BlackBerry launched DTEK50 in India last month for Rs. 21990. It is the second Android smartphone from the company after the Priv. BlackBerry recently announced that it will stop in-house smartphone development and will outsource it to partners. The DTEK50 is also not made by BlackBerry. It is a rebranded Alcatel Idol 4 that was introduced at the MWC earlier this year. Along with almost stock Android experience, BlackBerry had added a lot of security features. Is the smartphone worth the price? Let us find out.
We unboxed the smartphone recently, check out the video below.
- BlackBerry DTEK 50 smartphone in black color
- SIM ejector tool
- Quick starting guide and warranty information
- In-ear earphones
- 2-pin charger (5V-1.3A)
- Micro USB cable
- Quick start guide
Display, Hardware and Design
The BlackBerry DTEK50 has a 5.2-inch display with a resolution of 1920 by 1080 and a pixel density of 424 PPI. The display is bright and has vibrant color output. Sunlight legibility is good as well. It also has a scratch-resistant glass for protection and oleophobic coating so that it doesn’t attract fingerprints easily.
There is a loudspeaker grill on the top, above the bezel, which also houses the earpiece. There is an 8-megapixel camera with f/2.2 aperture along with the usual set of proximity and ambient light sensors. There is also LED flash, which doubles up as a notification light. It is a good idea, but it is not a RGB notification light found in most phones, and it doesn’t glow when the phone is charging.
The phone has 69.9% screen-to-body ratio, which is decent, but it could have been more since there is a huge bezel below the screen, even though the phone doesn’t have capacitive touch buttons. At 147mm, this also makes the phone taller than most other phones with a 5.2-inch screen. There is a second loudspeaker grill on the edge of the bezel.
The phone has a metal frame and is just 7.4 mm thick. The power button is awkwardly present on the left side of the phone, while most phones have it on the right side below the volume rockers. The microUSB slot is present on the bottom along with the primary microphone. The secondary microphone and the 3.5mm audio jack are present on the top. You can also see the antenna cut outs.
Volume rockers are present on the right side. Customizable convenience key is present below it which can also be used as a Mute Key when on an active call. There is a SIM and microSD card slot below it.
Even though the phone has a hybrid slot, BlackBerry has disabled SIM support on the second slot, so you can use SIM only on the primary nano SIM slot, while the second slot can only be used as a microSD card slot.
It has a 13-megapixel camera on the back with f/2.0 aperture. BlackBerry has replaced the glass back on the Idol 4 with a rubberized back with nice patterns that feels good to hold. At 72.5 mm, the phone is compact and weight just 135 grams. It packs a 2610mAh built-in battery. Overall the phone has a solid build quality, but it misses fingerprint sensor that is present in most mid-range smartphones.
It has a 13-megapixel rear camera with dual-tone LED flash, f/2.0 aperture and 6-element lens, Phase Detect Auto Focus (PDAF) and a 8-megapixel front-facing camera with f/2.2 aperture, 1.125um pixel size and 84-degree wide angle/field of view lens.
The camera UI is simple, has toggles for flash, front camera, timer, different modes (slow-mo video, video, photo and panorama), HDR and option lets you choose aspect ratio (16:9, 4:3 and 1:1). It also has different effects. It also has a manual camera mode that lets you ajust focus, white balance, shutter speed, ISO (100 to 9600) and exposure manually.
Coming to the image quality, daylight shots are good. Macro shots are good as well and the focus is quick, thanks to PDAF. HDR shots are good as well. Low-light shots have noise as usual, but the images are not bad. Images with flash are good. Dual-tone flash helps to bring natural tone and is not overpowering.
Check out the camera samples (Click the image to view full resolution sample).
Check out some camera samples (Click the image to view full resolution sample.). It can record videos 1080p full HD resolution at 60 fps and with EIS at 1080p 30 fps, but it doesn’t have slow motion recording. Video is decent with good details. Audio is crisp, thanks to secondary microphone. Check out the video sample below.
