Among the many ways Trump has shattered White House norms, his impulsive public communications rank among the most consequential. By inspiring investors or spooking them, his...Politicsread more
A federal judge in New York City on Wednesday said Deutsche Bank and Capital One can turn over financial documents related to President Donald Trump and his businesses in...Politicsread more
CNEX, backed by Microsoft and Dell, filed new allegations in a Texas suit accusing China's Huawei and an executive of trade secrets theft.Technologyread more
With Amazon and Walmart facing regulatory hurdles in India, Reliance's Mukesh Ambani isTechnologyread more
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Wednesday that a trip to Beijing to resume trade negotiations has not been scheduled yet, reducing hopes of a speedy resolution...Asia Marketsread more
In a private call with Morgan Stanley clients on Wednesday, research analyst Adam Jones, a long-time Tesla bull, said it's extremely unlikely that big tech firms like Apple or...Technologyread more
The disclosures come as a federal judge ruled Wednesday that two other banks — Deutsche Bank and Capital One — can give financial documents to Congress, NBC News reports.Politicsread more
Shares of L Brands, the owner of Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, rose nearly 11% in aftermarket trading Wednesday after the company reported it beat revenue and...Retailread more
Officials remained firmly committed to a "patient" policy stance at their meeting earlier this month.The Fedread more
The president may have more success in the court fights to come, including appeals in the cases decided this week. But the two losses are nonetheless a dramatic setback for...Politicsread more
"Target's gutsy decision to make its stores the centerpiece of its fulfillment system has turned out to be a brilliant move," Jim Cramer says.Mad Money with Jim Cramerread more
If you're among the dedicated few still attached to your BlackBerry, then listen up: We've been testing the BlackBerry KeyOne Android smartphone for the last few days, and we think you're going to like it.
One thing you should know: BlackBerry Limited doesn't build its own smartphones anymore. Instead, it licenses its name and hardware patents (including the beloved keyboard) to TCL Communications and provides the software — Android with a BlackBerry skin — while TCL Communications manufactures and handles sales and marketing of BlackBerry Mobile devices.
This is the first device launched by TCL Communications since it agreed to license the BlackBerry brand in December. The deal gave TCL a more primary role in working with the brand and BlackBerry hardware.
The KeyOne was introduced earlier this year and launched recently in Canada and will release in the U.S. next month for $549, completely unlocked, and on Sprint this summer.
Rock solid design and all the basics
The BlackBerry KeyOne feels like it was built by BlackBerry, which means TCL did a good job keeping things familiar. The highlight of the device is its hardware backlit keyboard, which some people apparently still want in a smartphone. More on that later. The KeyOne also offers a 4.5-inch touchscreen display and a rock-solid aluminum body that gives it a premium feel and look.
I also like the dedicated convenience key, pictured above, which can be programmed to open almost any application. I set it to open my Google Now page, so I can view the weather, my package delivery statuses and other information provided by Google to Android users. Oddly, this button is placed below the volume keys, and I frequently mistook it for the power button.
That aside, there are other niceties, like a new USB-C port that most manufacturers have moved to. It's reversible, so it's easier to plug in if you can't see the port, and supports faster charging to juice up the phone quickly.
Speaking of the battery, I could get through a full work day easily and didn't have to charge until I hit the bed at night. I wasn't really spending my time watching movies or playing games though, and instead focused on emails, checking Twitter and surfing the web.
A few tricks exclusive to BlackBerry
The KeyOne has a few features you won't find on smartphones from competitors.
The spacebar doubles as a fingerprint reader, for example, and you can use the keyboard as a touchpad to scroll through websites. BlackBerry Hub provides an all-in-one home for your text messages, social alerts, emails, calendar events and more, which will be particularly useful to the busy executive or parent.
A fast and good camera
The camera snapped great pictures during my tests, which was a bit surprising since I don't typically expect much from BlackBerry cameras. It's the same module in the Google Pixel, but I still think that device takes clearer and more accurate pictures, likely thanks to Google's software tuning. The camera is quick though, which is an improvement over the BlackBerry Priv, the last Android smartphone BlackBerry launched with a full keyboard.
BlackBerry has always been known for its emphasis on secure communication — there's a reason it's still used by a lot of government customers — and the company's new plan is to sell you on the security of its software while turning the actual hardware over to TCL.
On the new phone, an app called DTEK monitors your smartphone security at all times and gives you a score on how secured it thinks your phone is. There are a lot of factors, like whether you let your phone automatically install apps from the app store, that can affect this rating. In general, it's easy to make sure you're in the green zone of security approval.
It won't really matter to most consumers, though. Google already protects apps in the Android Play Store to help prevent malware from spreading before you even download them. Competitors are locking down their devices more than ever before, too. Samsung provides similar enterprise-grade security options in its Knox software, some Android phones get monthly security updates and more.
Then there are the downsides
The display is bright, though not as high quality as what you'd find on similarly priced smartphones (the colors don't pop as much, and it isn't as sharp). The processor is also mid-range for what you're paying. The phone seems snappy enough, but it doesn't support next-generation Gigabit LTE networks that will begin rolling out this year and are going to enable faster speeds for when you need to download a big file from the office or stream a video.
The BlackBerry KeyOne isn't water resistant like the latest phones from Apple and Samsung, either. That means you're more prone to damage if you accidentally spill water on it or get caught in a downpour waiting for a cab.
Also, if you're like me, you're probably used to typing on a touchscreen phone by this point. It's actually hard to move back to typing on a QWERTY keyboard. And unlike the BlackBerry Priv, which offered a software keyboard option, you have to stick to the hardware here. There just isn't enough screen space to type on a software keyboard (and the form factor doesn't make sense for one.)
Final thoughts: Fine for keyboard die-hards
The good news is there isn't anything inherently wrong with the phone. Keys weren't popping off, for example, and I was able to place phone calls, download apps and go about my business just fine.
It's just that I always found myself turning to another device, like the new Galaxy S8, instead of the BlackBerry KeyOne.
Once upon a time, it would have been unfair to compare a BlackBerry to an Android phone or the iPhone, but now that BlackBerry has switched to Android, and as Samsung and Apple have continued to court the enterprise, the comparison is fair enough.
If you're among the dying breed of folks who long for the days of returning to poke-typing on a full smartphone keyboard, then by all means check out the KeyOne. If you don't look fondly upon that, as I no longer do, then consider a Galaxy S8 or iPhone 7.