BlackBerry DTEK50 unboxing: We got our hands on the new DTEK50, which BlackBerry has dubbed ‘the world’s most secure Android smartphone’. Read on for our unboxing and a hands-on review.
BlackBerry DTEK50: Specs at a glance
|Screen resolution||Full HD (1920x1080)|
|OS||Android 6.0 Marshmallow|
|Processor||1.5GHz/1.2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617|
|Storage||16GB. Expandable via microSD up to 2TB|
BlackBerry DTEK50: Hands-on review
As well as being the company’s first phone of the year, the DTEK50 is also the company’s first Android phone to shrug a physical keyboard completely. The hardware as a whole actually comes from a reference device made by Chinese manufacturer TCL, the company responsible for Alcatel’s current range of Android smartphones (including the similarly styled/specced Idol 4), as well as Vodafone’s Smart Platinum 7.
The DTEK50 comes in a compact black box embossed with BlackBerry’s ‘pip’ logo all over the place. Lift out the phone and you’ll notice the screen protector features a branded shield emblem, likely highlighting the added security the company has layered on top of the near stock Android Marshmallow experience.
Remove the back protector and you’re presented with a heavily textured plastic that offers tons of grip but doesn’t feel uncomfortable to handle as with the likes of Wileyfox’s coarse Sandstone black Storm from last year. It's non-removable, so the phone's 2610mAh battery remains locked away, but the nanoSIM/microSD card tray is built into the side of the phone's chamfered metal frame instead.
Speaking of SD cards, the DTEK50's relatively affordable price point means that it has notably lower internal storage versus its Android-based sibling, the Priv, but thankfully BlackBerry has alleviated any worries of storage anxiety with support for up to 2TB cards.
Underneath the phone, the box contains a polished SIM tray removal tool, a quick-start guide and safety information card and the rest of the key accessories. As well as a collapsible UK power adapter and microUSB lead, BlackBerry also saw fit to throw in some fairly decent looking in-ear headphones, which boast a gold-plated 3.5mm jack and an inline remote and microphone, as well as multiple sizes of buds o accommodate different users.
Overall the phone is well styled (if a little generic), feels nice in the hand and with its 5.2-inch Full HD display hits the same sweet spot as the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Honor 5C. The Snapdragon 617 processor at the heart of the DTEK50 also means that the phone supports Qualcomm's Quick Charge functionality.
On the software side, as with the company's previous phones, BlackBerry has ensured that there's some level encryption on every layer of the phone's programming, starting at a processor level. At the other end, the DTEK app ensures that key security features of Android (such as app-specific permissions) are more readily visible to the user, letting you keep tabs on what your apps are up to and whether they're pinging the phone's location or using other hardware like the microphone.
The DTEK app also gives you a security status rating, making sure your DTEK50 is properly protected by way of a PIN or password-laden lock screen, that developer mode is disabled and other aspects of Android are in order such as trusted app support and factory reset protection is enabled.
Beyond the layer of security, BlackBerry has also added some intelligent tweaks to the stock Android interface. Swiping up and down on select apps gives you quick access to their respective widgets without having to open each app completely, gesture controls let you quickly perform a phone-wide search, open the dialler or jump to the (now more customisable) BlackBerry Hub, the same excellent on-screen intelligent keyboard we encountered on the Priv is present too and now boasts swipe typing as well as flick typing and the productivity tab is a great way to see upcoming appointments from anywhere on the phone.
We're impressed the with experience that the BlackBerry DTEK50 offers out the box and the £275 price tag should make it a more approachable offering for consumers (and businesses) on the fence about the brand until now. Stay tuned for a full review soon.
Watch the full BlackBerry DTEK50 unboxing and hands-on review below: