BlackBerry DTEK50 release gets pushed back to August 15, Report
BlackBerry DTEK50 release gets pushed back to August 15, Report

BlackBerry DTEK50 release gets pushed back to August 15 “Report”

It may be a week late in getting here, but the new BlackBerry DTEK50 should hit the Canadian smartphone scene on August 15, according to the BlackBerry online store.

The DTEK50 is quite plain looking, and bears a close resemblance to Alcatel’s Idol 4. This shows the design sacrifices BlackBerry has had to make, to the point of sharing designs with other manufacturers, to produce what is essentially a mid-range, stock Android smartphone. Having said that, the DTEK50 is good looking, if in a strictly business-like way.

It’s pleasant to use and hold, with metallic edges but it’s not quite heavy enough to have the familiar reassuring heft of flagship devices, and the back is a rubberised crosshatch. This stops the DTEK50 slipping out of your hand but it doesn’t scream high quality. Sure is practical though.

The DTEK50 measures 147mm x 72.5mm x 7.4mm and weighs just 135g. With a 5.2in screen it’s right on the edge of easy one-handed use. If you’ve got smaller hands you’ll struggle still though.

It’s charged over microUSB, and a fast charger is supplied in the box, which is great to see because it works very well. Slightly confusingly, the power button is on the top left edge, while the silver button on the right edge where you’d expect it to be is a ‘convenience’ key. You can assign one of a number of uses to this button to launch an app or command of your choice. We used it to open the camera app, as there’s no camera button. The camera itself is 13Mp with single LED flash, while the front facing camera is a respectable 8Mp.

The right side edge of the DTEK50 also has a volume rocker, and there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top. So far, so normal. Like we said, it’s not unattractive but there’s no escaping that this is not a very exciting phone to look at or to hold.

The DTEK50 runs near to stock Android Marshmallow 6.0.1. It’s a pleasure to use, as ever. One thing to avoid is the BlackBerry Intelligent Keyboard – an onscreen monstrosity that tries to make typing easier with pop up predictions. Google Keyboard is infinitely better, so make sure you use it instead. It improves the experience of using the device no end.

Where BlackBerry is trying to differentiate the DTEK50 is in its concentration on the privacy and security of the device and its user. The marketing for the phone even calls it ‘the world’s most secure Android smartphone’. This is a bold claim given the Android operating system’s open nature. What’s more, BlackBerry doesn’t really, properly explain quite what it’s done to the DTEK50 to make it so secure.

Aside from the claims that BBM is super-encrypted (so is WhatsApp), all the DTEK app actually does is make you aware of potential security flaws and then prompts you to do something about it. It won’t stop you sending your credit card details to a spam email, for instance (then again that’s pretty much impossible). Instead the DTEK app gives you an overview of your device set up and points out where you might be vulnerable.

As you can see from this screenshot, we purposefully didn’t set up a PIN code to unlock the phone – the phone dutifully lets you know this is bad.

It’s good that the app shows you how to fix the problem and gives you menu links straight to where to do it, but we couldn’t help but feel the marketing is a tad misleading by claiming the DTEK50 is the world’s most secure smartphone. Anyone with a bit of know-how will already have set up any other Android smartphone to be just as secure.

What’s more useful is the ability to granularly monitor and change the permissions third party apps have. If you’re worried about an app accessing your microphone, for instance, you can set DTEK to notify you when it does so. Or, you can stop it doing so altogether. This is more useful and pleasingly discreet if you don’t want to use them. The company also claims it will deliver the DTEK50 Android security patches faster than any other handset, aiding security.

This all amounts to one question about the DTEK50 – who is this phone for? Businesses may welcome the Android BlackBerry if they are reluctant to let go of the older BlackBerry models, but in reality they will probably just buy in a ton of iPhones.

The BlackBerry DTEK50 is priced at $429 unlocked in Canada; this is a bundled price, as the phone also comes with a high-capacity mobile battery that would cost $69.99 if purchased as a standalone unit.


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