BlackBerry announced the KEYone in February with some markets getting the device in April. This is the company’s second smartphone to come with a keyboard + touchscreen experience, with the Priv starting off the trend a couple of years ago. Naturally, the company has come a long way since then and after launching multiple smartphones, the company is back to what made people talk a couple of years ago. The KEYone is not too different from the Priv in terms of form factor, although the internal hardware and the size.
Blackberry KEYone vs Priv Spec Comparison
The KEYone is not too different from the Priv in terms of form factor, although the internal hardware and the size are slightly different. The handset is significantly smaller than the Priv thanks to the 4.5-inch display on board compared to the 5.4-inch panel on the Priv. While BlackBerry was going for a premium hardware specs sheet with the Priv, the company has slightly lower ambitions with the KEYone as it is packing a slightly underpowered CPU under the hood. This could be part of a bigger plan to appeal to the broader audiences as the Priv was only launched in a handful of markets.
This is an area where no handset has an advantage unless you have a preference towards size. The Priv comes with a 5.4-inch Quad HD AMOLED display, which was pretty ahead of its time even back in late 2015. The panel has curved edges on the sides and was procured from Samsung Display, which is the industry leader in the display segment. The larger display gave the Priv a longer body, which wasn’t really an advantage in many areas.
The KEYone, on the other hand, comes with a smaller 4.5-inch display with a resolution of 1620 x 1080 pixels, which is slightly odd for a mobile display but will still get the job done. The company is using an LCD panel here, so you won’t have the display clarity of the Priv with this smartphone. But that shouldn’t be a concern given that BlackBerry is marketing this device as a mid-ranger.
It’s hard to tell which one has the upper hand here because the size of a smartphone is always a subjective opinion. If you’re a fan of bigger displays, the Priv will obviously strike your fancy. However, if you want something for easy texting and portability, the KEYone is pretty decent.
The KEYone comes with a 12-megapixel f/2.0 sensor on the back, which is capable of taking some great pictures. While it’s not particularly the best in the business, there’s no doubt that it will perform better than people expect. The front is equipped with an 8-megapixel camera, which is pretty decent as well. The front camera uses a f/2.2 sensor on board, so don’t expect wide angle selfies with this one. You should have no complaints in the camera department if you get yourself a KEYone. Sure, there are better camera phones in the market today, but not quite in this price range.
The Priv is sporting a massive 18-megapixel rear camera with a f/2.2 27mm lens with Schneider-Kreuznach optics, which is pretty amazing for a mobile camera. The camera also comes with an optical image stabilization sensor on board, allowing you to get decent photos especially when you’re in motion. Unfortunately, BlackBerry went with a rather unpopular option of going with a 2-megapixel front facing camera for selfies and videos. This is pretty barebones to be honest, even by 2015 standards. Clearly, BlackBerry focused all its resources on the display and other aspects of the Priv, completely ignoring the camera aspect.
The BlackBerry Priv features the hexa-core Snapdragon 808 chipset under the hood, which was a decent alternative to the Snapdragon 810 SoC which suffered from overheating related complaints. The chipset uses four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.4 GHz and two Cortex-A57 cores clocked at 1.8 GHz for optimum performance. Although it was found to be lacking compared to other octa-core alternatives, the Snapdragon 808 was pretty popular in the markets a couple of years ago. While the Priv won’t exactly break benchmark records, it will certainly hold its own against the competition.
The handset also comes with 3GB of RAM on board. While the trend by then was to have 4GB of RAM on flagship devices, BlackBerry wasn’t too flustered by that and decided to stick with its instincts. Needless to say, the company didn’t disappoint as 3GB of RAM is still plenty to do what you want on a mobile device.
The recently launched KEYone comes with a fairly decent hardware specs sheet under the hood, including the octa-core Snapdragon 625 chipset. It features eight Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 2.0 GHz each. This basically means that the smartphone is a power packed performer and should be better, at least on paper, than the Priv. CPU performance is heavily dependent on the kind of software that the manufacturer offers. And considering the fact that both the Priv and the KEYone come from BlackBerry, we’re optimistic that the newer device will perform better.
Much like the Priv, the KEYone too comes with 3GB of RAM on board. Although it’s nowhere near par for a 2017 device, the fact that it’s a mid-ranged offering negates that aspect a bit. You should be able to handle multiple apps and games without much worry.
Although other hardware features of the KEYone are found to be slightly lacking. The company has put a lot of thought into the battery. The handset comes with a 3,505 mAh battery on board, which should easily last throughout the day or even more in some cases. Given that this is a mid-ranged device, it behooves the company to strengthen the battery life of the handset to give users longer display on times. Reviews have suggested that the smartphone comes with a fairly impressive battery life, so customers can be assured of getting the best out of this handset.
The Priv, on the other hand, packs a slightly smaller 3,410mAh unit under the hood, which isn’t all that small compared to the KEYone. But if you’re looking at the specifications on paper, the KEYone is the clear winner in this area. If we’re considering real world performance,
Both phones come with 32GB of internal storage, which is pretty decent. If that’s not enough, you can add a microSD card as the device offers expandable storage of up to 256GB. Another big change with the new KEYone is that it comes with a fingerprint scanner on board. The Priv, as you know, doesn’t have a dedicated fingerprint scanner. I feel the company missed a trick here by leaving out this feature as having a dedicated fingerprint scanner could have done wonders for the handset.
Further, the KEYone also comes with a USB Type-C port on board, while the Priv features the standard micro USB port. Back when the Priv was launched, Type-C was slowly making its way to devices. So we can’t fault BlackBerry for leaving out this feature back then. With USB Type-C, the smartphone can not only charge faster but will also have increased data transfer rates. Since the port is reversible, customers can insert the cable any way they want, which is not possible with conventional micro USB cables. The KEYone also comes with Bluetooth 4.2 on board, while the Priv settles for Bluetooth 4.1. This doesn’t make a massive difference, but there are some key differences between the two.
The Priv came with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop on board, while an update to Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow was sent out shortly after its release. Luckily for the KEYone, the handset comes with Android 7.1 Nougat by default, offering users the best in terms of software experience. Both handsets come with features like BlackBerry Hub which offers users a comprehensive social media experience by combining all services in one app.
Ultimately, it depends on what you want from a smartphone. This is what we say with any smartphone comparison really, but this is more the case with these two devices. While the production of the BlackBerry Priv has ceased, users should still be able to get the device on sale from a handful of retailers. If you’re looking for a device with a large display and a sizeable keyboard, the Priv is a pretty fantastic device to own.
Now for the KEYone. Well, the smartphone is pretty small compared to the Priv. However, it has a newer version of Android, a more robust hardware, and features to make it stand out from the crowd. I personally prefer the KEYone, mainly because of the smaller exterior, which makes it easier to carry it around. It is currently selling for above $600 via online retailers, which is a decent price to pay for a device like this one.