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BlackBerry DTEK60 review: BlackBerry's most elegant phone

The BlackBerry DTEK60 succeeds with an elegant design and decent specs. But its focus on security and productivity might fail to elicit much excitement from non-business users.

Patrick Holland Managing Editor
Patrick Holland has been a phone reviewer for CNET since 2016. He is a former theater director who occasionally makes short films. Patrick has an eye for photography and a passion for everything mobile. He is a colorful raconteur who will guide you through the ever-changing, fast-paced world of phones, especially the iPhone and iOS. He used to co-host CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast and interviewed guests like Jeff Goldblum, Alfre Woodard, Stephen Merchant, Sam Jay, Edgar Wright and Roy Wood Jr.
Expertise Apple, iPhone, iOS, Android, Samsung, Sony, Google, Motorola, interviews, coffee equipment, cats Credentials
  • Patrick's play The Cowboy is included in the Best American Short Plays 2011-12 anthology. He co-wrote and starred in the short film Baden Krunk that won the Best Wisconsin Short Film award at the Milwaukee Short Film Festival.
Patrick Holland
3 min read
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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.


BlackBerry DTEK60

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.

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 1654 3730 26148BlackBerry DTEK50 700 2987 8912Alcatel Idol 4S 1339 4232 17627OnePlus 3T 1905 4321 32143
  • Geekbench 3 Single-Core
  • Geekbench 3 Multi-Core
  • 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited
Note: 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.

The BlackBerry DTEK60's camera gets some coffee

See all photos
  • 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 DTEK60Alcatel Idol 4SBlackBerry DTEK50OnePlus 3T
Display size, resolution 5.5-inch; 2,560x1,440 pixels AMOLED5.5-inch; 2,560x1,440 pixels AMOLED5.2-inch; 1,920x1080 pixels5.5-inch; 1,920x1080 pixels
Pixel density 534 ppi534 ppi424 ppi401ppi
Mobile software Android 6.0.1 MarshmallowAndroid 6.0.1 MarshmallowAndroid 6.0.1 MarshmallowAndroid 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Camera 21-megapixel16-megapixel13-megapixel16-megapixel
Front-facing camera 8-megapixel8-megapixel8-megapixel16-megapixel
Video capture 4K4KFull-HD4K
Processor 2.15GHz + 1.6GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 8201.8GHz + 1.4GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 6521.5GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 6172.35GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
Storage 32GB32GB16GB64GB or 128GB
Battery 3,000mAh3,000mAh2,610mAh3,400mAh
Fingerprint sensor Back coverBack coverNoneHome 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$660AU$470About AU$395About AU$590 (16GB) or AU$650 (128GB)

BlackBerry DTEK60

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 8Camera 7Battery 9