The KEYone is my first ever Android phone. I am closing in on 2 months since i got it and i figured it was time to give my impressions on Android. Going in i had some high expectations. Android, is some 8-9 years old (if not more) and one would assume “mature”. Thus far, i have been disappointed. Look, some (if not all) of what i will write will come across as petty but at the end of the day this OS has been embraced by a huge portion of the world and hoopla’d all over the place as a godsend and well i don’t see it (so far).
In less than 2 months i have had to reboot the phone 5 times already for various reasons. i know what you’re thinking. Jesus, take a pill dude. A whole 5 times! Well you know what? I don’t remember having to do that with my first BB10 phone. That often, that soon after getting it.
Some of the reasons i have had to reboot so far:
I tried to download an update for an app while on LTE and after waiting 30 MINUTES (yes, i timed it) staring at a spinning donut, i aborted the “downloading…”, rebooted and then boom download/install went through quickly. Never happened with BB10.
i tap an app icon and instead of launching the actual app, i am presented with the last app i minimized to the recents list. Never happened with BB10.
i tried to move apps from one page to another and it wouldn’t allow it. Never happened with BB10
My wife also has a KEYone and typically works off Wifi while keeping data off (don’t ask). The other day during her daily walk she noticed she was receiving emails and was able to surf the net so she called me on it wondering how that was possible. When i got home i checked her phone and data was off yet she received the email i sent her. i proceeded to turn off Wifi as well and again still able to receive and send email. I also surfed the net. To solve the issue i turned on data then turned it off. Never happened with BB10.
I always put my phone on silent mode while at work and sometimes (and actually often) it somehow sets itself to vibrate seemingly on its own. i know. It sounds crazy. And no, i am not inadvertently touching any buttons. i mean it is sitting on my desk i wake it up and it’s in vibrate mode. Still haven’t figured this one out.
There are inconsistencies when i watch a YouTube video and i minimize the app to the recents. There are times when i return to it and the video picks up where it left off and times when it starts over. why? Haven’t found anything on the internet that has shed some light.
Speaking of recents.. i usually never have more than 4-5 apps open at any given time.. sometimes i will go to my recents and some apps are gone. I’m not sure why. how could it not handle 4 apps being open? Maybe this is a KEYone thing, i don’t know.
The one area i thought for sure would be better on Android, isn’t. Notifications. They are just as inconsistent as they are on BB10. I think i almost never get FB notifications which is a problem since i manage a page for a youth soccer league and i need to respond to messages in a timely fashion. I was creeped out when i started to get notifications on how long the drive was from my home to my workplace since i never set up any workplace info on my phone. And what’s up with these intrusive survey style notifications?
I continue to use religiously the 3 apps that i have always used; twitter, instagram and facebook. The facebook app doesn’t impress me at all and the last update screwed it up even more. As well, i have also already had to deal with spam while in FB. These damn pop ups show up getting me already nervous that i have been compromised.
i have had to force close instagram a couple times as it froze on me completely. Twitter is the only one that has behaved so far. Outside of these i have also installed a file manager (sorely missed), QR code reader, Bell Fibe TV and Waze (because i have a few friends that rave about it). So there are days when i ask myself why i switched over to Android. With BB10 i have a instagram, twitter and facebook (albeit browser). BB10 has a fantastic file manager, QR reader already built in & Bell Fibe (android port). Although i will admit Waze is pretty good, i certainly could live with the BB10 navigation. I mean in the end, there hasn’t been anything great about the switch outside of the fact i get insta stories for instagram which apparently is coming to BB10’s Inst10 but knowing Nemory it will be a half assed job. I say this because when he first announced that he was working on insta stories for Inst10 i asked if we would be able to create our own stories or just view others and he said to start only view others. Translation. Creating our own stories will never happen! Years later and still you cannot upload a video w/Inst10. So ya, trust me, i am right about this.
I do miss BB10. My Passport SE is no longer my daily driver but i go to it from time to time just to get my BB10 fix. I miss it. i sorely miss the “peak” feature of BB10. Such a small feature but so great. Believe it or not, almost two months later and i still find myself trying to do gestures a la BB10. Yes, of course i realize, that going back to my Passport SE from time to time isn’t helping matters! Must. Let. Go.
On the BlackBerry software side of things…
BBM is well more advanced than the BB10 version but it looks too iPhoneish. UGHHHH!!!! This business with the “N” replacing the “*” for new messages is annoying. Bring back the spark!! i can also do without the ads… but c’est la vie.
The Android version of Hub can’t touch BB10’s version. Again, as i mentioned in a previous post it’s like having moved from a mansion to a one room apartment. i guess we can thank the gods that we have the dark theme!!! Right? 😛
I don’t really have any other gripes with the rest of the BB apps.
I am sure that Android has something to offer and down the road, and as i continue to work with it, i will see it. For now i don’t. U’d think that a seasoned OS like Android would be leaps and bounds superior than the rookie, BB10. It isn’t. Maybe Oreo will change things.
