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BlackBerry Priv vs iPhone 6S comparison: the future is back

Balckberry priv official render press
© BlackBerry

BlackBerry was the future once, but then it was squashed by iPhones and Android, and to say recent sales have been disappointing would be like saying Siberian winters are a bit chilly. But now the company has launched the Priv, which runs on Android. It it too little, too late or will BlackBerry finally make Apple crumble? Find out in our iPhone 6S comparison.

blackberry priv hands on
The Priv has a secret: it's got a keyboard too. / © derStandard

BlackBerry Priv vs iPhone 6S comparison: design and build quality

BlackBerry built its reputation on smartphones with QWERTY keyboards, and after some ill-advised adventures with touchscreen devices, it has brought the physical keyboard back. In the BlackBerry Priv it’s a slide-out affair that’s hidden below a curved screen. It’s an interesting approach, enabling you to have a keyboard when you need it and get shot of it when you don’t, but it does add bulk. The Priv is 9.4 mm thick and weighs 192 g, whereas the iPhone 6S is 7.1 mm and 143 g.

As with every S model iPhone, the iPhone 6S was a tweak rather than a radical redesign. It looks identical to the iPhone 6 and comes in four colors: silver, gold, space grey and rose gold. It’s built to the usual Apple standards, and the use of a slightly different aluminum alloy means it’s less slippy and a lot stronger than the iPhone 6 case was.

apple iphone 6s plus 3d touch 1
The iPhone 6S introduced 3D Touch, which detects pressure and reacts accordingly. / © ANDROIDPIT

The BlackBerry doesn’t quite match Apple’s build quality – the back feels a bit cheap and the keyboard is a little over-sensitive – but it’s not a bad-looking device and it doesn’t suffer from the me-tooism that plagues so many Android manufacturers.

BlackBerry Priv vs iPhone 6S comparison: display

The iPhone 6S has a 4.7-inch retina HD display delivering 1,334 x 750 pixels at 326 ppi. If you want a larger screen the more expensive iPhone 6S Plus has 5.5 inches and 401 ppi. It’s a typically clear Apple display with excellent color reproduction, and this time out it supports 3D Touch, the new name for Apple’s Force Touch technology. It adds a new kind of press to existing inputs, so for example a harder press on an app icon displays a shortcut menu.

The BlackBerry Priv has a curved 5.43-inch display delivering 2,560 x 1,440 at 540 ppi. It’s an AMOLED with high brightness mode for outdoor viewing, and it’s protected by fourth-generation Gorilla Glass. The curved bits display charging progress and app icons; tapping on them opens little windows that enable you to check notifications or updates without launching the full app.

priv promo video screenshot 4
BlackBerry has created a range of apps specifically for its Android device. / © BlackBerry

BlackBerry Priv vs iPhone 6S comparison: processor and storage

The BlackBerry has a hexa-core Snapdragon 808 backed with Adreno 418 graphics and teamed up with 3 GB of RAM. Storage is 32 GB, and it supports microSD to take the storage up to 200 GB.

The iPhone runs Apple’s own A9 processor, a dual-core ARM-v8-based processor running at 1.85 GHz. As ever we can’t accurately compare Apple’s processors with others as they’re part of a system that’s entirely optimized for Apple hardware and software, which means Apple can get much better performance than rivals do with systems that look superior on paper. At long last Apple has upped the RAM from 1 GB to 2 GB, and the storage options are 16 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB.

BlackBerry Priv vs iPhone 6S comparison: camera

The iPhone 6S camera is a significant upgrade from the last model. Megapixels are upped from 8 MP to 12 MP and the sensor has been improved to reduce noise and low-light problems. Live Photos automatically captures a few seconds before and after each shot, turning images into little videos and upsetting anybody who’s bought the model with just 16 GB of storage. There’s no optical stabilization here: for that you need the 6S Plus. That’s a shame when you’re shooting 4K video, which really benefits from OIS.

