BlackBerry DTEK50 hands-on review

THAT NAME. Priv we can just about get on with, but DTEK50 sounds like a kind of sentient being in a made-for-TV sci-fi adventure. Or you might mistake it for the Gtech AirRam.

The BlackBerry DTEK50 was launched earlier this week with the claim that it is the “world’s most secure” Android smartphone thanks to BlackBerry’s added  software flourishes. However, the lowly £279 price means it’s not the most exciting smartphone in terms of specifications. 

If you think you’ve seen this design before, you’re not mistaken. BlackBerry has taken the Alcatel Idol 4 and pumped it full of its own software, mostly with success.

The BackBerry DTEK50 is impressively thin and light, which is no surprise considering the plastic and glass construction. It measures 147x73x7.4mm and weighs 135g, and is described as the thinnest BlackBerry ever. But let’s be honest, that’s not difficult.

The textured rear feels good to hold. Our only initial misgiving was that it looks squidgy, but it’s not. It covers almost the entire back of the handset, bar tiny slithers at the extremities that house the speakers.

BlackBerry DTEK50 hands-on review - rear design

Audio is often overlooked, and if we were talking about the BlackBerrys of old this would again be the case. But the DTEK50 is essentially a rebadged Alcatel Idol 4 using JBL’s Waves MaxxAudio, and the output is impressive. You won’t get the best experience straight out of the box, so turning off the Auto select mode and tweaking the levels is recommended.

There are dual front and rear speakers, and the DTEK50 doesn’t blast the sound everywhere thanks to the phone’s orientation sensors.

BlackBerry DTEK50 hands-on review - design

Button placement could take some getting used to as the BlackBerry DTEK50 reverses just about everything any seasoned Android user might expect. The power button is on the left side, while the right has a volume rocker and a programmable ‘Convenience Button’.

The Convenience Button is largely superfluous. BlackBerry has done such a decent job elsewhere of making the phone super accessible/discoverable that we feel the placement would be better suited to something like a fingerprint scanner.

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