Blackberry is expected to launch three phones over the next year. One of them is the Argon and, by the sounds of it, this will be the company’s 2016 flagship phone. It’s a big, all touchscreen device with a powerful processor, support for the latest Quick Charge and Type-C connectivity.
Then there’s the Mercury; the next physical keyboard-equipped Android phonewith a design reminiscent of the Passport and Classic.
Before both of those, however, there’s the DTEK50 (previously referred to as the BlackBerry Hamburg, or Neon). This is BlackBerry’s first entirely touchscreen-based Android phone which fits neatly in to the high/mid end of the market next to phones from the likes of OnePlus, Alcatel and Oppo.
The company took the wraps off its next smartphone today. Here’s everything you need to know.
BlackBerry DTEK50: Design
All previous speculation suggested the BlackBerry DTEK50 would essentially be a rebadged Alcatel Idol 4. And those rumours were pretty accurate.
BlackBerry is working with TCL Communication to build at least some of its next few phones, which is why it looks very much like an Idol 4. The same manufacturer is responsible for all of the Alcatel-branded phones available to buy currently, as well as the Vodafone Smart Platinum 7 and Ultra 7. BBerry says it worked with the partner’s reference design, added its own tweaks before loading it with its own secure version of Android.
The only major noticeable difference between the Idol 4 and the device is the brand logo. Where one has Alcatel’s stamp, the other has BlackBerry’s. Otherwise it is virtually the same device.
On the back, the camera and LED placement in the top left corner is identical, as is the design of the metal frame around the edges, which includes the rear-facing speaker grilles on the top and bottom. This is a feature designed to enable clear stereo sound from the two 3.6w speakers regardless of whether your phone is placed face-down or face-up.
The back is a soft-touch plastic with a carbon fibre effect finish, rather than glass, which should add grip to the phone and make it less susceptible to sliding off furniture.
As a bonus, BlackBerry has also include a “Convenience Key”, which is essentially a programmable button on the left side of the phone that can be programmed to launch apps or features like opening the camera app or muting a call, for example.
BlackBerry DTEK50: Display
Unlike the Quad HD 5.5-inch screen on the BlackBerry Priv – and what’s rumoured for the upcoming all-touch “Argon” flagship – the DTEK50 has a 5.2-inch full HD 1080 x 1920 resolution display.
With this being the mid-range phone in the lineup, it doesn’t feature the curved edges like the Priv or Galaxy S7 Edge. Rather, it’s the traditional flat sheet of scratch resistant glass. On the plus side, it’s fully laminated, which means zero air gap between the glass and the display panel. That means the IPS LCD screen should be very sharp and clear.
BlackBerry DTEK50: Camera
Blackberry is set to place a mammoth 21-megapixel camera on the back of the rumoured Argon, so it makes sense that the DTEK50’s snapper is a little less pixel-dense. Leaked benchmarks pointed towards a 12-megapixel camera, suggesting that it wouldn’t be the same sensor/lens makeup as the Idol 4 from Alcatel. The same benchmarks also suggested we’d be able to record 4K resolution video with the camera.
However, the official spec list from BlackBerry states that it’ll be a 13-megapixel camera with just 1080p video recording, again, like the Idol 4.
Selfies with the DTEK50 should be just fine, with an 8-megapixel camera and 1080p video capture built in to the front panel of the all-touch mid-ranger.
BlackBerry DTEK50: Hardware specs
As spec-lists go, the DTEK50’s so far looks decidedly mid-range. BlackBerry’s latest phone is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 617 processor paired with3GB RAM.
So far, phones with the mid-tier Snapdragon processor have been mostly fine, but are noticeably slower at loading games than more high-end devices.
Along with the 3GB RAM, there’s 16GB built-in storage, which may not seem like much, but we do get expandable storage via microSD card. You’ll be able to expand by up to 2TB extra, and hopefully make use of Android Marshmallow’s adoptable storage feature too.
Along with all of that, the 2,610mAh battery should get through a day’s use on a full charge and – with Quick Charge 2.0 support – will be speedily refillable. BlackBerry quotes 50% charge in just over 50 minutes. Which, while not quite as fast as the likes of OnePlus’ Dash Charge or Quick Charge 3.0, is still quick enough.
BlackBerry DTEK50: Software
BlackBerry’s latest all-touch phone comes loaded with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but with a heavy BlackBerry influence. That means we get the BlackBerry software keyboard with swipe-up predictive text as well as the BlackBerry Hub for managing all of our notifications.
There’s also the DTEK app for managing security, BBM, BlackBerry Device Search, Notes, Tasks, Calendar and a few other programs designed by the Waterloo-based team.
BlackBerry DTEK50: Release date and price
The DTEK50 is being released on 8 August, and is available to pre-order from now for £275 in the UK, from BlackBerry’s online store. If you order during the pre-order period, you get a £55 battery pack with the bundle too, for free.
A recently published roadmap from Venture Beat for the next 12 months suggests the DTEK50 is the first device of three coming between now and first quarter of 2017.
See how it compares to the BlackBerry PRIV in our handy comparison, if it’s not looking too hot to you, and you’re waiting for the more high-end flagship to come here’s everything we know about the Argon so far.