The "1-Minute" Review
- Lackluster performance
- So-so camera
- Overall value
Once a leader in innovation, the smartphone era hasn’t been kind to BlackBerry. While they’ve made the jump to Android, they have yet to release a solid hit that received widespread acclaim. Their latest release, the Blackberry Motion, offers a more traditional approach to smartphones with a dash of Blackberry’s attention to security and productivity.
With one look at the phone, it’s easy to see its Blackberry roots.
The square, minimalist design looks like any of hundreds of Android phones already available—though this isn’t a bad thing inherently. The brushed metal chassis lends a reassuring bit of heft while the rubberized backing gives plenty of grip. It’s also IP67 dust and water resistance rated.
Still, many reviewers noted the squared edges made the phone uncomfortable in the hand and pocket.
Around front, things improve. The 5.5-inch 1080p IPS LCD received decent marks on color reproduction and clarity. It’s also a very bright phone if you use your phone on the go.
However, many reviewers question the large bottom bezel. While it holds the fingerprint scanner, it takes up far more space than many felt was required, further adding to the size of the phone.
Despite the phone’s higher price tag, it’s powered by a Snapdragon 625 processor and 4GB of RAM. Performance was described by many as adequate. While it’s solid enough for daily tasks, such as email, web browsing and the occasional movie or music stream, it doesn’t really have the chops for high-end gaming. However, the 4GB of RAM helps to keep multitasking fluid and ensure snappy load times.
The phone ships with Android 7.1.2 with a promise of 8.0 Oreo. However, there’s also Blackberry’s DTEK app and frequent security updates to help keep things secure.
One of the most criticized aspects of the phone is its cameras. Both the 12MP rear camera and 8MP front-facing lens were less than ideal in all but the best of lighting. Photos were described as soft—with inconsistent colors and contrast. But the biggest issue is that phone’s price puts it in a class of phones with very competent shooters. If you’re looking to take the occasional snapshot or chat with friends, it’ll do… but it’s no replacement for even a basic point and shoot camera.
In contrast, one of the most praised features of the phone is its 4,000mAh battery. While a similar cell in the latest flagship phones wouldn’t be out of the ordinary, paired with the mid-tier internals of the Motion, it’s good for multiple days of average use on a single charge. When it’s time to top up—or if you need a quick charge to get through the day—QuickCharge 3.0 support and USB Type-C make recharging a snappy affair.
Overall, the biggest concern most reviewers had with the phone is its price. It’s in the mid-tier when it comes to specs, but pushing a price closer to high-end devices. From a pure value perspective that makes it a tough sell for many. Mobile Syrup notes, “BlackBerry 10 never truly panned out, but it’s nice knowing that BlackBerry—in some form or iteration—has finally succeeded at putting out a meaningful smartphone.” Tom’s Guide is more critical, saying, “If you're a business customer, you'll likely appreciate the Motion… For everyone else, though, this BlackBerry is yet another very specialized phone with a very discerning user in mind.”
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