It happened. I’ve fallen for an Android device. The Priv by BlackBerry has changed how I feel about an entire platform.
This post is sponsored by AT&T. All opinions are my own.
I’ve played with a lot of cell phones in my time, but until recently I had a hard time “getting into” Android devices. Maybe it’s just a matter of what feels familiar, and maybe it’s the learning curve associated with an i-device user picking up an Android. No time for awkwardness in my busy life.
My cell phone is all but surgically attached to my hand. It’s a lifeline for me. I carry it around 24/7 and sleep with it by my side. While this may not be entirely healthy, it’s a fact of my life. I founded and run a busy tech start up with many international clients. I have this blog. I am a mom of four. The only “people” in my life that don’t reach out to me via text, email and instant message constantly are my cats. But of course they are adorable and thus I need the phone for them too – to share cute pictures.
My phone buzzes all day long, every day, with messages, social updates, email from 7 different accounts and texts. To put this in context, recently when I went for a massage and left the phone (on silent mode) in my bag, the masseuse commented that I could probably just turn off the ringer and lay on the phone, and get a half decent massage for free.
Cell Phone Test #1: Jumping into the Deep End
I’m a fantastic cell phone tester and a dreadful one. I tend to dive right in and not spend a ton of time reading “how to” manuals, beyond any quick start guides. I believe a good phone is an intuitive one. This has led to a lot of frustration in the past. I can usually tell during my first ten minutes with a device (the time it takes you to enter your wifi credentials and account passwords) how it’s going to go down.
My husband unboxed the PRIV for me at night while I was brushing my teeth. I thought it couldn’t hurt to have him on hand, in case I required some back-up from a more Android-y kind of guy. I was all prepared to roll up my sleeves and get the device online but by the time I rinsed, spat and came to bed, he was done. Less than five minutes and the device was up and running.
It took less than ten minutes total (plus minimal app upload time) to get my social credentials, additional emails and favorite apps loaded, up and running. Plus a few more apps for fun. It was a little anticlimactic as I was prepared to struggle through an elaborate set up process and in the end there was zero struggle. It just got done. But it was also exciting as I discovered the whole new world of apps that Android has to offer. Also exciting, right out of the box, was the gorgeousness of this screen. This phone was meant to be watched at home and on the go.
- Stunning 5.4 inch immersive Quad HD dual-curve display makes everything look better
- Protected by the rigorously drop tested Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4. Not that I intend to drop it – but good to know!
- Resolution of 2560×1440, and incredible pixel density of 540 PPIOLED display delivers richer colors and deeper black levels with less power consumption.
- 4x the amount of pixels of a standard HDTV!
Cell Phone Test #2: The “Awkward Phase”
When switching between phones there is always some awkwardness. It’s like driving someone else’s car and reaching for the gearshift between the seats, when it’s located on the console. The key is whether after the first attempt or two, it stops feeling awkward.
This is where the Blackberry Hub changed everything I thought about Android phones and made me kind of resent my iPhone a little for not being swifter. I actually found myself preferring the PRIV after only a day or two of using it. Let’s talk about cell phone “work flow” for a minute.
Here is how I usually use my cell phone in a 5-10 minute session:
I turn on my phone and a flurry of notifications hit me, and then vanish the minute I swipe. I know I got some messages, and some emails and there was a CNN alerts… So first I check my emails. Then I check Facebook Messenger and find myself drifting off into Facebookworld. I get sucked into my feed and have to yank myself out, recalling that I think there was a text. Did I miss a text from anyone? I open my messages to be sure I did not miss a text and then I check my voicemail too. And oh yeah, I posted that really cute photo of my cat on instagram. Did anyone like my cat? Cut to me still scrolling through my instagram feed ten minutes later, when I am wakened from this reverie by an incoming text or phone call.
This drives my family crazy. Though I am an expert at multi-tasking, I am well aware that I waste time, get distracted and lose a thousand trains of thought daily when I “check in” this way and end up checking out.
Here is how I use the PRIV by BlackBerry in a 3 minute or less session:
I pick up the phone, and look at the BlackBerry Hub and scroll through all my notifications. My texts, calls, instant messages, emails and app notifications are all listed in timeline fashion in one place, with a brief preview. I can click on , into and out of any of them without the distraction of having to immerse myself in the experience of that particular app. What does this mean? Less distraction and wasted time. I am able to get in, get out and get more stuff done.
- BlackBerry® Hub is the one place to manage all your conversations – email, text, BBM™, phone calls, social media, calendar and more.
- Quickly organize and action your inbox without having to go into each individual message.
- It has been proclaimed as the industry’s best communications app.
- PRIV by BlackBerry comes with the best out-of-box calendar experience on Android.
- When it’s time to join a call, will present you with a simple Join Now button that automatically dials you in. In BlackBerry Hub, you can peek at your Calendar agenda with a simple swipe.
Cell Phone Test #3 The Instagram minute
This one’s the acid test for me. Of all the activities I do with my cell phone, taking photos and sharing them with friends and family is one of the things I enjoy the most. I rely on the ability to communicate in pictures as well as words. I need to be able to whip my cell phone out of the bag, snap a great photo and share it smoothly, without struggling and delays. Especially when I am on a writing assignment – my phone often serves as my primary camera. So this, for me, is non negotiable. If the camera cannot perform, I’m done. But no compromises here. The PRIV by BlackBerry’s camera was engineered to deliver professional looking photos with minimal effort and maximum chops:
- 18MP Fast Focus with Optical Image Stabilization
- Dual flash for the perfect light and color balance
- Live Filters capture artistic shots by using filters that you can see before you even take the photo.
- 4K resolution video, 30FPS, OIS, plus record video and take pictures at the same time.
- Certified by Schneider-Kreuznach, it integrates technologies commonly found in professional DSLR cameras.
- Selfie panorama, lets you have your surroundings and all your friends in the picture with you.
The whole PRIV camera experience delighted and surprised me. Getting to the camera from the start screen is not difficult – it’s always front and center where you want it to be, and operating the front and back cameras is as intuitive as it gets. No real learning curve for me to do the basic selfie and gorgeous wide angle scenery shots. I can’t wait to play with it more.
My New BFF
I have some tough choices to make in the coming weeks. My husband is eying my PRIV for his own use and I’ve grown rather attached. Him or me? PRIV combines everything you’ve come to expect from BlackBerry with the full eco-system of Android and its apps.
Some other features I haven’t mentioned that I’m loathe to part with:
- Access to over one million applications on Google Play™
- Both touch and slide out physical keyboards – love the solid ka-chunk of the slider – it reminds me of an expensive and solid car door. It’s a very satisfying slide shut. The keyboard is also nice if you prefer an actual keyboard to touch screens. It responds well to swipe motions as wells as key clicks
- 5.4″ Quad HD dual-curved screen, make swiping feel more elegant
- Long lasting 3410 mAh battery – kept going for days!
- 18 MP dual flash Schneider-Kreuznach® certified camera
- BlackBerry Hub and Calendar
- DTEK warning system app to provide you with the power of privacy
- The cheerful notification chimes and vibes manage not to annoy me. I tend to turn notifications and alerts off on most phones but these manage to be useful, not disruptive.
Who knew I could love an Android device so much? This opens a whole new world for me. It’s almost ironic. My first smart phone was a Blackberry. With the PRIV by BlackBerry, I’m back.