TCL Communication unveiled a new BlackBerry smartphone at Mobile World Congress 2017 – the BlackBerry KEYone.
This launch marks the first BlackBerry smartphone released by TCL Communication. The company signed the new brand licensing agreement with BlackBerry Ltd at the end of last year.
The new BlackBerry definitely shows its heritage. I, for one, applaud the return of the QWERTY keyboard.
After a quick glimpse at the specs it does look like many of the features that made BlackBerry a fan favourite are present.
Let’s have a look if there is enough there to tempt the BB faithful back from the Samsungs, iPhones and others they were forced to adopt.
Tucked into an anodized aluminium frame and soft touch textured back, this new BlackBerry smartphone is built to offer the best in durability while still remaining easy on the eyes.
Featuring a 4.5-inch display (1620×1080 resolution / 434 PPI 3:2 aspect ratio) with Corning Gorilla Glass 4, the KEYone combines a touch display with that physical keyboard. This promises to give users more useable space for typing than a typical 5.5-inch all-touch smartphone.
The device’s Smart Keyboard responds to touch gestures mimicking the heritage of the BlackBerry trackpad making web browsing, reading emails and writing messages with flick typing a much smoother and intuitive experience.
This Smart Keyboard can also be easily programmed to launch up to 52 customisable shortcuts. This means you can use “I” to access your inbox or “M” to access maps.
In addition, KEYone is the first smartphone to provide the security of a fingerprint sensor built directly into the keyboard spacebar, for added functionality and security.
Out of the box, the device runs Android 7.1 and with it access to the entire Google Play store and apps.
It also comes loaded with BlackBerry Hub. This brings all your messages into one consolidated place; including emails, texts and messages from any social media account.
Another benefit of BlackBerry Hub, is the ability to manage multiple email accounts without switching between apps. It, of course, supports Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, Microsoft Exchange accounts, and many other IMAP and POP3 email providers.
What BlackBerry users love is the enhanced security features – the KEYone is suitably kitted out. There’s a hardened operating system as well as BlackBerry Limited’s proprietary technique for establishing a hardware root of trust adding security keys to the processor.
This device comes pre-loaded with DTEK by BlackBerry. This offers constant security monitoring and protection of your operating system and apps. You are informed when your privacy could be at risk and how you can take action to improve it. You other apps are also monitored and you’ll be alerted you any are accessing your camera, turning your microphone on, sending a text message, or accessing your contacts or location.
Under the hood
At the core of this new BlackBerry smartphone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 mobile platform with the Qualcomm Adreno 506 GPU.
This means BlackBerry KEYone users should get long battery life thanks to more efficient battery usage and fast LTE speeds for super-fast file sharing.
It includes Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology. The 3505 mAh battery is the largest ever in a BlackBerry device, and with the Quick Charge tech, it’ll hit 50% in roughly 36 minutes.
BlackBerry’s Boost can turbo charge your battery to get you the most charge with the limited time you have.
The BlackBerry KEYone packs a 12MP rear camera with the industry leading Sony IMX378 camera sensor.
With a large pixel size and Phase Detect Auto Focus, you should be able to capture crisp and clear snapes.
The 8MP front camera has fixed focus and an 84-degree wide angle lens.
BlackBerry KEYone price and availability
The BlackBerry KEYone will be available globally beginning in April and will be priced at or under £499 GBP.
For more information about the BlackBerry KEYone and to register for pre-order updates, please visit BlackBerryMobile.com.