I’ve had the #KEYone for a little over two weeks now and i decided to write a post on my experience so far. A few things to put out before i get into it. I am a hardcore BlackBerry fan. Outside of my very first Motorola flip phone i have never had a cell other than BlackBerry. The #KEYone is my first experience with Android. Also, I will not write about the specs at all. In my previous post i mentioned how this guy at the Montreal KEYone meet up was running comparisons between his dtek50 and the KEYone. Obviously comparing apples and oranges. It was more about how fun it was to see such enthusiasm over the KEYone’s performance and how much he needed to have it.
Although my son rolls his eyes when i say this, i consider myself a power user. I use my phone mostly for communicating (texting, email and if i must, talking 😜) and on the social media front i have 3 main ones i use. I am heavy on Twitter, followed a close 2nd by Instagram and a distant 3rd FaceBook. That’s it. I should also mention that i have not changed my habits now that i have the KEYone. During the work week i turn off data while at work. I do it mostly because having data off allows me to focus on work and not get the urge to look at my phone. It’s not to say i don’t but i do very little. Once i get off work i step up my game. My typical day starts at 6am and goes until about 1030-11pm (occasionally midnight). Therefore, i unplug my phone from the charger at 6am and plug it back when i call it a day. The following random screen grabs show you the typical battery life i have left at the end of my day.
You can certainly tell by the dips when i am off work 😜. Also, during this two week period on a couple of occasions i really used the phone a lot on social media. It’s fantastic that i don’t have to worry about bringing a charger with me. However, having written that, although i have not tried it yet i cannot see how i can go 2 days (or more) without charging the phone. I also think i have tweaked all the settings that will help battery life.
Here’s an example of my battery usage over a weekend. Similar for both days. On weekends i start my day off @7am.
What can be said about the hardware other than it is gorgeous. Look at it. Another great looking and quality phone here. It feels great in the hand and although some reviewers have referred to it as “chunky” i don’t see it that way. It is also much lighter than i expected. Definitely lighter than my Passport SE. Truth be told, my initial observation was that unlike my Passport SE i felt that the KEYone would not survive a drop. I have never dropped any of my phones and i don’t intend to intentionally. The bend test “fail” by JerryRigEverything had me all bent out of shape but the “durability” test by @CrackberryKevin got me back on track and feeling better about things. I sported my Passport SE without a case however, for my KEYone i did purchase one. I opted for a transparent one because like my Passport SE it would be scandalous to hide such a beautiful phone!!!
My typing experience so far has been interesting. I have always been a keyboard guy and my transition from my Classic to the Passport SE (4 rows of keys vs. 3) was less difficult than my transition from the Passport to the KEYone. I struggled more than i thought i would. It took a little over a week before i got back to being my ninja self again . Some reviewers feel the keyboard is cramped. I don’t think so. One reviewer went as far to complain that when he needs to type 7 and he presses the Alt key with his left thumb and 7 with his right it’s cumbersome. Well buddy, try pressing the Alt with your left thumb and the 7 with your left thumb. Amateur. The flicking capability of the PKB is on fleek and i notice that swiping back to erase words is better than with the Passport. Quick and efficient. There are times though that it takes several cracks at flicking successfully the word from the middle of the PKB. As some reviewers have already mentioned .. sometimes when i do flick a word i inadvertently fire either the triangle, circle or square action. Using the PKB to scroll has been for the most part excellent. There are times when it hiccups & is not so smooth. And just like flicking words, when i scroll mostly from the middle, at times i fire off the circle action. Not the end of the world. Finally, one of the best features of a PKB is shortcuts. I cannot stress this enough. I use both the short and long press shortcuts. I have so many set up; from launching apps, to texting/emailing contacts. it’s not only A-M-A-Z-I-N-G but EFFICIENT!!!! For example, i set up the short press ‘M’ to email my wife, long press to text. ‘F’ set up the same for my son and ‘D’ for my daughter. Instagram gets long press “I” and Twitter gets long press “T” while tasks gets short press “T”. Notes gets long press “N”, while Notable gets short press “N”… anyway you get the idea.
I will end it by saying that i do love the KEYone PKB but for now atleast i give the edge to the Passport SE PKB.
Not much to say about the fingerprint scanner on the spacebar; super quick!
My transition to Blackdroid has been smoother than i thought. I honestly thought i would lose my shit but i would say that after a few days i was pretty much assimilated. Admittedly a few times i found myself trying to do things a la BB10. Also, and maybe it’s my lack of experience with Android but it seems that to find some setting you have to always go 2 or more levels deep. Like, it’s never ‘voila’ here it is!!! I don’t know, maybe i am being too picky. No. i am not. BB10 is better 😀!
The KEYone is pretty snappy. There have been a few times when i tap on an app in the recents list and there is this lag but for the most part it seems to be the Google Play music & videos app while i am listening to music.
