BlackBerry Priv review

BlackBerry's first-ever Android phone is excellent – it's just too late

Blackberry Priv

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BlackBerry has managed to squeeze a sizeable 3,410mAh non-removable battery in the Priv, which is one of the largest power packs in either the 2015 or 2016 flagship lineup.

The Canadian firm claims the BlackBerry Priv is good for 22.5 hours of "mixed usage" on a single charge with, and to be fair the Priv does get close to that figure.

I found that the Priv comfortably saw out a full day (7:30am to 11:30pm) on a single charge. A day's usage usually consisted of an hour or so of Google Play Music streaming, a handful of calls and texts, and multiple emails and WhatsApp messages, along with healthy doses of web browsing and gaming.

BlackBerry Priv review

This means the BlackBerry Priv comfortably matches the battery performance of its flagship rivals, with a full day now the benchmark for our top-flight phones.

In fact, BlackBerry and Google appear to have improved the Priv's battery life with the update to Android Marshmallow - partly thanks, no doubt, to Google's new Doze system. Doze reduces battery usage drastically whenever the phone is inactive for a protracted spell.

I ran the 90-minute HD video test on the Priv, with screen brightness on full and various accounts syncing over Wi-Fi in the background. At the end of the video the BlackBerry Priv had lost 13% of its juice. That's a great result, and also happens to be a 7% improvement on the same test pre-Marshmallow.

It puts the Priv well ahead of the similarly sized iPhone 6S Plus (22% loss) and roughly equal to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge (14%), while performing way better than the HTC One M9 (31%) and Moto X Style (30%).

For those planning on transitioning from the BlackBerry Classic or BlackBerry Passport, the Priv's battery performance is also about on a par with those devices, but if you're looking to finally upgrade from an older Bold or Curve the Priv won't last as long.

BlackBerry Priv review

If you do start running low the good news is that the BlackBerry Priv comes with Quick Charge, enabling you to get seven hours of usage from a half-hour charge – you will need the Quick Charge-enabled plug adapter to take advantage of this feature though.

The edge screen also comes in handy when you're charging the Priv, displaying a slender battery meter showing the handset's battery percentage.

This means you can sit the Priv on your desk or bedside table and see how much juice you've currently got without having to illuminate the full display, saving on power consumption.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.