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BlackBerry makes a cool comeback

Will the KEYone give the android and iOS a tough competition?

brunch Updated: Aug 05, 2017 22:09 IST
Rajiv Makhni
The KEYone is easily the best BlackBerry phone ever made
The KEYone is easily the best BlackBerry phone ever made

The 2017 comeback story just got even better. After Nokia making a great return to form, the most awaited return was for BlackBerry with the KEYone phone. BlackBerry has been notorious for making cutting edge, very innovative products and then completely screwing it all up with silly pricing, absurd marketing and poor strategies. Yet, the KEYone looked like it could be a game changer. Could BB go against its own legacy of screw-ups and pull off a real killer? Could this phone be the answer to the prayers of every Crackberry fan? Could this phone compete and win against all other Android phones? Without further ado or drama, the answer to all of the above is a resounding yes!

BlackBerry just pulled off a miracle. The KEYone is easily the best BlackBerry phone ever made, is priced at an unheard aggressive price of ~39,990, competes and beats most Android phones as a standalone, brings back a proper physical type keyboard, is the most secure mass market phone you can buy and is unique enough to truly stand out in a sea of generic phones. Should you buy it? Let’s find out.

BlackBerry’s KEYone is a real game changer with stunning design and the best security option

Looks: It is unique with a very upmarket luxury packaging. The phone itself is built like a tank, but is actually stunning with a great form factor. The all black is very sophisticated, the Gorilla Glass curved screen is almost bezel less, the leather look at the back of the phone is premium and the keyboard is nicely embedded.

The keyboard is one of the main reasons to buy this phone

Keyboard: This is one of the main reasons to buy this phone that totally lives up to expectations. Typing speed and accuracy are way above what you can do with an onscreen keyboard. The keys have a great tactile feel, the entire keyboard surface works like a touchpad and the fingerprint scanner is embedded within the space key.

Security: If the name Edward Snowden rings a bell, then this phone is for you. It’s got industrial strength security with BlackBerry’s DTEK monitoring app that runs in the background and checks for security issues in real time. It can alert you when there is a hack threat or identify rogue apps trying to access your phone.

With optical specs same as the Google Pixel, the KEYone belts out great pictures

Camera: Previously, BB Pictures were known for being smudgy, granulated and very poorly lit. The KEYone kills it. It’s got the same optical specs as the Google Pixel, which means it can compete with phones even twice its price. With 4K video recording, fast-focus lock, large pixel size and a wide angle for front selfies, this one belts out great pictures.

Compared to the first BlackBerry, the KEYone has definitely come a long way

Specs: BB went big on specs. Snapdragon Octa-Core processor, 1620 x 1080 IPS LCD Gorilla Glass screen, Dual SIM (India gets the first BB with Dual SIM) and Expandable memory up to 2TB. A Customisable Convenience Key, A 3505 mAh and quick charge that gets you 50 per cent charge in 36 minutes.

That’s all the stuff within the phone. But what’s the phone like in real life? I loved the keyboard (I’ve typed this whole column on it), the camera (the rear camera took great lowlight shots), the fingerprint scanner (having it under the space key in the front is a great idea), the BlackBerry Hub (all your messages in one place) and having an almost stock Android 7.1 Nougat experience. The screen feels much bigger than its 4.5 inch size as there is no onscreen keyboard to take up any of that space. The movie-watching experience wasn’t that great though on such a screen orientation.

So, should you buy it? Well, at this price, this is a dream phone. To people that use a Android or iOS phone and swear by their choice, the KEYone could shake up your loyalties!

Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3

From HT Brunch, August 6, 2017

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