Smartphone Madness 2016: We Have a Winner

Smartphone Madness didn't come down to a buzzer beater like the shot that propelled Villanova to the men's national title earlier this week. Instead, the BlackBerry Priv followed the lead of the UConn women's team, steamrolling the competition on its way to the title.

The BlackBerry Priv won the final round of Smartphone Madness, capturing 69 percent of the vote. That was enough to propel BlackBerry's first Android phone past the Alcatel Idol 4 and 4S, which finished with 31 percent. The finals completed a dominant Smartphone Madness run by the Priv, which never got less than 69 percent of the vote in any of its four match-ups against other top devices.

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In a field that included phones from leading manufacturers like Apple, Samsung, LG and HTC, how did the BlackBerry Priv climb its way to the top of the pile? Credit BlackBerry's passionate fans. Whenever the Priv faced off against another phone in our tournament, turnout spiked, as BlackBerry partisans made sure to make their voices heard.

The Priv has other qualities that helped it capture the Smartphone Madness title. As we noted in our review of the phone, the Priv brought a more modern Android OS to the features that helped BlackBerry dominate the smartphone world prior to the iPhone's arrival — a slide-out physical keyboard, robust productivity apps and strong security.

The Priv isn't the only champion we crowned this week. Reader Rick S. from Indiana had the winning entry in our Smartphone Madness contest. We're awarding him his very own BlackBerry Priv so that he can carry the 2016 Smartphone Madness champion with him wherever he goes.

Thanks for participating in this year's tournament, and feel free to celebrate the Priv's triumph — or rue your favorite phone's defeat — in our forums.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.