Ironically, it took not BlackBerry to make a BlackBerry Smartphone that pushes all the right buttons. The KEYone by BlackBerry Mobile (TCL) merges the best of the classic BlackBerry experience with Android Nougat in a package that is undeniably and distinctly BlackBerry.

The quick take

The KEYone got me out of CrackBerry retirement and using a BlackBerry Smartphone again (and loving it!). I have no shortage of phones at my disposal and can reach for an iPhone or Google Pixel or Samsung Galaxy whenever I want. Since picking up the KEYone, I've never felt that urge. What more can be said than that? With battery life that will last you all day and night (and well into the next day) and a smart physical keyboard that makes typing on buttons feel new school again, it's a communication-centric phone that power users will love.

The Amazing

  • Insanely Good Battery Life
  • Distinct BlackBerry Styling
  • Looks Premium, Feels Premium
  • Comfortable, Accurate keyboard
  • Fingerprint Sensor in Spacebar is Magic
  • Swiping on Keyboard is Magic
  • Android brings with it all the apps
  • Great camera... on a BlackBerry?!! :)
  • 3.5mm headset jack (thank you!)
  • Battery life so good, mention it twice! In the photo above that 24% at 4:07pm is on Day 2!

The Could Be Better

  • 32GB of memory OK; would gladly pay for 64GB or 128GB
  • 3GB of RAM OK; a 4th GB may improve zippiness under heavy load
  • LCD display is really good; OLED could be epic
  • Make it waterproof somehow?
  • Integrate BlackBerry Launcher settings like keyboard shortcuts into System settings
  • Add wireless charging (even though you don't need it)
  • Love to see it in more colors down the road

A New Era of BlackBerry Smartphones

BlackBerry KEYone Full Review

Yes, BlackBerry still exists. No, they don't make smartphones anymore. Yes, there are still BlackBerry Smartphones being made and will be for a long time to come. Spread the word!

Confused? That's ok. You can read this article to clear up the confusion and listen to this podcast if you really want the full explanation. The long story short is that the company known as BlackBerry, who patented push email and helped pioneer the smartphone industry over 15 years ago is now a software company.

The BlackBerry brand to most of us on planet earth, more than software is better known for hardware, specifically BlackBerry Smartphones. So to ensure BlackBerry Smartphones continue for the long haul, BlackBerry has entered into licensing agreements with select manufacturing partners to design, build, market and support BlackBerry Smartphones. The biggest licensee is TCL Communication, and under the brand BlackBerry Mobile the KEYone is the first BlackBerry Smartphone they are bringing to market.

While BlackBerry supports BlackBerry Mobile in the software and security hardening of the KEYone, it's important to know that this really is a BlackBerry Smartphone being brought to market by another company altogether. Their website is (not, you can find them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube under the handles @blackberrymobile or @bbmobile.

BlackBerry Mobile is really being built up as a new team and organization and beyond the KEYone they are committed to bringing more Android-powered BlackBerry Smartphones to market (sorry BlackBerry 10 fans, but that ship has sailed). The KEYone is exciting first phone, and it'll be exciting to see what they offer next.

About This Review

I (CrackBerry Kevin) have been super lucky to have been using the KEYone for over two months now, since it was first announced at Mobile World Congress. I first went hands-on with the KEYone in January in Las Vegas at CES, and liked the pre-production unit so much that I came out of BlackBerry retirement in February to celebrate CrackBerry's 10th Anniversary.

As part of the celebrations, I even had the honor to get up on stage and help officially unveil the BlackBerry KEYone to the world as MC for the launch event. The KEYone units I've had in my possession to date, including my official review unit, are considered pre-production and have still been receiving software updates - that said, my experiences with the KEYone have been super solid throughout - the one you buy should be even better.

Disclosure: In case you didn't figure it out from the BlackBerry KEYone ads on the CrackBerry, BlackBerry Mobile is an advertising partner with CrackBerry (we often see manufacturers buy advertising for their phones across Mobile Nations sites). You can read here for more info on that if you like.

BlackBerry KEYone Video Review

Why read when you can watch a video? In 13 Minutes I highlight what I love and what can be improved on the KEYone. I think the video does a good job of laying out the real value proposition for the KEYone - this is a phone for power communicators who like a physical keyboard (and those people are going to LOVE it).

BlackBerry KEYone Features & Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.87 in
149.1 mm
2.85 in
72.4 mm
0.37 in
9.4 mm
6.35 oz
180 grams
  • Display:
    • 4.5-inch IPS LCD display
    • 1620x1080 resolution
    • 434ppi
  • Chips:
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor
    • 8x 2.0Ghz Cortex A53 cores
    • 3GB RAM
    • 32GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/20 PDAF rear camera
    • Dual-tone LED flash
    • 8MP ƒ/2.2 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3505 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C, Quick Charge 3.0 + boost charging
  • Software:
    • Android 7.1.1 Nougat
    • DTEK security suite
    • FIPS 140-2 full disk encryption

BlackBerry KEYone Hardware Impressions

With a name like KEYone, the physical keyboard is clearly the primary story of this phone. When as a phone manufacturer, or as customer, you choose to sacrifice the amount of real estate dedicated to the display to instead have a keyboard there that's always present, you're making a distinct choice to build a phone that's more communication-centric vs. media-centric.

The design of the KEYone is such that you don't feel like you're making a compromise at all. Compared to older QWERTY BlackBerry designs of the past, like the BlackBerry Bold 9900 or even the newer BlackBerry Classic, the KEYone's 4.5" display with 3:2 aspect ratio in portrait orientation feels positively huge. Compared to other popular devices like the standard-sized iPhone 7, Galaxy S7/S8 or Google Pixel, they KEYone's display feels relatively on par. And even compared to large screen devices like the iPhone 7 Plus or Google Pixel XL, which were the two phones I was actively using before upgrading to the KEYone, moving over to the KEYone was easy - I've never yet felt in all my time with the KEYone that the display feels small.

