Hands-on with the BlackBerry KEYone, officially launched in the UAE for AED 1999

By Team Feedbaac
We try out the BlackBerry’s latest QWERTY Android smartphone.

TCL and BlackBerry have officially launched the long-awaited BlackBerry KEYone Android smartphone at the BlackBerry Store in Dubai Mall. The new device is distinguished for its built-in QWERTY keyboard and is touted as the most secure Android smartphone in the market.

We had the opportunity to try out the BlackBerry KEYone at the launch event. While the smartphone does look quite thick as compared to the current smartphones in the market, the device is surprisingly light for the slightly bulky form-factor. It weighs only 180g. The display is 4.5-inches in size with a 3:2 aspect ratio. The resolution of the IPS display is 1620 x 1080 which is quite plenty with a brightness capability of 433 ppi.

There is a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top which should be good news for many and a USB Type-C port on the bottom of the device along with the dual speaker grills.

Dedicated keys include the power button on the left side and volume rockers on the right side along with the customizable Convenience Key for setting up your favorite shortcuts.

Speaking of shortcuts, each key in the built-in keyboard can be programmed for applications. For example, holding the “S” key will open the settings menu, “W” for WhatsApp, “F” for Facebook application and more. A total of 52 shortcuts can be programmed with the keyboard. The Keyboard also features the swipe gesture support that basically lets users swipe between menus and web pages. You can freely swipe up, down, left or right. The major feature of the keyboard is the spacebar that house the fingerprint scanner. The scanner is one of the fastest that we have seen till date. Typing with the BlackBerry KEYone took a bit of time of getting used to since we all have been using touchscreen smartphones. The tactile feedback felt great. While the frame of the smartphone appears to be made of aluminum, the keyboard is made of plastic.

We wouldn’t say it’s the best BlackBerry keyboard around, but it is certainly a feature that distinguishes itself from all the other Android smartphones. The back panel features a smooth textured like finish that should help for a better grip while holding the smartphone and no more worries about a glossy rear panel.

The large 12MP camera on the rear protrudes out slight a bit of the rear panel. The focusing speed of the camera is great thanks to the phase detection system. The lens has an aperture of F2.0. There is also a dual-tone flash that’s located next to the camera module. The camera also has support for electronic image stabilization and video capture up to 4K at 30fps. The 8MP front camera features an aperture of F2.2 with an 84-degree wide angle lens. The front camera also includes image and video stabilization support.

BlackBerry has preloaded the smartphone with apps such as the DTEK by BlackBerry for analyzing the security and privacy levels of the installed applications, the BlackBerry Hub that brings in all your SMS, emails, social apps and more in one place and more. The smartphone is powered by the mid-range Snapdragon 625 processor with 3GB RAM on-board and 32GB of internal storage with an expandable MicroSD card slot. It runs on the latest Android 7.1.1 Nougat operating system.

BlackBerry KEYone also includes a large 3505 mAh battery with fast charge support up to 50% in just 36 minutes by using the USB 3.1 Type-C port. BlackBerry KEYone will be ready in stores by the end of the month for just AED 1999. Users can now pre-order the BlackBerry KEYone Android smartphone at Axiom Telecom.