BlackBerry Priv Review by Joanna Stern

[ The Wall Street Journal ] Joanna Stern:

Typing on real keys with a phablet-sized 5.4-inch screen towering over them is odd at first, but once I found my acrobatic balance, my fingers were scurrying around at up to 60 words per minute. That’s about 20% faster than I type on my iPhone (though still 15% slower than on the BlackBerry Classic’s larger, wider, backlit keyboard).

The tactile feel of a real keyboard on a smartphone is an emotionally pleasant thing, and less of a functional thing. Or so I thought. 60 words per minute? Now that’s some fast thumb typing.

But even I, a former physical keyboard addict, ended up using the on-screen keyboard most of the time. It’s more convenient and easier to use one-handed.

Emotional trumps functional sometimes, and vice versa, but convenience trumps both all the time.

The bright, crisp, 2560×1440-pixel OLED display competes with Samsung, Apple or LG’s displays. The 18-megapixel camera takes good shots, though not as good as the Nexus 6P’s in low light.

I would like to hear, from an expert like Dr. Raymond Soneira, whether or not the 5.4-inch OLED display competes with the best from Apple (IPS LCD), LG (IPS LCD), and Samsung (OLED). No disrespect to Joanna Stern, but performance metrics like color space, color accuracy, viewing angles, brightness uniformity, etc. cannot easily be ascertained merely by looking closely at a display with the naked eye.

I think something like a BlackBerry Priv — big display with a BlackBerry keyboard — would have been a great smartphone when Androids started getting bigger a few years ago. But the thing that gets me every time is how inconvenient it is to thumb type different languages with a physical keyboard on a smartphone. The on-screen keyboard is way more convenient.