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BlackBerry KEYone Review: And Now For Something COMPLETELY Different

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BlackBerry KEYone Review: And Now For Something COMPLETELY Different

Richard Goodwin 30/05/2017 - 4:54pm

The BlackBerry KEYone seems in contrast to any phone you'll be able to purchase presently… and this is a part of its attraction

£499.99

The BlackBerry KEYone stands on my own, utterly on its own in a phase of the marketplace neglected through 99.9% of these days’s phone-makers.

Hell, maximum telephones in this day and age have NO buttons at the entrance of them, let on my own a whole QWERTY keyboard. So, yeah… the BlackBerry KEYone is other. However, so what? So’s tuna-flavoured ice cream, and I don’t see someone queuing up for that.

I’ve had many BlackBerry handsets through the years, however the remaining respectable one used to be the BlackBerry Passport. All of the different Android-powered BlackBerry telephones I've examined prior to now 18 months have felt like works in growth or handsets that by no means slightly reached their true attainable.

Previous to checking out, I had a sneaky suspicion I’d moderately just like the BlackBerry KEYone. I love BlackBerry when its being unapologetically BlackBerry; it right here that it regularly does its absolute best stuff – the Passport being the remaining time.

I simply spent 16 days checking out the BlackBerry KEYone. Beneath is my complete verdict, warts and all. Revel in…

BlackBerry KEYone Evaluate: Design


There’s no two tactics about it: the BlackBerry KEYone is a beast. It doesn’t fiddle on this division; what you spot is what you get, even though the BlackBerry KEYone is A LOT higher taking a look in actual lifestyles. Footage don't do it justice.

The BlackBerry KEYone itself is a hulking mass of steel, glass and premium-feeling, tremendous tactile keys. It seems like a BlackBerry of previous that has been smashed at the side of a contemporary phone. However importantly, and for the primary time, BlackBerry has were given it proper.

The BlackBerry KEYone looks like a BlackBerry will have to; its reassuringly heavy, kinda thick and it in reality does glance the industry each time you whip it out. Right through the checking out duration a number of folks stopped me to investigate concerning the phone I used to be the use of; they appreciated the glance of it and have been stunned by way of the keyboard.

The design is probably not for everyone, although. My female friend stated it used to be the ugliest piece of junk she had ever noticed. Harsh, I do know. However that’s all the time going to occur when you are making a phone just like the BlackBerry KEYone; some will like it, maximum will hate it.

I fall very a lot within the former class. I love that it’s other. I love that it has a keyboard. I additionally like that it's lovely bite; it feels forged, adore it may just take a kicking and stay on ticking. I additionally like that it has a “sensible” button at the aspect, which you'll be able to programme to do no matter you prefer (have in mind, Samsung). Mine’s connected to the digital camera, so on every occasion I click on it the digital camera opens.

The facility/unencumber button lives at the left hand aspect of the handset, and to me this positioning simply doesn’t really feel proper – I’d a lot choose them the opposite direction round and even at the similar, proper aspect, as I KEPT the use of the short-cut serve as key to free up the phone once I first began checking out the BlackBerry KEYone. Both approach, this can be a minor disintegrate.

BlackBerry KEYone Evaluate: Specifications & Options


The BlackBerry KEYone’s spec sheet does now not make for just right studying, particularly while you believe how a lot BlackBerry needs for this phone:

  • Snapdragon 625 CPU
  • Bodily Sensible Keyboard
  • 4.5-inch LCD 1080p touchscreen, 3:2 side ratio
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32GB of ROM
  • 3505mAh battery
  • Android 7.1 Nougat OS
  • 12-megapixel rear digital camera with a Sony IMX378 digital camera sensor and 8-megapixel entrance
  • USB Sort C

There is not any QHD show, a mid-range CPU and just one choice in relation to garage – 32GB. I admit: previous to checking out I used to be all in favour of this; I did not in point of fact get what BlackBerry have been doing – have been they looking to make a phone at the reasonable after which promote it as a flagship?

I knew they have been in hassle, however I couldn’t see a company like BlackBerry being so, smartly… sneaky. I then won my assessment unit, booted it up and all my worries have been put to mattress as soon as and for all. The phone boots faster than my Pixel XL and feels simply as snappy because the LG G6 and Galaxy S8.
The CPU may well be a mid-range one, however Qualcomm’s silicon could be very spectacular stuff – even the mid-range 625 platform. Couple this with some brilliantly optimised tool and a 1080p show and also you’ve were given your self a recipe for good fortune. Not anything holds the CPU again; BlackBerry has got rid of anything else superfluous and drilled down at the fundamentals and this guarantees just right efficiency around the board.