Software, UI and Apps
It runs on Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow), which is almost stock with several custom features added by BlackBerry. It also lets you add icon packs and the multitasking menu has recent apps that are arranged as a deck, similar to the BlackBerry 10, but you will have to slide the cards on the sides. Even though BlackBerry comes first to push monthly Android security patches after the Nexus devices, this phone still has October Android security build. BlackBerry doesn’t say when it will release Android 7.0 (Nougat) update for its devices.
It also has BlackBerry hub that is familiar for BlackBerry OS users. It shows text messages, email and Twitter in a single screen, which is useful.
It also has swipe shortcuts that lets you swipe left, right or middle from the on-screen home button to open apps easily. It also has universal search that lets you search through the contacts, messages or apps. Other features include, Flip to mute and double tap to wake up.
Out of 3GB RAM, you get 2.8GB of usable RAM, out of which just about 1GB of RAM is free when the default apps are running in the background. Out of 16GB of storage, you get about 9GB of usable space. You can also move the apps to SD card when you format it as internal SD.
Apart from the usual set of utility apps and Google apps, it has BBM, BlackBerry Password Keeper, DTEK by BlackBerry for Android that lets you know when your privacy could be at risk so you can take action to improve, Notes and Tasks.
Music Player and FM Radio
Google Play Music is the default music player, which can play several formats. It also has equalizer and also lets you enable bass boost when you insert earphones and also has surround sound. It also has Waves by MaxAudio that was present in Idol 4. This offers you different audio presets for Music, Movie and more. You can adjust bass, treble and more. It also has FM Radio, but it doesn’t have recording option. The loudspeaker output is pretty good, thanks to dual speakers. Since the speakers are present on the front audio doesn’t get muffled when the phone is placed on a flat surface. Audio through the earphones is also good.
Calling and Messaging
It has stock dialer and the Google Messenger is the default messaging app. It has BlackBerry Keyboard that has an intelligent input engine that allows the keyboard to learn and remember words you type often and then offer suggestions for the next word you type just by swiping up. Earpiece volume is clear and there was no call drops.
Even though this is a single SIM phone, it has 4G VoLTE support for Reliance Jio. Other connectivity features include, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac (2.4 GHz and 5GHz), Bluetooth 4.0 LE, GPS: with GLONASS and NFC support. It also has USB OTG support.
Performance and Benchmarks
Coming to the performance, the smartphone is powered by an Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 64-bit processor that has four ARM Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.52 GHz per core and other four Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.21 GHz per core, faster than the Snapdragon 615. Even though it is Snapdragon 617, CPU-Z shows it as Snapdragon 615. The performance is smooth without any lags. The phone doesn’t get heated. Check out some synthetic benchmark scores below.
It has 550 MHz Adreno 405 GPU. We tried several games, most some were smooth and graphics were good too. Still for the price the Snapdragon 617 is a bit outdated.
It managed to score 34038 points in the AnTuTu 6 benchmark.
It managed to score 532 points in the Geekbench 3 Single-Core benchmark.
It managed to score 2233 points in the Geekbench 3 Multi-Core benchmark.
It scored 8996 points in the 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited GPU benchmark.
The smartphone has a 2610mAh built-in battery, which is decent for a phone with a 5.2-inch screen, but it doesn’t last for the whole day even with average use on 4G. It has battery saver option that turns on automatically when you reach a certain threshold to extend the battery life.
It supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 for faster charging. BlackBerry says that it can be charged up to 50% in 51 minutes, the phone gets charged fully in 1 hour and 46 minutes. It achieved a One Charge Rating of 10 hours and 08 minutes in our battery test, mainly due to the brilliant talk time, but it’s not the best compared to other smartphones in the price range.
At a price tag of Rs. 21,990, the BlackBerry DTEK50 is a bit costly compared to other smartphones in the range. It has a good display, has several software features, including several security features from BlackBerry and the build quality is good, but it lacks a fingerprint sensor that is available in most phones in the range and this is also a single SIM phone when most phones have dual SIM support, including flagship Android phones. Hope the price would come down in near future. To summarize, here are the pros and cons of the smartphone.
- Good display
- Good build quality and lightweight design
- Software features and timely security updates
- Good audio output
- Priced on the higher side
- Average battery life
- Single SIM
- No fingerprint sensor
Images by Siraj