BlackBerry KEYone review

7.6/10 AVG.
RATING



7.6/10
Informr score
The BlackBerry KEYone currently has an Informr score of 7.6 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 52 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

The "1-Minute" Review

What's good

  • Excellent physical keyboard
  • Sharp display
  • All-day battery life
  • Plenty of storage
  • Decent camera
  • Attractive design

What's bad

  • Weak low-light camera performance
  • Odd screen ratio for video watching
  • Poor gaming performance
  • Price

The BlackBerry KEYone is the company’s latest attempt to prove that physical keyboards (and their brand) aren’t dead. While their earlier efforts have impressed some, they have yet to release an option that made a mainstream splash.

Does their latest release keep enough BlackBerry around to satisfy long-time fans while providing modern touches that will lure in avid smartphone users?

The reviews are rolling in and we’ve scoured what the experts are saying to bring you this summary—Let’s get started!

The phone features a mostly metal design with a textured rear panel. Reviewers were all quick to point out that this phone looks like a BlackBerry. It’s thicker and heavier than most flagship competitors, but reviewers didn’t mind.

PC Magazine summed up opinions well, saying, “The KeyOne has a solid heft to it and a textured, grippy back. It'll stay in your hand, and it's well-balanced so when you shift your hand to focus on the keyboard, it doesn't feel like it's going to tip over.”

The only design complaints found were a few mentions of trouble with one-handed use.

Heading around front, you’ll see the obvious difference between this phone and most others. Beneath the 4.5-inch 1080-by-1620 IPS display you’ll find a 4-row physical keyboard.

Reviews of the display were mostly positive. Some found that the screen was dimmer than other phones. However, color and clarity received top marks. Pocket-Lint said, “While contrast isn't as impressive as it might be from an AMOLED panel, it's still decent. What's more, colours are natural and look good.”

But, if you’re looking to play games or watch videos, you might consider other options.

The first issue is the screen’s resolution. Due its 3:2 ratio, reviewers noted that most videos featured black bars at the top and bottom. So you won’t be able to enjoy the full-screen experience available on most phones.

For games meant to run in landscape orientation, the odd resolution can cause problems as well.

It’s clear that BlackBerry means the phone to be a productivity and communications tool—not a gaming and entertainment platform. This shows as well in their choice of processor. While the 2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor and 3GB of RAM offered reviewers smooth use in everyday apps, emails or web browsing, performance in games was questionable.

PC Magazine said, “This is clearly not a gaming phone; it's a messaging phone.” However, if you don’t need high-end performance, Pocket-Lint noted, “For the most part, the KeyOne is a relatively lag- and stutter-free experience.”

The phone ships with Android 7.1 Nougat and 32GB of internal storage. If you need more space, support for microSD cards makes it easy and affordable to add up to 256GB of storage.

To keep things running long into the night, BlackBerry went with a 3,505mAh battery. Reviewers had zero complaints about battery endurance. Mashable said, “I easily made it through a day and half and sometimes almost two days while doing all the things I'd normally do on my iPhone.” Should you find yourself low on power, QuickCharge 3.0 support offers an 80% top-off in just over 30 minutes.

One of the weakest points of past BlackBerry models is the camera. Reviews show they’ve improved things with the KEYone. The phone includes a 12MP rear camera with phase detection autofocus and an 8MP front-facing shooter for selfies. Reviews for both are good in adequate lighting. But, as with many smartphones, as the light fades, so does quality.

9to5Google summed up camera opinions well, saying, “Shots in less-than-ideal lighting have lots of digital noise and the colors don’t pop as much. It’s certainly the best camera on a BlackBerry, but it’s not the best camera you can buy today.”

If you’re considering a BlackBerry, you’re probably looking for a physical keyboard. And reviews for this one are great. They’ve included gesture based controls that allow you to use the keyboard as a track pad. There's also per-key shortcuts to put virtually anything on your phone a button press away. There’s even a fingerprint scanner in the space bar that reviewers loved. The only reviews that didn’t like the keyboard didn’t like physical keyboards in general.

Overall, the biggest complaint about the phone is its price. While you get a premium look and feel with the KEYone, performance is closer to the mid-tier market. Despite this, you’re paying a flagship price.

PC Magazine summed up opinions well, saying, “What you think about the KeyOne rides entirely on something that can't be measured through tests or benchmarks: It's whether you've moved on from hardware keyboards.”


Operating system
Android
Processor
2 GHz
Screen Size
4.5"
Camera
12+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


Good Gear Guide

All in all, this really is one of the very best phones you can buy. If typing is important to you it should be near the top of your list.

- Nick Ross, Good Gear Guide
finder.com.au

You're stuck for choice if you want a keyboard phone, but the KEYone Black is an improvement on its predecessor that makes the lack of choice easier to bear.

- Alex Kidman, finder.com.au
Digit

As a standalone device, the BlackBerry KeyOne is a good phone. However, throw competing smartphones into the mix at the same price point and it’s difficult to recommend the KeyOne.

