The BlackBerry KEYone

One Year Later

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BlackBerry announced this month that they’ll be launching the BlackBerry Key2“An Icon Reborn”. A fitting slogan that I’m sure you’d agree with if you ever had a BlackBerry which at its prime really was an icon. But, as time would have it, even the mighty fall.

After BlackBerry took a hit from the growing Android and iOS markets, they tried to stay in the game by introducing the BlackBerry Priv, a Android powered phone with a sliding keyboard. Yes, Blackberry went on board the Android express and introduced a revolutionary design, however, it might have been too late. Blackberry users wern’t coming back as anticipated, and it looked like the end of Blackberry…

A little over a year later in December 2016 it made tech headlines everywhere – BlackBerry was officially partnering with TCL, a mobile device manufacturer, to get back in the mobile market. Loyal fans around the world cheered the news, but could TCL really make a “BlackBerry?

image source: engadget.com

At the Mobile World Conference in February 2017, that question was answered when BlackBerry/TCL showcased the new BlackBerry KEYone. It really did impress, with its touch sensitive signature QWERTY keyboard, aluminum casing and Android OS, TCL did not disappoint.

From February on, BlackBerry fans knew their next phone purchase. After several push backs to the official release date, it was finally announced, June 7 2017 was to be the official US release date.

Before the sun rose that morning it was already sold out. I was scrolling back and fourth on Amazon and BestBuy to see who’s going to restock first. At that point, people were already teasing on twitter that their purchase went through, and after a couple of hours, I was able to tweet the same. With overnight shipping, the next day I was happy to be using BlackBerry’s comeback to the mobile world.

SlickFind’s Review

SlickFind aims to provide an unbiased – unsponsored review for all the products they try out. Reviews are categorized in 3 sections, Quality, Price, and Customer Service. After using the BlackBerry KEYone for over a year now, here’s my review:

  • Quality ★★★★☆
  • Price ★★★★★
  • Customer Service ★★★★★

Read below for a detailed response as well as some pros and cons.

Quality ★★★★☆

When I got the phone, I was happy – it felt like a quality phone with its responsive keyboard, rubber gripped back, and aluminum shell.However, being among the first users, I couldn’t give it 5 stars… Some among this group might argue that it needed 3 or even 2 stars, however since the early defects were addressed in the next release, I’ll stick with my rating.

Out of the box

The original release had an issue with the screen popping out for some users, which for me was a bit concerning when it first happened. However, the Crackberry community was on top of it, and I soon learned that this was a common issue and I just had to send it back to be fixed. Since then I have not had an issue, and the communication I had with BlackBerry was great (see the section on Customer Service).

But, there was another quality issue that I never liked with BlackBerry, as I had the same issue with other models. For some reason, the BlackBerry logo in the back peals off. Has anyone else had that problem? I ended up getting a new back cover which was easy to replace, and haven’t had a problem since… But still, I couldn’t give it 5 stars.

Price ★★★★★

For what it is, the price was great at $549 on release date. I get it, BlackBerry was trying to make a comeback and be that much more appealing to doubting customers, but I liked it.

Now that they established their reputation, their next BlackBerry, the Key2, will be priced at $649. Will the $100 more be worth it?

Customer Service ★★★★★

On SlickFind, Customer Service will be part of the scoring system (when applicable), as this says a lot about the product – especially as we move towards a more digital shopping experience.

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, I had an issue with the phone and brought it up with Customer Service. They were quick to respond, polite, and provided options like providing a temporary phone while my phone was being repaired. They apologized for the issue, took care of shipping and handling, and repaired my phone. 5 stars.

What can I say? I like #blackberry #keyone #MyBlackBerry #BBSFL

A post shared by Phil (@phil.kz) on

Pros and Cons

To end the post, I’m going to share some quick pros and cons after one year with the KEYone:

Pros:

  • Security – in this day and age, that’s an important issue and BlackBerry is unique in this area. With its Dtek application, you can actually control what apps have access to what features on your phone. In addition, you can have a log of when those apps accessed those features on your phone. For example, you can see how many times facebook has captured your location (which btw is like every hour of the day/night) or how many times an app accessed your microphone or accessed your contact list, etc
  • Real Keyboard – which I love and it actually gives you more screen space then a popup screen keyboard
  • Shortcuts – the keyboard actually acts as shortcuts that you can configure. For example you can click F for for facebook or hold F down for the flashlight
  • Great battery life – If you charged it the night before, you can go close to 2 days without charging with average use.
  • Great design – I how it looks. Not as cool as the BlackBerry Passport, but it definitely comes close. People will stop and ask you about your phone. I guess this was common, because BlackBerry built on that on their new commercial for the Key2.

Cons:

  • Slow – it has great multitasking abilities, but not the speed to support it good enough. With 3GB ram, it could definitely use the needed upgrade the Key2 has. With every upgrade, this became more apparent
  • Quality – like I said before, I don’t like things pealing off. I’m a bit OCD, and with the back and front having had some issues, I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed
  • BlackBerry Hub – the BlackBerry Hub was one of the better features on the BlackBerry OS. However, with it running on Android, it’s a lot slower. It’s literally like opening 2 apps, instead of providing a one stop place for you to access latest messages

So that was my feedback on the BlackBerry KEYone – One Year Later. Would love to read your comments below.

 

 

Written by Philip

Coming soon

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Filippo Loreti – SlickFind Review