Last year’s PRIV was a mixed bag and a letdown for many of the brand’s fans, but BlackBerry is now back with a new (and very different) smartphone. Rumor has it that one (or even two) more are coming by the end of the year, but until then let’s take a look at the DTEK50.
What we have here is in many ways the exact opposite of the PRIV: full-touch candybar form factor instead of a slider, regular 1080p display instead of dual-curved QuadHD, rebranded hardware instead of a custom BlackBerry-engineered design.
Yes, it’s true: save for the back plate, the DTEK50 is identical to the Alcatel Idol 4 (not to be confused with the more advanced 4S). This was disappointing for many, but I think it’s the right idea. Maybe not the best choice of device to “borrow”, but it’s the right idea for BlackBerry to focus on the software and security side and pick up whatever hardware design they deem appropriate for the market segment they wish to target with each device.
Given its specs, price (299 USD / 264 EUR / 226 GBP ) and even its name, the DTEK50 is clearly intended to appeal to the business sector, which has always been BlackBerry’s bread and butter, not to impress with hardware capabilities, cool software features or any kind of gimmick.
Design & build quality
The DTEK50 has a clear-cut look that I can only describe as “unassuming yet elegant”. It sort of resembles older Moto G models and the Nexus 4, especially with its top and bottom mounted stereo speakers.
In terms of dimensions, this 5.2-incher can be comfortably held with one hand despite some generous bezels all-around. At 135 grams (4.76 oz), it’s also quite light, but I would have welcomed a bit more weight in the form of extra battery capacity. Overall it has a solid build which ironically is a step up from the rather creaky PRIV.
The DTEK50 wouldn’t dare call itself a BlackBerry without a notification light up front, so LED fans can rest easy. Well, sort of, because the familiar red blinking is no more: this LED doesn’t support any colors at all. Going with a white (and larger than usual) notification light might have something to do with the front camera, but more on that later.