Blackberry Keyone Black Edition Review: What the original Keyone should have been
Extra memory stops the KEYone grinding to a halt
- Accurate keyboard
- Good battery
- Solidly built
- Great cameras
- Good value
- Small screen
The extra memory stops the Keyone grinding to a halt after a month. The accurate keyboard is a real head-turner in a crowded market and it’s still great value.
Price$ 899.00 (AUD)
We raved about the Blackberry KEYone last year. The great performance, price, features and the super-accurate keyboard made for one of the very best phones of the year.
However, several weeks after posting the review, the phone started to slow down. A lot. And in a way that we’d not seen an Android phone do in generations. It got to the point where all actions came with two seconds of lag before executing while at other times the phone would just hang. There were major memory management issues and, frankly, not enough memory in the first place to support all of the Blackberry software.
The fix for this was to disable ALL of the Blackberry software and enter Android’s Developer Mode and limit background processes to no-more-than three. Doing this made the phone functional again but the user experience was diminished. Losing the Blackberry apps wasn’t the end of the world but having regular apps start-up from scratch almost every time got old quickly. You’d have to power cycle regularly and doing that meant setting up the developer tweaks all over again.
Now here’s the KEYone "Black Edition". It’s exactly the same as the original Keyone except that it has a 64GB/4GB storage/RAM combo instead of 32GB/3GB. Its existence is almost a tacit admission that the original model had a serious flaw.
It’acs been out for a while now but we’re not being burned again… we’ve torture tested this phone for months to make sure there’s no slow down.
The good news is, that there isn’t.
4.5in, 1080 x 1620 (422ppi) LCD screen, 64GB/4GB, 2GHz Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 CPU, Adreno 506 GPU, 12MP rear and 8MP front cameras, full QWERTY ‘multitouch’ keyboard, microSD, USB-C, Android 7.1, 3505mAh battery, 154 x 76 x 8mm, 180g. Full specs here.
There’s little point in going over the original review. Everything is the same! We’ve learned some things along the way, however.
Firstly, the lumpen chassis seriously benefits from a case – we bought a cheap one from eBay for $10. This not only stops the smooth chassis from slipping out of hands and pockets so easily, but also protects it on the fewer occasions that it still does so.
We’ve also come to appreciate the keyboard more and more. In a world where we’re typing in ever-lengthening passwords and crypto addresses (which are long and need to be super accurate) having a keyboard that makes so few mistakes is worth the diminished screen size.
Multimedia buffs will still miss the larger screen, but we’ve reached a point where we use the hardware keyboard AND the software keyboard (with its clever shortcuts) to really make typing a joy. That doesn’t leave much screen but the typing usability beats everything else on the market.
Installing and switching between dozens of apps simply isn’t an issue. Everything loads quickly and is responsive with no lag.
The speaker is still good and the camera still very respectable. It can’t match the photo-specialist rivals on the market, but as a single-lens unit, it’s one of the best around – and even works well in low light.
Unlocking with the space-bar-mounted fingerprint reader is rapid, intuitive and simple process.
The Blackberry Hub email-and-social-media management tool works well and no longer slows the phone down. The hardware security features make it great for corporate users and security buffs too.
The Bottom Line
At $899, it’s now the same price as the original and one of the cheapest flagship models around. All in all, this really is one of the very best phones you can buy. If typing is important to you it should be near the top of your list.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo Reno 5G review: Big Deal
- 2 Google Pixel 3a review: Less is more
- 3 Moto G7 review: The new gold standard for budget buyers
- 4 Sony Bravia 2017 TVs: Full, in-depth review
- 5 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
Latest News Articles
- Here's how much the iPhone 11 Pro costs in Australia
- Here's how much the iPhone 11 Pro Max costs in Australia
- Here's how much the iPhone 11 costs in Australia
- Leaked video confirms everything you already knew about the Google Pixel 4
- Australians will have to wait until next time for a 5G Fold
PCW Evaluation Team
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
- Happy iPhone Day: Here's everything Apple just announced
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ Australian review (2019)
- Hands-On: The Samsung Galaxy Fold is my new problematic fave
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies