BlackBerry KEYone: let's review its specs!

A new age for BlackBerry smartphones has begun — the devices are out of the company's hands and are being designed and built by TCL. Fear not, BB's full software suite will still be available on the new handsets. The first product to come out of this partnership is the newly-announced BlackBerry KEYone. Sporting a very classy look and the good-old hardware keyboard, it will make the loyal fans grin. But what's under its hood? Let's take a deeper look!


Incorporating a penguin-like, elegant black and white (OK, black and silver) pattern, metallic structure with a grippy, patterned rubber back, a backlit keyboard, and nicely curved sides, the KEYone just looks great. Sized at 5.87 x 2.85 x 0.37 inches (149.1 x 72.4 x 9.4 mm), it feels just right in the hand, though maybe a tad thick and just a bit heavy, weighing in at 6.35 oz (180 g).

As for hardware controls, we've got a power button on the left, a volume rocker on the right, and, just beneath it, the very, very useful mute key. The Android nav buttons are placed on a capacitive strip, just between the screen and hardware keyboard.


As expected, we've got a rather unorthodox display on the device. It's a 4.5-inch screen with a 1080 x 1620 pixel resolution, which means its aspect ratio is 2:3. Great for viewing documents and spreadsheets, as the Passport's 1:1 ratio showed us in the past. The pixel-per-inch density measures at 433, which basically means a very, very crisp image. The panel itself is an IPS LCD one, and its protected by a sheet of Gorilla Glass 4 — not the latest generation, but still the most-widely used tempered glass for high-class devices.


Here we go — the KEYone looks awesome, but what's under those shiny clothes? BlackBerry fans may be a bit disapponted to find out that it has a midrangers guts, but let's not forget that the flagship-grade BlackBerry DTEK60 was just released 4 months ago. With that said, let's take a closer look at the specs!

A Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 powers the KEYone, ticking at 2.0 GHz. Built on a 14 nm technology (read all about nanometers here), it's an energy-efficient, octa-core processor, packaged with an Adreno 506 GPU. Seen on phones like the Huawei Nova Plus and Lenovo P2, we'd say it's a pretty good processor, and we expect it to work very well with the slightly retouched Android 7.1 Nougat on KEYone.

3 GB of RAM seems like a bit less than expected for what is an upper-midrange device, as nowadays the norm is usually 4 GB of RAM. Still, we believe the KEYone will do a good job at multitasking with what it has. As for internal storage, we've got 32 GB on board and a microSD card slot for an expansion of up to 2 TB.

We were pretty happy to find out that the KEYone has a generous battery with a capacity of 3,505 mAh. Of course, it remains to be seen how well the software does at optimizing battery usage, but the size of that juicebox definitely suggests a long battery life.


The main camera of the KEYone has a 12 MP sensor with large, 1.55 μm pixels, and a lens aperture of F2.0. This should translate to detailed images and awesome low-light performance, thanks to the big pixels and reasonably sizable aperture. Of course, we'll have to take it out for a spin, but on paper, the KEYone seems like it will have at least an above-average camera.

As for the selfie snapper, it sports an 8 MP sensor, so one's mugshots just might be too detailed to share. Again, we need some playtime with the KEYone to see how it works in the real world!

We've got 4K @30FPS video recording capabilities, and it seems there's no 60 FPS option for the lower resolution modes. So, no slow-motion as well, in case you were wondering. Also, make sure you fill that microSD card slot if you intend to grab a lot of 4K footage — the extreme resolution goes through storage like a 1,000-degree knife goes through butter.


So, what do we expect the KEYone to be? Well, it's a classy-looking, metal smartphone that just says "I'm serious business". Its hardware is definitely above average, and it remains to be seen if TCL did a good job with internal design and optimizations. For the price of $549 in the US, we feel the handset should be a performer with very few drawbacks and, so far, we see no reason for it not to be one. We guess only time will tell!

Related phones

  • Display 4.5" 1080 x 1620 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, Octa-core, 2000 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3505 mAh



1. LebronJamesFanboy

Posts: 671; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

I'd gladly pay $550 all day long - Robust Aluminum build quality with sexy design - Physical keyboard - MicroSD slot - 3500mah battery with Fast Charge - 32gb with External Storage - 12mp 1/2.3” Sensor Size - 8mp Front Facing Camera - Capable 625 Octa-Core Processor

22. shahinctg123

Posts: 39; Member since: Nov 23, 2014

thumbs up

24. steodoreben

Posts: 379; Member since: Sep 26, 2013

I agree. But the physical design turns me off. BlackBerry Q5's design looks more promising IMO. They should have realized that.

