If you are looking at getting the KEYone as a device, most likely it is for the keyboard experience. In a world of swiping and swishing it is the Blackberry KEYone that stands out in the crowd thanks to the throwback experience of the keys. Thankfully that is the main comeback with this device as everything else is all Andriod thus opening up the full world of apps and tools that are to be expected. It has also already been announced that it will get the next iteration of Android OS to “Oreo” so fear not that updates are on the way.
So after years of no keyboard how has been the experience for me? Being of a certain generation as I am, I have clear memories of pecking away using keys. I also remember what a challenge it was to move to full touch with the final death nail being to loss of the home button with the Galaxy S8.
Oh, how I longed for the tactile days of old and now I have them. The keyboard experience has been all that I expected so far. It took a few days but after orienting myself to the various letter locations and functions I was soon once again working my thumbs with great efficiency. To say I am now typing faster than with my previous touch screen would not exactly be true. I can say that I am more accurate and there is just something wonderful about buttons after doing without for so long.
The keyboard is designed with the classic Blackberry feel with each row separated by a classy looking metal strip. In low light and in the dark, each letter lights up making it a snap to navigate.
Now, this is not just a keyboard as there are several features to make it even more useful. The keys are customizable enable a long press shortcuts to pull up an app or take you to a designated area faster. Rather than flipping through the screen, just long press “I” and Instagram pops up.
Another nice feature is the three-word suggestions provided across the bottom of the touchscreen as part of the next word prediction engine. The keyboard is sensitive to touch so all it takes is a simple swipe of the keys under the word and it is will move right up to your text.
This works due to the entire keyboard functioning like a trackpad. Rather than swiping the screen to scroll through documents or menus, just lightly move over the keys. This is especially nice given the small size of the screen. Plus of course, there is the tactile satisfaction of the key feel.
The space bar does double duty as the fingerprint sensor and I have found it to be quite responsive to unlock the device. My only wish here is that once open it would serve as a home key. I more often than not have found myself pressing here for home rather than the virtual home button that is above the keyboard.
Overall my thumb muscle memory has returned and I am loving the keyboard. Long live the keyboard!