Hands on with the BlackBerry KEYone

28 February, 2017, 00:10 | Author: Rachel Hardy

BARCELONA, Spain-Mobile World Congress is starting right now, and BlackBerry is the first out of the gate with a new phone.

With BlackBerry the company focused tightly on the enterprise since CEO John Chen took over, TCL is hoping to use the KEYone to reposition the smartphone brand as something not just for the enterprise, but also enterprising consumers. In our BlackBerry KEYone hands-on preview, we're arguing that this is a good looking, well made device, yet it's a niche product - since nearly everyone now wants a large display on their smartphone, not a hardware keyboard.

The BlackBerry KEYone has a 4.5-inch 1620 x 1080 IPS LCD display with aspect ratio of 3:2 and pixel density 433ppi.

"A 12MP camera is placed at the back with dual-tone LED Flash, 1/2.3" sensor size, f/2.0 aperture, Sony IMX378 sensor, PDAF, 1.55μm pixel size.

BlackBerry's new phone is powered by a Snapdragon 625 processor with an Adreno 605 GPU. There is also a decent sized 3,505 mAh battery along with Quick Charge 3.0 support; additionally, BlackBerry touts a "Boost mode" for charging speeds, although this merely consists of turning on Power Saving mode when the device is charging.

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Internal storage is capped at 32GB with expandable storage of up to 2TB.

The phone comes with Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box, but you'll find some BlackBerry Apps preloaded on the device including BlackBerry Keyboard, BlackBerry Hub and DKET by BlackBerry. TCL holds the license for manufacturing BlackBerry phones and the brand is pushing BlackBerry features to their best.

The device has an "impact-resistant, soft-touch" back panel, and features a precision-crafted aluminum frame that helps to protect against accidental bumps. The keyboard on the device also packs in neat features by itself, such as the ability to program each key as a separate shortcut, predictive flick typing and scrolling gesture support. But now that the company has finally made it official we can now report firmly about what the new flagship smartphone BlackBerry KEYOne actually brings to the table. It comes with DTEK software which monitors the security of the operating system and all the apps, alongside notifying owners when their privacy is at risk.

The device is also the first smartphone to provide the security of fingerprint sensor built directly into the keyboard space bar for added security. However, it is one that comes with a fingerprint sensor on the spacebar, something that other BlackBerry devices did not have. Rs. 36,700), and TCL will start shipping the phone from April globally. The company is asking $549 (€599, £499) for the KeyOne.


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