We are just a day away from MWC 2017’s opening day and as expected, numerous technology and hardware companies are having their special events which predominantly details their latest devices and technologies for the mobile market and one of the first brands to make kick off their event is BlackBerry. Now under TCL Technology, BlackBerry has something to show us that takes us back to the roots that the brand is most familiar with.
Teased and rumored for numerous times before as the BlackBerry Mercury and was even shownat CES, a smartphone with a physical keyboard is what Blackberry is most known for and to finally make the new smartphone official, what was known as the Mercury now has an official consumer name and that’s the BlackBerry KEYone. The new handset is believed to be the last descendant of the original BlackBerry design. It too has the official and signature BlackBerry keyboard that’s love by many of its executive and professional consumers.
| This is the BlackBerry KEYone
Since it was initially unveiled last month at CES 2017, hardware on the KEYone virtually remains untouched with all the key features intact. From the outer perspective, the handset has a premium anodized-metal build frame with a black soft-textured diamond-patterned back. The front complements the black scheme of the back with from the display and all the way to the physical keys all in black accent.
The display is only at 4.5-inch and that’s because the handset has a built-in physical keyboard at the bottom which will talk about in a bit. Despite the smaller screen, it’s one of the crispest displays that BlackBerry has at 1620 x 1080p screen resolution and 433 ppi of pixel density. What you don’t have to worry about the KEYone is the supposedly on-screen keyboard that’s that takes almost half the screen but thankfully that’s not going to happen here as it comes built with a physical keyboard.
The BlackBerry keyboard on the KEYone is the same signature keyboard found on old school BlackBerry devices and that means it’s a good thing because it was loved by many BlackBerry users and was one of the main reasons they opted with the brand. But as the technology matures,this new keyboard packs a punch of its own. it comes with gesture controls and takes swipes for navigation, it also takes shortcuts to launch apps and flick typing that works like having a swiftkey features on a physical keyboard. BlackBerry claims their keyboard design as the most advanced physical keyboard to date.
The KEYone will also be the most capable imaging device that the BlackBerry brand came out with, the main camera that sits on the back is predominantly noticeable with a large circular module and is supported by a dual-tone LED flash. It houses a 12 Megapixel Sony IMX378 sensor with 1.5um pixel size, this imaging sensor is the same as the one found in Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL devices so it’s pretty safe to assume that if performs the same on BlackBerry’s side. On the front is a standard 8 Megapixel camera with Selfie features and with LCD flash to assist in low-lighting conditions.
The BlackBerry KEYoneprocessing powered is well taken cared by a Snapdragon 625 Chipset clocked at 2.0 GHz and Adreno 506 for the graphics. It is supported by 3GB of RAM and comes with 32GB of internal storage space. It accepts microSD cardsof up to 2TB in capacity which is way a lot by the way but it seems like it will take a few trips with time for us to see a 2TB sporting microSD cards.
Keeping the handset up and running is a 3505 mAh embedded Li-Ion battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 support that gives up to 50% battery life in just half an hour of charging. It ships with USB-C port on USB 3.1 specifications that optimizes charging and data input and output. The handset runs on the latest Android 7.1 (Nougat), though at the event, it’s still under development, but attendees feedback tells us that it’s already optimized for that device and the responsiveness is already consumer grade.
So, what keeps people from using a BlackBerry device? the answer lies on security and from what the people inside BlackBerry has to say, the new KEYone is said to be the most secure Android device in the world today and that’s one hard to argue with. TCL which now markets the BlackBerry devices has added security keys to the processor and includes BlackBerry DTEK security software platform to improve hardware and software security features as it continuously monitors both of these areas on the devices for any threat on the system itself and users privacy.
The new BlackBerry KEYone will be launching inmultiple markets by April with a suggested retail price of $549 SIM free, that’s about 28,000 Pesos in the Philippines. But if one time payment is not up for you, mobile carriers will also be offering the KEYone on their contracts. Either way to get the device, it’s pretty much an excitement to see the brand relaunch itself in the market with all the best features that what BlackBerry is best at.