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BlackBerry DTEK50 review

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Summary

Our Score:

6

Pros

  • Nice screen
  • Useful software
  • Secure approach

Cons

  • Poor battery life
  • Dull design
  • Really slow

Best Deals for BlackBerry DTEK50

  • ebay

Key Features

  • 5.2-inch 1080p display
  • Snapdragon 617 CPU
  • 3GB RAM
  • 16GB storage plus microSD slot
  • Android 6.0.1
  • DTEK security app
  • 135g
  • 13MP rear, 8MP front cameras
  • NFC
  • Manufacturer: BlackBerry
  • Review Price: £275.00

What is the BlackBerry DTEK50?

BlackBerry has seen its influence rapidly decrease over the past few years, but I retain a soft spot for the company's devices. I was a fan of BlackBerry’s first Android phone: the Priv may have been rather big and bulky, but it benefited from clever software features and a nice-ish keyboard.

It appeared to be BlackBerry conducting an experiment, to see whether or not people were still interested in physical keyboards. It turned out that they probably weren’t. As a result, BlackBerry’s follow-up ditches the keyboard and slips below the Priv on price. The DTEK50 showed promise, but it’s hugely let down by slow performance and terrible battery life.

With competition from the likes of the Moto G4, OnePlus 3 and Vodafone Smart Platinum 7, the BlackBerry DTEK50 's issues will make it a difficult sell.

BlackBerry DTEK50 – Design

The BlackBerry DTEK50 isn't an original design. In fact, it isn't made by BlackBerry at all – the Canadian company has opted to save costs by basing its latest device almost entirely on a reference design by TCL, the parent company of Alcatel OneTouch.

As a result, the DTEK50 is basically a rebranded Alcatel Idol 4. Vodafone went down a similar path with its Smart Platinum 7, which is a slightly tooled up Idol 4S. It’s fair enough that BlackBerry doesn’t want to plough huge sums of cash into designing and building its own phone, but it almost suggests the company is tentative as it knows the device is doomed to fail.

Related: 12 Best Android Phones

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Design-wise the DTEK50 is one of the dullest phones I've seen in a long time. It’s your typical black slab of plastic, with a dodgy faux-metal chamfer running around the edge. It’s neither eye-catching nor pretty, and it doesn’t have that feeling of durability seen with the Bold or Curve. Those phones were dense; the DTEK50 feels as though it might implode if dropped on a hard surface.

Above and below the display are speaker grilles that add a degree of flair – but it’s minimal.

There are a couple of redeeming features though. The dimpled, rubbery back seems odd at first, but I have grown to appreciate its grippy feel. In addition, a new "Convenience Key" sits right where you’d expect the home button to be. During my first three days using the DTEK50 I constantly hit this when trying to unlock the phone, but it’s actually a user-programmable button that I've since assigned to quickly bringing up my email inbox.

The buttons themselves are clicky and responsive and I like having the volume rocker and lock switch on opposite sides; this is a rarity these days. There’s no fingerprint scanner, which I assume was missed off to cut costs.

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The DTEK50 is small, though, one of the most pocketable phones I've used this year. It isn't as small as the iPhone SE, but it’s much trimmer than the chunky Moto G4. Its 5.2-inch display helps, but the bezel is slim and it’s as thin as an iPhone 6S, making it very easy to use in one hand.

For the price, I'd expect a slightly more interesting design for the DTEK50, but at least it's functional.

Best Deals for BlackBerry DTEK50

  • ebay

BlackBerry DTEK 50 – Display

The BlackBerry features a 5.2-inch screen. Not long ago this was considered huge, but now it feels decidedly small. I like it though, it feels big enough for gaming and watching the odd YouTube video – certainly not films – but small enough that you can easily move your thumb from one side of the device to the other.

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The screen's overall quality is also good – but don’t expect to be blown away. The 1080p, IPS LCD panel is bright and is colourful without oversaturating reds and yellows. Viewing angles are decent, too, and it manages to stave off reflections when it’s sunny outside.

The DTEK50 features a temperature slider in Settings that enables you to make the screen warmer or cooler – and I’d suggest using it. By default it was the display was a little cool and everything felt a bit blue, but warming things up helped no end.

Best Deals for BlackBerry DTEK50

  • ebay

Nate650

July 28, 2016, 5:51 pm

Nice, another overall positive initial impression.

"The box actually says the phone has a "Touchscreen", like this is a feature that needs to be advertised in 2016."

I agree that was an interesting choice. However, believe it or not, many people probably don't know that BlackBerry still makes phones, let alone ones with touchscreens. It's possible BlackBerry wanted to highlight that they indeed are producing touchscreen phones like everyone else.

Bruce Banner

July 28, 2016, 10:30 pm

Selfie camera is 8 megapixel.

Thanks for acknowledging some productivity features that competitors don't offer. Everybody harps on about BlackBerry security, yet fails to acknowledge their strengths lie in productivity shortcuts.

Wait for the next qwerty. Their new keyboard technology is insane. If a little frustrating that it's only been put to proper use in the passport. Priv's keyboard is great, but had too much emphasis on being conceal able.

Daniel Thompson

July 29, 2016, 12:18 am

Sadly it does. People still believe that Blackberry phones don't have touch-screens. The erroneous rumors about Blackberry are ridiculous.

JBRND

July 29, 2016, 1:40 am

I'm actually intrigued to buy this phone. Even though the hardware is not blackberry built itself but it looks like a great device on its own. I love the security thay blackberry has to offer so I'm eager to try this new phone all touch with android on it!

charley

July 29, 2016, 11:11 am

Well done Blackberry! I'm definitely interested in this phone. Why? Because they've taken security seriously, or at least more seriously than others. The first thing I do when I get a phone, is go through every app and check it's permissions. It takes a few hours, but to over half pre-installed apps, I'll end up forcing stop, delete contents and if possible, deleting the app. This has added benefits of not only reducing you being tracked around the internet, but also cutting data traffic, and processing power. It also de-clutters your menu some. So many apps have access to things that I don't want them to have access to, and if I can't prevent that access, I won't have/use/install the app. I seriously want that capability.
Another thing I'm needing is a T9 keyboard, with predictive text. - It's so much more practical and quicker to use. I don't mind if it's an optional setting, I just want it to be there. For those of you that like the qwerty keyboard, I'm guessing it's because you don't know how to use the T9 one. Every person that I've shown how to use T9, prefers it. It's one of the things that I ask about every phone, and if it's not there, I won't buy it.
As for not having a fingerprint sensor, excellent! For those of you that think you've locked your phone and have prevented access by anyone else because they don't have your print, you're so very mistaken! If a piece of sticky tape to lift a print from a surface you've touched doesn't work, and it's been demonstrated to, if the police have your prints, your phone is unlock able. They are now using 3D printers to make a copy of your finger, and that will unlock your phone.
A password is your safest way to prevent entry.

Asif

July 29, 2016, 1:49 pm

Will it be a SIM Free?

zoomer9966

August 1, 2016, 1:12 am

poor review. the guy had not "enough" time to take pics and let the battery run out? how long you tested it? 2 minutes? unprofessional.

Curvingthunder

August 7, 2016, 3:19 pm

I'm unable to find where this phone is manufactured. Alcatel seems to be from China but with BB's security reputation I'm wondering if they went with a Chinese build.

Jonathan Morris

August 19, 2016, 1:43 pm

Alcatel is now just a brand of TCL, which is indeed Chinese. It's such a shame to see BlackBerry going down this route.

The Priv was a great device, but vastly overpriced. They should have cut the price on that and then considered a keyboardless version (if they really do feel they have to) that kept the same decent spec.

Curvingthunder

August 19, 2016, 1:53 pm

Thanks, Jonathan. While it is a build from China, the layers of BlackBerry security was the tipping point for my purchase. I do believe this was a poor review considering the modest price point and the target market of enterprise sales.

spillthebeans

August 27, 2016, 9:33 pm

BlackBerry has NOT decided against Adoptable Storage. Users have the option to format their SD card as internal storage or use it like a normal SD card.

for a site calling themselves "trusted" this review is misleading to readers

Tyrann

August 31, 2016, 1:14 pm

irreversible damage was done to their brand. They would have a better chance changing their name all together instead of continuing to use "Blackberry" Right now when you hear the word "blackberry" you think outdated, old, keyboard, no support and no apps.

Bon homme

September 5, 2016, 3:19 pm

No so bad but the battery life is about 6 to 12 hours depending on your usage. the worst offender is the vibrate that's weaker than the vibes of a fly. Seriously. If you need vibrate on your phone, avoid this one. For the rest is shows the same as any other Android phone. A little bit slower though.

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