2. Furkan

Posts: 552; Member since: Feb 25, 2017


3. meanestgenius

Posts: 22504; Member since: May 28, 2014

While it may not be for some, $550 is the perfect price for me concerning the BlackBerry KeyOne. Specs and build quality all hit the mark for me. April can't come fast enough!

4. Busyboy

Posts: 738; Member since: Jan 07, 2015

"While it may not be for some" That is an understatement

5. meanestgenius

Posts: 22504; Member since: May 28, 2014

Agreed. But I personally never liked following the flock, anyway. I prefer to stand apart from the crowd, and this handset certainly does that.

8. StreetNerd

Posts: 870; Member since: Dec 08, 2010

but it doenst change the fact that it will sell poorly.

9. meanestgenius

Posts: 22504; Member since: May 28, 2014

It also doesn't change the fact that I don't care how you think it will sell.

12. StreetNerd

Posts: 870; Member since: Dec 08, 2010

until u get jack s**t support, but who cares your money bra

13. meanestgenius

Posts: 22504; Member since: May 28, 2014

Let me elaborate: I don't care how you think it will sell, nor do I care about your uninformed opinions concerning the future support of this handset.

16. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Just look at the passport and the Priv. It's going to get massacred by more capable devices at the same price.

17. raky_b

Posts: 420; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

And!? It's not like he will be shareholder of blackberry stocks if he buy device, so that he should care how good it sells. It's all about will he be happy with that device or not. To make it easier for you to understand, in samsung's language : let me say S7edge has outsell normal S7, but it's not beter device... It's same, but it's harder to use it and keep it whole. So i would never use it.

19. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Who asked you? I never said anything about him being the shareholder that should care if it sells or not. Your analogy doesn't even make sense here.

23. BobbyDigital

Posts: 2125; Member since: May 29, 2014

Funny how dude didn't ask you for your opinion Pretzyld!ck and yet you still gave it. #Hypocritemuch

28. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Oh look, DigitalJedi_X2 riding on Alphageek's coattails yet again.

29. meanestgenius

Posts: 22504; Member since: May 28, 2014

Oh look, Mxyzptlk is seething with anger right now because even though he's created multiple faux accounts like his alphagenius one, everyone still knows he's an insignificant troll.

30. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Man stfu. No one was talking to you. Now stop trying to get my attention unless you want another beat down.

31. meanestgenius

Posts: 22504; Member since: May 28, 2014

Lol, you can't make me babybtch, and we both know that. You were talking about me, as you always refer to me as "Alphageek" (boy, he's taking up more rent free space in that teeny tiny brain than anyone else!), but it figures you're much to afraid to of getting dragged by me to admit it.

32. BobbyDigital

Posts: 2125; Member since: May 29, 2014

You mad bro? You mad? Lmao! Here comes Pretzyld!ck, trying to get the attention his daddy never gave him again.

20. meanestgenius

Posts: 22504; Member since: May 28, 2014

Totally agree. +1. There's no device being released today that offers what this device offers.

26. StreetNerd

Posts: 870; Member since: Dec 08, 2010

and that is? paying extra 200 euros for a PKB

27. meanestgenius

Posts: 22504; Member since: May 28, 2014

I take it you have a hard time accepting the fact that I don't care about you or your opinion....don't like the price? Don't buy and move on. It's really that simple. No need to talk to me about it, because I don't care what you do.

7. BeersAndTech

Posts: 95; Member since: Sep 28, 2015

Hey Busyboy. Where is Ordinary at? Considering you guys are the same person.

6. tango_charlie

Posts: 347; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

Why do people freak out about that 3500mAh battery? Sure it's just a 4,5" display BUT the device is bigger than the S7 Edge in almost every dimension which has even a bigger battery at 3600mAh Blackberry KeyOne: (149.1 x 72.4 x 9.4 mm) 3505mah Samsung S7 Edge: (150,9 x 72,6 x 7,7mm) 3600mAh

10. Xperia14

Posts: 1208; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

Because it will (most likely) lead to better battery life.

11. diggie32

Posts: 388; Member since: Apr 03, 2016

Looks like only one dimension is bigger. Not "almost every dimension"

15. tango_charlie

Posts: 347; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

Yes indeed. Right after I posted it I saw that I made a mistake, but couldn't edit it. But still the 3505mAh isn't that big considering the device is kinda as big as a S7 Edge. xperia

18. raky_b

Posts: 420; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Screen size is what matters for battery consumption, not size of whole device since screen is what use most of it's juice... And this one has screen size like S4 (or even s3) had, and a bigger battery capacity... So it should be fine for a full day of heavy usage. At least i hope so

25. tango_charlie

Posts: 347; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

No doubt. It will probably have a great battery life. I read a lot of comments where people freaked out about the battery like it was a big engineering achievement to put a 3500mAh battery in a 4,5" device without considering the device is a big as a S7 Edge.

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