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Is BlackBerry back? ‘Super secure’ KeyOne smartphone out now

The Android Nougat-powered mobile phone comes with a physical keyboard and monthly security updates

The new BlackBerry KeyOne is now on sale. Packing in tools designed to improve security, is it a mobile you should consider buying?

Up until today, BlackBerry’s latest handset was available exclusively through Selfridges. Now, though, it’s far easier to get your hands on the phone. Keep scrolling for the details.

Best Buy smartphones – see our highest-scoring mobiles

BlackBerry KeyOne – Price and release date

We first caught a glimpse of BlackBerry’s elusive KeyOne during the build up to Mobile World Congress (MWC), and now it’s official.

The KeyOne is available from today (Friday 5 May) at £499 Sim free, and it’s listed online through the Carphone Warehouse and Currys. Contracts from Carphone Warehouse are on offer from Vodafone and O2, starting at £26 per month. One of the retailer’s top recommended Vodafone deals is £34 per month, which gets you 4GB of data, unlimited minutes and unlimited texts.

BlackBerry KeyOne – 5 key features

With so many Android phones to pick from, what makes the KeyOne unique? Below, we’ve run through five key features.

1. A customisable keyboard

The iconic physical keyboard found on older BlackBerry’s has returned, although this one doesn’t flick up like the keyboard on the BlackBerry Priv. The Smart Keyboard is ‘the world’s most advanced keyboard’ according to BlackBerry, and it has customisable keys that you can assign to specific actions. If you want quick access to a favourite contact or app, for example, Smart Keyboard can get the job done. The pad is also touch sensitive, so you can swipe across the keys to scroll down on a webpage.

2. Free security updates

The DTEK security app comes pre-installed on the KeyOne, and it rates your smartphone’s security level based on your apps and their permissions. Event logging also means you can keep a close eye on what information the apps you use are requesting.

3. A 4K camera

On the back of the phone you’ll find a 12Mp camera, which is capable of shooting video in 4K. We’ll have to wait for our full review to see how well the rear-facing shooter deals with shots taken in low light.

The front of the KeyOne is home to an 8Mp camera that you can use to film video in Full HD. BlackBerry says it’s a good fit for video calls through apps like Skype. We’ll see how true that is when we test the phone for ourselves.

4. The biggest BlackBerry battery yet

If you’re looking for a phone that will last all day, the KeyOne should be up to the challenge. It has a 3505 mAh battery with Quick Charge support. In comparison, the previous BlackBerry phone to pass through our lab, the DTEK50, has a 2,610 mAh battery.

5. All your messages in one spot with BlackBerry Hub

The BlackBerry Hub app is essentially an email app that can pull in messages from all of your social media accounts. The idea is that by using Hub you can instantly see an overview of your messages without having to open lots of different apps like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and WhatsApp. Messages can be filtered, and you can ‘snooze’ messages so you’re reminded of them later in the day.

The latest BlackBerry phones tested

At the time of writing, we haven’t tested the KeyOne, and so can’t confirm whether or not it’s a Best Buy phone. We’ll be sending the KeyOne off to our test lab shortly to see how it fares, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, you might want to see how the rest of the BlackBerry line-up performs. Most recently, we’ve put the BlackBerry DTEK50 through its paces. It’s a budget-priced Android mobile that lands around the £200 mark, equipped with a 5.2-inch Full-HD display and a micro-SD card slot. Like the KeyOne, it comes with the DTEK security app. To see if the KeyOne’s predecessor is a proven Best Buy smartphone, see our full BlackBerry DTEK50 review.

If you’d rather pick up a BlackBerry with a physical keyboard, the Priv is worth considering. It has a 5.4-inch display and a flick-up Qwerty keyboard that can be hidden underneath the face of the smartphone. It’s powered by a speedy processor, but did it top our tests? Our BlackBerry Priv review has the details.

Mobile security apps

If you don’t fancy parting with £500 for the KeyOne and its built-in security features, you might opt for a mobile security app. The best mobile security apps around offer top-notch protection against malware – which can slow down your smartphone and put your personal data at risk.

We’ve tested a range of free and paid-for security apps, covering the latest releases from big-name brands including Avast, AVG, McAfee and Norton. For more on these, head over to our mobile security apps reviews page.

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