YOU.

    LOSER.

    I CAN BEAT YOU UP IN A FIGHT

  32. poodypoo

    I haven't seen this mentioned elsewhere -- Does the Priv support IKEV2 VPN natively?

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