It wasn’t that I became capable of type quicker with the BlackBerry’s keyboard (I wasn’t), or that I was more accurate with it (I nevertheless used autocorrect). It become that I felt like I became more productive when using it. I wasn’t wasting time tweeting nonsense or sending emoji in ephemeral messages. I become sending vital emails, operating with my colleagues in Slack, creating and finishing to-do lists, and adding appointments to my calendar. I changed into Getting Shit Done.
Getting shit accomplished is definitely the complete ethos of the new KeyOne, and arguably, the many BlackBerry devices that preceded it. The KeyOne is a smartphone for a totally precise person, one which longs for the days when the BlackBerry Bold became the maximum critical device inside the office and the majority of commercial enterprise communications happened over e-mail. It’s no longer the satisfactory choice for looking hours of YouTube films, sending hundreds of Snaps, or analyzing novel-duration ebooks (even though it can technically do all of those things). It is for sending e-mail. Lots of e-mail.
The KeyOne’s recognition on productiveness is embodied by using its hardware design. Technically, this cellphone turned into built with the aid of TCL, as BlackBerry itself does now not make hardware anymore. And it’s strolling Google’s Android software program instead of BlackBerry’s very own operating machine. But rest assured, it looks as if a BlackBerry thru and through, right right down to the conventional brand embedded inside the smooth-contact returned of the cellphone. It’s the first model from TCL that truely does appear like a BlackBerry and no longer simply another slab-fashion smartphone.
Obviously, the keyboard is the center-piece of attention here, and the principle reason why everybody could don’t forget shopping this smartphone. As far as smartphone keyboards go, uncommon as they’re in 2017, it’s far excellent. The clicky keys are backlit and that they have a sloped layout. They’re clean to press and clean to run your fingers over. The cellphone is also quite simply slender to apply in one hand (not like the oddly extensive BlackBerry Passport or the tall and unwieldy Priv slider), though maximum of the time I found myself typing with both thumbs.
The keys assist a selection of programmable shortcuts (up to 52, in all), as any right BlackBerry must, and the whole keyboard can act as a touch-touchy trackpad that can be used rather than the touchscreen for scrolling thru net pages or lengthy lists of e mail. A swipe up at the left, right, or middle of the keyboard will pick out the following anticipated phrase whilst you’re typing, which blends a number of the shrewd functions of a digital keyboard with the tactility of the bodily one.
Cleverly embedded within the keyboard’s space bar is a fingerprint scanner, that is easy to use and makes unlocking the KeyOne a breeze. The right aspect of the phone is home to every other BlackBerry staple: a customizable shortcut button that can be set to release an app or perform a custom motion. I’ve were given it set to launch the camera; in smartphone calls, it will mute your line. The signature BlackBerry multicolor notification LED is also present and accounted for.
The KeyOne’s standard aesthetic can excellent be defined as utilitarian — its -tone silver-and-black look is way more boardroom than nightclub, and it’s no longer going to stand out in a crowded subway car (unless a person sees that keyboard, of route). But the suit and finish are excellent, the extent keys and power button click with pleasure, and the back’s rubberized finish is at ease and grippy in ways that all-glass or aluminum phones in no way are. It is a brick, even though, and heavier than you may assume: at 180g, it’s 20 to 40g heavier than a more recent Samsung cellphone or iPhone.
The presence of the bodily keyboard dictates the KeyOne’s precise show: a 4.Five-inch, 1620 x 1080 pixel touchscreen with a three:2 element ratio. The display right here is essentially the alternative of the elongated displays at the Galaxy S8 and LG G6 — it’s greater square than maximum smartphone screens, which makes it a negative suit for watching widescreen video in portrait or panorama. But BlackBerry says it’s brilliant for composing e-mail, because the KeyOne’s display can provide as much as a 3rd more usable area while typing as compared to a five.5-inch all-contact tool that also has to show a keyboard on the bottom half.
If you spend all day on your inbox, you then’ll in all likelihood appreciate the KeyOne’s atypical screen ratio. But it turned into constrictive once I was doing other smartphone matters, like viewing a web site, browsing Twitter, or studying my Pocket queue, and it made me scroll loads greater than is essential with other smartphones. Viewing greater than three tweets at a time isn’t possible and using split-screen multitasking is a joke with the KeyOne’s small, cramped display — I’m no longer certain why that choice is even gift in this device.