- Sameer Mitha, Digit
India Today

The KEYone is still first and foremost an enterprise-only phone and the keyboard just adds a third dimension to the whole thing. BlackBerry is even pitching it that way, and the fact that it lives up to its reputation -- of offering classic BlackBerry reliability and productivity -- should attract c...

- Saurabh Singh, India Today
Fone Arena

Overall, the KEYone offers good performance, has a really good camera, comes with a physical QWERTY keyboard and the battery life is good as well. If you can manage the small display, hybrid SIM and can spend the amount, go for it.

- Srivatsan Sridhar, Fone Arena


Prices (Where to Buy)




Common Questions


BlackBerry released the KEYone on April 28, 2017.


The KEYone price will vary depending on retailer, age, special offers and whether or not it's purchased with a service plan. If purchased with a 2 year service contract for example, you would likely pay much less for the phone itself up front. You can compare BlackBerry KEYone prices from around the web here on The Informr.


We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the BlackBerry KEYone user manual here.


BlackBerry backs up the KEYone with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.


If your KEYone has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact BlackBerry support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find BlackBerry's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.



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Quick view

Screen Size
4.5"

The BlackBerry KEYone's screen size is 4.5 inches with 1080 x 1620 pixels resolution.

Processor
2 GHz

There is a Qualcomm 8953 Snapdragon 625 Octa core 2 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the Android 7.1 Nougat (Update Available: 8.0 Oreo) operating system (OS).

Camera
12+ MP

You can take photos with the phone's onboard 12+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 8+ megapixels resolution.

Storage
32 GB

Internal memory is 32 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 2000 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
3505mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 3505 mAh battery. BlackBerry's performance ratings are 1241 minutes, 659 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

BlackBerry KEYone Specs

Overview
Release date April 28, 2017
Regions available USA, Canada, UK, India
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
UMTS:
850/900/1700/1900 /2100 MHz
LTE:
1700/1900/700/2100 /800/850/1800/2600/2300/2500 MHz
Data:
GPRS, EDGE, HSUPA, HSPA+, LTE
variations
SIM card Nano-SIM
Dual SIM No
Operating System Android 7.1 Nougat (Update Available: 8.0 Oreo)

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm 8953 Snapdragon 625 Octa core 2 GHz
Internal Flash Memory 32 GB
RAM 3 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Digital compass Yes
Flightmode Yes
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
TTY/TDD Yes
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 0.47 W/kg
Body: 1.31 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Manual
Power & battery
Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 3505 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging Yes
Video Playback Time Up to: 738 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 659 minutes
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Talk Time Up to: 1241 minutes
Standby Time Unknown
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Aluminium
Colors Black, Bronze
Dimensions [H x W x D] 14.7 x 7.1 x 0.9 cm (5.8 x 2.8 x 0.4 in)
Weight 180 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof No
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Antenna Type Internal
Changeable Faceplates No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology LCD (IPS)
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1080 x 1620 pixels
Pixel density 433 pixels
Size 4.5 inches
3D No
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key Yes
Mute Key No
Input Type QWERTY
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard Yes
Voicemail Key Yes
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor Yes
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Yes
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Yes
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, IM
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB USB Type-C
USB OTG Support Yes
Infrared No
Bluetooth 4.2
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HFP, HSP
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 2000 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out No
DLNA Support No
NFC Yes
UMA Support No
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
PictBridge No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
ƒ/ 2
Resolution
12+ megapixels
Dual lens
No
Zoom
4x digital
Flash
Yes (Dual LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Face detection, Geotagging, Image stabilization, Multi-shot, Panorama, HDR
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, 3G2 / 3GPP2, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, ASF, DivX, XviD, AVI, MKV
Video Recording Parameters
Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels), 30 fps
Front Camera
Resolution
8+ megapixels
Zoom
Yes
Additional Front Camera Info
Image stabilization, Wide Selfie
Video Recording Parameters
Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), 30 fps
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, AAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, eAAC+, MIDI, MP3, MP4, OGG, QCP, WMA Pro, WAV
Radio Yes (FM)
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, 3G2 / 3GPP2, ASF, AVI, DivX, H.264 / AVC, MKV, MPEG-4, XviD
Mobile TV No
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringtone Composer No
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List Yes
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): BlackBerry DTEK70, Mercury

Related Links Manual (PDF)
BlackBerry KEYone Reviews
Where to buy BlackBerry KEYone
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Critic Reviews


Good Gear Guide

One of the cheapest flagship models around

from Good Gear Guide

All in all, this really is one of the very best phones you can buy. If typing is important to you it should be near the top of your list.

Read full review

All in all, this really is one of the very best phones you can buy. If typing is important to you it should be near the top of your list.

Read full review

Less

finder.com.au

The darker, leaner BlackBerry

from finder.com.au

You're stuck for choice if you want a keyboard phone, but the KEYone Black is an improvement on its predecessor that makes the lack of choice easier to bear.

Read full review

You're stuck for choice if you want a keyboard phone, but the KEYone Black is an improvement on its predecessor that makes the lack of choice easier to bear.

