BlackBerry ‘Mercury’ Goes Official as KEYone; Pairs Premium Build Quality and Pixel Camera with Mid-Range Specs

BlackBerry today officially unveiled the BlackBerry ‘Mercury’. The handset will be formally known as the BlackBerry KEYone and was first showcased by the company at CES.

Despite its BlackBerry branding, the KEYone has been made by TCL who will be selling the phone under BlackBerry’s brand. The handset is a weird mixture of high end build quality with mid-range specs. The design of the handset is a throwback to the design of previous candybar BlackBerry phones that featured a physical keyboard. The premium aluminium body of the handset is paired with a soft touch back.

Coming to the specs, the KEYone packs a 4.5-inch Full HD display, an octa-core Snapdragon 625 chipset, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, microSD card slot, and a 3505mAh battery with fast charging support. TCL has paired the modest internals of the device to a 12MP rear camera setup that is found on the Google Pixel. This means you are looking at a 12.3MP sensor with large 1.55um pixels, f/2.0 aperture, and EIS.

The highlight of the KEYone is its physical QWERTY keyboard. As found on older BlackBerry devices, each individual key on the keyboard can be programmed to quickly open apps. Then there’s also “Flick Typing”, a gesture based text predictive system where one can select a prediction by swiping up on the key. The entire keyboard also acts as a fingerprint sensors (which is just amazing).

On the software front, the KEYone will be running on Android 7.1 Nougat with BlackBerry’s suite of apps like DTEK, BlackBerry Hub, and Messenger thrown in. BlackBerry has also customised the OS to further enhance its security.

TCL/BlackBerry will be selling the KEYone unlocked in the United States with support for T-Mobile and AT&T’s network.

The 180gm heavy and 9.4mm thick handset will go on sale in April for $549/599€, with pre-orders starting from today on BlackBerry’s website.