It's a surprising form factor to look at when you first see it -- and photos don't do it justice -- you really need to see the KEYone in person and hold it in your hand to truly appreciate it, but the "form factor" truly works. That the KEYone looks and feels so incredibly premium makes the overall design work that much more. I could see this general device ID working for years to come - I wouldn't be surprised if the KEYtwo (if and when released) would feature a similar hardware design. When you get it right, you get it right.

If you were concerned that not BlackBerry making a BlackBerry Smartphone could result in a phone that feels unBlackBerry-like, those fears are eliminated the moment you pick up the KEYone.

If you were concerned that not BlackBerry making a BlackBerry Smartphone could result in a phone that feels unBlackBerry-like, those fears are eliminated the moment you pick up the KEYone. Clearly, the KEYone looks like a BlackBerry. From the front, the back, the sides, the device is unmistakably a BlackBerry. More importantly though, is the feel of the phone. At 180 grams, the KEYone is a dense phone, in a good way. Picking it up, it has that heft you'd associate with something like an expensive mechanical watch strapped on your wrist. The sizeable battery and BlackBerry's choice of metal frame contribute to the weight and the soft touch rubber backside make it a phone that's comfortable to hold and is easy to grip. The KEYone belongs in your hand.

A Smart Physical KEYboard

I find it magical how BlackBerry continues to pack more and more technology into the physical keyboard. It used to be that programmable shortcuts were the one smart feature of a QWERTY phone like the KEYone. Being able to map dialing contacts or opening apps to the push of a button was the additional benefit beyond the accuracy provided by pressing buttons vs. tapping on glass. And the KEYone does offer plenty of shortcuts - up to 52 to thanks to the ability to distinguish between short press and long press actions, where one button can now serve as two shortcuts. The shortcuts are getting smarter too. For example, pressing H (for home) can open up the maps app with your home location already programmed in. How cool is that?!

The KEYone's keyboard is touch capacitive. Beyond pressing buttons you can actually flick auto-suggested words up onto the display while typing. You can also use the keyboard as trackpad, thumb scrolling your way through your inbox, feeds or webpages. This is an innovation that was first introduced on the BlackBerry Passport and also featured on the BlackBerry Priv and I'm happy to see it on the KEYone. We now live in a smartphone world where far more people have experienced a touchscreen smartphone than a phone with physical buttons and most people don't know a keyboard can work this way - whenever I give a demo of the KEYone to someone who is unfamiliar, swiping on the keyboard blows them away. If typing on buttons could be considered old school in 2017, the ability to swipe on the keyboard makes it it feel new school again.

The newest innovation to the keyboard which is unique to the KEYone, is the implementation of a fingerprint sensor in the space bar of the keyboard. This feature allows you to unlock your phone with your fingerprint. It works incredibly well. There's even the surprise flourish of a tiny LED light on either side of the spacebar that will light up to prompt you to use your fingerprint. It's magical.

I've been really happy overall with the typing experience on the KEYone. I've mainly been on touchscreen smartphones the past few years, so it took me a couple days to get used to typing with buttons again and a couple more days to fall in love with it, but I've been rocking the buttons hard ever since and loving it. There are many areas where typing with buttons trumps typing on glass - be sure to check out this video where I dive into the details.

As for the typing experience itself, I'd rank the KEYone's keyboard right up there among my BlackBerry keyboard favorites. The Bold 9900 still ranks supreme as the best physical keyboard ever built for typing experience, but the KEYone isn't too far behind. The buttons have a good feel and bounce rate when pressed, and there's a nice roll to the buttons as you move your thumbs left and right over them which helps your thumbs dance with rhythm as you type . The keyboard is compact without being too tight, which makes the keyboard efficient to use. I know many BlackBerry Passport users love that device's ultra-wide three row keyboard setup. Personally, while comfortable thanks to the wide grip I always found it a bit inefficient to use because you have to move your thumbs so far for every key press. To me, the ultimate compromise is a keyboard that is small but big enough that you can find and press the buttons accurately. And the KEYone delivers on this well. Based on photos I was initially concerned that the KEYone may feel top heavy while typing, since the display is so tall and the keyboard is mounted quite low on the phone. In use, I've never felt an issue here - it's easy to grip and type on the phone.

Bottom line, if you like a physical keyboard on your smartphone phone, you're going to quickly grow to love the KEYone's keyboard.

All Day, All Night (and then some) Battery Life

This is the killer feature of the BlackBerry KEYone. If you haven't yet, be sure to watch my BlackBerry KEYone review video which is effectively a gush fest for the KEYone's battery life.

BlackBerry packed a LARGE 3505mAh battery into the KEYone, which is the biggest battery ever put into a BlackBerry and is large by any standard. Combined with BlackBerry's choice of energy-efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset and you have battery life that's tough to kill before you go to bed. It really is an all day, all night and good chunk of the next day battery, even under HEAVY use.

With the KEYone, you're never going to get stranded with a dead battery.

It doesn't matter what features or specs a phone has, if the battery is dead it's a paperweight. With the KEYone, you're never going to get stranded with a dead battery. There's no need to subconsciously throttle back your device usage to get you through the day either. You can do whatever you want on the KEYone all day long and it's going to take it and you'll still have juice in the tank when you go to bed.

I love it. I've been traveling a lot in 2017 and I've always found roaming to be typically hard on batteries (coupled with the fact you end up using your phone more for things like Google Maps, don't have WiFi locations saved, etc.). Even in these demanding situations the KEYone battery lives up. I guarantee every review you read about the KEYone is going to highlight the battery life of the phone. It's that good.

