Blackberry returns with a keyboard based phone that will be of most interest to business users.
When does the Blackberry KEYone come out? Australian availability in May/June
What’s new about the Blackberry KEYone? Physical keyboard, USB C charging, Android 7.1
How much will the Blackberry KEYone cost? Expected to cost $799 outright
What is the Blackberry KEYone?
At one point Blackberry was the mobile brand to beat. Then along came Apple, and smartphones were redefined again, and Blackberry saw its market dominance slip away bit by bit, until it was essentially a non-factor. Blackberry as a company has for some time been focusing on enterprise-level software rather than handsets, but it’s licensed out the Blackberry hardware name to TCL to produce handsets for sales in most markets, including Australia.
The Blackberry KEYone isn’t TCL’s first Blackberry phone, but it’s easily the most significant in terms of getting the Blackberry brand back to some level of prominence. That’s because unlike the DTEK50 (also a TCL Blackberry phone) the KEYone comes with Blackberry’s signature hardware point of difference, namely a physical keyboard.
The keyboard on the KEYone is tiny, but with years of experience in producing keyboards that actually respond under the finger, it should be a quality inclusion. It’s also capacitive, meaning you can scroll your finger across the entire keyboard to scroll across onscreen elements.
Keyboard aside, the KEYone is an Android 7.0 device running on a Snapdragon 625 processor with a 12MP rear Sony camera sensor.
Is the Blackberry KEYone a powerful phone?
The underlying architecture of the KEYone doesn’t suggest that it’ll be an absolute barnburner when it comes to performance, but equally the inclusion of a healthy quantity of RAM and Android 7.1 could give it a serious advantage over similar specification handsets.
Does the Blackberry KEYone have a good camera?
Blackberry itself has never particularly competed hard in the camera space, but TCL does have some form in delivering decent (if not spectacular) cameras via its subsidiary Alcatel brand. The KEYone's 12MP sony camera sensor should represent a decent step up from the Blackberry cameras of old, but we'll have to give it some proper testing to see where it sits in the overall camera smartphone space.
How do I charge the Blackberry KEYone?
The Blackberry KEYone uses the newer USB C standard for both charging and data transfer. This means it can charge relatively rapidly, as well as shift information from the phone to your computer when tethered by a cable. USB has a bidirectional plug, which means you can wave goodbye to all those times when you’ve had to bounce a cable around, sometimes multiple times in order to get it to fit. While USB C is fast becoming the norm for new phones, the one downside here is that older microUSB chargers won’t work unless you carry a micro-to-USB-C adaptor around with you.
Is the Blackberry KEYone water resistant?
The Blackberry KEYone has been built for business, but not, it seems, if your business involves scuba diving. Its specifications do not mention any particular level of water resistance, although like most phones small splashes of water shouldn’t present a particular worry. Drop it down the toilet or into the pool, however, and you could be looking at a very dead Blackberry.
When will the Blackberry KEYone be available in Australia?
The Blackberry KEYone will go on sale in Australia in May/June for outright purchase, with carrier availaibility yet to be announced.
How much will the Blackberry KEYone cost?
In outright terms, the Blackberry KEYOne will cost $799 when it launches in Australia. We're yet to see any carriers announce that they will range it on contract.
Blackberry KEYone Specifications
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 625|