BlackBerry Fans, BlackBerry is Back, This Time on Android

BlackBerry is back, baby. The brand had always marketed their phones towards business users, and their main selling point was always the physical keyboard.

Unfortunately, BlackBerry’s proprietary OS couldn’t stand out among the sea of Android phones and the always-popular iPhones.

BlackBerry tried two years ago, with the Priv, a premium-priced sliding Android phone. The fact that you’re probably scratching your head at that name should tell you a little about the success of that phone.

There was also the problem of BlackBerry declaring their withdrawal from the smartphone market.

Now, BlackBerry has returned with their second attempt at an Android phone, the KeyOne.


At first glance, the phone looks pretty good. It’s got a solid look, and is built out of aluminium and finished with Gorilla Glass 4 on the front. Quite a premium feel for a phone priced at 549 USD (considered a mid-tier price range).

The screen is smaller than other flagship phones, but the fact that the phone comes with a physical keyboard offsets that difference. In normal touchscreen phones, you’ll usually have nearly half the screen covered by the on-screen keyboard, but for the KeyOne, nothing on the 4.5-inch touchscreen will be blocked by any pesky virtual keyboards.

The keyboard here is the star of the show. It’s touch-sensitive, and chock full of features. You could scroll from the keyboard instead of the screen, program the keys as app shortcuts, just start typing for an immediate Google search, and there’s even a fingerprint sensor on the spacebar.

Another draw for the phone is its massive battery. It comes packaged with a huge 3505mAh battery, with a more power-efficient (but slightly weaker) processor than its competitors. The KeyOne is almost definitely going to last longer than most other phones.

The biggest foreseeable problem for the KeyOne, however, is probably its mediocrity in almost every other way. There’s nothing to be said on bezels when the phone has an actual physical keyboard. Every other major smartphone company is doubling down on the camera, and BlackBerry’s not targeting an audience that uses the camera much anyway.

The phone is also slightly thicker than even current phones out there, which has the benefit of feeling very solid and sturdy, but it’s also heavier and bulkier.

It’s entirely up to you to decide whether a physical keyboard is worth the choice of an admittedly mid-tier smartphone. It’s exciting, if you miss the age of physical QWERTY keyboards.

You’re probably not going to type any faster on a physical keyboard than on a touch-screen one, but there are tangible advantages. Nonetheless, the KeyOne has got some interesting features that may help BlackBerry carve out a niche in the market.

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Wen Xianda

Wen Xianda

Xianda plays way too much video games. Seriously, somebody should do something. Otherwise, he's either writing or looking for the next game. He doesn't see the sun much, unless it's for good food, the only thing that gets him out of the house.
Wen Xianda