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Great battery life
Frustrating physical keyboard
If you think that BlackBerries are a thing of the past, then the Android-powered KEY2 is here to prove you wrong. The newest addition to the BlackBerry line offers great features to satisfy diehard brand loyalists while also bringing the device closer to the all-screen smartphones we know and love.
Devoted BlackBerry fans need not worry — the beloved physical keyboard is still there and just as satisfying to use, with intuitive predictive typing features and even a fingerprint reader built right in. The KEY2 also has touchscreen navigation (now an expected feature in today's smartphone market) although the 4.5-inch display pales a bit in comparison to iPhones and other flagship Androids. The same can be said of the dual 12MP cameras, one front-facing and another on the back: They snap decent photos, but can't really compete with other more advanced phone cameras on the market.
While the KEY2 may fall behind its competitors' flashier features, the sturdy aluminum alloy build, non-slip back and impact-resistant Gorilla Glass screen make it considerably tougher than a typical smartphone. Plus, the advanced, customizable software security features are a boon for businesspeople and those who want to keep a close eye on how their phone data is protected. The memory is also expandable from 64GB up to 256GB depending on your needs, and it has a killer battery life: two whole days on a single charge. The Android 8.1 Oreo OS also gives you access to all your favorite apps and services from Google Play.
When all is said and done, the KEY2 delivers that all-business BlackBerry experience with updates to meet 2018's expectations. So if you love this brand (or just crave a keyboard and something tougher than your typical all-glass smartphone) the KEY2 fills a particular niche in the market that's sure to garner its own enthusiastic following.
Keyboard looks and feels great
Lots of customization
For smartphone owners who can’t decide between a touchscreen and a hardware keyboard, the BlackBerry KEYone offers the best of both worlds. The 4.5-inch 1620 x 1080 IPS LCD display adds Gorilla Glass 4 technology for greater protection against bumps or drops, while the Snapdragon 625 processor pairs with 4GB of RAM for smooth day-to-day performance. Running on Android Nougat 7.1, the KEYone offers complete access to Google’s Play Store and its million-plus app selection. An eight-megapixel front-facing camera is ideal for selfies, while the 12-megapixel rear camera adds Sony’s IMX378 sensor for superb photos and 4K video recording. For the BlackBerry faithful, the KEYone comes complete with the full suite of BlackBerry applications to maintain the full experience for the best of both BlackBerry and Android worlds. With 26 hours of battery life when fully charged, the 3505mAh battery still adds quick charge 3.0, charging the battery to 50 percent power in just 36 minutes.
Courtesy of Best Buy
Excellent software for productivity
No capacitive touch for keyboard
On the hunt for something like the BlackBerry KEY2 but without the premium price tag? Enter the BlackBerry KEY2 LE. Occupying the middle ground between budget and premium models, the LE offers a cheaper alternative to the KEY2 without sacrificing too much. It sports the same 4.5-inch display at 1620 x 1080 resolution with Corning Gorilla Glass. With a Snapdragon 636 processor with 4GB of RAM, the device runs smoothly even with multiple applications operating in the background. It runs an Android 8.1 OS, and BlackBerry has added its own software touches for extra security and personalization.
The LE differs from the regular KEY2 in build quality and camera quality, which is where you sacrifice those premium features to save a little money. The LE has a plastic rear chassis which, while it doesn’t look quite as nice, can actually make for a lighter and more comfortable device to hold. It also sports a pair of 13- and 5-megapixel cameras on the back and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. Those aren’t quite as powerful as the KEY2, but they provide perfectly suitable photo results.
Inside the body of the device is a 3,000mAh battery which, thanks to BlackBerry’s software optimizations, will easily last you through the day.
Not great for gaming
Below average camera
Since its inception, BlackBerry has touted their devices’ security as a main selling point. Combine that security with a beautiful phone and Android software and the BlackBerry DTEK60 is a winner.
Packing a 5.5-inch QHD display, the DTEK60 is powered by a Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of RAM. For extra security, a fingerprint scanner sits on the rear of the device right below the 21-megapixel camera. This is actually the first device in the BlackBerry lineup to add fingerprint protection — it’s secure and more seamless than typing in a password.
The DTEK60 runs Android 6.0 software with a few bonuses from BlackBerry: preinstalled app provides automatic monitoring of the operating system and apps, tracking any time your contacts or location are accessed or if the camera is activated without your knowledge. Built-in encryption and a password keeper also provide heavyweight security to keep your most important data safe.
Full HD display
Poor battery life
Like its older sibling, the 4.76-ounce BlackBerry DTEK50 is a budget-friendly device running Android OS and it's one of the first devices BlackBerry hasn’t manufactured on its own. Running Android 6.0.1 out of the box, BlackBerry has altered the software just enough with useful tweaks and additional apps to make it feel more secure. BlackBerry added encryption at a system level all while promising to deliver monthly security patches direct from Google. In other words, if privacy is a major concern to you, the DTEK50 might offer some peace of mind.
The device features a 5.2-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS display and a pair of stereo speakers on the rear. Design-wise, the DTEK50 isn’t the most exciting phone you’ll find (it’s fairly utilitarian as a plastic-based device with a faux-metal material running around the display). Fortunately, the rubbery back is comfortable and will have you less concerned about dropping the device.
