In July 2016 Blackberry has showed off its second smartphone with Google’s Android operating system. The DTEK50 does not have high-end features as the PRIV from 2015. Why the phone still has a good overall rating and what makes it different than the competition that is what we are giving you now.
The manufacturer himself calls the DTEK50 a new product – what in fact it is. Critics but see it as a clone, which has amazingly great similarities to the Idol 4 of Alcatel. To put it in a nutshell: The two companies, BlackBerry and TCL have collaborated on this smartphone to achieve price advantages and synergies.
I talked to the staff at BlackBerry and asked why the device has such a complicated unwieldy name: DTEK50. They could not explain precisely, but the first four letters stand for detection and at the same time for the system‘s own application DTEK, which promises the user more control and transparency. The “50” probably represents the fifth generation of Slate Devices (design) to Z10, Z30 and Leap. Seen in the light the name is not relevant anyways. Much more important is the real thing: a good mid-range smartphone with the latest operating system, secure software, a good camera and a solid feel.
The front is made of glass and is surrounded by a plastic frame. Above and below the display sit two speakers that act harmless at first glance, but offer a large volume plus a balanced sound. Listening to music and watching videos make fun on here. The chassis of the phone is milled from metal and on both sides. The slightly rounded shape of the 135-gram BlackBerry is good and safe to hold. The DTEK50 is 7.4 millimeters thick and thus the thinnest device in the history of BlackBerry (and Research In Motion). The back is made of plastic, a welcome alternative to all the glass and metal designs nowadays. One must not forget also the price point of the phone; it is positioned in the middle class segment; so high-tech materials should not be expected. Nevertheless, the build quality is impeccable: seamless, well fabricated and with a valuable feel. The back is textured.
The one-hand operation is still possible, but not comfortable at a height of 14.7 and a width of 7.3 centimeters. Besides the usual buttons that DTEK50 also has a so-called “convenience key” – ie a comfortable shortcut. This can be set with a function or app. We initially confused this button with the on / off switch – but the actual on / off button is located in the top left. Most times even this function won´t be required because the device can be woken up by double-tapping as well.
The display has a size of 5.2 inches and triggers Full HD. For our taste, the colors are a bit too pale and could more saturation tolerated. But with time you get used to it, striking it is anyway. The other properties of the display however were satisfactory: sufficient brightness, good viewing angles for a liquid crystal panel and no color cast. Inside the DTEK50 operates a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617, the system has 3 GB RAM and 16 GB of memory.
An expansion via microSDHC card is possible up to 2TB. The operating speed of the smartphone is really good: Apps do start flowing, processes are running rapidly, and there is no lack at all. However, the DTEK50 is not designed for graphics-heavy or complex games. With Pokemon GO running the device comes at its limits and begins to stutter a bit. Who only sometimes plays something here and there can ignore this little criticism. Charged is the phone via a microUSB port. USB Type-C does not exist. Included there is a quick charger, which is not recognizable as such . We do not care, as long as the charging time is right. The battery is having a size of 2610 mAh and reaches the 100 percent mark after about an hour and 20 minutes of charging. We found that actually good. As for the duration, we have well done one day on the device easily. So you won´t require a charger or power bank with you all the time.
The DTEK50 runs the latest version of Android Marshmallow. The surface has been developed according to the desired specifications of Google. Unlike its first Android smartphone BlackBerry has done some right here: less factory installed programs that overload the system. One of the main features of the DTEK50 is the software. You should be secure BlackBerry says in its advertising. This begins among others with DTEK – an app that shows the security status of the smartphone.
It controls not only any other app telling you how often it demands the location or the access rights of individual apps, but also recommends measures to increase security. In order to increase the level and move the pointer back into the green zone, the user has several options, for example, set a screen lock, stop app installs from unknown sources or disable remote access and developer options. BlackBerry would also offer same day security updates as soon as Google releases them. That sounds promising.
Knowing BlackBerry has no really good history with cameras I personally did not expect anything from the cameras of this rather budget phone. But the cameras of the BlackBerry DTEK50 were quite good and I was even a little surprised. On the front side there is a 8 megapixel camera with an aperture of f / 2.2 and a wide-angle. Sufficient for selfies. The main camera shoots images with 13 mega pixels and videos in 1080p at 30 frames per second. The sensor determines the sharpness over conventional contrast autofocus and the phase detection autofocus. The optics have six lenses and a bright aperture of f / 2.
The rear camera takes in sunny days excellent images even when it is cloudy, sharpness and fineness can be found in the results later on. There are difficulties in twilight and no-light scenarios: here the focus is not always correct and the image quality gets poor. In situations such as these, one is dependent on the dual-LED.
With its latest smartphone, the second with Google’s Android operating system, BlackBerry makes a lot of things different than with the PRIV a year ago. Most importantly, the price. The device costs no longer 800 but attractive 339 euros (1199AED). For this it is easy to live without the high-end hardware and a physical keyboard. What you get is middle class – and a very good one I have to say. The shape and the approach come from the BlackBerry Leap, which was then presented with Blackberry OS 10 and pretty much perished.
What we found good were all the subsystems: display, camera, speakers, reception, sound and especially the operating system and the intelligent keyboard. A fingerprint sensor would have been desirable. Nevertheless: If you want a simple and beautiful slim smartphone with always the latest software that focuses on business and communication and less on gaming, than the BlackBerry DTEK50 is a good choice for you.