Return of the Keys!
Blackberry Makes A Comeback With Their KEYone
It's 2017. Blackberry, unbeknownst to most mobile phone owners, is still around. While our generation might find Blackberry's a humorous piece of nostalgia, they seriously used to dominate the mobile phone market.
Well, Blackberry is back, metaphorical fists flying, to take a hold of a share of the market they used to lead. How do they plan to do this? With a keyboard phone, of course. I mean, why not?
Touch screens are great, don't get me wrong. Samsung's 6.2" Quad HD+ Super AMOLED
Display with 2960x1440 resolution and 529 ppi (whew.... that's a mouthful) on their brand new Galaxy S8 Edge is hands down, bar-none, the most gorgeous screen ever before seen on a smartphone. It has incredible function, lifelike color reproduction, and it's edge-to-edge, near bezel-less design is truly immersive.
Let's be honest - touchscreens aren't always so great. They have come a long way, sure, since the plasticky days of old. Yet, still, when punching out a text message in a rush, I will often fumble several words - at least. Garbled letters a concise message do not make.
This is where the Blackberry KEYone swoops in to save the day. Do you find yourself typing emails and texts more than you do watching videos? Then this is the phone for you. Blackberry's keyboards are renowned for their easy and accurate type-ability. Surprisingly, also, in comparison to either the Galaxy or iPhone lineup, the KEYone's off-screen keyboard actually takes up LESS of the front real estate than either Samsung or Apple's on-screen keyboards do. Yep. I told you it was surprising.
The keyboard is packed with all sorts of additional functions. You can assign app/contact shortcuts to the physical keys. You can use flick typing to quickly knock out those emails. You heard it here first. You can utilize the keyboard's touch sensitivity for very smooth touch navigation. Lastly, the the space bar at the bottom of the keyboard doubles as a secure fingerprint reader. Huh. Physical keyboards are actually useful again.
"Okay, we get it Levi. The keyboard is great. What about the REST of the phone?" Good question. It's good. Not great - not groundbreaking. It holds it's own, though. It's build quality is solid, featuring a Gorilla Glass 4 front display, aluminum bezels, and a durable, soft-touch plastic back. It runs Android 7.1 Nougat (near stock) on a Qualcomm 625 Octo-core 2.0 GHz CPU along with 3GB of RAM and an Adreno 506 GPU. There is 32 GB of internal memory, with up to 256 GB supported by micro SD card slot. The screen is a 4.5 inch PS LCD supporting 16M colors with a resolution of 1080 x 1620 pixels (~433 ppi pixel density). It has a 3505 MAh Battery, and type C charging with QuickCharge 3.0. Lastly, it features duel stereo speakers, and yes, a headphone jack up top.
So, should you get the Blackberry KEYone? Well, for $549 Unlocked in the US, it is an affordable, premium Android experience. It was never designed to compete with either iPhone or Galaxy. It is designed for utilitarian users, who favor function and durability over aesthetics and screen real-estate. I know I want it. I use my phone for my work - setting up tickets on CRM software, messaging customers, emailing suppliers, developing social media content, etc. This phone would work beautifully for all of those purposes. It releases May 31st in the US. I'll wait until I can find it open-box on eBay for at least 20% off - as I do with all my devices.