BlackBerry KEYone: A Bold Statement in Smartphones

The All New BlackBerry KEYone: An impressively designed and distinctly different smartphone made for the individual, not the conformist.

In today's modern and fast-paced world, you need a device that doesn't rely on a battery case to get you through the day. A device that keeps you more productive wherever you are, with a reimagined take on the physical keyboard: 52 customizable shortcuts and a fingerprint sensor for extra security. A rear Sony IMX378 Camera that takes incredibly detailed images in many lighting conditions; whether its for work or you're away for the weekend - expect superior quality that goes largely unparalleled by most smartphones.

With its anodized aluminum frame made with precision CNC, the KEYone is durable against scratches and drops - and feels incredibly premium in the hand. Something you probably won't get with other offerings this year, is a textured back and reduced anxiety about dropping the phone. The Corning Gorilla Glass 4 covering the sharp 4.5" display means you have less breakage to worry about too.

In their first from BlackBerry Mobile, this unique device makes a Bold Statement in Smartphones. Combining classic design with an impressive operating system, productive software additions and extra security; the KEYone really is a device worthy of attention.

It's difficult to compliment the BlackBerry KEYone without starting at the design.

It stirs two reactions among those who I had the chance to show before the recent launches in North America; Whoa, What Phone Is That? & I Miss My Old Bold. In what I consider a smart design choice, they simplified the branding for BlackBerry to the back rather than being present on the front as-well. Most long-term fans may disagree, but it really does give the device some mystery -- and adds to the Can I see That? reaction people have before the nostalgia sets in from using the keyboard.

The KEYone really is a device all its own. From the bottom up, this device was designed with being Distinctly Different & Getting You Through Your Day, More Productive Than Before at every step of creation.

Coming from a long history of BlackBerry devices, you instantly feel at home with the Classic-like design. Only this time you have more screen, more battery, a smarter keyboard, the best camera and efficient software that keeps you truly productive. It's unique and stands out in a crowd, just like the individuals it's largely intended for.

 

D I S P L A Y

A 4.5" IPS LCD display (1620x1080) sits at the front of the KEYone, with an impressive 434ppi and 3:2 aspect ratio. The Corning Gorilla Glass 4 adds greater scratch and impact resistance to the display, giving you more peace of mind when it's in your pockets.

Believe it or not, you'll have more usable on-screen space with this physical keyboard than you would on the average 5.5" Android Touch-screen smartphone.With an all-touch device, the virtual keyboard can take up to about 50% of your screen space while typing. The KEYone offers as much as 1/3 more usable on-screen space than on an all-touch phone.

The KEYone also allows you to rotate the display, meaning that most of your core applications can be used in landscape rather than just portrait view. Using the touch-sensitive keyboard to scroll through notifications in Hub is made easier in this view, but you can also take advantage of the display to play the occasional video or view a presentation while out of the office.

 

K E Y B O A R D

The engineers behind the KEYone took the time to reimagine how we use the keyboards on smartphones. From the well-crafted buttons to the first true biometrics we've seen on an in-house designed BlackBerry device. Intelligently placed within the space key, you can find a fingerprint sensor that brings an extra layer of security to this device - furthering that this really is the most secure Android smartphone available.

Not only is it easy to use, it's also accurate and incredibly fast. After you've set it up, all you have to do is place your finger quickly on the space key to unlock the device. The FPC1145 sensor used on the KEYone is a revolutionary sensor that works with both dry or wet fingers, this first of its kind placement was produced by Fingerprint Cards AB; and is just the start of unique sensors coming to upcoming BlackBerry smartphones.

The physical keyboard feels comfortable from the first time you use it. You're more accurate and able to produce any length of message or email in much less time compared with virtual keyboards. But having all these keys doesn't stop being useful at punctuation; it extends to 52 customizable shortcuts that save you precious time launching applications and touch-sensitivity that lets you flick-type, erase sentences quickly and scroll through messages, emails or photos with ease.

A traditional keyboard in appearance, that has features far beyond other offerings. You'll feel at home, yet like you're typing on something far advanced for a phone.

 

S P E A K E R S  &  P O R T S

Reminiscent of the BlackBerry Classic, the bottom of the KEYone features a microphone to the left and a speaker port to the right - met by a charging port in between. Where things get different, is the KEYone uses a USB-C style port for charging and media access. Capable of USB 3.1, USB OTG and Qualcomm Quick-Charge 3.0, the port means you'll have access to all your files quickly, while making charging more efficient and much faster.

The speaker is clear and just loud enough to fill a room well - giving the Passports' dual speakers a slight run for their money. A microphone placed on top of the phone helps with noise-reduction in conference calls. All the phone calls I've had through the ear-piece have turned out clear and never crackly or broken, leaving my impression of the KEYone as an actual phone highly appreciated overall. The KEYone also has a 3.5mm headphone port on the top of the device, and TCL includes a pair of in-ear headphones in the retail box.

On the upper right hand side of the device, is the SD and Nano-SIM slot. Using the included ejection tool, you'll be able to insert an SD card up to 2TB in size - bringing the core storage up from 32GB.

