BlackBerry was once a symbol of status in the mobile phone industry, but this was long before Android became the most popular mobile platform in the market.
In fact, the popularity of Android has meant that BlackBerry OS is no longer in the works, with the Canadian tech giant being forced to jump ship to Google’s OS in what is a typical representation of the saying, “if you can’t beat them, join them.”
While you can still come across the likes of BlackBerry Z10, Z30, Q10, Q20 Classic, Passport or even the BlackBerry Priv and KEYone here in Kenya, the most affordable BB device in the market is last year’s DTEK50. This is a weird choice of names, but what the phone brings to the table is indeed impressive, especially when considering the pricing.
The BlackBerry DTEK50 is an understudy to the DTEK60, which is the high-end variant that was also released last year. Similar to the Priv and KEYone, these two are based on Android OS, just like any other future smartphone that’ll come from the company.
The design of the DTEK50 features a plastic back panel that contributes highly to its lightweight nature. The edges are beautifully chamfered and the back has a rubberized material that helps with the grip. For the display, the phone has a decent 5.2-inch Full HD screen with a 424 ppi pixel density and a scratch-resistant glass on top. The processor under the hood is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 octa-core clocked at 1.5GHz on the higher side and 1.2GHz on the lower side.
The RAM on board is an impressive 3GB module and for the storage, you get a small 16GB package, but this can be expanded using a microSD card of up to 256GB. If you are the kind who uses two SIM cards, you’ll have to do with the 16GB storage since the phone uses the second SIM slot for external storage. The camera on the back is not bad either, a 13MP lens with f/2.0 aperture, PDAF, dual-tone LED flash and support for 1080p video recording. The selfie camera gets an 8MP sensor with a smaller f/2.2 aperture and 1080p video recording as well.
For the battery, the BlackBerry DTEK50 has a relatively small 2610mAh unit, but you won’t wait long to refill it thanks to the support for Quick Charge 2.0 fast battery charging technology. Software-wise, Android Marshmallow runs the show out of the box, but BB has kept quiet on the issue of Nougat OTA update.
Despite being a cool phone, you’ll be disappointed that you are paying Ksh 22,999 (or Ksh 22,699 at Avechi) for a phone that has no fingerprint scanner, but you still get 4G LTE, dual stereo speakers, and Bluetooth 4.2, among other goodies.