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BlackBerry KeyOne Review

thetechy - blackberry keyone review

BlackBerry is back with its new smartphone that brings the aesthetics and doesn’t shy away from its true identity. BlackBerry KeyOne is a unique Android smartphone that features 4.5-inch touchscreen display along with a physical keyboard, the KeyOne looks nothing like a classic BlackBerry. In fact, it looks nothing like any phone ever made. But beneath it all it wants to serve the same purpose every BlackBerry has for the past decade.

Does a full-fledged touchscreen display with a physical keyboard even make any sense – is that what your smartphone experience has been sorely lacking? We doubt it. We had been using the BlackBerry Keyone for a week to find out whether it’s the most innovative smartphone ever or a massive mistake.

HOW DOES IT FEEL OUT OF THE BOX?

The BlackBerry KeyOne is one of the unique designed smartphones; it’s a classic candy bar style with a 4.5-inch touchscreen display at the top and a physical QWERTY keyboard at the bottom. The physical keyboard even offers gesture and fingerprint support. The bottom of the device has curved corners, while the top has a cut off at an angle. The device features rubberized back that feels grippy while holding the phone. Measuring just 149.1 x 72.4 x 9.4 mm, and weighing 180 grams, the KeyOne is the heaviest smartphones among most its competitors. The device is pocketable and easy to carry around. BlackBerry has chosen to go with the USB Type-C (USB-C) port for charging. This is the first BlackBerry smartphone to feature Dual-SIM option which supports 4G network.

Talking about the keyboard, it has total 34 tiny plastic physical keys and a spacebar, occupying the bottom part of the front side. That spacebar also doubles as a fingerprint scanner and rest of the keyboard support gesture. However, the home, back and menu buttons are situated above the keyboard, which means you have to move your thumb above the keyboard. Underneath the volume rocker on the right-hand side is a button that does nothing out of the box. BlackBerry calls this the “convenience key” and the idea is that you can bind it to any app according to your needs.

HOW DOES IT PERFORM?

Under the hood, the BlackBerry KeyOne boasts good specifications, starting with Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 and 4GB of RAM. There’s 64GB of internal storage, which you can expand up to 256GB via a microSD card. Connectivity features are quite comprehensive, with 4G VoLTE, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS with GLONASS and BDS, and NFC. The BlackBerry KeyOne comes with 3505 mAh battery doesn’t sound massive, but the phone surprisingly has good stamina, going through a moderately busy day without trouble. There is Quick Charge 3.0 support, allowing you to recharge the battery from empty to full in an hour.

The software in the BlackBerry KeyOne is based on the latest Android 7.1 Nougat without any heavy customization. If you’re familiar with the stock Google Android OS, the KeyOne software looks largely the same. BlackBerry has also included a number of stock Android apps, instead of providing their own versions like other manufacturers would do. BlackBerry had included the BlackBerry Hub, an app that consists of all your communications platform, including email, BBM messages, SMS text messages, phone calls, social media and calendar events. This is the world’s most secure flagship smartphone as KeyOne is baked with security features right from the hardware to software in order to provide full Data encryption targeted at business and enterprise users. There is a DTEK security app which checks and monitors your “security level”, and provides tips on what changes are required to improve your security.

Verdict

The new BlackBerry KeyOne was an attempt to regain the BlackBerry fans through its physical keyboard and the taste of Android operating system. However, in terms of performance, the device lags behind the competitor’s flagship devices due to the poor choice of the mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor. However, the main USP of the device is the physical keyboard and the state of the art BlackBerry security. BlackBerry also committed to providing fast and regular security updates to assure the data is secured and encrypted. If you don’t mind having a phone with a screen below 5-inches and miss having a physical keyboard, the KEYone is the perfect combination of Android and a keyboard.

 

Specs:

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
  • Display: 5.5-inches QHD display (1440×2560 pixels)
  • Storage: 64GB ROM/4GB RAM
  • Camera: 12MP Rear camera 8MP Front camera
  • OS: Android 7.1 Nougat OS
  • Battery: 3505mAh with Quick charge 3.0 support

 

RATING: 80/100
PRICE: ₹ 39,990/-

 

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