BlackBerry KEYone review : planet mercury just got renamed

blackberry keyone overview

Blackberry has always had its fair share as far as design innovations are concerned. A lot of smartphone users still miss the trademark QWERTY keypads of Blackberry devices and the solid productivity they used to offer.
Of all the different evolutions blackberry has taken, the most recent one seems to be the most relevant for the present. With Blackberry slowly entering the android ecosystem, we can finally see the ever amazing QWERTY keypads with the ever amazing Android - a feat not many manufacturers can boast of. 
Things started off with the Blackberry Priv, followed by the DTEK50 and DTEK60 later on in 2016. This time, the company has come up with a phone which is radically different - The KEYone.
The smartphone was supposed to be released under the name "Mercury", which got changed later on to KEYone. The device is a productivity - centric one that aims to be somewhat different from the rest of the smartphones available in the market.
It sports a physical keyboard, a pretty solid design, and Blackberry's in house apps, making it all the way more productive and useful.


Design

blackberry keyone specifications

The KEYnote is one phone which has stuck to its roots. It does not feel shy to boast the physical keyboard, unlike its predecessors. This is one thing we liked in the phone. The phone is made with aluminium, with a rubberized back making it all the way a comfort to hold. The buttons are placed ergonomically, giving a fair tactile feedback. The capacitive navigation buttons are visible up front, sitting just above the physical keyboard. We won't call the phone 'beautiful' , as it looks more like an industrial unit, made especially for business oriented users - nothing new for blackberry.
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The keyboard offers a lot of gestures, making it somewhat possible to use the device with one hand.
Capacitive keys are the preferred method of UI navigation for BlackBerry, which takes quite some time to get used to.
The fingerprint sensor is integrated within the spacebar - something which nobody would hate (Samsung Galaxy S8, wish you had something like this and you would be the God)

Display

blackberry latest smartphone

With the new devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the LG G6 bringing in some unconventional aspect ratios like  18:9 and 18.5:9, one would expect others to follow suit. The KEYnote, however, goes the other direction.  It comes with a 4.5-inch IPS LCD display with a 3:2 aspect ratio, which might look like out of time now, but the extra width makes up to the loss, more or less.
Having this aspect ratio also means watching videos won't be that much of a fun, but again, the phone is not particularly meant for media hoggers.
The display packs in an LCD screen, meaning the colors won't be having that punchy depths of an AMOLED one, but Blackberry has thrown in a Screen mode option, meaning user can make the display cooler or warmer as and when desired.
The phone also comes with an ambient display, which, by no means, is perfect.

Performance

latest android smartphones

The phone has some pretty basic specs, Snapdragon 625, Adreno 506, and 3 GB of RAM. Basic because of the price tag it has hanging with it. Blackberry could have done better at the software front with this device, but these specifications are fairly decent and would get the job done pretty easily. Loading graphics-intensive apps and games, however, won't be as fluid as expected from such a phone.
Software optimization might be a bit let down, yet again. The phone at most of the times, shows the RAM to be 2.3 or 2.5 GB full, out of the 2.8 GB of usable RAM.

Hardware

latest android smartphone

The phone has 32 GB of internal storage which can be further expanded up to 2 TB via an external card slot. There is a single SIM card slot. Additional connectivity features include Bluetooth 4.2 (LE), NFC, and even an FM radio.
There are two speaker grills at the bottom, however only the right one is the speaker and the left one is the mic. The speakers are not very loud and the sound appears a bit muffled up.
The aspect this phone excels in is its battery life. The non-removable 3,505 mAh unit gives pretty decent uptime (4.5 hours of screen-on time with moderate to heavy usage)
This was to be expected considering the niche the phone is supposedly targeting would require a good battery.

Physical keyboard


The Keyboard on the device is, the 'KEY' feature. It offers a lot of functionality, to support its relevance in the today's world.
The presence of the keyboard solves one of the problems i faced with the multi window feature in my Samsung devices, imagine having opened two apps, and then if you want to type something, the keyboard just makes the situation horrible. The presence of this keyboard would easily solve that crisis.



Verdict

Though the phone is not away from flaws, but no phone is ( Samsung Galaxy S8, again, you could be, but you had to put the fingerprint scanner at the back didn't you?)
The phone does what it was supposed to do - provide a solid, productive performance. And the lack of the top notch software probably won't even come to the minds of the potential buyers as they are getting what they want from the phone. It is a phone we can easily recommend. What are your thoughts about it? Do let us know in the comments section down below.
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