If you ever do need to recharge during the day, the KEYone features Quick Charge 3.0 technology and prompts you to select Boost Mode when you plug it in which enables charging up to 50% in 36 minutes. In over two months, I've never needed to use - the battery outlasts me and I plug it into charge at night.

A Very Good Camera

Over my years of reviewing BlackBerry Smartphones, I've always glossed over the camera section of the review. BlackBerry has never had a great reputation for taking amazing photos.

The KEYone changes that with a camera capable of snapping glorious photos. If you check out @crackberrykevin, or better yet, @blackberrymobile on Instagram, you'll find plenty of examples of #ShotOnKEYone photos that will turn your head.

Saw a poll on @mobilesyrup asking Canadians what smartphone they're buying next - @blackberrymobile #KEYone won by a landslide and received more votes than #GalaxyS8 and #iPhone combined! 🇨🇦 . . . #blackberry #android #ShotOnKEYone

A post shared by CrackBerry Kevin (@crackberrykevin) on May 2, 2017 at 11:57am PDT

The KEYone shares the same 12 megapixel Sony IMX378 sensor that is used in the Google Pixel which receives a lot of rave reviews for its camera. It lacks the electronic optical stabilization goodness of the Pixel while recording video (it's really amazingly smooth on the Pixel), but overall takes really nice photos. In outdoor or optimal lighting situations it's fantastic. In low light it's pretty good - there's some room for improvement here compared to the best low light smartphone cameras out there, but again, for a communication-centric device BlackBerry Mobile did damn good on the KEYone's camera, and I can see it improving overtime with continued software rollouts.

Macro foliage #ShotOnKEYone . . . #BlackBerry #Android #BlackBerryMobile #Smartphone #Camera #KEYone

A post shared by BlackBerry Mobile (@blackberrymobile) on Apr 19, 2017 at 12:52pm PDT

The camera app itself is very powerful and easy to use. There is a Pro mode available, so if you know how to take photos you can squeeze every micron of goodness out of the sensor. I'm not that guy though, so I mainly leave the KEYone in auto mode. There are filters you can apply to the camera before you take the photo. With no filter enabled, the colors are quite accurate, if not a little more natural/cooler than compared to the default camera settings on phones like the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or Google Pixel. If you enable the Vivid filter, the colors will get a little more punched up to be more like these three phones. I usually just leave the camera with no filter, but if I'm looking for that better than real life shot, then I enable the Vivid filter.

As for front facing camera, the 8 megapixel sensor does a good job with selfies - that you can tap the spacebar to snap the photo is a nice touch that helps improve your selfie game when your arm is stretched to the max.

Completing the Hardware Story

For many years, the smartphone race was just that… a race to see who would build the best smartphone, cramming in the latest specs and claiming the title for a few weeks or months until the next competitor crammed even more cutting edge specs in. The smartphone industry is now much more like the automotive industry. It's about choice. It's not about who can build the best vehicle at any expense, but what's the best vehicle for your needs - do you want a $100,000 sports car to rip around in and rack up speeding tickets that runs out of gas in a hurry, or do you need a $35,000 mini-van that can haul the family around to soccer practice back and forth with as minimal trips to the gas station as possible?

With the KEYone, BlackBerry very intentionally picked the specs and hardware components they wanted in this phone based on the target user fitting this power communicator persona. When it comes to chipset, battery size, screen size, and camera, they made all the right choices to deliver a compelling experience for this type of user. This means the KEYone won't be dated in three months - this is a phone that's going to have a long shelf life to it.

Outside of the key hardware specs already highlighted, everything in the KEYone has met or exceeded my expectations through normal use.

The 4.5" LCD display is bright and vibrant, with a pixel density of 443 pixels per inch. The 3:2 aspect ratio means you'll lose a little bit of screen real estate while watching videos in landscape, but it's minimal. Again, if you want a media-centric phone the KEYone may not be for you, but as a phone that puts the priority on communications first this is a tiny compromise compared to the benefits of the design. With their deep blacks and vibrant colors, I do personally love OLED displays - I would put this on my wishlist for the KEYtwo, but overall I have zero complaints about the display.

Many of the BlackBerry faithful were hoping for "stereo speakers" to be present on the KEYone. It doesn't have that, but rather a single downward facing mono speaker. I don't listen to music much on my KEYone, or any smartphone for that matter (tiny smartphone speakers are never going to cut the mustard for my ears). When I do listen to music from my phone it's typically connected to a bluetooth speaker like a UE Boom, my Bose Earbuds or powering my home's Sonos setup, or better yet when I'm putting my audiophile game on I'm plugged into my wired headphones from B&O or Master & Dynamic (yes, the KEYone does have a 3.5 headset jack!). That said, the speaker performance has been pretty solid for when I do watch the odd YouTube video or take calls on speakerphone. It's loud and clear.

Overall telephony and communications with the KEYone have been solid with my time thus far on the KEYone. Calls are crisp whether on the handset or through bluetooth connected in my car (Tesla Model S) and I've had solid bluetooth performance with the variety of bluetooth devices I've used the KEYone with.

