BlackBerry KEYone review
Before you dismiss BlackBerry, we should highlight that the KEYone is fully Android, which breaks down the compatibility barriers that used to exist, when BlackBerry used its own OS.
The BlackBerry KEYone also offers a ‘world’s first’, but more on that later on.
The BlackBerry KEYone certainly looks different with its 4.5” impact and scratch resistant display, which has an unusual 3:2 aspect ratio, sitting above the physical keyboard. The display has a resolution of 1620 x 1080 pixels, which equates to a healthy 433 pixels per inch.
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The screen is set into a robust aluminium frame that curves around the edges to meet a soft textured back. The phone is slightly thicker than some at 9.4mm thick, while the weight is fairly average at 180g.
Inside, the build incorporates a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2GHz octa-core processor with 3GB RAM, delivering all the performance you could want, whether your are browsing the internet or switching between apps.
Phone Set Up
If you are wondering why the device is called KEYone, well here it is. The BlackBerry KEYone is the world’s first smartphone to have a fingerprint sensor built into a keyboard.
The fingerprint sensor, made by Fingerprints Cards, is fitted into the slightly unusual looking space key. 3D pixel sensing technology reads dry or wet fingerprints, through 360 degrees.
After logging a fingerprint for security, you may like to transfer over the content from a smartphone or iPhone. To aid in this, there is a 32GB internal memory, expandable with microSD cards of any value up to 2TB.
Next, you should set up BlackBerry Hub, where all of your messages, emails, social notifications, calendar items and phone calls are amalgamated. You may also like to create a few shortcuts, available for any key, such as ‘B’ for one touch launching of the the browser.
The BlackBerry Keyboard is quite special as it doubles as a trackpad. This means that you can slide your finger over the keys, for scrolling around, without needing to obstruct your view by placing a finger on the screen.
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The BlackBerry Keyboard has Flick Typing and with this you can flick words onto the screen with next word predictions. These get more accurate through time as the keyboard uses a learning engine, to learn the words you type most.
There is also a Convenience Key, located on the side, and this can be set to open the camera or to mute an active call.
OS and apps
The BlackBerry KEYone is powered by Android 7.1 Nougat and this includes the Google Now Voice Assistant. There are many BlackBerry apps pre-loaded, the best of which includes Notes by BlackBerry, Tasks by BlackBerry, BlackBerry Password Keeper, BlackBerry Productivity Edge and the DTEK security monitoring app.
Camera & Video
The 12MP camera on the BlackBerry KEYone uses large 1.55μm pixels for better low light photography and Phase Detect Auto Focus, for speed. A typical set of camera features are on offer, such as Live Filters, 4x digital zoom, a dual tone LED flash and 4K video recording.
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The 8MP selfie camera has an 84 degrees wide angle lens, Wide Selfie Mode, its own flash and 1080p video recording.