Switching from Google Pixel to Blackberry KEYone

2 minute read

Related: switch from BB10 to Blackberry Android

Moving from a Google Pixel Phone to a Blackberry KEYone is generally a positive experience, helped by the long battery life of the KEYone vs. the Pixel phone (seems like KEYone lasts twice as long per charge as the Pixel).

The main reasons for leaving the Pixel for the KEYone was having a physical keyboard and much improved battery life. Comparing the phones side by side, yes the Pixel’s SD821 CPU is a bit faster than the SD625 CPU of the KEYone, but I will gladly make the slight speed tradeoff for charging half as often.

Charging Blackberry KEYone with USB-PD

USB-PD chargers, do NOT fast charge Qualcomm Quick Charge hardware–the device will just charge at standard 5V rate, which is still fast–less than 90 minutes or so.

To get the full fast charging rate of the Blackberry KEYone, you must have a Quick Charge 3.0 charger.

Business hardware features

Project Fi with Blackberry KEYone

Project Fi does not officially support the KEYone and per the user agreement may discontinue your Fi service for using a non-approved device. However, many people use unapproved devices–you’ll just need an approved device to initially setup Project Fi. Non-Fi devices will simply stay on T-Mobile; they won’t switch to alternative carriers or Wifi calling.

  • North American GSM KEYone LTE bands: 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/19/20/28/29/30/38/39/40/41
  • North American Pixel LTE bands: 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/18/19/20/21/26/28/32/38/39/40/41.

  • KEYone NA GSM lacks LTE bands 18 (Japan au 800 MHz), 21 (Japan NTT Docomo 1500 MHz), 26 (Sprint 800 MHz SMR), 29 (AT&T D/E 700 MHz), 32 (Italy TIM 1500 MHz) relative to the Pixel.
  • KEYone NA CDMA adds bands 25 (Sprint 1900 MHz PCS) and 26 (Sprint 800 MHz SMR) while deleting a couple other bands.
  • KEYone adds LTE bands 28 (700 MHz international APT) and 30 (AT&T 2300 MHz WCS) that the Pixel doesn’t have.

SPLIT SCREEN of Android 7 Nougat is awesome!

The multicolor indicator LED of KEYone (unlike DTEK 50/ DTEK 60 single color LED) is quite useful for distinguishing out of the corner of your eye who is messaging you (boss/work/personal).

Blackberry Business apps

  • Blackberry Hub+ apps very useful on KEYone (and other Android devices), particularly for business use
  • Blackberry Hub works properly with Exchange servers for push notifications, unlike Gmail app–push doesn’t work right on standard Gmail for me with Exchange

GPS performance

GPS is excellent on KEYone–on par with Pixel performance. KEYone GPS works equally well when using the device upside down in a vehicle cup holder while charging.

General KEYone hardware performance

  • fast and responsive camera–same image sensor as Pixel, but the software/speed is a touch slower on the KEYone
  • love the “manual” mode of the KEYone camera software–easy to use and powerful
  • excellent in low light–no flash needed for better pictures vs. iPhone in low light
  • Brightness minimum is greater than Pixel, wish default minimum was dimmer on KEYone
  • KEYone speaker perhaps even louder and fuller than Pixel
  • KEYone CPU and general usage a bit slower than the Pixel, but it’s a tolerable tradeoff
  • Pixel XL (2560x1440) KEYone (1620x1080) this doesn’t make a difference in day-to-day use (besides substantially better battery life of KEYone). The shorter screen is fine, and I prefer fixed “three android buttons”.
  • 3GB RAM seems more than adequate
  • SD card expansion makes up for 32GB onboard storage.

Wish list

  • waterproof
  • dual speaker
  • aptX

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