I know I'm hardcore teasing with this photo, but the KEYone looks so good mounted in the Tesla I just had to post! :) #blackberry #blackberrymobile #blackberryKEYone #tesla

A post shared by CrackBerry Kevin (@crackberrykevin) on Mar 10, 2017 at 2:25pm PST

The KEYone comes with a 32GB of storage memory and an expandable microSD slot -- in the same tray as the SIM card -- that can handle up to an insanely large 2 terrabyte microSD card. You can't easily find microSD cards that big of course (and I'm assuming they'd probably cost more than the KEYone's $549 price tag itself), but you can pick up a 200GB SanDisk microSD card for about $75. Pretty reasonable, and it's nice to know you can pack a lot of additional storage onto the KEYone. And you'll probably want to. That the Android OS system storage itself consumes nearly 10GB or the 32GB doesn't give you a ton of space if you're the type of person who has a lot of photos and videos on their phone. 32GB is by no means a deal breaker and was a smart call to help keep the KEYone's price tag down -- especially as this will be a phone that makes a lot of inroads into business and enterprises where that extra storage isn't that critical and not something businesses want to pay for if not necessary. That said, I'm the type of person who will always opt for more memory, so I'd happily pay more for the KEYone to ship with 64GB or 128GB of internal memory by default.

The final hardware features I'll mention in this review are much-loved BlackBerry specific features.

The KEYone features the programmable BlackBerry Convenience Key, which used to be ubiquitous on BlackBerry Smartphones but in more recent years disappeared from hardware. Located on the lower right side of the phone, you can customize the Convenience Key like you do a keyboard shortcut, to either open an app or complete an action like speed dialing a contact or viewing today's agenda. Given that the Hub swipe gesture is not present on the KEYone, I think a lot of BlackBerry Hub fans will find themselves setting the Convenience Key to launch the Hub, making it easily accessible regardless of what you're doing on the phone. Other favorites of mine include using it to launch Google Assistant, or to toggle and on off the KEYone's flashlight/torch functionality, for those times when you know you're heading into dark places for the and will be needing a guiding light (which apparently for me happens on a more regular basis than you may think!). When on calls, the Convenience Key also serves as a mute key (note - gone is the play/pause/mute button typically found between the volume up/down keys). It's nice to see the Convenience Key on the KEYone - it further builds into that KEYone name and it's little utility-first features like this that made me a fan of BlackBerry to begin with.

The KEYone also features the infamous LED light, which flashes when you receive notifications. The light is RGB, which in certain apps allows for the color of the light to be customized. To be honest, this feature was one of my favorite features in my early days of BlackBerry, because back then I only received emails or text messages (and the occasional BBM). In 2017, we're so connected and message so much that I have to disable the LED or it would just be constantly. That said, I still love that it's there. Without it, it wouldn't be a BlackBerry!

All the Apps!

BlackBerry Android Software Experience

The BlackBerry KEYone runs Android Nougat, the latest available version of the Android operating system. While many long-term remaining BlackBerry fans would prefer the KEYone run BlackBerry 10, going Android makes the KEYone a far more appealing device to me and many other former and never owned a BlackBerry users. Most former BlackBerry users, myself included, left BlackBerry due to a lack of apps, or at the least were forced to carry a second iOS or Android phone with them in order to have all the apps they needed or wanted.

The adoption of Android by BlackBerry immediately solved this decade-long app problem that plagued BlackBerry. With the KEYone, I'm back to being a BlackBerry user and not needing to lug around a second device.

I refer to my colleagues at Android Central for their expertise on Android, and they agree BlackBerry has a done a good job of leaving the Android Operating system fairly stock while through the BlackBerry launcher adding in features that truly add value while making the experience more BlackBerry-like. From an Android user perspective, one of my favorite features of the BlackBerry Launcher is that they put the the notification badge (aka the BlackBerry "Spark" or "Splat" on) onto the application icon. Stock Android doesn't do this and it drives me nuts. The BlackBerry Launcher also allows for icon packs to be swapped in and out, so if you want a different look you can modify that without losing functionality. Keyboard shortcuts on the KEYone are tied to the BlackBerry Launcher app though, so if you are an Android tweaker and want to use a different Android launcher altogether on the KEYone you are going to lose some of that functionality.

The KEYone comes pre-loaded with many of BlackBerry's apps, including the BlackBerry Hub and DTEK. The Hub is BlackBerry's unified inbox on steroids, which allows you to pretty much connect all of your email, messaging and social accounts to it so all your communications are in one stream. DTEK is BlackBerry's security app, which gives you insight into how locked down (or not) your KEYone is. Now that BlackBerry BlackBerry (not BlackBerry Mobile) is a software company, you're starting to see them ramp up their efforts in app development. BlackBerry Notable is a new app that allows you to mark up screen captures with ease, and Privacy Shade allows you to get your James Bond, blacking on your screen and only revealing content where you drag your finger.

The nice thing about Android compared to other operating systems like BlackBerry 10 or iOS is its flexibility. If you want to change something, you likely can. For example, as much as so many people love the BlackBerry Hub, I personally am not a fan of it. Between all of my communication and social accounts, I simply receive too many messages a day to want to have everything coming into one location. I use my phone in a much more compartmentalized fashion - I check email when I want to do work. I open Instagram or Twitter when I have a few minutes to kill. When it comes to text messages, I want to be notified immediately. On the KEYone, thanks to Android, I simply chose to remove the Hub altogether - something I could never do on BlackBerry 10. I like having the power to choose.

I've watched Android evolve over the years, having even reviewed here on CrackBerry the original Android-powered T-Mobile G1, which ironically in true BlackBerry fashion had a physical keyboard and even a trackball!

Android has come a long way since those early days and with Nougat I feel like it's finally there - it's smooth, it's easy enough to figure out even if you've never used Android before and the availability of all the apps in the Google Play store make it worth any nitpicks you may come across (and again, the general flexibility of Android means you can probably fix anything that bugs you if you want to). We're also crushing here on CrackBerry with BlackBerry KEYone User Guides, so if you're moving over to the KEYone from BlackBerry 10 and have questions, we've got you covered.

BlackBerry is of course known for their industry leading security, and on the security front BlackBerry has Android locked down and has kept their word on staying committed to rolling out Android Security updates in a timely fashion.