The BlackBerry’s main camera is an 18 MP model with optical image stabilization and 4K video recording. That puts it at the top of the Android market in terms of camera quality.

iphone 6s camera event
The iPhone 6S camera is vastly improved, but the Priv has more megapixels. / © Apple

BlackBerry Priv vs iPhone 6S comparison: software

As ever, the iPhone runs Apple’s iOS and contains Apple’s stock apps. The BlackBerry has decided to Think Different, however, and instead of BlackBerry OS it’s running Lollipop. It’s customized slightly and includes additional apps including security monitor DTEK, BlackBerry’s own secure communications software and a whole bunch of BlackBerry apps, all of which are now available in the Play Store.

BlackBerry Priv vs iPhone 6S comparison: battery

The BlackBerry’s battery is huge: 3,410 mAh, which BlackBerry says delivers 22.5 hours of mixed use. The iPhone 6S battery is comparatively tiny – it’s 1,715 mAh, which is even smaller than its predecessor – but Apple claims it can give up to 14 hours of talk time, 11 hours of HD video or 10 to 11 hours of internet browsing. It’s fine for most people, but a daily charge is essential.

blackberry priv hardware keyboard trackpad
The Priv is a really interesting device, but it doesn't come cheap.  / © Carphone Warehouse

BlackBerry Priv vs iPhone 6S comparison: early verdict

The Priv is a make or break device for BlackBerry: if it’s a hit then BlackBerry is back in the game, and if it isn’t then BlackBerry’s smartphone business is probably doomed. It’s more of a corporate device than a consumer one, we reckon, and while the specs are decent and the camera is particularly good it’s also quite pricey, at US$699 unlocked.

That means it’s even more expensive than an iPhone, which starts at US$649. It’ll need to do some deep discounting to persuade the bean counters to buy BlackBerry over other Androids, or to tempt would-be Apple owners away from the iPhone 6S.

iphone 6s 3d touch 2
The iPhone 6S introduced 3D Touch, which detects pressure and reacts accordingly. / © Apple

What BlackBerry’s trying to do here is get its old market back: security-conscious businesses and public bodies. That might be tough, because Apple’s targeting that market too: it’s teamed up with IBM to get Apple hardware into enterprises and iOS runs key Microsoft apps. The Priv looks very, very good, but we can’t help thinking it might be a little too late to reverse BlackBerry’s fortunes now that the iPhone is so well established as a business device.

What do you think? Can you imagine buying an Android BlackBerry? Let us know in the comments.

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Gary Marshall

Gary Marshall
Freelance writer

Former lion tamer, Girls Aloud backing dancer and habitual liar Gary Marshall has been writing about technology since Google was two guys in a garage. He's written for many fine magazines, newspapers and websites, written a range of how-to-books and a novel, co-written a BBC documentary series and dishes out weekly tech advice on BBC Radio Scotland.

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  • Jason Duncan 1
    Jason Duncan Feb 24, 2016 Link to comment

    Wow Wow Wow!!!!! 2 months ago I had my Samsung Galaxy Note stolen and wireless toyz was running a deal on the IPhone 6 plus so I said what the poop and got it, not bad I actually like it and am impressed with a lot of its features but then 3 weeks ago my work gave me the Blackberry priv and I am truly sorry but having owned galaxy note and the new iPhone there is no comparison the Blackberry destroys all of them in every way shape and form there is not one single feature about the iPhone at the Blackberry has not improved on it is amazing I am truly in love with this phone and will put it up against any other phone on the market any day of the week with my eyes closed and my wallet on the line knowing the BlackBerry will destroy any competition this phone is truly incredible

  • Ellis.Dee_25 1
    Ellis.Dee_25 Jan 18, 2016 Link to comment

    Why the hell are Apple fanboyz writing tech articles for AndroidPit?

    Go RIM! Go Canada!

  • 1
    Chris Kawahito Jan 3, 2016 Link to comment

    Love BB leveraging their brand for what they are known for, and carving out the serious professional niche. IPhones could be considered cool and luxurious but neither of those things are good to say about yourself when you are a doctor, lawyer, or anyone who is a serious professional.

    "it’s teamed up with IBM to get Apple hardware into enterprises and iOS runs key Microsoft apps" IBM and the Apple duo has yet to bear any fruite beside a few apps, and the if you haven't used MS Office on an IPhone or IPad, you are missing out on how impossible it is to use Excel on them.

  • 1
    kadi zheng Dec 17, 2015 Link to comment

    even with a biased writer/article, the priv still beats the iphone. Can you believe the specs???????

