In 2017, one would have to search far and wide to find an Android smartphone with a built-in keyboard. It's no surprise that if one looks at BlackBerry, they'd find exactly that — the KEYone.
It is, apart from the minimally successful Priv, the only known modern Android smartphone with a physical keyboard, and whether it proves a strong case for QWERTY smartphones in this day and age is a complex topic, especially considering the ongoing — and seemingly unstoppable — plight of touchscreens that are in fact getting bigger.
Suffice it to say that BlackBerry's newest flagship is a tad bit experimental. It wouldn't have been if we were in, say, 2006 or any point through 2010. But this is 2017. The rise of bezel-less displays mount smartphone innovation — people want less distraction on their smartphones, not more.
Still, physical keyboards offer something entirely absent on smartphones today: tactile response. Instead of tapping, you click, helping to create a more real experience.
The best choices right now for those looking for a top-tier smartphone with a keyboard are the KEYone and the Priv. So how does the two stack up against each other? Let's find out.
BlackBerry KEYone vs Priv: Specs And Features
The Priv features a 5.4-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 1,440 x 2,560. Under the hood is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, Adreno 418 for graphics, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage, and a 3,410 mAh battery. On the back is an 18-megapixel shooter boasting Schneider-Kreuznach optics, and on the front is a lowly 2-megapixel camera for selfies.
Whereas the Priv features a slide-out keyboard, the KEYone's is always on display. This results in a smaller display to keep the overall smartphone footprint small — a 4.5-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 1,080 x 1,620 pixels. Under the hood is a Snapdragon 625 processor, Adreno 506 for graphics, and the same RAM and onboard storage as the Priv. On the back is a 12-megapixel camera, and on the front is an 8-megapixel camera — a huge step up from the Priv's selfie shooter.
In terms of their form factors, Android Central notes that while the Priv's slider mechanism makes more sense in theory, the KEYone's candybar form factor wins in build quality.
Performance-wise, the KEYone won't hold a candle to, say, a Google Pixel or a Samsung Galaxy S8. But out of the two, the KEYone is the definite winner. The KEYone doesn't suffer from the same slowdowns the Priv suffers from, especially when one begins to open several apps all at once.
BlackBerry KEYone vs Priv: Which Has The Better Keyboard?
Anyone reading this article is probably choosing between the Priv and the KEYone because of their keyboards. To keep it short, the KEYone is a lot better in that department.
Whereas the Priv features a flat keyboard, the KEYone features keys that are somewhat raised from the base with distinctive beveled edges. Simply put, determining which key you're pressing is easier on the KEYone.
BlackBerry KEYone vs Priv: Battery Life
Battery life is possibly the KEYone's biggest improvement over the Priv. Its 3,505 mAh battery seems not much of an upgrade over the Priv's 3,410 mAh battery, but presumably thanks to an improved software, the KEYone lasts much longer than the Priv. For those looking for a phone that'll last up to two days depending on usage, the KEYone is the definite choice.
BlackBerry KEYone vs Priv: Final Thoughts
In the end, it's always up to you. The only clear advantage the Priv has over the KEYone is its bigger screen and a keyboard you can stow away when not in use. Everything else — performance, battery life, keyboard experience, and more — the KEYone offers better.