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There’s very few things we don’t know about the BlackBerry Priv, but it is also true the phone is like some kind of rare holy grail. Not many have laid eyes on it, directly, and even fewer have managed to get a detailed hands-on with it (I guess it’s that secure!). Needless to say we jumped out of our seats and started digging for whatever new or unknown information a recently published hands-on post may present to us.

The article comes from website derStandard.at, which managed to get the inside scoop on the device and somehow obtained a pre-production model before others. In essence, there isn’t much new information here. Most of the specs, characteristics and software details we already knew. What makes this coverage special is the information which pertains to the actual handling of the handset; build quality, dimensions, how the phone feels in your hand, etc.

Two-handed beast

One of the first things the writer mentions is that the phone is seemingly too large for any type of one-handed usage. Such is to be expected… I mean, this is a 5.4-inch screen smartphone, after all. And because it’s not exactly the thinnest phone around, it makes it a bit harder to wield.

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A bit on the display

There wasn’t much about the display, but the little that was said seems pretty promising. The writer compares it to the LG G4‘s screen, with “vivid colors and good contrast”. He also makes mention of a feature that displays battery levels on the curved side of the screen, but it seems this capability hasn’t been applied yet. It’s probably something that will be around with the consumer version.

Build quality

According to derStandard, the phone is not exactly the most premium one around, but it makes up for this in comfort and functionality. The back is made of a rubbery material that makes it feel rather cheap, something you can get past once you feel that security of getting a good grip on the phone.

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We can’t ignore that keyboard, right? It’s what had many of us praying for a BlackBerry Android smartphone, and now that it’s coming we have high expectations. The reviewer confirms the keyboard is definitely solid, and the slider mechanism seems to work smoothly. He does have one complaint; though it’s very easy to recognize the keys by touch, accidental presses are common due to the buttons’ sensitivity.

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Underwhelming performance?

This is a part that may have some of us scratching our heads. While BlackBerry is not really skimping out on specs, it seems performance is not up to par with current generation flagships.

Not that the phone is slow – it actually seems to work rather well. It just seems to have stutters here and there, something that shouldn’t really be the case considering the specs. Antutu gives it a score of about 46,000, which puts it up there with the HTC One M8 and OnePlus One.

Those phones are not bad, but they are also previous generation smartphones. To our relief, this may be due to lack of optimizations. Let’s hope the finalized version does better. In short: it’s “powerful, but with lags”.

Camera!

So this is one of the parts most of us have been wondering about. BlackBerry handsets are not really known for their camera quality. Is this the case for the almighty Priv?

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While the camera was good, it didn’t leave an overwhelming impression. It works best under direct sunlight, as it goes with most other smartphones. It’s said to provide “good detail and realistic colors”. The shutter gets significantly slower once light starts dimming, though.

Conclusion

Those are about the only new details we could get from the hands-on coverage. Overall, the phone doesn’t seem to impress people very much once they try it. Or at least that’s the way it seems for now. With this in mind, we must really consider if we want to purchase a BlackBerry Priv or not.

Who is this phone for? I suppose the main lure is its physical keyboard and secure elements. Are those factors enough to have you buy into the BlackBerry craze?

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