Powered by a Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage (microSD card optional), the DTEK50 feels a tad bit slower than its higher-end brother but, for the price, it’s more than good enough. Battery life stands up to the test with around 11 hours of life on a looping video. Additionally, the DTEK50 offers Quick Charge 2.0 for fast charging, but you’ll have to purchase an aftermarket charger if you want to take advantage of the quick charging. Once you purchase the aftermarket charger, the Quick Charge can take the DTEK50 from no charge to fully charged in around two hours.
Excellent battery life
Key placement is questionable
BlackBerry boasts that the Motion’s 4000mAh battery can last an entire day, it will last 32 hours on a single charge. That’s more than enough to get even the toughest power users through the day without having to recharge. For those times when you do need to power back up, this phone has Quick Charge 3.0 and USB-C, which should get you juiced back up in no time.
Battery life is more than just the size of the battery. The Motion uses Qualcomm’s power-sipping Snapdragon 625 processor paired with 4GB of RAM, making the entire device optimized for extended use. It runs Android Nougat software with the promise of Android updates for the foreseeable future.
The Motion also has a 12-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera that sits just above the 5.5-inch Full HD display. As an added bonus, the Motion is BlackBerry’s first water-resistant device.
Fast web browser
Battery life is unreliable
BlackBerry’s Classic is everything you know and love about the BlackBerry experience, but with a modern twist. It runs BlackBerry OS 10.3, the home-grown software from Blackberry that failed to dethrone both Android and iOS. Released at the tail end of 2014, the 6.24-ounce Classic married BlackBerry’s always-excellent QWERTY keyboard with a 3.5-inch touchscreen 720 x 720 IPS display. Unfortunately, in the land of large touchscreen devices, the 3.5-inch display feels small and its square ratio prevents it from being a truly great display.
On the rear of the device is an eight-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording, plus a two-megapixel and 720p video capture camera on the front. However, when standing on its own, BlackBerry die-hards will love the combination keyboard/touchscreen even if the square display prevents any decent multimedia viewing. Still, the integration and placement of ports and buttons along the rim of the device are well thought out, so everything is easy to reach.
The four-row QWERTY keyboard will instantly be familiar to BlackBerry owners. There’s no reason to sugarcoat the typing experience, it’s fantastic with ridges and depressions on each key, so you know where your fingers are on the keyboard. Pair the keyboard with the touchpad and selecting, copying and pasting text is an even better experience than on a dedicated touchscreen.
Ultimately, it’s software that remains the only real “weakness” of the BlackBerry Classic and, while it does support Android apps, it’s limited to what’s available on Amazon’s app store. That said, if you add in BlackBerry’s “BlackBerry Assistant," you’ve got a Siri/Google Now clone that works well enough.
No warranty in the US
BlackBerry has hung on to its signature physical keyboard for years. For many diehard fans, it’s been a favorite feature. For others, a keypad seems outdated in the age of ultra-minimal smartphones. If you fall into the latter camp, then BlackBerry’s latest offering will appeal to you. Their newly-released Evolve continues the brand’s foray into keyboard-free design, featuring a sleek six-inch FHD+ display made from durable Gorilla Glass. And with expandable storage up to 256GB, 4GB of RAM, and Qualcomm Snapdragon 450, it’s also powerful enough to handle whatever work throws at you. The BlackBerry Evolve runs the Android Oreo 8.1 operating system, so you’ll have access to the Google Play store and automatic security updates to keep your data under lock and key.
In addition to BlackBerry’s much-loved security features—and a brand new virtual keyboard—the Evolve also adopts a few popular smartphone features like wireless charging, dual rear cameras, a fingerprint reader, and a face-ID unlock feature. For buyers in the United States, it’s important to note that this is an international model that only works on 2G and 3G networks in the U.S. and is incompatible with CDMA carriers like Verizon and Sprint.
Operating system - App developers usually make apps primarily for iOS and Android, meaning the BlackBerry OS has few killer apps. However, if you do opt for a device that runs BlackBerry OS, you’ll get access to select Android apps, not to mention BlackBerry’s fantastic Message Hub. On the flip side, if you spring for a phone that runs Android, you’ll have access to the Google Play store, which includes more apps than you’ll know what to do with.
Keyboard - BlackBerry is known for its excellent physical keyboards. If you stand by that design, there are a few options still available, but there are also models that swap the keyboard for a bigger screen.
Display - Ditching the physical keyboard makes more room for the display, so if streaming media is important to you, we recommend swapping the keyboard for a larger screen.
Impressive battery life
Good security features
Our tester liked this model's physical keyboard, which he described as “a selling point for anyone nostalgic for the early 2000s.” He also described the battery life as “out of this world." He said he expects the battery to "last several days of light usage.” In terms of negatives, the phone is pricey for having “mid-range Android hardware,” as one reviewer described it. And if you don't currently use a physical keyboard on your phone, you may find that it takes some time to get used to it.
Suite of Blackberry apps
"The KeyOne shines as a premier business phone,” declared one of our testers. He added, “I was impressed with the user-friendly tutorials, helpful BlackBerry apps, and incredible customization options.” On the other hand, one of our testers thought the screen was small when compared to other smartphones on the market.
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