Read full review

Less

Digit

Looking to attract the audience it once had

from Digit

As a standalone device, the BlackBerry KeyOne is a good phone. However, throw competing smartphones into the mix at the same price point and it’s difficult to recommend the KeyOne.

Read full review

As a standalone device, the BlackBerry KeyOne is a good phone. However, throw competing smartphones into the mix at the same price point and it’s difficult to recommend the KeyOne.

Read full review

Less

India Today

Work more, do more

from India Today

The KEYone is still first and foremost an enterprise-only phone and the keyboard just adds a third dimension to the whole thing. BlackBerry is even pitching it that way, and the fact that it lives up to its reputation -- of offering classic BlackBerry reliability and productivity -- should attract consumers at the end of the day.

Read full review

The KEYone is still first and foremost an enterprise-only phone and the keyboard just adds a third dimension to the whole thing. BlackBerry is even pitching it that way, and the fact that it lives up to its reputation -- of offering classic BlackBerry reliability and productivity -- should attract consumers at the end of the day.

Read full review

Less

Fone Arena

Targeted at the business users or those who loved physical keyboard

from Fone Arena

Overall, the KEYone offers good performance, has a really good camera, comes with a physical QWERTY keyboard and the battery life is good as well. If you can manage the small display, hybrid SIM and can spend the amount, go for it.

Read full review

Overall, the KEYone offers good performance, has a really good camera, comes with a physical QWERTY keyboard and the battery life is good as well. If you can manage the small display, hybrid SIM and can spend the amount, go for it.

Read full review

Less

Gadgets Now

Strictly for Blackberry Fans

from Gadgets Now

Blackberry KEYone is a pretty good mobile for all the Blackberry lovers out there who want an Android smartphone. It is a complete package, it comes with latest Android, Blackberry’s classic keypad and its security enhancements ensure that your data remains safe.

Read full review

Blackberry KEYone is a pretty good mobile for all the Blackberry lovers out there who want an Android smartphone. It is a complete package, it comes with latest Android, Blackberry’s classic keypad and its security enhancements ensure that your data remains safe.

Read full review

Less

NDTV

Awkward marriage of hardware and software

from NDTV

This is a unique smartphone and can't really be judged as an equal with others in its price class. It clearly targets a niche, but what's unknown at this point is whether the target audience is big enough. Even if there are people who like the idea or the memory of a physical keyboard, will they...More

This is a unique smartphone and can't really be judged as an equal with others in its price class. It clearly targets a niche, but what's unknown at this point is whether the target audience is big enough. Even if there are people who like the idea or the memory of a physical keyboard, will they be willing to accept the tradeoffs that this phone demands? In a universe of sleek metal phones with borderless screens and curved glass everywhere, the KEYone is a bit of a brute and we're not sure we would like this as our primary phones, even though we can really make use of its productivity features.

Read full review

Less

The Indian Express

A good one and maybe the best to ever carry a BlackBerry logo on it

from The Indian Express

For those who loved a BlackBerry once and would love to go back to one, the KEYone offers a great option. It is a phone that works and is really up to the task for 2017. However, for me the biggest USP of the BlackBerry is a skill I have forgotten. Yes, I have realised that I really struggle now...More

For those who loved a BlackBerry once and would love to go back to one, the KEYone offers a great option. It is a phone that works and is really up to the task for 2017. However, for me the biggest USP of the BlackBerry is a skill I have forgotten. Yes, I have realised that I really struggle now with a physical QWERTY keyboard and long to touch the touchscreen to get the words out. I just hope, BlackBerry’s core audience also does not suffer from this issue. Then BlackBerry might have a bit problem.

Read full review

Less

The Wirecutter

Keyboard-packing workhorse

from The Wirecutter

The BlackBerry KEYone is the only modern Android phone with a physical keyboard. It offers excellent build quality, better battery life than the Pixel or the Galaxy S8, and a clean version of Android with added BlackBerry features. The KEYone isn’t as fast as the Pixel or the S8, and the pr...More

The BlackBerry KEYone is the only modern Android phone with a physical keyboard. It offers excellent build quality, better battery life than the Pixel or the Galaxy S8, and a clean version of Android with added BlackBerry features. The KEYone isn’t as fast as the Pixel or the S8, and the price is a little high considering the midrange specs, but this is the keyboard-bearing phone some people have been waiting for. It’s the only real option if that’s what you want.

Read full review

Less

Notebookcheck

A good, but expensive speciality for users who enjoy working with a physical keyboard

from Notebookcheck

It is good to finally have a new model with a physical keyboard on the market again. The extensive security features and decent battery runtime are the biggest advantages of the BlackBerry KEYone. Others are its bright screen and the many and well-functioning input options including a physical keyboard with additional functions.

Read full review

It is good to finally have a new model with a physical keyboard on the market again. The extensive security features and decent battery runtime are the biggest advantages of the BlackBerry KEYone. Others are its bright screen and the many and well-functioning input options including a physical keyboard with additional functions.

Read full review

Less



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