The new Blackberry KEYone is an impressive throwback. The phone measures up to vintage BlackBerry strengths. But this comes in a more modern package that uses the Android Nougat operating system. It comes with up-to-date features such as the Google Assistant.
The device is built of sturdy anodised aluminum. It has an easy to grip rubbery back with tiny dimples. It stands roughly as tall as the iPhone 7 Plus.
Gorilla Glass 4.
The (1620×1080) screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 4. It is nice, but at 4.5-inches, it is a bit on the small side. And its rather unusual 3:2 aspect ratio means the display is better suited for reading emails than for watching something. But you certainly could. But there’s no mistaking the fact that BlackBerry’s have corporate rather than cinematic roots.
The Blackberry KEYone comes with a 12-megapixel front and 8-megapixel rear cameras. The cameras are perfectly fine but not really exceptional.
Backlit Physical Keyboard.
The Blackberry KEYone has a pretty good backlit physical keyboard. But after almost a decade of composing texts and emails on virtual touchscreen keyboards, you will find typing on the BlackBerry comparatively slower. It will also be a bit of a chore given its squishy-sized keys. But for those who have stuck with BlackBerry all these years won’t be facing that difficulty.
Other Blackberry Features.
If you are a BlackBerry user, you will recognise other helpful staples. That includes the convenient BlackBerry Hub repository for emails, messages, tweets and other communications. There is also BlackBerry’s DTEK security software for safeguarding the operating system and your data. Along with that, BlackBerry Messenger is present too.
Virtual Touchscreen Keyboard.
People who are used to the keypads will appreciate an assist from the touch screen from time to time. Pressing the “sym” key on the physical keyboard presents a virtual touch screen keyboard with all the various symbol options turns up on the screen just above. A trio of predictive word suggestions appears right above that, as you compose a text or email. This is a feature that’s common to other phones as well.
You can lightly slide your finger up against the physical keyboard. It doubles as a kind of trackpad. So you can practically flick the word you have selected directly into your message. It’s a neat parlour trick. Flick typing might actually prove to be productive. You can alternatively just tap a word choice. In the meantime, while guiding your finger along the trackpad, you can also scroll what’s on the screen. But you will find it just as simple to scroll by making direct contact with your thumb along the display.
Keyboard shortcuts are another BlackBerry tradition. It is a big part of the KEYone experience. You can customise up to 52 such shortcuts. For example, pressing the C key to summon the calendar app or the M key to text a message to a designated contact.
One feature that is really good is the fingerprint sensor. The fingerprint sensor is cleverly embedded into the space bar. It is a natural landing spot for your thumb. It is also a fast and accurate way to authenticate your identity.
BlackBerry has positioned a physical convenience key on the right side of the device. You can customise it for an action. But you might also mistake that button for the power button that’s on the left side.
Other items on the KEYone to make note of are the phone has 32GB of memory that’s expandable via microSD up to 2TB. The device is fast to charge via USB-C adapter. The new Blackberry KEYone has a lot to please its loyal fans. It could also interest other smartphone users intoxicated by the prospects of a physical keyboard experience.