Blackberry KEYOne: Classic Blackberry, Back in the Business

This is about the New Blackberry KEYOne and it is definitely very much still a Blackberry. But it is also really well optimized and updated for 2017. Same as old days, classic Blackberry came back in 2017 with the phone lased with physical QWERTY keyboard.

There are people who either want the physical keyboard or people who want a Blackberry. Well, Consider me as neither of those people. But I gave it a shot anyway.

So, Blackberry has tried all kinds of interesting stuff in recent years, their hardwork, kind of because they had to. They tried hiding the keyboard, they tried a square phone with a coloured keyboard right underneath the square and this one definitely brings it back to classic Blackberry.

So, if anyone actually thinking about buying this Blackberry KEYOne, here is how it does on the five basic pillars of a great smartphone.

1. Build Quality

This is 1620 x 1080 pixels display up at the top and a permanent keyboard down at the bottom available at all times. But in tons of ways, it is very well updated for 2017. It is the all metal build. It is really built like a tank.

Tolerances are tight as evenly weighted and the glass was rounded around the edges for the near seamless feel on the hand like the Galaxy S8 and it even has the antenna bands on the out side of the metal frame like the iPhone and every single button and the camera ring are chamfered.

So, just build quality-wise, it is actually top-notch phone. It is not water resistant unfortunately, but it is definitely more drop resistant than your other top shell flagships like Samsung Galaxy S8 or like LG G6.

It also has USB type-c with fast charging, plus one point there, and the mid back is this I guess it would be a soft touh plastic with just a little bit of texture. I really like this. it is a reminder that the slick all glass back is not the only way to enable wireless charging.

You can do it this way too. Except this phone doesn’t have wireless charging. Now, I think if phone 9 mm thick, they probably could have found space for that, you know what I am going to say already, “Poor use of space”(Not on the level of HTC U Ultra though).

But aside from the water resistance and wireless charging, this phone is built great in 2017 that is a good sign. I think the button placement is a little bit weird or at least take some getting used to.

Instead of normal power button on the right hand side, it actually has the power button on the left hand side (No worries for Left handers though), and then where the power button used to be is another button called convenience button and it is like in exactly where the power button usually is.

But once you get used to this backwardness, it is actually a pretty nice feature. It lets you map to literally launch any application or shortcut on the whole phone. So, Set whichever application you use the most and it lets you do this because it is a feature.

2. Display

Also, this display is not exactly top-notch. I mean I didn’t have any scaling issue but it is 4.5-inch, 1080p and a quad HD world, and it also struggles in brightness department. But when you consider the price, this fits right in line with a pretty nice piece of 2017 smartphone hardware.




So, the display of Blackberry KEYOne does not get very bright, so that could be a struggle in outdoor sunlight. It has OLED Display panels and then there are Muted Colours.

3. Battery Life

The Blackberry KEYOne has a Li-Ion 3505 mAh Non removable battery, which is going to push only a 1080p Display, so that should not take that much of load over the Battery. But even after that it does not last too long, it only last a day, which could be enough for a normal phone users.

For heavy users like me, if this phone do last a day long it will be good for me, this battery can provide you 6-7 hours of on screen time. Which is not that great, but you can say it is good enough.

4. Camera

The Blackberry KEYOne has a 12 MP of from camera, with aperture of f/2.0, which is not good enough to compare this with other flagship smartphones camera.

But thing that can compare it with flagship smartphones camera is the video recording. It records 4K videos at 30 frame per second ratio. This sensor is same as the Google Pixel, so you  can’t really complaint about this.

But main draw back in camera of the Blackberry KEYOne is the image processing. Compare to Google Pixel with the same camera sensor, image processing of the Blackberry KEYOne is inferior.

But don’t give this too much thought, this camera will do just fine, if you ask me, unless you are really obsessed with the camera.

5. Performance

This smartphone Blackberry KEYOne is running on Snapdragon 625 processor. So, if you are comparing this phone with Flagships like LG G6, Xiaomi Mi Mix or Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus, this does seem inferior to them.

But overall this is not a low-range processor, it is a better than a mid range processor. It has Adreno 506 Graphics processor, which also you will find inferior to those, I mentioned earlier. But considering it is only pushing 1080p display, it has low to process. So, at the end of the day, it does provide you a smooth performance.

Over the Top Speciality: Customization

On this phone, it really has to have some sort of over the top feature. Some sort of speciality that puts it over the edge and I really think this Blackberry’s over the top speciality feature is customization.

It started with the remappable convenience button but  it goes way further thanks to having a physical keyboard. When you are at the home screen, you can literally map any of the letters on the keyboard, to be their own custom launcher shortcut, same thing  you can pick any app or any shortcut.

Both for a short press or a long press of that key. So, each button can launch two different things, when you first press an unassigned button, it will give you a suggestion for some apps that start with that letter. But of course, it is completely up to you and that just makes things so much faster and easier to launch.

You can have a totally clean home screen, so if I press Y for short press for example, to launch the YouTube app right away, so it only takes me a matter of seconds to get into YouTube app. So does for other assigned app, I use frequently, Thanks to these shortcuts in the keyboard.

