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February 25, 2017

BlackBerry KEYone vs. BlackBerry Priv: Lock, stock and mobile

by John_A

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BlackBerry Mercury morphs into the KEYone, and the Priv is still all about your privilege. Which one is better for you, though?

There are only two Android-based BlackBerrys with keyboards, and while they share a few key features, at their cores they couldn’t be more different.

The BlackBerry Priv has been available since November of 2015, so it’s certainly not the newest cat around, but for all its quirks it did a lot of things right — and for being the first BlackBerry running Android, it was ambitious as hell.

The KEYone has a quirky name — as do most BlackBerrys cough DTEK50 cough — but it’s got some real reasons to get excited. Let’s run through some of them.

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But first, a spec rundown between the two phones:

Operating System Android 7.1.1 Marshmallow Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Display 4.5-inch 1620×1080 IPS LCD 434ppi 5.43-inch curved 2560×1440 AMOLED 540ppi
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 625Quad-core 2.00GHzAdreno 506 GPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 Hexa-core 1.8GHz Adreno 418 GPU
RAM 3GB 3GB
Storage 32GB 32GB
Expandable microSD up to 2TB microSD up to 2TB
Rear Camera 12MP f/2.0, PDAFdual-tone LED flashHDR, 4K, 30fps 18MP f/2.2, OIS, PDAF HDR, 4K, 30fps
Front Camera 8MP f/2.21.12um pixels 2MP f/2.81.75um pixels
Battery 3505 mAh non-removable 3410 mAh non-removable
Charging Quick Charge 3.0 USB-C Quick Charge 2.0 Micro-USB
Water resistance No No
Wireless charging No In some models
Dimensions 149.1 x 72.39 x 9.4 mm 147 x 77.2 x 9.4 mm
Weight 180 grams 192 grams

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Now, the Priv, when it was announced, was a high-end phone; it cost $699 when it debuted which, without carrier support, made it pretty hard to swallow. It had a big, high-resolution display with curved glass, a fast-at-the-time processor in the Snapdragon 808, and an 18MP camera that produced some great shots. Its 3410mAh battery was no slouch either.

And while BlackBerry’s Android build debuted with some crushing bugs and some slow-as-mollasses software, it improved with the Marshmallow update (though our friend, MrMobile, somewhat disagrees).

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Of course, many people bought the Priv not for the specs but the thing that lay underneath, the better-than-it-deserved-to-be slider keyboard. While shallow, sure, it was an incredible feat of engineering, and a viable input alternative to the also-excellent virtual option bundled with the phone.

The KEYone’s 3,505mAh battery should last considerable longer than the Priv’s.

The KEYone is a different class of phone altogether. At $549, it’s not as expensive (though not as cheap as we hoped), and the keyboard is prominent. It replaces the Priv’s high-resolution AMOLED display for a more reasonable and less battery-sucking IPS panel, and the camera has stepped down to a better-in-the-dark 12MP Sony IMX378 sensor.

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Finally, the 3,505mAh battery should last considerable longer than the Priv’s, given its Snapdragon 625 chip, an octa-core multitasker that, while not as fast as the Snapdragon 808 in single-threaded tasks, shouldn’t pose a problem to any of its users’ average daily tasks. Indeed, the 625 holds its own in other devices like the Moto Z Play and Huawei Nova Plus, and leads them to best-in-class battery life, so I have no doubt the results will be similar in the KEYone.

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Of course, the KEYone, running Android 7.1 out of the box, has a distinct advantage over the current Priv — better notifications, true multi-window, and improved efficiency — but the same update is expected on the Priv at some point. The Priv, however, has a 16:9 screen, with no obstructions like a keyboard when held in landscape, so it’s better for watching movies or playing games.

The Priv is currently sold for a more reasonable $499 directly from BlackBerry, and can be found for less aorund the

See Priv at BlackBerry

The BlackBerry KEYone will be released in April for $549, and you can find out more information over at BlackBerry.

See KEYone at BlackBerry

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