BlackBerry Priv briefly goes on sale with eye-watering price tag

BlackBerry Priv looks exciting -- but expensive. Photo: BlackBerry

BlackBerry Priv looks exciting — but expensive. Photo: BlackBerry

BlackBerry prematurely made the upcoming BlackBerry Priv available to pre-order on Wednesday night with a listing that confirmed the handset’s full set of specifications — and its eye-watering off-contract price tag.

There isn’t much we didn’t already know about the Canadian company’s first Android-powered device, but this listing confirms what the rumors had already promised. That includes a 5.4-inch Quad HD display, a Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage.

Priv will also boast a microSD card slot, an 18-megapixel rear-facing camera with optical image stabilization and a Schneider-Kreuznach lens, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, Quick Charge 2.0 technology, and a 3,410mAh battery.

Android 5.1.1 Lollipop — not Marshmallow — will be installed on the Priv when it makes its debut, and it will look a lot like stock Android, but with plenty of BlackBerry tweaks and features, including BlackBerry Hub.

But it’s going to cost you a lot to take advantage of all these things. Priv will be priced at $749 off-contract, according to BlackBerry’s listing — which makes it significantly more expensive than rival devices like the Galaxy S6, the Xperia Z5, the LG G4, and even the Galaxy Note 5.

Personally, I think that’s crazy.

It’s not that I don’t think Priv will be as good as these handsets, but it definitely won’t be significantly better. Unless you’re a die-hard BlackBerry fan who needs a physical keyboard, it’s hard to justify that price tag when you can get a Galaxy S6 for over $200 less right now.

It’s also worth remembering that this could be BlackBerry’s last attempt to save its struggling hardware business. But I can’t see it selling Priv in large numbers until that price tag comes down by at least $100-$150.

If you’re interested either way, BlackBerry says Priv will be compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S., and should begin shipping on November 16. The company’s original pre-order page has been pulled now, however, so you’ll have to wait for it to come back.

If you live in the U.K., you can pre-order Priv from Carphone Warehouse now.