 

B U T T O N S  &  S E N S O R S

Aside from the stellar keyboard, on the right hand side of the KEYone is the volume rocker and convenience key. I've always used this key on Legacy BlackBerry devices to launch BBM and I treated the KEYone no different, especially since you can launch the camera application by double pressing the Power Button from any screen.

You can program it to any application that you like and with the 52 customizable keys found on the keyboard, you'll almost wonder what works best. The possibilities are really endless. 

On the front of the device, next to the ear-piece speaker is a sensor pack containing the proximity and ambient light sensor. As mentioned earlier, the keyboard contains the fingerprint sensor and a capacitive-touch sensor located under the keyboard. The left side of the device contains the power button, which also functions to launch the Camera application by clicking it twice in rapid succession.

You'll also notice 5 black antenna bands around the anodized aluminum frame, which help maintain signal in most any aread. LTE+/ Advanced signal in available areas. The KEYone also contains GPS, Magnetomter and Accelerometer sensors.

 

C A M E R A S

Without a doubt, the BlackBerry KEYone comes equipped with the best camera they've ever used in one of their smartphones - but also one regarded as being the best available in a mobile smartphone today. Using the 12MP Sony IMX378, the rear camera takes some pretty astounding photographs that can appeal to both professionals in the field, as well as photography enthusiasts who need a mobile device capable of taking high-quality images. The wide aperture lens (1.55m pixels) and dual-tone flash means your photos will always have superior color and clarity.

When you have to take a video conference away from your desk, the KEYone also includes an 8MP front camera with fixed focus, LCD Flash, and 84-degree wide angle lens. Expect your Selfie game to go to level 10 with this device.

We'll have a large variety of Galleries for this device, so be sure to follow our Instagram for the best content available.

 

S O F T W A R E

The KEYone comes with Android™ 7.1 Nougat. Bringing access to over one million apps in the Google Play store, so not only are you able to download your necessary productivity apps - but your favourite games are also available at your convenience.

The device also comes pre-loaded with the core applications you'd expect from a BlackBerry: Hub, Calendar, DTEK, BBM, Contacts, Notes, Tasks and much more. Try downloading Privacy Shade for an extra layer of security to reading messages while in public spaces.

With new Notification settings, ease of access, more accessibility options and loads of battery optimizations - the KEYone is a really snappy device, that hasn't let me down in any way performance wise. It handles tasks well and hasn't overheated despite working the device between emails, calls and camera tests.

Check out one of the coolest software features the KEYone has, with BOOST Mode, detailed below.

 

B A T T E R Y

The 3,505mAh battery in the KEYone makes it the largest every put in a BlackBerry before it. Offering up to 26hrs of mixed use, Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 support and software additions, the device is incredibily capable of powering you through your day. Whether its a light day, or an overbooked one where you're on your device most of the day - the KEYone can have you forgetting the charger at home with a new-founded confidence in your smartphone.

Boost Mode gives you the extra juice you need when you're pressed for time, 

"We all live busy lives and are consistently on-the-go. That’s why KEYone has Boost mode, that gives you the most efficient charge possible, even if you only have a few minutes."

When you plug your KEYone in to charge, you'll be presented with the option of BOOST mode. No need to search for extra settings, it's quick, and can bring your battery to 50% in roughly 36 minutes.

The Passport has so far been the only recent device I've found capable of competing with the KEYone. It's almost a challenge to wear the battery in an average 12h working day. It's the smartphone you need, even if battery life isn't a big issue for you. Having the confidence to go to bed without plugging in your smartphone is a freedom that few experience.

 

I N I T I A L  C O N C L U S I O N 

The BlackBerry KEYone is my favourite device right now. It has a remarkable design, unique features, amazing camera, stellar battery life and all the features and software you could ever need to stay productiive and connected. A textured back, incredible craftsmanship by means of a CNC machined aluminum frame and classic design bring a confidence-rounding device to your hands.

The reactions people have shown to the device are largely positive. Apart from the 9000 and 9900, this phone has me most excited for the fututre of BlackBerry. It really is just the start of a long-term hardware partnership. They KEYone is this great, just imagine the potential hardware coming later this year.

Currently, it's a device I recommend to everyone interested in getting a new phone. It just became available for pre-order here in North America and will finally be available for purchase in many retailers on May 31st.

I have so much content on the way, be sure to stay tuned. We'll be expanding into some video content, and our Instagram is updated daily with KEYone posts.

Any shares are greatly appreciated!

 

P U R C H A S E  /  P R E  O R D E R

CAN - Bell (Business) | Bell (Consumer) | Rogers (Business) | Rogers (Consumer) | SaskTel

USA - Sign Up For News From BlackBerryMobile

GER - Amazon DE | MediaMarkt | SATURN | OTTO

INDIA - (JUNE AVAILABILITY)

UK - Amazon UK | Carphone Warehouse | Selfridges | Currys | Clove

UAE - Axiom

 

Let Me Know Your Thoughts On KEYone. Have You Pre-Ordered Yet?