  • 3
    Sergio Namora Nov 9, 2015 Link to comment

    Another biased comparison. Writer should REALLY stick to reviewing his favourites hardwares ONLY.

  • 1
    Ali Akbar Nov 9, 2015 Link to comment

    That was a biased comparison.
    1: i phone is way much expensive than it should be.
    2: screen quality is low
    3: odd ways of data transfer. Hectic most of the time
    4: high device to screen ratio, oddly rectangular (i phone 5)
    5: 4 was brick heavy don't forget,that.
    6: im mature businessman use iphone.
    The only productivity and security driven business smartphone is blackberry. I remember iPhone users begging for qwerty kepad and that case blackberry won over a company that made keypads for iphone.
    Iphone cannot meet BlackBerry in the following areas
    BlackBerry Remember, BlackBerry clock, BlackBerry calendar, BBM, Device search, BlackBerry Hub, Fastest browser till date, BlackBerry express, BlackBerry story maker, security and productivity. . . . For all those i'm ready to pay even 1K.

  • 2
    Chuck Nov 5, 2015 Link to comment

    Too bad they're wasting such beautiful hardware on a terrible OS like Android. Sad that BlackBerry has to pander to the Hoi Polloi when their own OS is so much better. And the iPhone? Worst smartphone on the market. Pay more, get less. Fall in line. So much for "think Different."

    Ihsan Ullah Aasim

  • 5
    Todd Richardson Nov 5, 2015 Link to comment

    I think the phone needs to at least be released before we start saying things like this camera is better then that. In a sea of Android phones this is a standout, although I'd wait for the version with a fingerprint reader. I think there is a consumer market here, and a slightly lower spec phone with similar form factor would likely be a hit

  • Gloria Hackler 12
    Gloria Hackler Nov 5, 2015 Link to comment

    I'm a former blackberry user and I'm pretty excited about this device. I hope they launch it soon.


    • Kino Watson 1
      Kino Watson Nov 5, 2015 Link to comment

      I'm excited as well!

  • 2
    Gio Nov 5, 2015 Link to comment

    Correction: " microSD to take the storage up to 200 GB" should be: "microSD to take the storage up to 2 TB"

  • Flappy Goat Cakes 3
    Flappy Goat Cakes Nov 5, 2015 Link to comment


    Ihsan Ullah AasimVindictive

  • 3
    Tony Chan Nov 5, 2015 Link to comment

    I'm an ex-blackberry user and I still misses it's email security features. I opted to Android having replaceable battery and external micro SD card storage compared to iPhone's limitation. My 1st android was Samsung Note 2. I love it's S-Pen feature. Used it more than 2 years, skip Note 3 and now using Note 4 Dual Sim. Love it. Didn't like Note 5 as they took out the main reason why I chose Android. I'm tempting to like this Blackberry Priv but will have to see when it's launched. Though, having a S-Pen and dual Sim now will be the challenge to switch. Just my thought...

    • Kino Watson 1
      Kino Watson Nov 5, 2015 Link to comment

      I want the Priv but love my S pen on my Note 5! I also love using my BlackBerry Passport for biz and emails.

  • Leonardo 11
    Leonardo Nov 5, 2015 Link to comment

    BlackBerry very late to the game...don't think I can turn my back on nexus for now :)

  • 2
    Rigo Nov 5, 2015 Link to comment

    May be worth pointing out that for your $649 iPhone 6S price you only get 16GB of onboard storage (which essentially compels users to pay for iCloud storage, surprise). The Priv comes with 32 GB and the expandable SD card slot. IMO, that's worth the extra $50.

    Rolly SpencerTony Chan

    • 1
      Rolly Spencer Nov 5, 2015 Link to comment

      Great point, wonder why the writer of this article can't compare apples with apples. Blackberry basher. If you add the cost of a 128GB micro sd and comapre it to the iphone 128GB the blackberry is $750 vs $850 for the iphone.

    • Kino Watson 1
      Kino Watson Nov 5, 2015 Link to comment

      I've been a religious Iphone user for years, but became sick and tired of the same ole operating system. I switched to the Note 5 but didn't realize the priv was going to be in stores at at&t Nov 6!

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