So, yeah… don’t let the specifications put you off. BlackBerry has optimised the crap outta this factor. All through my two weeks checking out the handset I didn’t as soon as really feel like I used to be lacking out on processing grunt. Now not as soon as. The whole thing feels suitably flagship-like, despite the fact that with this phone you'll be paying rather not up to the going fee for a flagship in 2017 (£499).

The BlackBerry KEYone would possibly now not compete with appreciate to gross, general specifications and hardware (save for its digital camera, which is VERY spectacular), however it greater than makes up for this in general efficiency. Like Apple, BlackBerry understands that, with the fitting solution to device and optimisation, you'll be able to get A LOT of efficiency out of fairly average ranges of spec.

The DTEK50 used to be too paltry and the efficiency used to be lumpy as hell. The BlackBerry KEYone hits the candy spot, then again, because it leaves not anything at the desk re: efficiency – the entirety strikes alongside in a suitably buttery type.

BlackBerry KEYone Assessment: Tool

The primary factor that holds this handset in combination (and what makes it so bloody just right) is the tool. BlackBerry may well be considered one of Google’s latest companions however this hasn't stopped it from happening to turn out to be, arguably, the most productive Android Tinkerer within the area.

The safety patches, which seem each and every month, the selection to make use of the inventory (or very with reference to inventory) Android UX, the care and idea that has long past into programs just like the BlackBerry Hub and lines like the power to assign instructions or app brief cuts to keys at the QWERTY keyboard.

Like several just right tool, despite the fact that, BlackBerry’s model of Android more or less simply will get out of the best way and let’s you get on with what you wish to have to do. There’s no gimmicky BS or “studying AI” that strikes your apps round in response to how ceaselessly you employ them. It's designed merely and it really works superbly. I simply want Huawei, LG and Samsung would do the similar.

BlackBerry KEYone Evaluate: Digital camera


I’ve been the use of the BlackBerry KEYone for just about every week now, and right through that point I've spotted a few issues; 1) the digital camera at the again of this factor is fantastic and, 2) this is likely one of the most original telephones you'll be able to purchase presently.

Why’s it distinctive? Easy, it has a QWERTY keyboard, a function nobody else can declare to have. On its own this most certainly isn’t sufficient to dissuade you from a brand new iPhone or the Samsung Galaxy S8. However the KEYone is WAY greater than only a QWERTY keyboard.

The digital camera, as an example, is completely very good. It utterly took me by way of wonder once I examined it out throughout a contemporary commute to Wales. The KEYone makes use of the similar 12MP Sony IMX378 sensor because the Google Pixel and, in the event you’ve used that phone, you are going to know simply how succesful this setup is.

I’ve attempted my damnedest to seek out any professional knowledge at the IMX378 sensor however to this point I've discovered not anything. Sony for no matter explanation why isn't speaking about this piece of generation (no less than now not formally, anyway).

There's a slightly very good write-up of the IMX378, on the other hand, over at XDA Builders, which is easily value a learn for those who’re fascinated by how this digital camera generation works and what it's bringing to the birthday celebration.

“One of the most giant enhancements of the IMX378 over the IMX377 is that it is in a position to deal with extra of the picture processing on-chip,” notes the record, “decreasing the workload of the ISP (even if the ISP continues to be in a position to request the RAW symbol knowledge, relying on how the OEM makes a decision to make use of the sensor).”

It added: “It could possibly care for many small such things as defect correction and mirroring in the community, however extra importantly, it could actually additionally take care of BME-HDR or SME-HDR with no need to contain the ISP. That would probably be a significant distinction going forwards by way of liberating up some overhead for the ISP on long run telephones.”

Whether or not capturing in low gentle or shiny daylight, the Sony IMX378 is a smart sensor. It captures plenty of element because of its massive 1.55μm measurement and it's masterful in the way it balances color, as you'll be able to see within the symbol samples beneath:

The KEYone autofocus is snappy and its integrated HDR Auto mode guarantees photographs captured are all the time superbly composed, without reference to lighting fixtures.

BlackBerry KEYone Digital camera Specifications

  • 12MP auto-focus massive pixel digital camera
  • 4K video recording at 30 fps
  • Segment Locate Auto Center of attention (PDAF), Rapid concentration lock
  • HDR 6-element f2.0 lens
  • Twin Tone LED Flash – Enhanced photograph color stability
  • 4x virtual zoom
  • Steady & contact to concentration, face detection, electrical symbol stabilisation
  • Landscape, Burst, Are living Filters
  • Multi-Body Low Gentle Enhancement

You even have an 8MP shooter at the entrance, which could also be smartly above par for 2017.