Having had the KEYone since February on a pre-release model that still featured a software build from early January, I've watched the software experience improve steadily these past couple of months with every update pushed out. Even during the review period with my official KEYone review unit this past week, on the eve of this review going live a software update became available that seems to have further improved the overall speed and smoothness of the device. I expect we'll see software updates continue to rollout for the KEYone relatively often - there's a lot of new tech and functionality packed into the KEYone and I'm sure as more people log time with the KEYone they'll find more ways to optimize the experience. That said, even on my earliest pre-release build of the KEYone there were no showstoppers in the experience - I've been pretty much addicted to the experience since week 1.

Final Thoughts - Pushing All The Right Buttons

My wife is the best observer as to whether or not I like a tech product and if you ask her she'll tell you how much I love the KEYone, not based on what I say or have written here, but based on the fact that since getting one that it's rarely not in my hand. To quote her, "oh, that CrackBerry guy is really back".

The BlackBerry KEYone has brought back the BlackBerry Addict in me, but it's much better than the "good 'ole days of BlackBerry" because the KEYone is such a better phone than what we used a decade ago. There's something about the KEYone experience, between the look and feel of the hardware, the physical keyboard and that insanely good battery life that just make it a phone you want to hold and use, and even when not in use I catch myself staring at it (it's so much more demanding of my eyeball's attention than a boring slab device).

As I said at the start of this review, the story of the KEYone is the physical keyboard. By default that means it's not a device for everybody, but if you're a former or current BlackBerry user and you like the benefits that a physical keyboard provides, this is the phone for you. Buy it as soon as you can. At $549 outright, it's reasonably priced for a premium feeling phone. Even for those who have never used a physical keyboard on a smartphone before, as long as they're willing to commit a week to it to learn it and get comfortable on it, I could see first timers really falling for the KEYone. I wouldn't call the KEYone a nostalgia device - it's much more than that, but there is a nostalgia factor that does feel compelling and very in right now so I wouldn't be surprised to see first time BlackBerry users on the KEYone simply because it's so distinctly different in an era where smartphones have mainly been about sameness.

Coming into 2017 I wasn't expecting to see a new BlackBerry hit the market, never mind a new BlackBerry that kicks ass and I find myself really loving, so for that I'm thankful and excited to see BlackBerry Mobile picking up on what BlackBerry no longer wanted to be in the business of doing. After a lot of years of BlackBerry heartbreak, the KEYone feels like a fresh start for a new, modern era of BlackBerry Smartphones.

Two CrackBerry Thumbs Up!

BlackBerry KEYone

Learn more at BlackBerry Mobile


Unlock your productivity with the Android-powered BlackBerry KEYone!

Visit for purchase information and to register for updates.




BlackBerry KEYone pairs the best of BlackBerry’s software and security with TCL Communication’s commitment to delivering high-quality, reliable smartphones to customers around the world.

Beyond the iconic BlackBerry design that’s been curated for the modern user, the BlackBerry KEYone comes with a number of additional features that truly reinvents communications for the professional consumer.

  • Built to last – An iconic BlackBerry smartphone made reliable for the demanding user, the BlackBerry KEYone combines a sleek aluminum frame and soft grip textured back built to offer the best in durability.
  • Runs Android™ 7.1 Nougat – Giving users access to the entire Google Play store and apps - and will receive Google™ security patch updates.
  • The keyboard reimagined – Forget what you knew about keyboards, the BlackBerry Smart Keyboard goes beyond typing. It can be easily programmed to launch up to 52 customizable shortcuts, providing even greater ease of use. And use it to scroll through web pages, the picture gallery or to take a picture.
  • Loaded with BlackBerry® Hub® – Bringing all your messages into one consolidated place; including emails, texts and messages from any social media account.
  • Unrivaled security features – The BlackBerry KEYone is designed to offer the most secure Android smartphone experience possible.
  • Long battery life – Featuring the largest battery ever found in a BlackBerry smartphone, the BlackBerry KEYone offers roughly 26 hours of mixed use, thanks to its 3505mAh battery.
  • Impressive photo quality – The BlackBerry KEYone includes a 12MP rear camera with an industry leading camera sensor that captures sharp, crisp photos in any light. And for when you have to take a video conference on the go, it includes an 8MP front camera with fixed focus and 84-degree wide angle lens.


Width Height Thickness 5.87 in
149.1 mm
2.85 in
72.4 mm
0.37 in
9.4 mm
6.35 oz
180 grams
  • Display:
    • 4.5-inch IPS LCD display
    • 1620x1080 resolution
    • 434ppi
  • Chips:
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor
    • 8x 2.0Ghz Cortex A53 cores
    • 3GB RAM
    • 32GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/20 PDAF rear camera
    • Dual-tone LED flash
    • 8MP ƒ/2.2 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3505 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C, Quick Charge 3.0 + boost charging
  • Software:
    • Android 7.1.1 Nougat
    • DTEK security suite
    • FIPS 140-2 full disk encryption
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The best tech deals that you don't want to miss out on

Our friends at Thrifter post some great deals every day, and here are the best ones available right now!

From mobile phones to general tech, home goods and much more, the team at Thrifter is scouring the web every single day to find the best deals. Whether something hits a new all-time low, gets discounted for just a limited time, or has a new coupon code available for it, you won't want to miss out any of them. If you want to know about the deals as soon as they are happening, you'll want to follow Thrifter on Twitter, and sign up for the newsletter, because missing out on a great deal stinks!

So, what are the best deals that you should be looking at right now? Well, let's take a look at them so you can see which ones are best for you!

