I feel weird saying this. I really like BlackBerry’s new KEYone smartphone. I don’t like that I like it, and I don’t like the name.
But I can’t change the fact that I want one . This is something I need to accept about myself.
Why do I want a Blackberry? It’s… a Blackberry. I’m not a Blackberry kinda guy. I don’t wear a suit and suspenders. I don’t wear shirts with different coloured collars and cuffs. I don’t… own a yacht.
But that’s Old Blackberry. The KEYone is New Blackberry. New Blackberry phones are made by TCL, and New Blackberry makes a phone that I really want to get my hands on. New Blackberry makes the KEYone.
Firstly, the KEYone looks solid. Blackberry has always made very well built phones, and the KEYone has a beautiful anodized aluminium frame and soft-touch leatherette textured back, but in reality it’s all about that keyboard. Underneath the KEYone’s 4.5-inch, 1620x1080pixel, 434ppi, 3:2 aspect ratio display is a full, tactile QWERTY keyboard — Blackberry says it offers more space for typing than the on-screen keyboard of a 5.5-inch touchscreen phone.
The screen above is your main portal into the world of Blackberry, and you’ll be pleased to hear the KEYone is running Android 7.1 Nougat. New Blackberry is all about the security of your data, too, so the phone will get all of Google’s regular security patches and a swathe of extra security features built in from the ground up. There’s even a security monitoring app that checks all your other apps’ permissions and activities to ensure they’re A-OK.
Blackberry phones have usually had mediocre cameras at best, but the KEYone uses the same Sony IMX378 sensor as the Google Pixel. That 12-megapixel sensor takes swish photos, and even if the Pixel’s software contributes significantly to how good they look from that phone, the KEYone has some great hardware at its disposal now — again, this is weird to see in a Blackberry.
In terms of hardware, the KEYone is mid-range in its power; it runs a Snapdragon 625 octa-core, and has a sizeable 3505mAh combo. Blackberry says this combo was specifically chosen to make sure users can achieve two days’ non-stop usage — one of those company hallmarks that kept previous users faithful before its market share hit 0.0% worldwide.
Although the company isn’t being drawn for specifics on price, the Blackbery KEYone will be priced “at or under $799” in Australia. It’ll be out some time in April. And I maybe a little bit can’t wait.
There’s just one thing I don’t like. That space bar. Those depressed internal edges are just crying out for dust and grime and muck to accumulate and take away from the otherwise executive style of your fancy new ‘berry. [Blackberry]