Chip-Monks  ⁄  Android  ⁄  BlackBerry KEYone
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  • Display : 4.5 inches, IPS LCD
  • Max OS : Android 7.1 Nougat
  • Storage : 32 GB
  • RAM : 3 GB
  • Body Material : Polycarbonate
  • Cameras : Rear: 12 MP, Front: 8 MP
  • Dimensions (L, B, W) : 5.8, 2.8, 0.37 in.
  • Connectivity : 4G

Okay, BlackBerry does not really hold much clout in the market right now, but truth be told, after having ditched the BlackBerry OS 10 operating system and having moved to Android, the company seems to be bringing some really decent devices to the market these days.

With the KEYone, BlackBerry returns to QWERTY keypads that were once synonymous with it’s stellar devices. And it’s a great keyboard in real-world use.

There’s more to the device though, than just the physical keyboard.

The phone gets its nicely luxurious feel from an aluminium chassis which holds together a textured back cover, Gorilla Glass 4 screen and physical “Smart Keyboard” at the bottom.
The phone has a nice build quality and feels good to hold.

It has a 4.5 inch LCD screen with 1620×1080 resolution, which is sharp and vibrant.

One of the concerns we have with the phone though, is about it’s cameras.
BlackBerry phones have never really had great cameras, and that’s not changed with this phone either. The phone comes loaded with a 12 megapixel rear camera with a Sony IMX378 camera sensor and 8 megapixel front snapper. While on paper that looks like a satisfactory combination, problems arise when you actually get to clicking the pictures.
There seem to be issues with a noticeable delay between pressing the on-screen shutter button and a photo actually being taken. The quality of the pictures is also not that great, especially at times when light is an issue.

Another grain of doubt crops up when considering the processor that BlackBerry has used in the device – a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625. While the processor itself is not really problematic, BlackBerry should have gone with something more akin to Snapdragon 821 in a phone in this price range. That said, BlackBerry’s management had publicly acknowledged that their BlackBerry Priv had suffered in the market sales since it was a device pegged at the premium market (with a price tag to match). So their choice of a processor (and other such hardware considerations) may have been wound down a notch, to be more affordable and hence attractive to the masses.

One of the things that has become the talking point of the phone is that it features a hefty 3,505 mAh battery and a custom fast charging tech to boot. The combination of these factors should give it an above average battery life, which is another thing that BlackBerry’s of yore boasted of – very good battery sustainability.

The phone ships with Android 7.0 Nougat and BlackBerry has loaded the device with a wealth of custom features, including the BlackBerry Hub, which offers a single pane of glass way for users to view and manage incoming messages and notifications and the firm’s suite of security services.

While a lot of the users of Android have not been too happy about third-party features plugged on top of the operating system by other brands, with BlackBerry, the experience has been more on the favourable side of things, and with KeyOne we don’t see that changing.

Most BlackBerry phones in the market today sem to be suffering from one flaw that brings them down. The BlackBerry Priv was a pretty decent phone but with good productivity software and a physical keyboard, but the camera on the thing was terrible. The DTEK60 had a sleek design and some good software, but the battery gave it a hard time. The KeyOne looks like a combination of both these phones, so let us hope it has not inherited their flaws, rather has overcome them!

The KeyOne definitely feels like BlackBerry is finally back on track. The phone has the best features of the previous Android phones from the company, and of course the security premium that BlackBerry devices have always been. While there is nothing wrong with the phone, there particularly also isn’t anything that can really be endorsed.

Now it is only when the phone does hit the market that we will see if users do indeed want to return to the nostalgic times of the physical keyboard.

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