BlackBerry paired up with TCL (a Chinese corporation) to manufacture a Smartphone that just might be the ‘next big hit’. With so much Smartphone fiasco in the market we just want something absolutely original and unique. But from what we get every other day in the market, its starting to feel like Smartphone manufacturers have run out of ideas. From the look of BlackBerry’s product “BlackBerry KEYone” it definitely shouts out unique, it resurrects a physical keyboard but what else does it have stocked up? And has BlackBerry provided its consumers with a device that will lure them towards itself? Maybe KEYone is BlackBerry’s last chance to come out of the depths. We will briefly discuss this device.
Overall Ratings: 8.5 / 10
- Solid Design, well built
- Physical Keyboard
- Large battery
- Fast Charging
- Expandable Storage
- Not so great on Entertainment
- Camera Quality isn’t impressive
- Performance is slightly slow
- Dual Speakers are missing
Blackberry was more focused on fabricating a productivity Smartphone. Coming with a sophisticated design it looks like its back in business. It shows off a soft textured black back with an anodized aluminum frame, the metal body is slick and well built. The slightly thicker aluminium body boosts prominent looking rear and front cameras and the side buttons. The Space bar featured on the Keyboard doubles as the fingerprint sensor, its sprinty performance is quite impressive.
Blackberry has a slightly different approach in the positioning of its buttons. The power button can be found on the left side and the volume rocker on the left. You can find the 3.5 mm headphone jack on the top edge and a reversible USB-C charging port on the bottom edge. KEYone also includes a microSD card slot and a customisable Convenience key. At the bottom of the phone you will also find the speaker grille (BTW sound quality is pretty decent). What we don’t understand is why Blackberry opted for navigation keys up front and the Convenience key, they do feature a smart keyboard with a number of shortcut options. The rubber textured back and the overall thicker body makes the phone easy to handle, but its obvious that its not made for single handed use.
The keyboard sitting at the front is definitely the center of attention. At the first glance it might look too small, but like Blackberry’s previous versions you can easily get the grip of it. Getting used to it will take some time, some mistakes will be drawn into your text initially. The key’s are clicky but soft and curved around the edges, it feels pretty good typing on it. One of the best features about the keyboard is that its got 52 customisable keys, long or short pressing any key will take you somewhere within seconds. Long pressing the “I” key will direct you to the home screen and instantly take you to Instagram, pressing the “e” key will take you to your emails and “b” will direct you to your browser. You can play with it all you want.
Having a keyboard up front does take some compromising with the display, KEYone houses the smallest display with an aspect ratio of 3:2. The screen is 4.5 inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1620 x 1080 pixels. It is bright and vibrant with elegantly balanced colors, but we cant get the same kick out of it that we get from a larger display. Its not the best for gaming or for watching videos.
KEYone runs on the midrange Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor with 3 GB of RAM. As compared to the high end Smartphones that we get these days, KEYone doesn’t pack the best power under its hood. Yet its performance is fairly well, you might face some problem with lag while loading graphic intensive apps or games, but once your in everything works out fluently. BlackBerry did an amazing job in the battery department, KEYone comes powered with a 3,505 mAh battery. You can easily get about 6 hours of screen on time and about 4.5 hours for continuous use. It also comes with 2 modes for charging ‘Charge only mode’ and the ‘Boost’ mode. With the simple charge mode you get the regular fast charging from the Quick Charge 3.0, but with the Boost mode you can quickly charge your Smartphone upto about 50% within 36 minutes.
The Camera on KEYone is just above average, featuring a 12 Megapixels rear shooter and an 8 Megapixels front Cam. The rear Camera has an aperture of f/ 2.o, the number of pixels and the lens are same as those on Google’s Pixel. However its result isn’t the same. The pictures lack significant amount of detail and sharpness even in daylight and in dim light the camera begs for optical image stabilization. The front selfie camera provides better quality in good light whereas in slightly dim conditions it faces the same problems.
The main attraction of BlackBerry KEYone is its high tech keyboard. Its design works out well and is well built, the performance is fairly good. KEYone is one of the best phones we have gotten from BlackBerry in a while, and its definitely a good effort. However it misses out on a number of key points like the display, midrange CPU and the camera. Because there are a great deal of high end Smartphones out there, KEYone will not be able to attract the attention of many consumers.
Screen Size: 4.5 inches
Resolution: 1620 x 1080 pixels
Battery Capacity: 3505 mAh
RAM: 3 GB
Internal Storage: 32 GB
Expandable Storage: 2 TB
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
Operating System: Android 7.1
Rear Camera: 12 Megapixels
Front Camera: 8 Megapixels
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, NFC