BlackBerry DTEK50 vs BlackBerry Priv

WELCOME TO the last chance saloon. BlackBerry renewed its offensive on the smartphone market with the Priv and introduced a new device built exclusively on the Android framework. This was recently followed by the equally awful-sounding DTEK50 but, bad names aside, how do the two actually compare?

BlackBerry DTEK50: 147×72.5×7.4mm, 135g, microUSB
BlackBerry Priv: 147×77.2×9.4mm, 192g, microUSB

BlackBerry Venice Android slider

The Priv is undoubtedly the more striking of the two BlackBerrys. It’s not as mind bending as the BlackBerry Passport, but it eschews normal conventions with a pop-out keyboard.

The 5.4in display makes it bigger than the DTEK50, and it’s almost 183mm in length when fully extended. That size doesn’t necessarily make it cumbersome as the keyboard can be used with one hand, but at 192g it might be a little too heavy for some.

Our review criticised the DTEK50 for being unremarkable to look at. The plastic and glass construction doesn’t help, but it does make the handset thin and light in the hand. There is a textured rear, but the Priv’s Kevlar backing is more pleasing to the touch.

There’s a lot to like about the Priv’s keyboard – if you have small fingers. It can even be used as a makeshift trackpad with its swipe functions.

The DTEK50 obviously doesn’t include the discreet sliding keyboard, but it gains points for its audio quality which is exemplary thanks to dual-firing front and rear speakers.

BlackBerry DTEK50: 5.2in 1,920×1,080 resolution
BlackBerry Priv: 5.4in 2,560×1,440 resolution

Sacrifices need to be made somewhere for a device that costs almost half as much, and the DTEK50 loses the beautiful QHD AMOLED display found on the Priv. The DTEK50 opts for an IPS LCD panel instead, but both should be praised for their deep blacks and punchy colours.

The Priv’s panel is the tougher of the two, using Corning Gorilla Glass 4. The DTEK50 plumps for Dragontrail glass, but also includes a specially designed coating that is said to make fingerprints harder to identify.


Operating system
BlackBerry DTEK50: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
BlackBerry Priv: Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, upgradable to Marshmallow

For better or for worse, the Priv marked BlackBerry’s move away from the firm’s BlackBerry 10 OS. The DTEK50 and Priv are both Android devices, but they retain at least some of the BlackBerry software magic that gives them their hardened security edge.

Both handsets include the DTEK app that provides a security rating based on the safeguards present on a device, but bafflingly the Priv is the only one to support picture passwords.

The DTEK50 and the Priv benefit from monthly security patches, although BlackBerry has remained quiet on the subject of product support lifecycles.

BlackBerry DTEK50: Hexa-core Snapdragon 617, 3GB of RAM
BlackBerry Priv: Octa-core Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB of RAM

You’re not going to see particularly incendiary performance from either handset, and that’s despite the Priv using the more powerful Snapdragon 808.

The Priv scored 49,674 on Antutu, while the DTEK50, which uses the decidedly middle-of-the-road Snapdragon 617, scored 41,792.

The devices are fairly evenly matched in day-to-day performance, so these average benchmarks shouldn’t dissuade potential buyers who favour security over speed.

BlackBerry Priv front and back

BlackBerry DTEK50: Rear 13MP, f/2.0, dual-LED flash, 8MP front-facing
BlackBerry Priv: Rear 18MP, f/2.2, OIS, dual-LED flash, 2MP front-facing

The Priv may disappoint in terms of front-facing camera technology, but we don’t think selfies will be high on the agenda of the typical BlackBerry aficionado. However, elsewhere it storms ahead with powerful 18MP Schneider-Kreuznach optics and optical image stabilisation.

Picture quality is decent across both, with satisfactory colours and oodles of detail. You can even use the spacebar to fire the Priv’s shutter, which is handy if you happen to have the keyboard extended.

BlackBerry DTEK50: 2,610mAh
BlackBerry Priv: 3,410mAh

The Priv has the beefier battery of the two. Those numbers don’t lie either, as under tests we found that the Priv lasted almost two days compared with barely one for the DTEK50.

The Quick Charge 2.0 standard is supported on both BlackBerrys, but we fear the DTEK50 will rely on it more than the other.

BlackBerry DTEK50

BlackBerry DTEK50: 16GB, microSD slot
BlackBerry Priv: 32GB, microSD slot

The DTEK50 draws the short straw when it comes to storage capacity with just 16GB, but both phones can be extended up to a maximum of 2TB.

BlackBerry DTEK50: £275
BlackBerry Priv: From around £399

The Priv is currently less than a year old but it can be picked up fairly cheaply. This is in part thanks to BlackBerry recently slashing the price by £100.

The DTEK50 was always supposed to be a mid-tier device, and the price pretty much confirms this.

BlackBerry DTEK50 vs BlackBerry Priv

Neither phone can easily be mistaken for a BlackBerry, but you could argue that the Priv with its slide-out Qwerty keyboard comes nearest.

If a physical keyboard is top of your wishlist there’s only one logical choice here, and the recent reduction in price also makes a strong case for the Priv. The DTEK50 is just a little bit ‘meh’, while its predecessor at least has something about it and has a stronger specs sheet. µ

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