It has been a long time since my last BlackBerry, and am I rather excited for this one!! The BlackBerry KEYone the latest and greatest BlackBerry smartphone meant to keep you on the go and even feel a bit of nostalgia in the process!
Upon first opening box, I was immediately transported back six years when BlackBerry was still a common device in consumers’ hands. Now it is fewer, but I hope to see this KEYone make an impact and begin to retake some of the market.
The phone feels sturdy and solid. Yes, it is a bit heavier, but it is not too heavy that it becomes a burden. The 4.5” screen is a perfect size to accommodate the traditional BlackBerry Keyboard many of us know and love. And the camera placement and design looks flashy on the device. I can see that care was taken into perfecting the look and feel of this device.
At first glance, a former BlackBerry user would notice the following common attributes: BlackBerry keyboard, convenience key, as well as overall design of the device. A closer look reveals a USB Type-C charging port, a 3.5MM Headset jack on the top of the device, a 12 MP camera on the back and an 8 MP Camera on the front, and a speaker array at the bottom of the device.
Here are some specifications of the device courtesy of BlackBerry Mobile:
Weight – 180g (6.34 oz)
Size – 5.8” tall, 2.8” wide, .37” thick
OS – Android
Cameras - 12 MP Rear; 8MP front (LED Flash on rear, “screen” flash on front)
Memory – 3 GB RAM; 32GB storage; expandable via MicroSD
Battery – 3505 mAh Lithium Ion battery with QC3.0 compliance
The size of the device is rather perfect. I would prefer to have a slightly larger screen, but because of the keyboard, it would make the screen taller and not wider, which would be awkward to hold and use. Therefore, based on the overall design of the device, the 4.5” screen does the job well!
I compared it against my LG G6 and it is slightly thicker, but almost unnoticeable. It’s also roughly the same size as the LG G6 comparatively, but of course the screen real estate is quite different between the two devices.
The device fits well in my hands, as well as my pockets, which is a plus!
It would be very remiss of me to take a moment to talk about the keyboard!
The keyboard is arguably one of the best features of any BlackBerry phone, and this KEYone does not disappoint in the slightest! If it has been a while since using a BlackBerry keyboard, it will take a day or two to get used to, but it’s similar to riding a bike – you can’t forget the feel of typing on a BlackBerry keyboard and how to use it!
The keyboard is set up perfectly and is easy to use quickly and efficiently. The typical BlackBerry keys are there (Shift, alt, sym, enter, delete), and there is some highly enhanced functionality as opposed to other BlackBerry devices, too. I’ll go more into the keyboard operation in a different blog, so keep your eyes out for that one! The keyboard is one of my favorite features on this device.
The key height & width is perfect, making efficiency of typing easy. I truly make less mistakes in typing with the physical keyboard than I did with an on-screen keyboard.
Built into the keyboard is a fingerprint scanner (in the spacebar), so you can easily unlock your device or authorize applications that are connected to fingerprint (e.g., PayPal, Starbucks, Google Play purchases, etc.).
Overall, the keyboard is slick, efficient (word of the day, here), and versatile. Setting speed dials or quick actions from the keyboard is something I missed, and BlackBerry Mobile brings it back!
Battery life on this device is pretty stellar. I start my day around 6 AM every day and I have at least 40% charge at 2 PM in the afternoon. This is usually with numerous phone calls, notifications, etc. I took this device to Las Vegas with me and it was able to power me through the entire day without a charger, which was more than I can say about a lot of former devices. I would typically remove it from the charger at about 8 AM and would not return to a charger until about 11 PM at night and I had about 15% or so around the time I returned to my hotel. I did minimize some of my usage throughout the day, so it is not 100% typical of operation, but even when doing that on previous devices I have owned, I was never as fortunate with the battery.
The battery charges quickly with the quick charge capability of the device as well.
I am in love with this device. There is so much to talk about with it that I cannot sum it up here in a single blog post. I will be writing more about this device as we move forward and you will see things like keyboard operation, BlackBerry Privacy Shade, and other features of the device that truly make it a versatile device. It is truly the almost perfect combination of BlackBerry and Android, which is something we have needed for years. The only drawback, at least to me, is that it only has 3 GB of RAM. I wish the device had 4 GB, as some RAM-intensive tasks to tend to slow the phone down a bit.
Keep your eyes here for additional blogs relate to the overall operation of this great device!
As always, thank you for reading! If you have questions or general feedback, please feel free to drop a comment below!
The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the company that love technology. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint devices and offer opinions freely to the Community. Each Product Ambassador shares their own opinions of these devices, therefore the information in this post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint. The PA's do not represent the company in an official way, and should not be expected to respond to Community members in an official capacity.