BLACKBERRY KEYONE REVIEW                                         FUN FOR SOME, NOT FOR ALL

     Blackberry is a brand that has put a lot of efforts to show their versatility in the current modern smartphone era. They tried with the Blackberry Priv (their first android smartphone) as well as DTEK50. They even went with the budget oriented Blackberry Leap but none of these devices offered solidity for the price. Now the Blackberry have recently launched the Blackberry Keyone and the version that will be coming to India will be a limited edition black variant. But the main question is do people care about Blackberry smartphones specially the Indian Market?

Specifications :-

Display – Screen size – 4.5 inches

              Resolution – 1080p × 1620 pixels

              Technology – IPS LCD with 433 ppi

Platform – Android OS 7.1 Nougat

Software – Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor (Octacore)

Memory – 4GB Ram , 64 GB ROM

Adreno 506 GPU

Camera -12MP rear camera and 8MP front camera with Dual LED flash along with digital image stabilization and Phase detect autofocus

Battery – 3505 mAh non-removable Lithium ion battery

Sensors – Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass etc.

Design :- 8/10

               The earlier Blackberry phones such as the Blackberry Priv, Passport, DTEK50 had always lived upto the mark in design and build quality aspects. And the Keyone is no exception. The design is the beauty of this device. While the phone looks big and bulky, it feels very premium in hand. It makes the user forget about the bulkiness because of the curved edges. On the front there is a 4.5 inch display along with the keyboard and the fingerprint is located on the spacebar of the keyboard. On the top there is a 3.5mm headphone jack and a secondary noise cancellation microphone. On the right side there is a Sim tray which is a hybrid sim slot followed by the volume button and below the volume buttons there is a convenience key. The power button is on the left side of the device and on the bottom we have two vents but the speaker vent is on the right side and in the middle there is a USB type C charging. On the back we have a big opening camera along with the dual tone LED flash and the signature Blackberry Logo.

Display :- 7/10

               Blackberry have gone with a 1080P display instead of the 2K display on their Keyone which seems like a down step considering with other flagships. For the price it possesses, it would have been better if they had gone with the 2K display. The viewing angles are decent and the colours look saturated but the screen brightness is dim even when the brightness level is kept full. So the users may find it difficult to use the phone in broad daylight in outdoor conditions which is another drawback of this display. Also the display is just 4.5 inches thanks to the space taken by its signature keyboard.

Performance :- 7/10

                        Another drawback of this device is the Snapdragon 625 processor as compared to the 835 which is the latest in the market. Most flagships have already started using the new 835 processor but Blackberry have stuck with 625 which is almost like a year old. And the performance is also pretty self-explanatory. It does not give a butter smooth experience and may lag on couple of occasions. It maybe suitable for an average user but a power user may not opt for this phone. Good thing is that the software supports the latest Android 7.1 Nougat but there is no guarantee of future updates since it’s a new field for Blackberry. Also the ram management was poorly handled as the apps kept reloading in the background. So the 4GB Ram has failed to be of any use.

Battery life :- 9/10

                     If there is one thing that this smartphone is good for is the battery life. The 3505 mAh non-removable Lithium ion battery is the biggest plus point of this device. An average user will find itself charging the phone after two days and it will easily last a whole day for a heavy user. Although the Screen-On-Time would vary, one would easily touch six hours of SOT if not more irrespective of any type of user. It also supports fast charging as the phone will take just 36 minutes from 0 to 50% claimed by Blackberry. The user will really be impressed with the battery life this phone possesses if that’s what they really want.

Camera :-  7.5/10

                Blackberry phones were not renowned for camera. They were more used as a business purpose rather than multimedia. That’s no longer a case with the Keyone. It has a 12MP rear camera and an 8MP front camera. Although the camera is a much improvement from the previous blackberry phones, it’s nowhere near the flagship ones. The colours are oversaturated and the focus is not sharp enough. The HDR also takes a lot of time to capture. An average user may not find any difference but the one who is totally into photography would easily tell the difference. It’s not bad but it’s not good enough at the same point to compete with other smartphones at that price point. When it comes to video recording, the users will love how the camera captures the shots. The EIS comes in very handy as it provides good stability.

That keyboard though :-

                 If one thing Blackberry was famous for was the keyboard. They had a variety of different keyboards that they embedded on their smartphones but the one on the Keyone is truly exceptional. Blackberry have really optimised a lot of customisation on this keyboard.

                 First up is the short press and the long press button. When you are at the home screen you can set any key to open any app by pressing that button once or holding it for few seconds. For example, if one wants to open WhatsApp application then pressing the W button on the keyboard will open the app. Users can also set any button for any apps so it works just like a speed dial. Next is the scrolling through the keyboard. If you are browsing or reading a book or even scrolling through Instagram the keyboard helps to scroll through any app without our fingers blocking the screen. So another great use of that keyboard. Next is the typing. Nowadays the keyboards suggest us few words while we are typing. For example, if we want to type the word ‘agriculture’, by the time we reach ‘agri’ the keyboard will suggest you the complete word. Once the suggested word is displayed the user has to simply swipe up the keyboard so the suggested word will automatically be typed in the text. Also the fingerprint is on the space bar which is fast and accurate. Although the Blackberry have made a complete utilisation of it’s keyboard, the user will initially find it difficult to adapt for the first two-three days.

Extra’s :-

  • The phone supports USB type C charging.

  • The phone does not support water resistance

  • The back cover is plastic but feels good to hold

  • The convenience key is on the right side below the volume buttons which can take you to open any app by pressing the button. The power button is on the left hand side.

  • No issues in gaming except for few minor lags

  • A pre-installed Blackberry hub which gathers all the notifications to show you at a single place.

  • There are few shortcuts on the default Blackberry launcher like open battery settings, showing data etc.

  • The speaker is located on the front and the quality is excellent

Pros :-

  • Excellent battery life

  • Great build quality

  • Customisation of the keyboards

  • Good speaker quality

Cons :-

  • Poor display

  • Poor performance

  • Camera clarity is not upto the mark

  • Price to performance ratio is not good

  • Poor Ram management

Conclusion :-

                      We have seen all the highs and lows of this Blackberry Keyone but coming back to the previous question of the prominence of the Blackberry smartphones in the Indian market, people would think twice before investing in a 40K phone. If the consumer’s highest priority are the battery life or the signature Keyboard or even the Blackberry name itself then this is a phone made for them. Hence the Blackberry Keyone is fun for some but not for all.

                       The sale starts from 8th August and will be available on Amazon for ₹ 39,990.

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