Logitech K480 Bluetooth Keyboard- $22.99 (Normally $49.99)

Bluetooth keyboards are great because you can use them with various devices, but it can be a pain switching between all the devices and constantly pairing the keyboard. Logitech's K480 keyboard, which is down to just $22.99 at Amazon, allows you to pair it with up to three devices at the same time, so you can have it working with your phone, tablet, and computer if you wanted. Normally, this keyboard runs closer to $50, so this is a pretty big discount.

See at Amazon

TEKTON Everybit Tech Rescue Kit - $19.36 (Normally $24.99)

The drop to $19 is the lowest price on this TEKTON Everybit Tech Rescue Kit in more than six months and the second lowest price in its history. The toolkit is a 45-piece set that includes everything you'll need to access iPhones, tablets, gaming systems, or watches. It's filled with fun words like "pentalobes" and "spudgers" and wants you to know that it knows what those are, even if I don't. If you can put this toolkit to work to repair your own tech gear, you could end up saving a whole lot more than just the price on this deal.

See at Amazon

Rachio Smart Sprinkler - $199.99 (Normally $229.99)

I'm going to be honest with you… I didn't know smart sprinklers were a thing. Didn't know that was something people needed. Apparently, I was wrong. The Rachio Smart Sprinkler controller isn't just another product called "smart" because that's the cool new way to sell stuff. It actually improves the sprinkling way of life by allowing you to make watering schedules, split your yard into eight zones, and even regulate how much water you use if you live in a place where that's restricted.

This Rachio Smart Sprinkler controller system has dropped to one of its lowest prices ever, $200 (down from $230), and with this deal you'll also get a $50 Amazon gift card when you make the purchase.

See at Amazon

More great deals!

For even more great deals, and to see these discounts as they become available, be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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BlackBerry KEYone Coming Soon Pages Come to Canada's Bell, Bell MTS and SaskTel

May 31st is right around the corner, and some carriers are getting a head start on the BlackBerry KEYone

Less than a week ago, Rogers made the BlackBerry KEYone available for pre-order to business users and now some other Canadian carriers are ramping up for the launch as well. Bell, Bell MTS and SaskTel have all put up "coming soon" pages a few days head of the KEYone's official May 31st on sale date.

Both Bell and Bell MTS have put up pages for consumer and business customers, listing the KEYone at $199 on a two-year term or $699 outright. SaskTel looks like they will offer even more options for the KEYone with 1-year or 2-year term, monthly, prepaid or outright. No pricing is listed for any option just yet though, but we can assume they will fall in line with the $199/$699 options.

Things are certainly starting to move along as the KEYone makes its way to the US and Canada next week. We have plenty more to come and we'll continue to keep an eye on carriers across the globe as launch day approaches.

See More on the BlackBerry KEYone

Bell Consumer (English)

Bell Consumer (French)

Bell Business (English)

Bell Business (French)

Bell MTS Residential

Bell MTS Business

Bell MTS Enterprise


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Your sweat won't affect these $10 Bluetooth headphones

Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with some extremely affordable Bluetooth headphones you should try!

If you've been considering making the move to Bluetooth headphones but don't want to spend a ton to try them out, this may be the perfect set for you. Right now you can pick up Mpow's sweatproof Bluetooth headphones for just $9.99 with coupon code WQMZZ4LE, which is a savings of $23. Keep in mind that at this price you won't be getting Bose quality headphones, but if you are looking to try something out, or need a new set of headphones for the gym, these may be perfect for the job.

The headphones are lightweight and comfortable, and the non-slip rubber ear hooks help keep them in place. Odds are you can find sillier ways to spend $10 today, so why not give these headphones a shot!

See at Amazon

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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BlackBerry hosting ransomware preparedness webinar on May 25

With the WannaCry ransomware attack still dominating headlines, BlackBerry has been dedicating a lot of time to advising folks how they can protect themselves from it and other ransomware. In fact, the Inside BlackBerry Blog recently posted an article titled 'How to Protect Yourself from WannaCry and Other Ransomware' that takes a closer look but going one step further, but as part of BlackBerry's Cybersecurity Services, they will be hosting a webinar on May 25 to discuss ransomware preparedness and how BlackBerry can help in these particular situations.

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Every BlackBerry Priv and KEYone owner should check out Keyboard Browser!

Keyboard Browser for Android allows you to enjoy the benefits of a physical keyboard for your internet browsing.

While there is certainly no shortage of browsers to choose from on the Google Play Store, there's one thing that is missing from most of them if you're coming from BlackBerry 10 and that's access to the same shortcut keys the BlackBerry 10 browser has. A new app called Keyboard Browser aims to correct that though by bringing those same in-browser shortcuts to Priv and KEYone owners.

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a VPN deal you won't want to pass up!

Have you ever stopped to think about how much of your day you spend connecting to networks that aren't your own? Whether you're working at a Starbucks, trying to finish something up at the airport before your flight, or sitting in the public library, odds are you're connected to a network that isn't the most secure without even thinking about it. Daily we do things like accessing our bank account, pay bills, send personal emails, and much more, all while not knowing if someone is tracking these moves and getting ready to steal your information.

Sounds a bit scary, huh? Well, personal information is something that should be kept personal, and luckily there are some easy ways to protect yourself. Odds are, by now you've heard of Virtual Proxy Networks, or VPNs, but you may be wondering why you would want to invest in one, right? Some of them can be a bit expensive, and others are unusually cheap, leaving you wondering which to end up with. NordVPN is one of the many great services out there, and right now you can save big on its plans.

Start protecting yourself right now Learn More

If you could protect yourself, and the information on your computer, from unprotected networks for just $4 a month, would you be interested? You should be! NordVPN offers double data encryption, which encrypts your data twice (and is the only company offering it), fast speeds, a strict no logs policy, automatic kill switch in case your VPN session drops off, and much more. The company has server locations in 57 different countries and covers every continent except for Antartica (because penguins don't browse the web!).

