The BlackBerry KEYone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 paired with 4GB RAM and there’s also 64GB of onboard storage for you to store all your important files. The phone sits square in the mid-range segment when it comes to specifications, but with a Blackberry, it is not just the processor and RAM you play for. Focus on security is the company’s critical focus, and as such, the software is built around the premise of security. So we want to get this out of the way for those wondering why they should pay a premium price for a “mid-range” spec’d smartphone.
The fact that it is a mid-range smartphone becomes evident in both the benchmark numbers and gaming. While both AnTuTu and Geekbench 4 results were standard with respect to mid-range devices, where we saw performance lack was in regards to gaming. Asphalt 8: Airborne was generally slow to load the game. Navigating the menu saw a number of stutters as well. Playing the game, we noticed occasional lag, which was a little disappointing. Not to mention, playing Asphalt or even Modern Combat was a little difficult with a keyboard in the way. While you can use the gyro sensors for tilt-based control on Asphalt, but if you, like me, prefer on-screen controls, then you will run into some uncomfortable moments as you try to extend one of your thumbs over the keyboard and onto the screen. You can play Subway Surfers without any performance issues, but do consider the form factor of the device.
When we began with our photo editing test, we were extremely sceptical. Sure enough, the KEYone had a challenging time editing our RAW files from a Canon 5D Mark2 in both Adobe Lightroom Mobile and Snapseed, it didn’t, however, stutter one bit while editing photos that had been shot on the smartphone itself. While loading 6 RAW files took over a minute and a half, six images shot on the KEYone’s camera took under 30 seconds in Lightroom. Editing these photos was fairly smooth.
While gaming and our intense photo editing tasks may have left us wanting more from the BlackBerry KEYone, where it was no slouch was when it came to multitasking and browsing the web. We opened ten tabs in three browsers each while leaving Asphalt 8 and Lightroom open in the background. Along with that, we had Facebook, Slack, Whatsapp, Google Drive and Word open as well. Switching between all of these open apps is smooth and super convenient thanks to BlackBerry’s own UI implementation of multitasking.
From our performance review, one thing was clear. BlackBerry has stuck to what it does best, and that is meet the needs of jet-setting business people. The KEYone works beautifully well if you have to go between various apps like checking your email and writing up an email, but then again, so do other smartphones. Sadly, the KEYone won’t impress anyone when it comes to and other than that, it’s a fairly standard package.