BlackBerry KEYOne Review: In Depth

The Fantastic

  • Excellent battery lifetime
  • Nicely-built keyboard
  • Practical Android additions

The Negative

  • Constrained performance
  • Digital camera bettered by rivals
  • Dinky monitor

BlackBerry KEYOne Review: BlackBerry’s initially smartphone of 2017 is a crafty blend of aged and new. With its Android OS boosted by BlackBerry tweaks and functions, as perfectly as a physical QWERTY keyboard and capable 12-megapixel digicam, this is one of the most intriguing mobiles of the 12 months.

Following a long time of uninspired system launches and a honest bit of floundering, BlackBerry received back our hearts at the tail stop of 2015 by releasing the relatively great Priv. Silly title apart, the Priv was a excellent mash-up of Android and BlackBerry, giving the greatest of both equally worlds – the Google Play store, packed with hundreds of thousands of apps, as perfectly as BlackBerry’s individual custom software. From the DTEK stability suite to the Hub, BB’s tweaks had been truly welcome and useful.

BlackBerry telephones are now produced by TCL Communications, and the KEYOne is its initially significant release of 2017. Like the Priv ahead of it, this handset runs the most up-to-date Android OS, topped with some custom-manufactured functions. You also once all over again get a physical keyboard, this time forever on clearly show relatively than hidden beneath the screen.

So is the KEYOne a telephone really worth shopping for for BlackBerry supporters and newcomers alike? Here’s what I believe soon after above a week of employing the cellular as my complete-time handset.

Read through subsequent: 10 matters you require to know about the BlackBerry KEYOne

BlackBerry KEYOne Review: Design and style

Most top quality telephones launched in 2017 are earning major strides towards banishing all those bezels and slimming down the total structure, even though packing in as significant a screen as feasible. The Galaxy S8 and LG G6 are the apparent examples, giving five.eight and screens, crammed into shockingly compact frames that can be handled with just one mitt.

On the flip side, you have the BlackBerry KEYOne. This telephone pretty much feels like a lifted center finger to the more typical handsets, with its unashamedly chunky structure that is in some ways reminiscent of candybar function telephones.

Of class, that aluminium frame adds a top quality end to the KEYOne. This stretches from the edges of the handset to the entrance, encompassing the screen and splitting the keyboard rows. I like the finer detailing and the flat major end, which is reminiscent of the stylised Obi Worldphone.

Flip the BlackBerry above and that metallic surfacing provides way to a delicate-touch rear plate. The pock-marked materials feels excellent in the palm, punctuated only by the well known BB symbol, centrally positioned. This adds some grip and resists scuffs and grease – anything you will not get from the likes of the Galaxy S8, Xperia XZ Top quality and HTC U11.

Sadly you just cannot delight in the drinking water resistance of all those telephones with the KEYOne. It is rugged ample to set up with plenty of punishment and can endure a comparatively large thunderstorm, thankfully. Just never dunk it in a sink or choose it into the shower.

I like the look and come to feel of the KEYOne, even with the down-to-business enterprise structure. However, it will really much be a situation of love or hate among people, so I’d propose taking part in with one in a telephone shop ahead of earning your conclusion.

BlackBerry KEYOne Review: OS and functions

Android Nougat is the OS of alternative, which at initially glance doesn’t seem to be as well far taken out from the vanilla edition located on the likes of the Pixel telephone. However, dive beneath the surface area and you are going to find out plenty of BlackBerry customisation. Pretty much all of it is worthwhile as well, anything that is hardly ever reported about a telephone manufacturer’s overlay.

Alongside the standard Google apps, you have a few returning BB faves on the KEYOne. This incorporates BBM of class, alongside with the nifty DTEK stability suite. DTEK provides a rapid and uncomplicated overview of your phone’s set up, to place out any stability flaws or weaknesses. By means of the app by itself you can quickly resolve any issues, for peace of intellect.

