Switching from Google Pixel to Blackberry KEYone

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. The split screen dual-app capability is awesome, and the BlackBerry KeyOne has been upgraded to Android 8.

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).

Charging Blackberry KEYone with USB-PD

For 2017 and older phones, 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. For many phones from 2018 and newer, their chipset supports both USB-PD and Qualcomm Quick Charge–check the phone specifications. To get the full fast charging rate of the Blackberry KEYone, you must have a Quick Charge 3.0 charger.

Business hardware features

Google Fi with Blackberry KEYone

Devices not designed specifically for Google Fi 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.

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