BlackBerry KEYone Review: A Return To Form For BlackBerry Fans
The BlackBerry lineage, which began in 1999, is remembered for its colorful legacy. However, while once the gold standard for smartphones, the brand spoiled somewhat as more hardware manufacturers entered the market. Regardless, BlackBerry is still actively developing new products, and their newest invention, the BlackBerry KEYone, appears to recapture the magic that made the brand a household name.
The KEYone comes with a sturdy built-in keyboard, which hosts a plethora of potential. Users can create their own convenience keys, allowing them to seamlessly open an app or click on a shortcut. Up to 52 different shortcuts can be saved onto the phone. These are activated by clicking a button or holding it down, and each letter key can host two shortcuts.
As you’re typing a word, the KEYone assists by suggesting three words. If the word you intend to type is suggested, you can swipe up for it to be automatically completed. If the word isn’t in the KEYone’s dictionary, it will eventually be learned.
Additionally, a fingerprint reader is built into the spacebar, making it quick to log in. The sensitivity to your fingers also serves another benefit: you can scroll across the keyboard as a trackpad, which allows you to swiftly switch between the lists or tabs you’re browsing. However, while the option is nice, Engadget’s reviewer explained how the touchscreen is more effective to use, given how the screen is larger than the keyboard.
Carefully resting on the home screen is the Productivity Tab, which keeps track of new messages, your appointments, unfulfilled tasks and your most important contacts. Naturally, as the device is running on the current Android OS, the standard Android functionality is present, including access to the Google Play Store.
The BlackBerry KEYone has a sizable display, with a 4.5-inch screen that eclipses that of the Galaxy S8 as well as previous BlackBerrys. Furthermore, even if it isn’t the clearest screen, the display is still of commendable quality; regardless of the angle you’re viewing from, the colors pop. However, Engadget’s reviewer noted how the keyboard’s presence reduced the size of the screen and locked it into a somewhat awkward 3:2 aspect ratio.
Traditional smartphone features, such as built-in cameras, are accounted for. The latest BlackBerry hosts two cameras, a 12-megapixel camera and a front-facing 8-megapixel camera. Neither contain the luxuries other phones offer, but they’re more than functional. The KEYone can record videos in two quality settings: 720p at 24 frames-per-second or 4K at 30 frames-per-second. Engadget’s review acknowledged how the visuals are somewhat darkened, but the quality is still solid.
Similarly, the audio output is respectable, but it is far from being the best. For those who require more memory, the KEYone is compatible with 2TD MicroSD cards. Plus, one USB-C port is built into the device.
The battery life thankfully can keep its charge for a considerable period of time. Trusted Reviews asserts it “easily lasted two, if not two and a half, days from a single charge.”
Ultimately, those who long for a return to the ripe years of BlackBerrys will likely find the KEYone to be an excellent option. However, those who’ve grown fond of one of the other numerous options on the market, such as the Galaxy S8, will likely not be converted by the BlackBerry KEYone.
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