Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 September 2019

BlackBerry Dtek60 review: Phone maker returns to the fray

The Dtek60 is pretty similar design wise to its predecessor the Dtek50, but a massive upgrade.
The Blackberry Dtek 60. Courtesy Blackberry
The Blackberry Dtek 60. Courtesy Blackberry

With the new Dtek60 BlackBerry has produced a pretty compelling Android smartphone at a quite reasonable price of Dh1,999, all overlaid with the brand’s security features IT departments supposedly love.

It’s just a shame it comes out so late in the game for the company, with its market share lower than ever.

The Dtek60 is pretty similar design wise to its predecessor the Dtek50, sporting the same solid, if slightly uninspiring, off-the-shelf form factor of the Alcatel Idol 4S.

Looks aside though, the Dtek60 is a massive upgrade on its predecessor; the display is slightly larger at 5.5 inches, and is now Amoled, offering a far higher pixel density and much more vibrant colours.

At long last, BlackBerry has fin­ally made a handset with a fingerprint scanner, located on the rear of the phone just below the camera, as per the LG G5 and others.

Camera-wise, the Dtek60 now sports a 21MP rear snapper (compared with the 13MP of the Dtek50), with the same 8MP selfie camera as its predecessor. Performance is decent if not stellar, with one or two struggles in low light compared with the iPhone 7 and the best-in-class Samsung Galaxy S7.

The Dtek60 is still a BlackBerry at heart. BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), BlackBerry Hub and BlackBerry Intelligent Keyboard are all present and correct for the faithful. There’s even a little red notification light in the top right-hand corner.

Plus the brand continues to tout its security features as its trump card. Like its predecessor, the Dtek60’s storage is encrypted right out of the box, while its Dtek app notifies you when the handset camera, micro­phone and location are being accessed.

Additionally, BlackBerry has been active in providing Android security patches faster than any other manufacturer other than Google (for its Nexus and Pixel ranges), something that will continue to appeal to IT managers and the more security-conscious consumers.

The Dtek60 at long last provides BlackBerry with a properly compelling smartphone after the overly expensive Priv and the uninspiring Dtek50, offering pretty high performance and solid security at a reasonable price. Such a shame then that it didn’t come out 12 months ago.

Q&A

Wait a minute. I thought BlackBerry had stopped making phones?

That’s right, the company announced in September that it had stopped making handsets. But that simply meant that the company was outsourcing production to another company.

So, who’s making the Dtek60?

TCL of China. UAE consumers will probably know it best for its televisions, but it also sells mobile phones here under the Alcatel brand. Hence the design similarities between the Alcatel Idol 4S and the Dtek60.

So BlackBerry handsets will continue?

Perhaps; hot on the heels of the Dtek50 and the Dtek60, BlackBerry is already working on the Dtek70, which will almost certainly sport a physical keyboard. But chief executive John Chen has always maintained that the company won’t continue in the handset business unless it can turn a profit.

What else should I know about the Dtek60?

It runs Android Marshmallow out of the box. Its 3000 mAh battery comfortably lasts through a day of moderate usage. It shares the same programmable convenience key on its right side as the Alcatel Idol 4S, enabling easy access to selected apps and functions. And its memory is expandable up to a whopping 2TB.

How about the colour? Unripe Blackberries are often …

No. It’s not available in rose gold, red gold, pink gold, or any other form of pink. Just black.

jeverington@thenational.ae

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Updated: November 21, 2016 04:00 AM

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