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BlackBerry Priv versus Samsung's Note 5 keyboard case

BlackBerry users, both legacy and those waiting patiently for the new Priv to arrive, know what a nice smartphone keyboard is like. The rest of the world may have forgotten, due largely to the meager offerings from other companies over the last few years. The only company to come close to releasing a worthy smartphone keyboard in the last year is Samsung, and rather than baking the keyboard into the phone you clip an accessory on to your screen when you want to use a keyboard.

Here's what these two experiences look like side by side.

Samsung's keyboard case is a $75 accessory you can get for the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Note 5, and Galaxy S6 edge+. It's a plastic case that hugs the corners of your phone like almost all of the other Samsung-made cases in this generation, but this case has some extra plastic that wraps around the bottom of the body to support the keyboard.

This separate piece of plastic can be clipped to the back of the case when not in use, but when in use you just slide it around front and snap it into place. The plastic case and keyboard don't feel particularly high quality, especially when you're used to the smooth glass and polished aluminum of Samsung's lineup from this year.

Samsung Keyboard case

What you get when this case in in place is a modified version of the interface, as everything squishes so you can see the things that would typically be under this piece of plastic. What you gain is a physical keyboard you can use whenever you want, with keys that are reasonably tactile and responsive for a smartphone keyboard.

The plastic keys have a BlackBerry-esque corner raise that makes typing on the small keyboard comfortable enough, and in most cases you get software suggestions for corrections an input as long as you are using the Samsung keyboard.

BlackBerry Priv vs Samsung Keyboard Case

The keyboard included with the BlackBerry Priv is a wildly different experience. It's noticeably smaller than Samsung's keyboard, which means the learning curve for fast typing is a little higher, but the soft-touch plastic and rigid keys make this keyboard feel like a significantly higher quality experience. On top of this, the BlackBerry keyboard is deeply integrated with Android on the Priv, enabling things like trackpad functions for swiping around the interface and gestures for accessing more keyboard functions and editing text. Shortcut launching is another significant part of this experience, making it possible to launch applications by holding down any of the keys on the keyboard.

While the Samsung keyboard case is a functional way to have a keyboard on your phone, it's not an enjoyable one. It feels like something Samsung thought of at the last second and tossed out to the world in the cheapest way possible, a notion made all the more frustrating by its $75 price tag (opens in new tab). It's something you can consider if you already own a current generation Samsung phone and want something to make long-form typing more comfortable, but if you're looking at this as an actual alternative to buying a BlackBerry Priv, you are mistaken.

