BlackBerry DTEK60 review: BlackBerry's most elegant phone

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The Good Polished design, good battery life and performs well in day-to-day use. The 21-megapixel camera takes detailed images and shoots 4K video. And messaging's a breeze.

The Bad The fingerprint sensor is finicky. Low-light photos look bad. The phone lacks water-proofing and its security features are a bit overhyped.

The Bottom Line The DTEK60 is a fast, capable phone. Its focus on productivity and security will make business users quite happy. As for the rest of us, the phone is rather vanilla.

7.8 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 8
  • Camera 7
  • Battery 9

BlackBerry's newest phone is the DTEK60.

James Martin/CNET

BlackBerry's newest release, the DTEK60, is a midrange Android phone that aims to be as productive and secure as it possibly can. Its target is clear: the business user.

But if you're not a business user, the DTEK60 might just seem so-so. While its specs and performance are good, there are better phones at lower prices that are just as useful and far more enjoyable -- like the OnePlus 3T.

  • Design: If the DTEK60 looks familiar that's because it's a copy of the Alcatel Idol 4S -- same beautiful 5.5-inch AMOLED display, same sleek metal band and same glass back. Unfortunately, both lack water-proofing. The only physical differences are the more obvious camera bump on the DTEK60 and its dark gray color -- the Idol 4S is black.
  • Performance: The DTEK60 is faster than the Idol 4S and is one of the speedier midrange phones out there. During my time with it, the Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of memory kept things humming along -- I never experienced any lags.

BlackBerry DTEK60 Benchmark Scores

BlackBerry DTEK60
BlackBerry DTEK50
Alcatel Idol 4S
OnePlus 3T


Geekbench 3 Single-Core
Geekbench 3 Multi-Core
3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited


Longer bars indicate better performance
  • Security: BlackBerry claims this is "the world's most secure Android phone." That's akin to a restaurant claiming it has the world's best pizza. On its website, BlackBerry advertises quick security updates, Enterprise support and access to its encrypted BlackBerry servers. Android has many of these security features (or similar ones) built directly into its operating system. The DTEK60 is a secure phone, but so are most phones running Android 6.0.1 or 7.
  • Camera: The camera has 21 megapixels and shoots 4K video. In good light, the focus speed is decent and images have nice detail. It will handle snaps of those business receipts quite well. But the camera lacks optical image stabilization. In low light, it struggles to focus and images are quite noisy.
  • Convenience key: Like the Idol 4S, there's a programmable hardware key to quickly open apps and trigger tasks. Using this with the camera, or to mute a call was pretty sweet. My only hangup is that the screen must be unlocked before using the convenience key -- which isn't always convenient.
  • Fingerprint sensor: The scanner, located on the back, rarely read my finger correctly on the first attempt. You and your fingers might have better luck.
  • BlackBerry exclusives: I like the onscreen keyboard and that the BlackBerry Hub app lets me put all my messages in one place: emails, text, social media. The Productivity Tab is a nifty way to quickly check scheduled events. Then there's BlackBerry Messenger, or BBM, which is a bit like MySpace. When I logged in, I found only two people I know -- so I didn't use it much.

The DTEK60 is one of the nicest BlackBerrys released in a long time. It's filled with useful features and decent specs. Business users should find it quite the capable phone. But for the rest of us, it misses out on being fun. I'm not excited to pick it up and use it like I am a Google Pixel or an iPhone or a OnePlus 3T. Those phones offer good security and productivity features, but they also have things like Google Assistant, iMessage and better cameras. Through use, those phones feel like they become a reflection of who I am. Whereas the DTEK60 feels like I'm using a scientific calculator -- it wants me to adapt to it. And maybe that's the point. Maybe that's what makes this a good work phone.

BlackBerry DTEK60

BlackBerry DTEK60 Alcatel Idol 4S BlackBerry DTEK50 OnePlus 3T
Display size, resolution 5.5-inch; 2,560x1,440 pixels AMOLED 5.5-inch; 2,560x1,440 pixels AMOLED 5.2-inch; 1,920x1080 pixels 5.5-inch; 1,920x1080 pixels
Pixel density 534 ppi 534 ppi 424 ppi 401ppi
Mobile software Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Camera 21-megapixel 16-megapixel 13-megapixel 16-megapixel
Front-facing camera 8-megapixel 8-megapixel 8-megapixel 16-megapixel
Video capture 4K 4K Full-HD 4K
Processor 2.15GHz + 1.6GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 1.8GHz + 1.4GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 1.5GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 2.35GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
Storage 32GB 32GB 16GB 64GB or 128GB
Battery 3,000mAh 3,000mAh 2,610mAh 3,400mAh
Fingerprint sensor Back cover Back cover None Home button
Price off-contract (USD) $499 $400 $229 $439 (16GB) or $479 (128GB)
Price (GBP) £475 £385 £275 £399 (16GB) or £439 (128GB)
Price (AUD) Converts to about AU$660 AU$470 About AU$395 About AU$590 (16GB) or AU$650 (128GB)

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