Blackberry Key One Smartphone Review and Buying Guide

It didn’t come as a shock when BlackBerry announced in 2016 that it had decided to stop designing its own smartphones in-house. They signed a deal with TCL, a Chinese company that now “designs, manufacture, sell and provide customer support for BlackBerry-branded mobile devices”. 

The BlackBerry key one was the first phone to be launched by the TCL since the deal was signed with BlackBerry. So with the Blackberry key one, we would be getting a contemporary Android phone blended with classic Blackberry features that we love so much.

Blackberry Key One Smartphone Buying Guide


The Blackberry key one has a silver aluminium case attached with black rubber, and the metal is evenly weighted with glass rounded around the edges to give a seamless feel. There is a permanent QWERTY keyboard at the bottom with a USB C port for fast charging and a mono speaker, and the keyboard doubles as a trackpad with the fingerprint sensor located in the spacebar.

The Blackberry key one also comes with two cameras in 8 megapixels for the selfie camera and a Sony IMX378, 12 megapixels for the back camera.


The Blackberry key one’s display is a 3:2 ratio with the IPS screen at 1080×1620 pixels and a pixel density of 434ppi.

Blackberry Key One Smartphone


The Blackberry key one is a healthy mix of a modern 2017 new Android smartphone and throwback blackberry features. The Blackberry hub still gathers all your information from texts to email into one place so you can dismiss or snooze notifications with fine control from one place without wandering around.

It is not water-resistant unfortunately but it is drop resistant than other top shell phones. The Blackberry key one can take pictures in 3: 2 ratio by default or the standard 4:3. 

The selfie camera can also record 1080p videos at 30fps, and the rear camera can record 4k videos at 30fps. 

The button placement is not the conventional style. The power button that is usually on the right-hand side is now on the left-hand side, and where the power button used to be, there is a new button called the convenience button for ease of access which you might take some time to get used to.

Blackberry Key One Smartphone Camera

Battery life

The battery life is excellent and even better than the Blackberry key 2.


You can customise the letters on your Blackberry key one keyboard to be their own custom launcher shortcut. A button on the keyboard, either by the short or long-press, can be used to launch two different things, and when you press an unassigned button, it will give you a suggestion of apps that starts with the letter, and this just makes it easier to access your most frequented apps. 

With the Blackberry key one‘s keyboard, you can still use cool computer shortcut commands like Control C to copy text and Control V to paste the text. It also serves as a trackpad scroll for scrolling through apps like Instagram, and I can assure you there won’t be a case of you accidentally liking a picture. The space bar also doubles as the fingerprint scanner, which is a good use of space. It also features EIS and phase-detection autofocus

Blackberry Key One


  • Good battery life.
  • Excellent call quality.


  • Asides from the fact that it is 1080p in a quad HD world, you might struggle using the screen during the day because of the dim brightness.
  • Slow Software.
Blackberry Key One Smartphone Review

Buyer’s Guide

How much is the Blackberry key one

The official price range for a Blackberry key-one is around $550, although you can buy one for as low as $150 (or less) from marketplaces like eBay.

Is the Blackberry key one worth buying

The Blackberry key one stays relevant while still incorporating the Blackberry features we love. The blend of the physical keyboard with cool customisation features and how Blackberry prioritises giving users instant access to everything makes the Blackberry key one worth buying.


Notwithstanding where the Blackberry key one falls short, It is still one of the best smartphones with physical keyboards and one of the best Blackberries on the market. Although, I will recommend you go for the Blackberry key 2 instead of the Blackberry key 1.

Blackberry Key One Smartphone Photos

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