Signing up for one year of service scores you the discounted $4 a month rate, and signing up for two years can get you an even deeper discount. If you just want to give the one-year plan a try, you'll need to use coupon code NORD70 for the lower price, and for the two-year plan use code 2YSpecial2017. These offers from NordVPN won't last very long, so you'll want to act quick so you don't miss out!

Save up to 72% Learn More

You may be worried about investing in something you've never used before, but don't worry. NordVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee, so there is no risk in trying its service. You won't know if a VPN works for you until you give it a shot. Here is a way to try it without worrying about losing a boatload of cash, and if you like it then you score a sweet deal on the next two years of protection!

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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Here's a look at the first BlackBerry KEYone accessories

The first BlackBerry KEYone accessories are on their way — here's a quick look!

There have been many BlackBerry Smartphones over the years that stood well on their own, among them, the BlackBerry KEYone. But as any BlackBerry fanatic knows, accessorizing is the way to go. There will certainly be quite a variety of cases arriving for the BlackBerry KEYone in the next few weeks, and to start things off, we get a look at some OEM cases for the BlackBerry KEYone.

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BlackBerry KEYone now available for pre-order from Rogers in Canada!

May 18th is here and Rogers is first in line, allowing Canadians to pre-order the BlackBerry KEYone with an availability date of May 31st

Today, Canadian carrier Rogers has officially rolled out pre-orders for the Android-powered BlackBerry KEYone for Consumers, Small Business and Enterprise Customers with an availability date of May 31st.

If you're a Rogers customer and have been waiting for the KEYone this is your opportunity to get it first. We're still a few weeks off from worldwide availability, so I'd highly suggest pre-ordering ASAP so you get to the front of the line. This is the first of many rollouts we'll see in the coming weeks from carriers across the globe. The KEYone is $199 on a standard 2-year contract, and you can buy it outright for $679. As a Rogers customer, I just pre-ordered mine as I wrote this article! :)

Hit the links below for more info and to pre-order. If you pre-order today, be sure to drop a comment.

Pre-Order the BlackBerry KEYone from Rogers:

Consumer KEYone Customers

Small Business KEYone Customers

Enterprise KEYone Customers

Visit for more pre-order information

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This 3-pack of Anker PowerLine USB-C cables is down to just $14

Our friends at Thrifter are back again with a great deal on a 3-pack of durable USB-C cables!

Making the move from a phone that charges via Micro-USB to USB-C can be a bit of a pain since you have to replace all your cables. Anker, one of our favorite accessory makers, is here to help with the transition, though. The company is currently offering a 3-pack of its popular PowerLine USB-C cables for just $13.99 at Amazon, which is a savings of $4 from its regular price. This effectively means you are paying around $4.66 per cable, which is a great price.

Anker's PowerLine cables are ultra-durable and they should last around 5 times longer than others, so you won't need to worry about being rough on these. Each cable is 3 feet long, which should be plenty for most. If you've got cables that you don't want to replace, you could also check out this 2-pack of Micro-USB to USB-C adapters for just $7.99.

Whether you recently made the switch, have made the switch a while ago and still need more cables, or will be doing it in the near future, you won't want to miss out on this deal.

See at Amazon

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Learn to become a computer security specialist for only $19!

There's a digital war raging on the Internet, mostly out of sight from the average online user. On one side, there are the malicious hackers looking to steal sensitive information and cause havoc. On the other side, there are ethical hackers testing security measures and looking for potential exploits so they can be patched up before harm is done.

Become a computer security specialist! Learn more

This also means that ethical hackers — also called White Hat hackers — are in high demand these days, and can result in a six-figure career. If you're up to the challenge, CrackBerry Digital Offers has the Complete White Hat Hacking & Penetration Testing Bundle that will prepare you for an exciting new career as a computer security specialist.

For only $19, you get five courses that total a value of $888, a savings of 97%. These courses cover a variety of topics:

  • How to build a $120k/year career as a network penetration tester
  • Learn the basics of VMWare VSphere & ESXI virtualization Software
  • How to build a $120k/year career as a web pen tester
  • Introduction to CISCO Packet Tracer Network Simulator
  • Set up your own web hosting environment

each course includes lectures and real-life situational labs to teach you all the basics using examples you may run into in real life.

Star your high-paying career as a computer security specialist! Learn more

You get lifetime access to over 16 hours of detailed instruction for only $19, so if you've ever been considering a career change, there's no better time than now, thanks to this great offer. Act now!

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BlackBerry said to be working with luxury automakers on anti-hack tool

According to Macquarie analyst Gus Papageorgiou, who highlighted the details in a note to his clients, BlackBerry is now working with at least two automakers (Aston Martin and Range Rover) in testing a BlackBerry developed security service that can scan vehicles for viruses and advise drivers to pull over if in danger.

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RSVP now for our Ottawa, Montreal & Waterloo/Kitchener BlackBerry KEYone Meetups!

The CrackBerry Meetup Canada tour continues. Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Montreal were a great success. Next up is Waterloo/Kitchener. RSVP Now!

The CrackBerry Meetup Canada tour continues. Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Montreal were a great success and the grand finale of the Canada tour takes place in BlackBerry's hometown of Kitchener/Waterloo on Thursday, May 18th!

Be sure to hit the links below for more details and to RSVP. Once the Canada tour is over we'll be announcing dates USA CrackBerry Meetups in June. We look forward to seeing you there!

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BlackBerry Developer Global Tour events taking place in June!

