The Blackberry KEYone (a.k.a Blackberry Mercury) is the first smartphone to launch at the MWC 2017. This is the first ever true Blackberry smartphone built by TCL, the earlier launched Blackberry DTEK 50 and DTEK 60 are just the rebranded variants of the Alcatel smartphones. While the world’s first Android-powered Blackberry smartphone, Priv came with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, the newly launched KeyOne comes with a regular QWERTY keyboard sitting beneath the display. Unlike the DTEK series, the new smartphone come with premium features along with a premium price tag. Since the Blackberry Priv and KEYone are only two options for those who need a QWERTY smartphone, let’s compare these two devices to find out the best among them.
Both the Priv and KEYone comes with a metal frame that adds sturdiness to the devices. On the rear, the device comes with a textured finish that offers nice grip to hold on the device. The rear camera with dual tone LED flash which is placed in the top middle of Priv is now moved to the top left corner on the KEYone. Unlike the Priv, there is no slideout keyboard which can be a handy feature who loves the QWERTY smartphones. Both the devices measure same thickness, but Priv is slightly longer than the KEYone. The KeyOne is also the best smartphone for single hand usage. While the Priv missed out the fingerprint sensor, TCL somehow integrated that into the spacebar on KEYone. There is no Blackberry logo on the front on the new KEYone.
Talking about the display, the Priv clearly beats the KEYone in every aspect. Since the KEYone comes with its own limitations, we can’t complain much about its display. The 5.4-inch display on the Priv sports an AMOLED panel with Quad HD (2560 x 1440 pixels) resolution. On the other hand, the KEYone features a smaller 4.5-inch IPS panel with Full HD (1620 x 1080 pixels) resolution and with unusual 3:2 aspect ratio. Both the devices come with Gorilla Glass 4 protection that makes them at least scratch resistant. Though the KEYone display falls back when compared with the Priv’s 2K AMOLED display, we don’t think it will bother many consumers. With the 4-row QWERTY keyboard on the bottom, the KEYone can’t be used with any VR headset.
The smartphone photography was never a top priority for Blackberry, but with the KEYone, we might see some good captures. The 12MP IMX378 with a large 1.55µm pixel size and f/2.0 aperture will surely beat the 18MP sensor on the Priv. However, there is no Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) on this newly launched device. Both the device can record videos at 4K resolution and includes dual tone LED flash. Even for the selfies, the KEYone with an 8MP sensor will be an ideal choice than the 2MP sensor on Priv. The KEYone’s front camera comes with 1.12µm pixel size and 84-degree wide angles selfies. For live streams, the Priv limits for 720p videos whereas the KEYone comes with Full HD video recording option at 30fps.
The KEYone with 3,505mAh battery is the highest capacity we have ever seen on any Blackberry smartphone. Even with more powerful specifications, the Priv comes with a slightly smaller 3,410mAh battery that supports Quick Charge 2.0. The company also mentioned that the KEYone can be charged from 0% to 50% in less than 36 minutes, thanks to the Quick Charge 3.0 technology. However, only the Priv supports wireless charging, and we don’t think it will be a deal breaker by any means. The USB Type-C 3.1 port on the KEYone also makes it future proof, whereas the two years old Priv came with a MicroUSB 2.0 port. Even the power efficient Snapdragon 625 SoC built on the 14nm FinFET process will also increase the battery life of KEYone.
Before talking about the hardware, let’s have a looks at the price of both the devices. The KEYone will go sale at $549 in April, where the Priv launched in 2015 is currently retailing at $499. The Priv comes with Snapdragon 808 clocked at 1.8Ghz, whereas the KEYone comes with 2.0GHz Snapdragon 625 SoC coupled with Adreno 5o6 GPU. Both the devices packs 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage. Both the devices will surely give a smooth experience over the regular usage, but performance while playing graphic intensive games at the high graphics settings can be decided only after testing. As the KEYone runs on the latest Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box, it also supports split screen multitasking. Since the device sports a 4.5-inch display, it will look odd while using two apps at a time. With the latest technology, we expect the KEYone to perform better than the Priv that packs two years old specifications.
|Blackberry Priv||Blackberry KEYone|
|Display||5.4" AMOLED Panel||4.5" IPS Panel|
(2560 x 1440 pixels)
(1620 x 1080 pixels)
Expandable up to 2TB
Expandable up to 2TB
|Camera||Rear- 18MP, OIS, PDAF, f/2.2 aperture|
Front - 2MP, f/2.8 aperture
|Rear- 12MP, EIS, PDAF, f/2.0 aperture
Front - 8MP, f/2.2 aperture
Quick Charge 2.0
Quick Charge 3.0
|OS||Android 6.0 Marshmallow|
(Via OTA Update)
|Android 7.1 Nougat|
Apart from the Quad HD AMOLED display, the KEYone is obviously the better choice among the two. Even on the paper, the specifications of Priv lacks the latest technology in very aspect. However, choosing between the slider keyboard and the regular keyboard depends on the personal choice, we suggest anyone wait until April and pick the KEYone than the Priv with a slightly lower price tag. Share your feelings about the new QWERTY smartphone in the comments section below.