A Month with the DTEK60

It’s been just over a month now since I first received my DTEK60 and I wanted to wait awhile before giving you, our readers, my thoughts.  I did not want to this to be like other sites who just rush out a review without in depth use behind it. Now, I figure that I have used it enough to finally give my thoughts.  

First off, you should remind yourself of how I got to my decision on buying the DTEK60 in the first place. If you have not read my article “The Argument for the DTEK60” then you should hop over there first and have a look.  As well don’t forget about my unboxing video either!

Throughout this review, I’ll be looking at how well the DTEK60 performs in terms of:

  • Physical appearance
  • Performance
  • Camera
  • Speakers
  • BlackBerry Android

Physical Aspects

One of the largest debate items regarding the DTEK60 has been if it is a premium device or not. From the look and feel of the device I would have to say… yes! The device is essentially smartphone components sandwiched between two pieces of high-grade glass with a metal frame tieing it all together. The glass on the front is crystal clear and extremely smooth.  I mean that it feels so smooth that you could almost skate on it.

The volume up and down rockers are the right hand side which makes it easy to us regardless of which hand you use.  The lock/power button is on the left side which at first feels to be too high, especially if you have smaller hands; howeve, I have gotten used to it over the month and have no issues with it now.  The convenience button it located in the middle of the right side and just over-so-slightly noticeable. I found myself very excited for this key before getting my DTEK60 but have found no real good use for it yet personally. This is obvious a personal issue and nothing to do with the design of the device. So I am sure people out there are loving it.

 

On the back, the phone is encased with more glass as already stated.  However, the backing underneath the glass has a slight brown tint to it instead of straight black.  Even the BlackBerry logo’s colour is off.  However, personally it does not bother more.  I don’t believe that the colours are so off that it makes a significant issue for the aesthetics of the device. Additionally, on the back is the fingerprint scanner and the camera.

At the bottom of the device you will find the microphone and the USB-C charging port. A first for BlackBerry devices, USB-C is here with Quick Charge 3.0.  However, I’ll admit I am annoyed with its placement. The port is to the right side of the device, I know it does not make a lick of difference.  However, since my passport days the port has been dead centered and I wanted it to stay that way.

At the top of the device you will find the 3.5mm jack along with another microphone.  There has been plenty of debate where the 3.5mm jack should be - top or bottom - personally I am a top kind of guy.  In the end though, I guess we should just be happy to have one.  

Performance

One of the first things I noticed right away with the DTEK60 was that it is fast and I mean lightning fast.  However, my enthusiasm died when I remembered that my Priv was fast at first as well. But weeks with my DTEK60 now and I can say that it has not slowed down one bit. The device remains lightning fast and has plenty of horsepower to get through all daily tasks.  However, if you are a person who uses resource intensive apps - such as Pokemon Go and Snapchat - I can’t comment as I don’t use those. The additional GB of RAM is clearly noticed when compared to the Priv in every regard.  From boot up to use the phone is quick and smooth.

If you have followed my Priv rants, you have no doubt heard that I have been critical about its overheating issues.  I’ll admit that the DTEK60 occasionally does get hot as well.  However, nowhere near the level of the Priv. My Cooler Master App has indicated temps over 36 degrees celsius on occasion.  However, I barely feel it through the device itself.  It does get hot when using the BlackBerry supplied quick charger though but I’ll chalk that up to the immense amount of electricity being pushed into it.

Cameras

The DTEK60 comes packing with two cameras: a 21MP rear-facing and a 8 MP front-facing camera. Personally, I am not a camera or picture guru but I can say that the DTEK60 is better than the Priv in my mind. I’ve snapped a number of pictures and find that the detail and clarity is better - mind you others have said that the Priv has outperformed in some areas as well.

HDR Photo (Kingston Waterfront view):

 

The front-facing camera comes with an interesting addition with the flash.  Personally, I don’t understand why this has taken so long for smartphone OEMs to start implementing. As you can see from my recent selfie with my son at the Santa Clause parade, it’s ok not amazing but definitely better than nothing.

If you want to see more photos then be sure to follow our photo guru, David Lindahl on Instagram (@austriker) or on BBM Channels C00425099!

Selfie Cam without flash:

Selfie Cam with Flash:

 

Speakers

Perhaps the most surprising and pleasing aspect of the DTEK60 was the speakers.  I have been disappointed with every BlackBerry since the Z30 in their speaker quality.  In fact, it led me to purchase a BlackBerry Mini Speaker.  However, I can say that the DTEK60 provides a loud and clear sounds from its dual speakers. Mind you, if you have a room full of people and plan on using it as background music, you may need a decent backup bluetooth speaker or at a minimum an empty Pringles can.  I use the device solo on a daily basis for listening to my podcasts and can say I actually have no idea where my bluetooth speaker is currently located.

BlackBerry Android

The DTEK60’s version of Android is essentially the same as the Priv’s.  I am a huge fan of what BlackBerry has done with its version of Android.  Aside from the obvious security enhancements, BlackBerry Android is clean with minimum bloatware - although they could do better - and very smooth.  The BlackBerry Hub seems to operate a touch smoother, this is like due to  the increased specs when comparing the DTEK60 against the Priv.  

Pitfalls

Whilst the device is definitely solid and is smooth, nothing is perfect and there are a number of areas where BlackBerry/TCL could have done better. The first being the fingerprint sensor and that it has no usefulness outside of unlocking your device.  Not to say that unlocking your device with a fingerprint is a bad thing; however, there are no secondary uses for it. For example, LG G5 has it built into its power button, the Pixel allows you to use it to scroll through notifications and the Samsung S7 line has theirs built into the home button.  BlackBerry and/or TCL could have done better.

Another area where BlackBerry could improve is their preinstalled apps.  A number of them I just don’t care for - Watchdox, Content Transfer and Password Keeper to name a couple - I’d like to be able to free up the space.  Not saying I am running out of space with the 32GB and my 64GB SD card installed. Just that I’m a bit OCD when it comes to these types of things.

Finally, I found that the battery life left things to be desired.  However, I may be at fault as well, as I have been recently been working in a couple areas where cell reception is not the best.  The phone may be draining as it comes in and out of reception.  Additionally, I found a pretty slick app Greenify which helps to cut down on apps running in the background. Since then, battery life is lasting me all day on moderate use.  Generally, I’m not a power user but I do tend to listen to an hour or so of podcasts per day and the usual social media surfing / posting.

Bottom Line

So was the DTEK60 worth it in the end? I would definitely have to say yes; however, I am still not convinced that BlackBerry will keep me from trying keep me from trying another brand in two years time… Who am I kidding, maybe a year or so. If you’re still on BlackBerry 10 and are ready to switch to Android but want a BlackBerry device then this is definitely a good option for you.  As long as you don’t need the PKB.  If that’s the case then you’re probably best off waiting for the Mercury to launch.  Additionally, I have to say that this is a Z30 replacement to me.  If you want the large screen, crystal clear display with booming speakers - much like the Z30 - then this is your device.

Hopefully this helps you if you are still on the fence for the device. If not then maybe it’s just not the device for you.  I know three of us on the BlackBerryCentral team (Khalid, David and I) are all using it and love it.

Be sure to let me know what you think in comments below!