I’ve used the GSM KEYone for over 4 weeks at this point, and thought it was time for a review. Long time Blackberry user, going back to the days of the Bold 9000. Most recent, Passport, PP SE, and Priv. Used a Note 7, and iPhone 7 plus between the Priv and KEYone. Used a UK version for 7 days, and have used the USA version for 17 days.

    Look and Feel: The K1 is a beautiful phone in both look and feel. The best feeling phone in my hand ever was the Note 7, the K1 is equal to that if not better. Appearance is gorgeous. Just a premium looking device. The rubber like back is comfortable, and just feels natural. The weight of the phone feels fine. Not heavy, not top heavy, it just feels right. The nostalgic look with the keyboard is also very unique and different in 2017.

    Quality: The K1 has shown nothing but high quality in both build and durability in my 3 weeks of usage. I have not had even one thing suggest otherwise. The phone has a fit and finish that is premium. I have dropped the phone 3 to 4 times from tables, a counter, and a lawn chair. In all situations, the phone landed on carpet, or grass. One fall hit a table/chair leg, and then hit the carpet. The phone remains fine, with no ill effects. When comparing the build quality to the Priv or DTEK's, this is the better phone. I have yet to bend my phone in two, so I am unsure if the screen will pop off.

    Screen: The screen is bright. Easy to read outside in direct, and very bright sunshine. Some people have complained that the screen doesn't get dim enough at night, and I agree, why not give us the ability to take the brightness all the way down to nothing. Overall, I love the screen.

    Camera: I toted the K1 to Chicago, and then Maui with me for 10 days. Utilizing it for video and photos. I found the camera and video to be very good and bordering on excellent, for a 2016 phone, but not a mid 2017 phone. When I compare the photos and video to that of my iPhone 7, my best friends Pixel XL, or my son's S8+, It’s clear the K1 is a step below in both categories, especially video quality and stability. But the K1 is much better than the Priv, or PP. Here is a case where the K1 could have been and should have been an equal to the aforementioned phones. This is disappointing. Why settle for 3rd or 4th place? Shutter speed is off the charts. Very impressive.

    Phone Quality & Sound: The phones handset volume seems loud and clear, with no issues. It's not breaking records, but I also don't have any issues with it. The speaker phone is adequate, but not noteworthy. Not sure how big a deal it would have been to have dual stereo speakers in a 2017 phone. I did not have issues communicating. Others heard me, loud and clear.

    Signal: I noticed a poor signal once in a basement location, but I never lost or dropped a call, and never lost a signal when other had one. So in my travels, I had no issues, and I didn’t have any issues while in my home state of Ohio either. So, up to this point, it hasn’t been an issue at all.

    Keyboard: I find the keyboard to be 100% better than the Priv, and more like what we all came to expect from a BB handset. The keyboard has a nice usable clicky feel. However, I find it just a tad small in both height and width, and more so the height. Overall my accuracy, after 7 days became very good and better than a slab. My speed on a slab phone is much better, than the K1. I’m good on the K1, but not great. Utilizing the quick launch features of the 26 keys x 2 if really cool, and very useful. I am amazed and disappointed with the choice to utilize fixed google navigation buttons. Seems very 2013ish. Besides getting in the way when you scroll, they are ugly, with no ability to customize. Again, this is 2017, why not utilize software based buttons. The back-light is nice, and useful. I do not have any fading keyboard light issues on my K1. Like the camera, the keyboard is so close, and yet why couldn't it have been perfect? The finger print scanner is the quickest and fastest I have ever experienced. The space bar also can be used for a shutter button which is handy.

    Speed and Usefulness: The K1 handles typical tasks very well. Much better than the Priv. However, keyboard scrolling lags, and is inconsistent. The HUB, while it’s been a neat attempt to replicate BB-10’s HUB, it just isn’t the same. It’s slow, choppy, and just not fluid. Truly much effort has gone into the Android HUB, but it still lacks. Kudos to the BB team for their continued improvement with the HUB. The overall speed of the device is very sufficient, but at the same time, when you do experience an occasional lag, you wonder, is it Google or should this thing have a mid level 2017 processor in it? Tough choices, between power and battery life.

    Battery Life: Battery life is outstanding. It’s nice to have a phone you don’t have to look at the battery monitor during the day with. This is a work horse. You can use the phone for what it’s intended. As a phone junkie, and heavy email user, with 3 accounts, and at least 100 emails per day, the K1 handles it well. No issues. 4am to 10pm and I typically have 20% remaining. Very Strong and impressive!

    Button placement: BB failed terribly with the button placement. Power, Volume and the convenience buttons all seem in the wrong place, and in the way. Clearly no thought went into this aspect of the phone.

    LED: Love the LED light, although it's tiny, and the color selection seems thin. Again, close.

    Overall: As you can see, there is a lot to like about the KEYone. This phone will hit the spot for a lot of people. You can also see BB missed on some key features, especially when you release a phone mid 2017, behind better technology in the G6, and S8+, and in front of the new iPhone 8 and Pixel 2. And while I fully release the K1 wasn't built to directly compete against those phones, everyone still compares specs. I can't help but wonder how bad a?! this phone could have been. Someone needed to ask, "What's the even better". BB is certainly on a better road now. Considering the DTEK 60, and now the K1, the future is certainly brighter now than in years past. The KEYone is an excellent choice for a phone. It's a hard phone to put down. It's that useful, and fun to use.
    Last edited by JOHNGAETANO; 06-20-17 at 06:53 AM.
    06-20-17 06:38 AM
  2. bakron1's Avatar
    Great and straight forward review, thanks for sharing, hoping to get my K1 in the next couple of weeks.
    06-20-17 06:50 AM
  3. falbo's Avatar
    Nice honest review and thanks for sharing. Is it me or is almost every reviewer keeps dropping this phone? Also where would you prefer the buttons ie power, convenience and volume to be on the phone, is it just not a case of getting used to it .
    leoip likes this.
    06-20-17 07:10 AM
  4. rolojr1's Avatar
    I agree with your review it's as honest a review I've read yet from a consumer. I've been a Busy BlackBerry user for many years and love BB10 over Android any day. However the K1 for some reason or another has my attention over my S8+. I hope BlackBerry/ TCL find a sweet spot in the next phone they develop to close the gap. They did a great job with this offering.
    06-20-17 07:10 AM
  5. True Canadian's Avatar
    Great Review, Thanks for sharing
    06-20-17 07:10 AM
  6. kbz1960's Avatar
    Nice honest review.
    06-20-17 08:55 AM
  7. Thalakar's Avatar
    I don't mind the buttons though convenience is horrible should have been on left side with power leaving space for a mute button on right
    06-20-17 09:04 AM
  8. tfitzpat03's Avatar
    Looking forward to owning one to get that bold-like feeling back. Hopefully there will be a decent Black Friday deal or Christmas deal.
    06-20-17 09:24 AM

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