Than there are other advantages to having a physical keyboard as well, besides just being slightly quicker than a virtual one. For example, you can do actual keyboard shortcuts, like ” Ctrl + C” and “Ctrl + V” for copy paste task.

Keyboard to double as a trackpad

And this keyboard also doubles as a trackpad, as a sort of a scroll wheel, so you can scroll through apps and web pages without getting your finger in the way of the content, which is awesome, if you can scroll super deep into Instagram using this method with no risk of accidental double taps.

So, you are welcome, you just got to be careful not to select too hard or you can accidentally hit the home button right above the keyboard. I definitely did this a couple of times. But this is why I find it most useful in landscape mode.

So, keyboard scrolling is definitely awesome here and then when you are typing, of course aside from all the keyboard shortcuts, you can use swiping up, will do autocomplete for the word you are typing, that helps with some longer words I think.

Then you can slide backwards across the keyboard to delete your last word, this was definitely more useful, because we make mistakes all the time when typing.

Spacebar to double as Fingerprint reader

Then of course there is spacebar, the spacebar also doubles as the fingerprint reader, so you can unlock your phone super quick with just a touch of the spacebar, the biggest button on the whole front side of the phone. Very nice integration, good use of space there, well done.




So, overall this keyboard gets a nod from me, I am not in the target demographic for someone who is going to be using a phone with the keyboard like this very much, but I could see how someone could get used to it.

It has a lot of tricks up its sleeve, I do wish it had a dedicated number row at the top and I wish the keys were a little bit bigger for my hands but it doesn’t and they are not that is too bad for me.

Alright, So, question what is the difference between an Android phonewith a keyboard and a Blackberry KEYOne?

Software

Here on this phone, you have a healthy mix of 2017 new Android smartphone and throwback Blackberry features that you may or may not find incredibly valuable. Blackberry hub for example, is the same as last year. It gathers all your information into one place from texts to emails to Instagram and Twitter.

Basically all your notifications and just collects them into one place. So, you don’t have to wander around checking things and then it lets you dismiss or snooze them with super fine control definitely useful for some but for me. I just prefer the regular Android Notification center.

BBM, you either use or you don’t and then all the Blackberry DTEK features, they are very valuable and work great, but some may completely ignore it like they ignore other pre-installed Android security apps on other phones.

And then all the shortcuts again, this keeps with the theme of Blackberry giving instant access to everything and tons of customization here. All these shortcuts in the Blackberry launcher, give you touch access to all kinds of little things like checking battery stats or starting to compose a new text or email, in your app of choice pretty awesome stuff.

I like the theme and then also on the launch or any app that has a widget, you can view that widget by swiping on their icon, so I can tell which one’s have that by which one has the three dots on the home screen and when you swipe it, it just reveals the widget, this isn’t new it’s definitely in some other phones and in some third-party launchers, but it is pretty damn convenient if you ask me.

Full Specifications

Hardware Details
Network Support GSM / HSPA  / LTE
SIM Type Single LTE Nano SIM Card
Display IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
4.5 inches (~55.9% screen-to-body ratio)
1080 x 1620 pixels (~433 ppi pixel density)
Corning Gorilla Glass 4 Protection
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8953 Snapdragon 625
Processor Octa-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53
RAM 3 GB RAM
Memory 32 GB Internal
microSD, up to 256 GB (Dedicated Slot)
Camera Primary: 12 MP, f/2.0, phase detection autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash
Features: 1/2.3” sensor size, 1.55µm pixel size, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, panorama
Secondary: 8 MP, f/2.2, 1.12 µm pixel size, 1080p
Video: 2160p@30fps
Battery Non-removable Li-Ion 3505 mAh battery
Sensors Fingerprint (front-mounted on Spacebar), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
GPU Adreno 506
Operating System Android OS, v7.1 (Nougat)
Connectivity Bluetooth v4.2, A2DP, LE, EDR
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS2
USB v3.1, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector, USB On-The-Go
FM Radio & NFC
Special Features – Photo/video editor
– Document viewer
No Java Support
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
– Fast battery charging: 50% in 36 min (Quick Charge 3.0)
– Physical Permanent QWERTY Keyboard

Reasons to Buy:

  • Best Android Smartphone with Physical Keyboard
  • Quick Charging
  • Customizable buttons
  • Blackberry Software
  • Latest Android Nougat v7.1

Reasons to Don’t:

  • Keyboard is permanent (Can’t hide)
  • Display is small of just 4.5 inch
  • odd and low Resolution of 1080 x 1620 for flagships

Expected price

Price will be around 40K INR in india and for the rest of the world it is $550. Which is not that bad for this master piece of Blackberry.

Conclusion

So, there is a lot of cool stuff in the BlackBerry KEYOne and a lot of awesome customization features packed in. That I really like but I can still say that, at the end of the day, it doesn’t quite outweigh the cons for me of having so much of your screen chopped off by a physical keyboard.

That I probably only use very much, but at the end of the day, this is the best smartphone with the physical keyboard and this is the best Blackberry ever made. So, how bad do you want a physical keyboard or a Blackberry, it’s on you. Let me know that by commenting down below.

 

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