The KeyOne’s internal specifications additionally communicate to its productiveness awareness. It has a midrange Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor and a giant three,505mAh battery. This is the identical mighty aggregate as discovered in last 12 months’s Moto Z Play which can provide stellar battery lifestyles, and the KeyOne is a stamina champ as a end result. Most people may be capable of easily get two days of use between fees; my specifically worrying routine exhausts it in someday. But the simplest different cellphone that may ultimate a full day for me is the Z Play, so the KeyOne is on the pinnacle of the charts here. It additionally advantages from Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 3.Zero rapid charging and a unique “enhance” mode that may carry the cellphone from zero to 50 percent charged in as low as 36 mins.
The KeyOne’s processor is quality for everyday obligations, together with multitasking among diverse apps. It can cope with gaming, as properly, and I didn’t run into any super performance problems throughout my time with the cellphone. It won’t blow you away with speed or slickness, but it’s a marathon workhorse with the intention to go from dusk til dawn, which, again, is the complete factor of the KeyOne.
THE KEYONE’S BATTERY LIFE IS MATCHED BY FEW OTHER SMARTPHONES
Also inside the this-is-high-quality class are the 12-megapixel rear and eight-megapixel the front cameras. The important digicam has large pixels and a brilliant, f/2.Zero lens; it is greater than capable of taking pleasant pics. It won’t compete with a Google Pixel or the nice from Apple or Samsung, but when you reflect onconsideration on the reality which you basically took crap pictures the final time you used a keyboard-equipped BlackBerry, this is a precise jump, and it’s satisfactory in comparison to maximum smartphones. It’s pretty adept at taking photographs of receipts for my rate reviews, that’s what I suspect most owners of this phone might use it for.
Continuing the theme of productiveness! The KeyOne’s software has some more things to help get paintings done. It’s walking Android 7.1.1 Nougat (with the maximum-latest April 5th safety patch, as of put up date) and has a largely untouched interface from what Google presents. All of BlackBerry’s unique sauce is focused within the Hub, a centralized location for your email, calendar, responsibilities, and different forms of communique.
BlackBerry has been running on and iterating the Hub because the days of BlackBerry 10, and now it helps integration with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, and Slack, further to SMS, BBM, and both company and personal electronic mail. It’s surprisingly efficient to use or even works nicely with Google money owed, which never cooperated nicely with BlackBerry software within the beyond. I mainly just like the slide-out panel reachable from inside any app that indicates me unread messages, upcoming appointments and duties, and my favored contacts.
BlackBerry doesn’t have a remarkable track report for delivering principal updates to its Android smartphones (2015’s Priv continues to be stuck on Android 6.0 Marshmallow), however it does replace the security patches on a everyday basis. Other protection capabilities on the KeyOne include the DTEK app, which indicators you on every occasion every other app tries to do something malicious, and the Privacy Shade, which helps you to block out the majority of the screen, leaving just a small place seen. BlackBerry says that is designed to prevent human beings around you from seeing what you’re doing, whilst still letting you interact with the screen, but I didn’t discover much use for it.
Y time with the KeyOne has now not converted me to a keyboard diehard — I’m nonetheless an awful lot faster and greater cozy typing with a digital keyboard and the matters I use my cellphone for gain from a larger display. It turns out that I use my cellphone to avoid getting shit finished as an awful lot as I use it to be productive. Compared to BlackBerry’s heyday, smartphones are now much greater than simply productiveness tools and for maximum folks, they need to be as adept at leisure as they’re at doing work.
But I recognize the KeyOne’s attention: it’s a no-frills productiveness system that goals humans still addicted to e-mail and addresses their needs one after the other. Its design, keyboard, software, and battery life all paintings together toward that awareness, and it doesn’t even try and appeal to a broader audience or attempt to be a jack-of-all-trades.
I’m now not going to make a few inane proclamation that “BlackBerry is back” or that everyone may be the use of physical keyboards again. I’m no longer even certain I’ll ever even see a KeyOne in use in my day by day travels. But if you’ve been yearning for a cutting-edge cellphone with a real, bodily keyboard, with which you could bang thru electronic mail after electronic mail, the KeyOne is the exact phone you’ve been watching for.