Principally, BlackBerry has long past all out with imaging at the KEYone and it the plan has labored superbly.

I don't ever recall the use of a BlackBerry with a just right digital camera. Like, ever…

Images simply wasn't what BlackBerry’s have been about prior to now; they have been about safety and emails and messaging. Now, despite the fact that, you have got a BlackBerry handset that now not best seems to be, feels, and plays like a vintage BlackBerry, however one that may additionally shoot photographs and video to the similar same old because the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Google Pixel phone.

And that hasn’t came about sooner than within the BlackBerry ecosystem. This can be a vital second for BlackBerry and I more or less want it might make extra of a large deal about how just right the KEYone’s digital camera if truth be told is!

BlackBerry KEYone Evaluation: ‘Dat Keyboard, Even though…


What is one of the simplest ways to check out a QWERTY keyboard on a phone? Easy: use it to put in writing an extended segment of reproduction like I'm bow.

I am sat on a teach, rocketing against London, taking note of Grasp, and scripting this the use of the KEYone. And I've to mention, it is lovely respectable although it does take a little time being used to the use of keys once more.

The keyboard itself could be very smartly put in combination; the keys really feel forged and clean and they have got great go back and forth which makes typing on it very intuitive. It jogs my memory a large number of the Q10 keyboard and that's top reward certainly.

As as to if it is quicker than a marginally keyboard, smartly… that more or less depends upon who is the use of it. I am lovely speedy with SwiftKey, although that is most commonly right down to the truth that it's been tracking how I sort for the most productive a part of 5 years!

The QWERTY at the KEYone is the same, on the other hand, in that it makes very good tips while you are typing. Autocorrect is lovely spot on as smartly, that means you'll be able to sort lovely darn rapid if you get going.

I discovered that I'm fasted once I prevent interested by the place my hands are and simply opt for it; the keyboard is laid out identical to your PC’s, most effective smaller. This implies you know the place the entirety is… you simply need to agree with.

I need to be fair: in the beginning I discovered the KEYone QWERTY just a little bulky to make use of; you must grasp the phone good or even then it nonetheless feels just a little most sensible heavy. After every week with the KEYone, despite the fact that, I'm now very hooked up to it.

There are issues I would beef up, given the selection. It's too simple to knock the again or House key when typing and this, after the 100th time, does get demanding.

General, even though the keyboard is sensible; I beloved the use of it and in fact discovered it really easy to make use of. However in all probability my absolute favourite function of it's assigning shortcuts to each and every key.

For example, you'll be able to assign Fb to an extended press at the F key, or open Instagram to I and so forth. This side of the keyboard is immensely helpful and it's one thing I'm actually going to leave out when I've to offer this phone again!

BlackBerry KEYone Evaluate: Battery Lifestyles

The battery lifestyles is respectable. Actually respectable. I persistently were given a just right day and a little from the BlackBerry KEYone, making the handset about similar with my Google Pixel XL.

BlackBerry has accomplished this through preserving the show at 1080p and drilling down at the device. Android Nougat could be very smartly optimised and BlackBerry’s tweaks are all smartly carried out and completely carried out. The outcome is a really well optimised revel in.

No lawsuits right here.

BlackBerry KEYone Evaluation: Verdict

A large number of other folks would possibly not like this phone. Maximum will merely write it off as but some other failure from BlackBerry, an organization nonetheless clinging to QWERTY keyboards and “bizarre” notions about “safety”…

However they’re mistaken. This phone is exclusive, peculiar, tough and it has a super digital camera and very good consumer revel in. I had an absolute blast checking out this phone, far more than I did when the use of the LG G6, and once I’d completed checking out it I sought after to to hold on the use of it.

The handset isn't best possible, it’s slightly too most sensible heavy for my liking, however it seems, feels and plays like a BlackBerry and that, in the event you’re a longstanding BlackBerry fan, will have to be song on your ears.

Additionally: at £499.99/$599.99, the BlackBerry KEYone is A LOT less expensive than the iPhone 8, as soon as that phone lands, and the present Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ and I might argue that it is only as just right as those telephones. However the most productive factor about this phone, for me, is that it seems in contrast to anything lately to be had at this time.

Carphone Warehouse has some of the best BlackBerry KEYone deals I’ve seen to date, so should you’re in the United Kingdom and on this phone, remember to test them out!  

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