- Smart modifications to Android
- Great performance
- Premium design
- Solid cameras
- Awkward fingerprint sensor
- Lacklustre screen
BlackBerry DTEK60 Review: BlackBerry’s new DTEK60 is the closest thing to a 2016 flagship you can expect from the Canadian company and yet it doesn’t come with a flagship price tag whilst retaining a powerful processor and Android with enhanced security.
BlackBerry DTEK60 Review: Design
As with the DTEK50, BlackBerry has once again looked to manufacturer TCL for its newest handset’s hardware and the result is a fittingly attractive and premium-looking smartphone. Like its smaller sibling, the DTEK60 boasts a chamfered metal frame on which you’ll finding matching hardware controls, including the company’s signature convenience key.
That frame is sandwiched between glass with light curvature along its edges that feel nice in the hand and under finger as you swipe across them. The overall aesthetic approach doesn’t feel a million miles away from the premium fit and finish of 2015’s Sony Xperia Z5 or Samsung Galaxy S6.
The DTEK60 is the first of BlackBerry phones to make the jump to a Type-C USB connection, with an offset reversible port at its base, whilst on the back is another first – a fingerprint sensor, placed right underneath the camera hump. Not unlike Vodafone’s Smart Platinum 7, which was also made by the same company, the sensor is set flush against the phone’s glass back as opposed to being inlaid as on a number of other smartphones with rear-mounted fingerprint sensors. As such it can sometimes be hard to find and accurately press your finger to it, without having t search a little first.
BlackBerry DTEK60 Review: Screen and media
On the front, you’re presented with a 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED display, making this the largest-screened BlackBerry ever. It’s an unsurprisingly pin sharp panel offering up some strong colours, but contrast is surprisingly lacklustre for an AMOLED and overall brightness falls short of the mark based on similarly-specced rivals, leaving on-screen imagery looking a little drab.
That said, any misgivings we might have about the display are alleviated somewhat when you consider that this is one of the few phones with dual front-facing stereo speakers, and what’s more, they don’t sound like absolute dross, albeit lacking any real bass.
BlackBerry DTEK60 Review: OS
Little has changed software-wise between the DTEK50 and the DTEK60 with the same lightly modified take on Android 6.0 Marshmallow that adds a host of functional extras like quick access to widgets by swiping up on relevant app icons and the Productivity Tab, which offers an instant view of upcoming calendar appointments and tasks.
Having the convenience of a programmable physical button on the side of the phone is a unique and welcome inclusion, as are smart shortcuts like tap to wake and the BlackBerry Hub; which keeps all of your mobile, email, instant messaging and social media interactions in one place.
By picking up a DTEK60, you’re also guaranteed some of the fastest security patches of any company in the mobile space, ensuring that the Android experience on your phone (which is encrypted by default) is also as secure as can be. To help identify potential security risks and offer ways in which to avoid them, the phone’s DTEK app is also on-hand.
BlackBerry DTEK60 Review: Performance
Like a whole host of other 2016 Android flagships (the HTC 10, ZTE Axon 7, LG G5, Moto Z, and the US skew of the Samsung Galaxy S7, to name a few) the DTEK60 has gone with the winning pairing of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor and 4GB of RAM. As such you can expect comparatively snappy performance that ensures this phone will remain a competitive offering for the duration of your average two-year contract.
It also comes packing 32GB of internal space, expandable via microSD up to a whopping 2TB, so you’ll be hard-pressed to actually hit the storage limit, and the sizeable 3000mAh battery not only reaches up to almost a day and half in general usage, but enjoys the benefits of Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 tech, which in this instance gives you 83 per cent charge in just 30 minutes.
BlackBerry DTEK60 Review: Cameras
Much like Apple, when BlackBerry started adding cameras to their devices, they were naff, even compared to the sub-megapixel snappers of the day and what’s more it took a long time for the company the change their ways and play catch-up, but the DTEK60 boasts the largest primary camera of any of the company’s phones ever and it’s loaded with additional tech to up the ante in the imaging department.
You can see full resolution photo samples from this article here.
You’ll find a 21-megapixel sensor with a dual-tone LED flash and phase detection autofocus at your disposal that’s capable of up to 4K video recording. It lags behind in low light against the front-runners, but only by a small margin and it takes solid snaps in practically every other environment. HDR snaps are heavily processed, meaning the results won’t be to everyone’s tastes, even if they aren’t necessarily bad, whilst you’re given a ton of control by way of a custom camera UI.
The front facing 8-megapixel snapper takes decent enough selfies and with the help of a dedicated single LED flash, you can even snap a mugshot off in low light without issue.
Read next: BlackBerry DTEK60 Camera Review
BlackBerry DTEK60 Review: Verdict
The DTEK60 is a phone of firsts for the company with the best hardware and software we’ve ever seen in a BlackBerry. From its large, high-resolution display to its powerful processor, Type-C USB port, fingerprint sensor and intelligently adapted take on Android it’s a testament to the company’s willingness to adapt and react to the demands of modern smartphone users.
It may not be as dynamic or as exciting a smartphone as the Moto Z or Galaxy S7, but the added power means that this ‘Berry is better equipped than any of the company’s previous attempts at serving as the perfect work/play smartphone. What’s more, it undercuts the majority of its similarly-specced rivals at £475, and for that you also get peace of mind as a result of the company’s security-centric approach to Android.
|Screen resolution||WQHD (2560x1440)|
|OS||Android 6.0 Marshmallow|
|Front camera||8-megapixels w/ LED flash|
|Processor||2.15GHz/1.6GHz quad-core Snapdragon 820|
|Storage||32GB. Expandable via microSD up to 2TB|
|Bonus features||BlackBerry Hub, Productivity Tab, DTEK app, fingerprint sensor|