Even much better is the Hub, which functions as a one-quit shop for all of your messages and notifications. Emails, texts, Skype and FB Messenger chats, skipped phone calls, Twitter and Facebook nudges – all of it arrives as a result of BlackBerry’s Hub. It is so very good that you will not seriously require Android’s notifications bar any more.

Want a rapid glimpse at your working day in advance? Just drag your finger out from the far ideal of the monitor to open up the KEYOne’s Productivity Tab. This presents up your recent program (direct from your calendar), jobs listing and even shortcuts to your favourite contacts. You can switch it to the other side if so ideal and tweak its measurement and transparency, which is quite amazing. It is a minor tricky at occasions to pull into check out, but however a worthy function.

A single of the only 50 percent-baked functions is the Ease Crucial, positioned just beneath the volume rocker on the ideal edge of the KEYOne. This is fundamentally a shortcut essential, which can be customised to load your favourite app or function. I established it to rapid-load the digicam when pushed, even though you can also established it to pace dial a contact or open up any other app.

Sadly the button is all as well uncomplicated to oversight for the power button even though you are obtaining used to the telephone. Pushing it doesn’t operate even though the KEYOne is hibernating, which is a shame in the situation of loading the digicam. I’d also prefer to have two capabilities: one app loading with a rapid force, one more loading with a force-and-keep. Over-all, the HTC U11’s Edge Perception function is much much better.

Still, with complete access to Google Play apps, you can do quite much something you require on the KEYOne.

BlackBerry KEYOne Review: Keyboard

A single of the KEYOne’s major advertising points – or turn-offs, depending on your personal perspective – is that physical keyboard located beneath the screen. As soon as a frequent ample function, physical telephone boards are now very exceptional – earning this handset relatively exceptional among its peers.

So is it any very good? Nicely, if you are perfectly versed in employing these very small keyboards, you are going to be ideal at dwelling with the KEYOne. I have used plenty of BB telephones in the previous, even though the time hole meant it took some time for me to readjust. Even when I at last did, I located that my terms per minute was not as powerful as with the much better virtual boards available for Android.

However, you have to hand it to BlackBerry. Squashing a usable keyboard into such a very small space is far from straightforward and this board presents a shockingly relaxed typing expertise. Not to point out intuitive, once you get the dangle of the continuous use of the alt essential.

Speed is increased fairly thanks to the swipe-to-complete function. This enables you to swipe a digit up the board’s surface area in order to pick an autocomplete phrase, which pop up just earlier mentioned the keyboard. Swipe the still left edge to pick the leftmost phrase, centre for the center phrase and ideal edge for the final phrase recommendation.

Due to the fact the keyboard is touch-sensitive, you can even use it as a touchpad to scroll around in paperwork and websites. It is rather a useful addition when employing the KEYOne with a single mitt, to stay away from reaching up to the monitor.

Really don’t get worried about employing the board in the darkish, possibly. An ambient light sensor requires observe of the lights conditions and would make the keyboard glow if you are in a dimly lit place.

That physical board will undoubtedly attraction to aged-faculty BB supporters, and it’s truly useful in some situations. For instance, when you are getting rained on, a virtual board would establish rather unresponsive to your faucets – telephone displays and drinking water never participate in nicely. But a physical board isn’t afflicted in the exact way. That reported, any smartphone people accustomed to on-monitor boards will choose some time to get used to this approach of input.

The space bar of the board truly doubles as a dinky fingerprint sensor, which performs impressively perfectly. Like the HTC U11’s scanner, this is very small and but hardly ever fails to establish your digit. Just force in the button with a registered finger or thumb and you are going to be into the telephone in perfectly beneath a 2nd.

BlackBerry KEYOne Review: Screen and media

That physical keyboard requires up some valuable actual estate on the entrance of the KEYOne, at the expense of the monitor. BlackBerry’s 2017 flagship could be about the exact measurement as the Samsung Galaxy S8, but only has a dinky four.five-inch screen.

At the very least it’s a very good screen. This IPS Liquid crystal display panel offers a crisp 1620×1080 pixel resolution, earning it pretty much as sharp as the Samsung Galaxy S8’s monitor (thanks in component to the scaled-down proportions in this article). Photographs and films appear pleasingly crisp when seen back, with no hint of unique pixels.

The KEYOne’s panel isn’t as vibrant or punchy as some rivals, such as the displays on the Galaxy S8 and Pixel. Visuals are not muted or boring nevertheless, even though brightness amounts are powerful ample to prevail over most glare.

That sq. factor ratio is typically perfectly suited to net searching and apps, even though films are hampered by some intrusive letterboxing. If you are hoping to observe a large amount of Netflix or Key Movie on the go, we’d propose looking for a more typical system.

You can have around a good media collection thanks to the 32GB of storage space, which is simply expanded employing a microSD memory card. Cards of up to 2TB in measurement are supported.

BlackBerry KEYOne Review: Effectiveness and battery lifetime

Whilst the KEYOne offers top quality specs in just about every other office, the chipset inside of isn’t rather so major-stop. The Snapdragon 625 chipset is located in mid-vary handsets such as the Moto Z Play, Moto G5 Plus and Lenovo P2, all of which are substantially more cost-effective than the BlackBerry KEYOne. In fact, the Lenovo P2 is perfectly beneath 50 percent the price tag of this BB handset.

I located that everyday operating of Android Nougat was beautifully fine, even though I did observe the occasional minor stutter or pause. For instance, setting up navigation in Maps occasionally took a few seconds to kick in, even though jumping in between apps isn’t constantly a silky clean expertise.

A lot more demanding game titles also occasionally shudder, even though typically ran with a playable frame fee. You can also use Android’s split-monitor manner with no bringing matters to a crashing halt.

For any benchmark fans out there, the KEYOne scored an normal of around 62700 in AnTuTu. That’s perfectly guiding most top quality rivals and matches far more cost-effective handsets such as the Sony Xperia XA1, as perfectly as all those aforementioned telephones.

Battery lifetime is thankfully a much larger results story. BlackBerry’s blower simply lasts two complete times on a single cost, even with rather large use. That is with no any kind of battery saver manner activated, even though these place also in put anytime required. Speedy Demand aid implies you happen to be not hanging around waiting around for the battery to fill up all over again possibly.

BlackBerry KEYOne Review: Cameras

The KEYOne relatively intriguingly offers the exact Sony digicam sensor that was used in the outstanding Google Pixel telephone – a system which however functions one of the greatest telephone cameras in 2017.

Following above a week of screening, I’m pleased ample with the KEYOne’s 12-megapixel shooter, even though it doesn’t access the pleased heights of the Pixel’s digicam. The shutter pace is pleasingly nippy, to aid counter the not so capable target. You get complete handbook controls on major of the wise auto manner and can shoot up to 4K resolution online video, with a modest selection of bonus modes also on present.

For our complete assessment as perfectly as picture and online video samples, verify out our BlackBerry KEYOne digicam review. And to see our select of the most significant rivals out there ideal now, head above to our greatest digicam telephones 2017 spherical-up.

BlackBerry KEYOne Review: Verdict

This handset offers plenty of excellent functions, all wrapped up in a wise business enterprise-like frame. However, several likewise-priced rivals boast much better performance and more compact structure, as perfectly as smarter digicam tech.

Which implies your alternative to invest in a KEYOne will rest on two exceptional functions. The key advertising place is that physical keyboard, anything no other telephone manufacturer ideal now presents. We also love the BB tweaks to Android, such as the outstanding Hub app and nifty shortcuts.

Is that ample to warrant a invest in above the likes of the OnePlus 3T or even more cost-effective handsets like the Moto G5 Plus and Lenovo P2? That’s a personal alternative, of class, even though personally we’d sway towards other handsets instead.


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