If you're looking to learn more about the BlackBerry Development Platform, you'll certainly want to see if you can attend one of the BlackBerry Developer Global Tour events starting in June. The Global Tour will be making stops in Singapore, Washington, and Munich to start and each event has a full agenda.

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BBM launches Ra2ej: Weird, wacky, and viral news content for Middle Eastern and North African users

BBM has been on a roll adding new content to the Discover Menu as of late and now, they announced another new addition for Middle Eastern and North African users. This time around, content channel—Ra2ej (or رائج – pronounced Ray-esh) has been added and will provide readers with 'a light-hearted mix of celebrity, entertaining and weird news, bizarre photos, funny videos and lots more.'

We've just added another content channel—Ra2ej (or رائج – pronounced Ray-esh)—to the Discover menu for Middle Eastern and North African users. It's where you'll find a light-hearted mix of celebrity, entertaining and weird news, bizarre photos, funny videos and lots more.

This is the third content channel we've launched as part of our partnership with entertainment and lifestyle content publisher 7awi. Layalina was first, offering lifestyle, fashion and celebrity content, followed by ArabsTurbo, a channel about cars and motorsports. Both channels have garnered more than a million unique users to BBM's Discover menu since they were launched over the past couple of months.

  • Saudi Arabia
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Kuwait
  • Bahrain
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Jordan
  • Syria
  • Palestine
  • Lebanon
  • Egypt
  • Yemen
  • Tunisia
  • Iran
  • Algeria
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Sudan
  • Somalia

Our Middle Eastern and North African customers are getting more of their news and other content from the mobile channel, reading on their devices while on the go. As people use their messaging apps multiple times a day, we're bringing more content and services to them in the place where they're already spending their time.

7awi's content has been very popular with our Arabic-speaking customers so far. In the coming weeks, we'll be launching channels focused on men's fashion and lifestyle, women's fashion and a classified service. Stay tuned for more announcements here—and keep checking your Discover menu!

Learn more via the BBM Blog

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BlackBerry's new AtHoc Account software helps ensure no one gets left behind during a crisis

BlackBerry has now announced a new expansion of capabilities offered by their AtHoc crisis communication software. The new AtHoc Account is a FedRAMP-authorized solution will enable government agencies and large organizations to account for their people in real-time by providing safety and availability status updates of people before, during and after an event.

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Enter this giveaway for one more shot at a free BlackBerry KEYone!

It's CrackBerry Kevin's birthday today, but one of you is getting the present!

Today just happens to be CrackBerry Kevin's birthday, and while he's traveling across North America spreading the word about the amazing new BlackBerry KEYone, we decided to go ahead and celebrate his special day with a giveaway! Of course, the most anticipated new phone right now is the KEYone, and that's what one lucky CrackBerry reader will win!

To enter, just leave a comment below. You can come back every day until the contest is over at the end of May and leave another comment for another chance to win. Please don't spam the post with more than one comment per day, as you'll be disqualified. This giveaway is open worldwide, but keep in mind that international winners may have to pay duties or taxes on their prize, which is out of our control.

Good luck to everyone that enters, and Happy Birthday Kevin!!

Bonus Entry!

Looking for another way to earn an entry into the contest? Sign up for our newsletter!



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This wall charger packs a 5000mAh battery inside to keep you powered up from anywhere for just $22

Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a pair of charging accessories you'll want to check out!

Battery life is something that continues to improve in phones and tablets, but not everyone can make it through the whole day on a single charge. Sure, you can carry around a spare wall charger and cable, or a battery pack, but what about if you could combine those into one? That's what Anker's PowerCore Fusion does, and right now you can pick one up at Amazon for just $21.99. This is a savings of $4 from its regular pricing.

It looks like a large wall charger, but it actually has a 5000mAh battery inside as well. This allows you to plug it into the wall to charge your phone if you are in the office, or charge it on the go with the battery inside. In addition, it offers:

  • The Ultimate 2-in-1 Charger: A hybrid high-capacity portable battery and dual-port wall charger in one sleek package.
  • High-Speed Charging: In the wall or on-the-go, Anker's exclusive PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technologies ensure that all devices receive their fastest possible charge. Does not support Qualcomm Quick Charge.
  • Charge-and-Go: Charge your device and PowerCore Fusion's internal battery via a wall outlet, then take it with you for up to 3 phone charges—any place, any time. Boasts a foldable plug to ensure maximum portability

Whether you travel a lot, or just like to pack really light, you will want one of these for your phone. Stop carrying around multiple chargers and battery packs, and instead consolidate them into a single device! If you're looking for just a power bank, Chuwi is offering its 10050mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 for just $16.99 when using coupon ADCENTER at checkout.

See at Amazon

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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Grab the world's smallest camera drone for only $25!

Drones keep getting faster and smaller, but that usually means they're stripped of extra features, like cameras. The small size usually also means you're paying more for the drone. What if you could have a small drone with a camera attached for under $30?

Get the world's smaller camera drone and a 2GB microSD card for just $25! Learn more

What if that drone was actually the world's smallest drone to have a camera mounted on it? Right now, CrackBerry Digital Offers has a deal on this little marvel. Instead of paying $50, you'll instead get it at 50% off. That's a final price of $25. Not only do you get the drone, you also get the controller, a 2GB microSD card, extra blades, and cables and adapters to charge the battery and transfer photos and videos.

This quadcopter's four blades allow it to zip around in any direction, and the LEDs allow for night flights — no getting lost in the grass. The camera mounted on the drone can take video and still photos, and it takes less than 30 minutes to fully charge the battery.

Take your photography to new heights with this tiny $25 camera drone! Learn more

If you've been waiting to get your hands on a drone, why not grab one with a mounted camera and included storage? This drone is small enough that you won't have to register it with the FAA. Ready to start flying? Grab this deal today; it won't last forever.

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