The new BlackBerry DTEK50 is sold as a BlackBerry phone that will make your personal information incredibly secure.
There're just a few problems. It isn't made by BlackBerry, doesn't run a BlackBerry operating system and doesn't really make your phone secure. And another thing: It doesn't come with BlackBerry's trademark physical keyboard, so fans of button-punching don't even walk away with that satisfaction.
Basically, it's your standard Android phone with a few tricks up its sleeve, and a lot of BlackBerry software tweaks. Does that add up to a phone worth buying? Probably not for many.
The BlackBerry Idol
There's nothing explicitly wrong with the BlackBerry DTEK50, because there's nothing wrong with the Alcatel Idol 4 -- the phone which BlackBerry unapologetically cloned.
In fact, the new DTEK50 is better than recent BlackBerry phones in one important way -- it's an unlocked LTE smartphone that costs just $299 or £275 (roughly AU$390 converted). The BlackBerry Priv, its predecessor, originally sold for $750.
For the comparatively small amount of money, the DTEK50 isn't bad. It's surprisingly thin (at 7.4mm) and light (at 4.76 ounces, or 135 grams). While it's partially made of plastic, a black aluminum band with shiny silver beveled edges catch the light quite nicely and make it hard to drop. It's easy to use with a single hand, unlike many modern smartphones.
The 5.2-inch, 1,920x1,080-pixel IPS screen is perfectly competent, even if it's not a stunning AMOLED display, while a pair of stereo speakers (they face front and back) make it a pretty decent phone for the occasional Netflix session.
There's also a dedicated programmable button on the side of the phone to launch any app you want. While you can't use it when the phone is locked, it's decent as a quick flashlight or camera toggle.
Even the battery life is OK for a phone this small. It ran roughly 11 hours in our standard video streaming drain test. In my personal use, I usually make it home after a full day's work before the battery dies -- unless I play Pokemon Go.
For $300, the DTEK50 feels a good bit slower than I'd hoped. It always feels like there's a slight delay before the phone opens the app, summons the keyboard or loads the link I want. Our benchmarks bear that out, too. Raw performance numbers show the DTEK50 performing at about the same level as the, a phone that costs $100 less.
And it's a shame that BlackBerry's camera is so weak in low-light settings: I get super noisy, smudgy photos most places that aren't outdoors. I also found it much slower to focus or shoot HDR images than today's high-end phones.
Nate said it in our review of, and I'll say it again: BlackBerry has actually made some useful tweaks to the Android operating system.