The following review is part of the Back to Business special.


Blackberry KEYone Black Edition

I am way past hearing the arguments why the Apple fans believe their iPhones to be far superior to that of Samsung, and vice versa.  The fact is, handsets today are so advance, with so many similar features, at first glance it can be hard to separate them.  But, it is those small differences in each device, that determine why someone would commit to any particular model, and that is why my review on the KEYone has made it into my Back to Business Special.  The work horse of mobile devices…… is back!

On second thoughts, the KEYone feels like the tech savvy offspring of the 9900!


The Device

Everyone knows Blackberry mastered the mobile keyboard, but as the world moved to touchscreen only devices, the demand for this feature diminished.  The KEYone is the first dual touchscreen/keyboard that has the perfect balance between the two.  It feels great in the hand with a nice weight to it and the size, is near perfect!

At 3:2 aspect ratio, the screen might seem a little strange at first use, but 5 minutes after picking it up, I loved it!  The keyboard is an extension of the screen with touch sensitive keys that doubles as a trackpad similar to what you use on your laptop.



Neither the front or rear cameras are breaking the boundaries for current day flagship devices but nor are they poor, just perfectly fine for the core user of the KEYone.

The Sony powered 12MP rear camera can film in 4k at 30fps and the 4x digital zoom returned good images and recordings.  Fine for social media posts and general video recording.  There is more of the same at the front with the 8MP fixed focus lens.  The KEYone gives you enough to get by in this media heavy world but sticks to what a Blackberry phone should be, a productivity tool!

Below the 4.5inch IPS LCD display is arguably, the company’s best mobile keyboard since the BB9900.  On second thoughts, the KEYone feels like the tech savvy offspring of the 9900, Blackberry’ legendary device could well be over shadowed by this new generation of Android powered smartphone.

The space bar houses the fingerprint reader, which I found, worked better than that on my current device, the iPhone 7+!  You expect it not to, given how narrow it is, but it never failed me once!


Android Software

The KEYone runs Android 7.1 (Nougat).  Those of you returning to Blackberry, since they moved to the Google platform, will be in for a pleasant surprise.  Although the specs and power of the KEYone are firmly mid-range compared to todays flagship devices, that is all it needs to give a great user experience on both screen and keyboard.

But Blackberry are still very much into Security and this becomes obvious when you set up the device.  In fact, I found it reassuring to go through so many security questions for the DTEK app, Blackberrys on device personal security app.  Each prompt was well worded, and with the install of every new app, I knew what I was giving it access to, and reassured DTEK would be monitoring it.

In an age where cyber security is everyone’s minds, or should be, the KEYone does instill a sense of safety when you are installing new Apps.

As this is an Android operated device you can access the Google Play store which has a million+ apps, movies and music available for download.  It is here that I have my only gripe with the handset.  When watching a movie, due to the screen size, you get a small black bar at the top and bottom of the picture.  Not ideal but not a show stopper.



Out of the box there is one built-in app called Keyboard Shortcuts.  This for me is what makes a Blackberry, a Blackberry.  The option to make the device, uniquely yours.

If you have chosen a Blackberry as your business handset, the chances are you need to be connected, you need to get those mails or messages out, to know what is going on across social media etc.  This app enables you to configure the keys as shortcut keys.  Making use of both short and long presses means you can have immediate access to your most used Apps and tools.



Compared to other device, the KEYone might seem down on the big numbers, but I can assure you that it runs well, even when multi-tasking which it exceeds at.  Thanks to the preview tab you swipe in from the right, you will find yourself on top of your tasks and diary in no time!

  • Size 5.8 x 2.8 x 0.37 inches
  • Weight 180g
  • 4.5 inch Display Size
  • 64GB ON board Flash Memory
  • Expandable MicroSD Slot up to 2TB
  • 3505mAh Battery
  • Quick Charge 50% in 36 mins
  • Rear 12MP auto-focus large pixel Camera
  • Front 8MP Fixed-Focus Camera
  • Android Nougat 7.1
  • UCB – C
  • Headphone Port




The Blackberry KEYone Black Edition is £549 from The Carphone Warehouse and on Preorder from Amazon.

In Summary

On a personal note, Blackberry lost me after BB10.  I tried for 2 years, with the Z10, but it was not to be.  Before then I was a loyal and proud Blackberry owner.  I understand why so many others made the move from Blackberry to Apple or Android devices.  If this sounds like you, then get to your local phone shop and try a KEYone.  You will not be disappointed!

This handset was never made to compete with the iPhones/Galaxy/Pixel market leaders.  It was made for business people, for those who need to work and walk.  They have achieved that by giving it just the right amount of power and specs to get the job done.


I have a love/hate relationship with the Android operating system on phones, but this made it all ok.  I enjoyed it.  I got that “Crackberry” feeling again!!


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