BlackBerry is a brand name synonymous with one thing: keyboards. When you think of the mobile maker's name, you think of old-style smartphones equipped with tiny QWERTY keys. But it has been known to dabble in all-touch devices. In the latter years of the BlackBerry OS platform we had phones like the Leap, Z10 and Z30. Since switching to Android, we had Alcatel copycat devices called DTEK60 and DTEK50.
While those smartphones weren't especially inspiring or unique, BlackBerry isn't done with all-touch devices yet. It's just announced the upcoming BlackBerry Motion, a phone which - despite its lack of a keyboard - retains the look of the KeyOne, somehow. Here's everything you need to know about the newest addition to the Android-powered BlackBerry story.
BlackBerry Motion: Design
- 155.7 x 75.4 x 8.1mm
- 5.5-inch full HD display, 16:9 aspect ratio
- Nano-Diamond anti-scratch coating
The Motion sports a similar design to the KeyOne, although the latter's keyboard has been removed in favour of more screen real estate, allowing the Motion to have a 5.5-inch full HD display with 403ppi.
The top edge has completely right-angled corners, while the bottom has rounded corners, similar to the KeyOne. There's also the carbon fibre pattern on the back.
BlackBerry has given the screen a nano-diamond coating which claims to prevent scratches, while the main body has an aluminium frame and a soft textured rear panel to provide extra grip.
As with many phones, there's a home button button below the display featuring the fingerprint sensor, as well as the BlackBerry logo. Unlike previous BlackBerry devices, all three physical buttons live on the right edge. From top to bottom; there's the volume rocker, power button and programmable Convenience key.
It will be available in a black colour finish.
BlackBerry Motion: Specs and features
- Snapdragon 625 SoC
- 4,000mAh battery, largest ever for a BlackBerry
- BlackBerry security features and services
The BlackBerry Motion is very much a mid-range handset, due to a Snapdragon 625 processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable internal storage (up to 2TB) and 12-megapixel rear camera.
However it does have a large 4,000mAh battery, which BlackBerry says can last in excess of 32 hours. Considering the 5.5-inch screen is 'only' full HD, we'd expect it to comfortably last a whole day at least. QuickCharge 3.0 technology is onboard to provide around 50 per cent power from 40 minutes of charging.
The 12-megapixel rear camera has phase detect auto focus, electronic image stabilisation and HDR capabilities, and can shoot 4K video at 30fps. There's a dual tone LED flash on the back too, while on the front you'll find an 8-megapixel camera with 84-degree wide-angle lens and light-up LCD flash.
The Motion also has an IP67 rating, protecting it from dust and water up to 1-metre and integrated into the bottom bezel is a physical home button that doubles up as a fingerprint scanner.
BlackBerry's Convenience Key feature makes a return and can now be used to activate one of four different profiles: Home, Car, Office or User. Home can be activated when the Motion connects to your home Wi-Fi network, Car will be enabled when it connects to your car's Bluetooth and Office will activate when it recognises you're in the location of a meeting synced with BlackBerry Hub.
When a particular profile is selected, the Motion will present your most commonly used apps.
On the software front, it's very much the same as the BlackBerry we've now come to expect. It features a customised version of Android 7.1 Nougat, but retains BlackBerry's own security apps and features that continue to make the phones so popular. One new feature is Locker, which is a personal space for users to store documents and photos that can only be accessed by entering a PIN code or scanning a saved fingerprint.
BlackBerry Motion: Price and release date
Following the UK launch event on 10 November, it was announced that it will be available in the UK for £399 from multiple retailers, including Carphone Warehouse, Selfridges, John Lewis, Dixons Travel, Currys PC World, Amazon, Very and Littlewoods.
BlackBerry Motion: Conclusion
Looking up and down the specifications and the launch price, it's clear this is a device aimed at the middle of the smartphone market. Things like the Snapdragon 625 processor, DragonTrail glass (rather than Corning) and the full HD (rather than QHD) display give that away.
With that said, the 4,000mAh battery sounds incredibly promising, and the additional software offered by BlackBerry is generally very useful, it's not worthless bloat. It'll be interesting to see how both average consumers and BlackBerry traditionalists respond to the all-touch device.