The BlackBerry KEYone brings back the physical QWERTY keyboard and adds modern functionalities, making the smartphone a serious challenger against the more popular flagships today. Along with an Android OS, the soon-to-be-released device is offering comfort and increased productivity with an attractive price point.
BlackBerry KEYone Specs
The KEYone comes from TCL, but it is still a BlackBerry through and through. It does not sport the latest specs one might expect from a flagship, yet it is potent, nonetheless.
First things first, the BB smartphone presents a 1620 x 1080-pixel touchscreen with 3:2 aspect ratio. It seems rather odd compared to the LG G6 and the Galaxy S8 but understandable because of the presence of the keyboard.The 35-key physical keyboard has also been upgraded to include capacitive touch support so that the entirety of the keyboard can be used as a trackpad. The space bar houses the fingerprint scanner, making it easy to unlock the phone.
Under the hood, there's a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC. It might not be the latest, but it allows for longer battery life. Paired with 3GB RAM, the processor is enough to have a smooth performance. The BlackBerry KEYone is only available with 32GB internal storage, but it does come with microSD support. The 3,505 mAh battery can be charged up to 50 percent in 36 minutes thanks to the boost mode of the QuickCharge 3.0 fast charging.
For snapping photos, there is a 12-megapixel camera at the back and an 8-megapixel shooter at the front. Nothing too mind-blowing, but they do the job surprisingly well, even better than other smartphones.
Finally, the BB KEYone comes out of the box with Android 7.1 Nougat, so users should not find it hard to adapt to the user interface.
BlackBerry KEYone Release Date
BB's newest flagship smartphone will be released on May 31 in U.S. and Canada, Engadget reports. American customers will only be able to buy an unlocked GSM or CDMA versions by then, but it is coming to Sprint this coming summer.
Details about other carrier deals will hopefully be revealed in the coming weeks leading up to its U.S. launch.
BlackBerry KEYone Price
An unlocked BlackBerry KEYone will be priced at $549 upfront. Take note that the Galaxy S8 is being sold for $725 at Best Buy, which means that the BB flagship is fairly cheaper than other flagships right now.
Same goes for Canadian prices. Carriers in the country are offering it for $199 CAD on a two-year contract, whereas the Galaxy S8 is at around $250 CAD on the same contract.
This puts the BlackBerry KEYone at an advantage when it comes to price. For such a capable phone, consumers will be more likely to consider buying it instead of a more expensive smartphone packed with features they may not even use.
BlackBerry KEYone Review
Many critics have already gotten their hands on a unit and so far, things are looking good for the company. Once one of the most popular smartphone brands, BlackBerry is getting closer to redeeming itself with the KEYone, judging by the raves it is getting from early reviews.It's worth noting that the BB KEYone is first and foremost targeted at pro consumers. That's why it is bringing a set of productivity features that will help things get done. Those who would rather idle their time away on social media may not find this smartphone the best choice for them.
Its most appealing feature is the keyboard, proving that physical QWERTY keys are not dead. While Samsung Galaxy S8 did away with any physical button, BlackBerry went ahead and incorporated the whole keyboard, which is honestly the brand's identity.
This KEYone review from The Verge perfectly takes into account its every feature. It has made very clear that the BlackBerry KEYone, with its more affordable price, can squeeze its way into the hands of every businessman, just as its early predecessors did before.[Featured Image by Manu Fernandez/AP Images]