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.
- 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.
- Battery: The DTEK60’s best feature. In our continuous video playback test, the DTEK60 lasted just over 14 hours. That is better than the Google Pixel XL, Motorola Moto Z and iPhone 7 Plus.
- 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
- 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.