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

42 Comments
  • It's quite interesting. But I feel like that adds too much bulk and just another thing to carry. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Not only that, but you take away the screen space that a physical keyboard frees up!
  • Samsung's case looks too retro.
  • Screen real estate. Samsung's case causes you to lose some. Blackberry does not. Is there really a competition when it comes to comparing physical keyboard methods?
  • Looooool Samsung keyboard looks so terrible and fake at the same time lol....leave the keyboards to the legends lol it looks gimmick... Just like the edge screen it's useless.... The camera is one of the best but the blackberry priv seems professional
  • At least they offer the option, ya know?
  • 75$ keyboard on top of the note 5 price? Priv is a bargain ;) Posted via the Android Central App
  • Priv is $699. I can find the Note 5 for under $600 new. Posted via Nexus 6P
  • Where? Posted via the Android Central App on my Galaxy S3 Neo Dual Sim which thankfully doesn't have S-pen and does not have a horrible metal body.
  • Swappa Posted via Nexus 6P
  • So used. That's a fair comparison.
  • No, there are brand new ones being sold on Swappa for under $600. There are several T-Mobile models going for $540. Posted via Nexus 6P
  • I guess it depends on how you buy it. AT&T's subsidized price for the Priv is $250 and it's only $300 for the 32GB Note 5.
  • I think at the very least Samsung was thinking out the box and at least offered some type of keyboard and that's good. of course it won't compare but it's a valiant effort IMO Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well, they've copied similar things that have appeared over the years for several devices. I had one for my HP iPaq.
  • I have the Samsung keyboard and love it! But I am a longtime user who has experienced keyboards since the early days, i.e. the Blackberry Pager that had a keyboard. Anyway, it is a nioce addition, easy to attach and remover, works great, and I love it. Thanks Samsung, for a nice add-on to the awesome Note 5! Along with Samsung Pay and my Gear S2 3G watch, I am a happy camper....but keep the goodies coming please Samsung!!!
  • If you really want a hardware keyboard, Crackberry is the only way to go.
  • thanks for the laugh Russell
  • +1
  • I prefer the one on the PRIV. Because it's simply better.
  • Let the physical keyboard on a smartphone die in peace. Note 5/Edge+/AC App
  • Step 1- Buy premium phone.
    Step 2- Cover premium phone with cheesy looking plastic accessories that look straight out of the last decade..
    Step 3 - Wonder WTF...
  • If BB PKB phone is successful and there is real demand for PKB's, Samsung will probably build a real competitive device.
  • Exactly. Samsung are just testing the waters in response to BlackBerry.
  • You really did that didn't you! Posted via the Android Central App
  • No contest! Blackberry keyboard all day Posted via the Android Central App
  • $75 is a bit pricey.... but then it looks like BlackBerry is charging about $150 for their built in PKB. At least with the Note or the S6... you have the option of not paying for the keyboard if you don't want it, but want the phone. With the PRIV, it's all or nothing....
  • But with Samsung, that $75 also gets rid of some of the screen, whereas with the BB you get to use the full screen, and hide away the keyboard much more easily.
  • Samsung needs to make a metal version with metal keyboard If they going to charge that much. Atleast it's an option so there's that. Can't really say the same for other oems. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think I paid $45 for mine on Amazon. I see a way they could have improved it by making the bottom plat transparent so that the screen light would come through the bottom of the keys. Only issue I have had is you cannon access the fingerprint reader when the keyboard is installed. But that is not an issue for me. I think it is a very nice, affordable option. I don't use it all the time, but it is great to have.
  • Years ago, I had an add on keyboard that stuck to the bottom of my HP hx4700 PDA. I think I used it about half a dozen times in the 2 years while I still had the PDA. Having moved from a Psion 5, I seriously missed a physical keyboard. But the on screen one was OK, and the add-on was just too much trouble.
    Based on my experience, and this is worse as it covers the screen whereas mine stuck on the bottom, , this will not be successful. It might well, but I doubt it'll be used.
  • I remember, years before smartphones ruled the cellular world, SonyEricsson had a full KB that clicked into the bottom of their T61 series phones.And it worked quite well.
  • That Samsung keyboard looks so stupid! I can't describe it any other way. and to think that people were knocking Blackberry for having a built in Keyboard on the Priv. SMH
  • I don't understand why Samsung and Blackberry don't partner and come up with a joint kick ass phone that offers a great keyboard experience along with enhanced security, and a nice solid great looking phone. They could do it if they wanted and they would sell millions of these phones. A good example of solid build quality,amazing call quality and crystal clear reception, is the new Blackberry Priv.
  • you really don't understand why? not trying to be a d:ck just didn't know if you were messing around. In case it's a serious question, the answer is because it makes absolutely no sense for Samsung. They risk breathing life into a competitor, something they'd never do. I agree they can make a great phone, but there's 0 chance it'll happen. I wonder if BlackBerry would ever make a Nexus, and if Google would be interested.
  • Ya know they already did partner up for a device. It's called the Blackberry Priv. Where do you think the curved display and "Productivity Edge" come from ;)
    Also, it does make sense from a business perspective, because if the Priv sells well, they make money off of every screen they produce for them. Just like they are making TONS of cash off of apple (they make their cpus for iphones. ironic, no?). It's a great way to not have all your eggs in one basket.
  • So it seems like the Blackberry Priv is starting to make sense, Virtual keyboard for typical short messages, and the Slide out physical keyboard for longer texts and emails, that slides out of the way when not needed, and cannot be lost or misplaced. And everyone laughed when Blackberry showed off the slider the first time. Looks like he who laughs lasts laughs the hardest LOL.
  • let's see how many they sell, and more importantly, how they evolve with Android before we assume BlackBerry had the last laugh. I can assure you not one of their stockholders thinks there's anything to laugh about right now. It's going to take a lot more than the online tech community to like this phone. The average Joe is gonna have to actually choose it over Samsung/iPhone and BlackBerry will have to follow this up with a mid range touch screen device and/or reasonably priced premium phone. I'm rooting for them, but a $700 phone running year old software isn't gonna get them out of the woods on its on. This phone needs to ignite them, and simply get people to take them seriously again, what they do in the next 6-18 months will determine their success.
  • .....NO....
  • I laughed before even opening the title! Mattel versus Neiman Marcus... Posted via the Android Central App
  • I know this is old but came across it when looking for some of these to order. Does no one here actually realize that the Samsung keyboard case IS a BlackBerry keyboard?! Even the author doesn't seem to know. Its BB designed as part of their partnership with Samsung.
  • why is it so hard to find the gold case?