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(Pocket-lint) - BlackBerry has finally launched the Priv, its first Android handset.

It's looking to bring together the best features of BlackBerry with the best of Android, launching a flagship-spec handset with a full QWERTY keyboard, as well as a range of clever additions. 

You might think that your existing Android handset has all the answers, but here's some of the things you'll love about the new BlackBerry Priv.

It's close to stock Android

Unlike many other manufacturers - HTC, Huawei, LG, Samsung, Sony - BlackBerry didn't want to change the look and feel of Android too much. It's a familiar place, looking and behaving like Android, even though there are a range of extras that have been sensitively added in.

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It's much more like the approach of Motorola, only changing what needs to be changed and sticking to the bits of Android that already work perfectly well.

Pop-up widgets

It's difficult to believe that no one has thought of doing this before. Rather than dropping widgets onto your home screens, you can have them pop-up from a shortcut icon. Just enable the feature and then a swipe down on the icon will pop the widget up. It keeps things clean and simple on your home screen, and it's a great addition to Android.

Best of all, it doesn't need any special widgets - it just uses those that already exist when you install an app. It's so simple, it's brilliant - and the idea will probably be stolen before you can say Android 7.0 Nougat.

Keyboard shortcuts

If you're keen on keeping your home screen clean, you can programme each of the physical keyboard keys to be a shortcut. You simply slide open your handset, long press the key and you'll be able to assign it to an app. That's a whole world of shortcuts!

A for Amazon, B for BBC iPlayer, C for Citymapper, D for Docs, E for Expedia, F for Facebook, G for Groupon, H for Hailo, I for Instagram, J for Just Eat, K for Kindle, L for Layout, M for Maps, N for Netflix, O for Ookla Speedtest, P for Pinterest, Q for QR Code Reader, R for Real Racing 3, S for Spotify, T for Twitter, U for Uber, V for VLC, W for WhatsApp, X for Excel, Y for YouCam, Z for Plants vs Zombies. Simple!

Battery charging

We've all seen the tiny flash icon that appears in the battery when you're connected to the charger. Or maybe you've seen the bubbling battery as it fills with charge. Well Priv uses the edge of it's curved display to give you charge status at a glance.

When you connect the charger, the draws out around the edge of the display so you can instantly see how charged it is. It changes from red to yellow to green as it goes. It looks really slick. Good job BlackBerry.

BlackBerry Hub

Once you're hooked into BlackBerry Hub, you'll find it hard to leave. Rather than having to jump from Gmail to the Calendar, to your Twitter mentions to your messages, BlackBerry Hub pulls it all together in one place. You can swipe down to peek into your calender for example.

It's a productive place and BB has stuck to material design, so it fits with the rest of the Android apps you love. Once signed in, you can turn off syncing on your Google accounts for calendar and Gmail, because Hub will do it for you instead.

Want to know more?

We have a full review of the BlackBerry Priv for your delectation and we've also run the specs up against some of Android's biggest handsets so you can see just how the new BlackBerry Priv compares.

Writing by Chris Hall. Originally published on 5 November 2015.