The BlackBerry KEYone
(known also under its BlackBerry Mercury codename) has just gone official. The KEYone is the newest and most powerful 'Berry with a full QWERTY keyboard and the largest ever battery in a BlackBerry.
An interesting detail to remember while reading about this new 'Berry is that the phone is now actually made by a different company, TCL Communications, while BlackBerry is a licensing partner that handles the software, but will not be responsible for the actual sales and distribution of the phone.
With this in mind, here are all the important features of the KEYone:
|Platform||Android 7.1 Nougat|
|Dimensions||149.3 x 72.5 x 9.4 mm|
180 g weight
|Display||4.5-inch scratch-resistant IPS LCD|
1620 x 1080p resolution
3:2 aspect ratio
|System chip, RAM||Qualcomm Snapdragon 625|
3 GB RAM
|Cameras||12MP rear, Sony IMX378 sensor, 4K video, f/2.0|
8MP front camera
|Storage||32 GB + microSD|
|Battery||3,505 mAh (non-removable)|
Quick Charge 3.0
|Special features||Full QWERTY keyboard|
The first phone with a fingerprint scanner built inside the Space bar key
As with any BlackBerry, the focus here is on the full QWERTY keyboard with customizable actions to each key and the ability to swipe on the keys for the neat flick typing function. It's also cool that the fingerprint scanner is built inside the space bar key. It's the first phone to have a finger scanner in the space bar, but then again, it's also the only modern phone with a QWERTY keyboard.
And just like other BlackBerry devices, the KEYone is extra secure: the phone has a hardened operating system, added security keys to the processor, and a pre-loaded DTEK security application. You can use this app to set your personal security standard, a more relaxed if you still want to share your life to social media, or a stricter one, if you value your security and don't want any details about your life out in public. The other signature feature that makes it stand out is the baked in BlackBerry Hub, a place that brings together all of your messages: emails, texts, social media, even with different accounts, all of this comes together in a unified BlackBerry Hub inbox.
The phone has a nice design too (it's designed by TCL, by the way), with a soft touch back material, an all-day battery life and the latest version of Android, 7.1 Nougat on board. The main 12-megapixel camera also features the excellent Sony IMX378 sensor, the same one as in the Google Pixel, which is currently one of the best camera phones out there.
The battery size comes in at the sweet 3,505 mAh, one of the largest battery for a phone with a screen measuring only 4.5 inches. The promise is for an all-day battery life, and the phone also supports the latest Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 standard, so that you can get a 50% charge on the battery in just 36 minutes.
Interestingly, there will be two U.S. and North America-bound models of the BlackBerry KEYone. One of them supports the bands for AT&T and T-Mobile (this one also has Verizon 4G LTE bands), and another one has the specific 4G LTE bands required by Sprint. This signals strong intentions to bring the phone to all major U.S. carriers. There will also be a third version made specifically for Europe, the Middle East and Africa with support for the relevant bands for those markets.
Price and Release date
The BlackBerry KEYone will be launched across the globe, but the release dates will differ for different markets. What is known is that the phone will be available starting in April. The price of the KEYone is set just below that of Apple's iPhones and Samsung's Galaxies. It's the following:
- $550 in the United States
- €600 in Europe
- £500 in the United Kingdom