As i mentioned i use Twitter alot. Talon for twitter is my choice and it’s helped cope with not having @Blaq which is a fantastic twitter client on BB10. Instagram is instagram but completely ridiculous that it doesn’t offer the ability to repost photos/videos like BB10 apps. You are forced to download a 3rd party and the drawback to these free apps is the in-app ads … MY GOD, SOOOO ANNOYING!!!! I also notice that if “battery saver” is on, instagram videos refuse to play. I tried it on 3 different occasions thinking “it’s me, not you”… but no, it’s you. I don’t get it though. When you turn on battery saver, you select a threshold so you would think that the saver would kick in when you hit that threshold and not before. It almost seems like it kicks in, period. The Facebook experience sucks. That’s all i can really say there. It was suggested (by Kylie aka @kewlgirl05) i try “Friendly”. I may do so at some point. We shall see, as i mentioned i am not high on FB. btw, she is also the one that gave me the heads up on Talon! I am also not sure what is going on with notifications. On BB10, truth be told, notifications were hit and miss. Very erratic and inconsistent. Well, it appears to be the same for Android. They either happen quickly, late or not at all. Speaking of notifications, during the first couple of days with the KEYone, whenever the LED would go off, my first instinct was to check the hub but at times there was nothing new there and it would drive me bananas because i couldn’t understand what was triggering the LED light. Well, eventually I discovered it was the Android notification bar (or whatever it is called) at the top. And speaking of the hub; no comparison yet. BB10 hub is a rock star, Android hub is still the wanna-be. On BB10 i basically lived in the hub. I still do but it’s like i went from a luxurious mansion to a one room apartment. I also miss the file manager. I have looked at a few alternatives in the Google Play Store but i am still undecided. There are so many and i am weary of just taking any old one. Now as for the Google Play Store i don’t know what the deal with it is sometimes.. There are times when i try to download an update and it takes seconds to download and install and then there are times when that spinning donut just spins and spins and spins and nothing happens.. whether on wifi or data. The last time i got fed up and rebooted the phone, got back into the play store and then everything was fine. Install of updates was seconds.
I use the productivity tab as i think it’s pretty useful.. but admittedly there are times i forget it’s there. I know with time that will change.
The camera is phenomenal. It’s the best camera on any previous BlackBerry phone. The speed is fantastic, as is the quality of the photos. So far, i am a point and shoot guy but I will look to expand on that. My photos posted to instagram are all #nofilter (ok maybe 1 or 2 i used a filter). Over the weekend i had the opportunity to take video on a long road trip we had with our senior AAA soccer team. Great footage (you’ll have to take my word for it) . I really like the slow mo feature.
After getting my Passport SE, i wrote all my blog posts on it. All of them. This is not the case with this post. I do intend on using my KEYone for future posts though. This post was also not written in one sitting but over the course of several days. I used both “Notes” And “Notable” to take notes and screen grabs for use on this post.
I’ll leave off with a few words about my BlackBerry phones. i have always and will always treat them with huge care.
I have never sat anywhere while having my cell in my back/front pocket. And it will never happen. As a matter of fact i have rarely ever had my cell in my back pocket. If my shirt has a pocket i will use it otherwise the phone is always in my hand, front pant pocket or table. I also make it a point of holding the phone such that the BlackBerry logo is facing outward because people have to know that i am a proud BlackBerry supporter 😀!
.. anddddd speaking of the logo.. There is no question that the BlackBerry logo is well recognized around the world but i have to say i was saddened that the BlackBerry brand name is not on the KEYone. It got me wondering how much longer before the logo will disappear altogether too. Ironically while chatting with a BBM contact he made a sarcastic comment that eventually it could be branded AlcatelBerry!
well that’s all folks for this post.. It’s really sad that BB10 was not given a chance. I am not an X-files conspiracy theorist but i do believe the big two had a hand in making sure BB10 didn’t get off the ground. I have zero proof though 😜.. so i guess it is a conspiracy theory!! lol. I am far from being sold on Android right now but i am enjoying every minute of my KEYone. No regrets.
I had a great time at the may 15th #KEYone meetup in Montreal. I got to meet Kevin, BlackBerry enthusiasts and of course I had some hands one with the #KEYone. It was cool to see what BlackBerry phones folks are currently carrying and it was surprising to see how many have the original BlackBerry Passport. I was one of only two that had the SE (that I noticed). Some folks asked for hands on. Pretty neat. It was great listening to Kevin’s stories too. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him one on one too much. Asked him what his thoughts were on all the different reviews out there for the KEYone.
As for the KEYone. I can’t wait to get my very own. I was surprised by how light it is. The quality build is as always BlackBerry which means fantastic. I cannot understand folks that complain that it’s too tall. Ridiculous. Honestly, it DOES fit perfectly in the hand. The keyboard is less clicky and will get some getting used to. Having said that even with the little amount of time I was on it I can tell it won’t take me long to adjust. I certainly see that I will lose my shit for a while getting accustomed to Android. The navigation was a little tough. I figure a week before I get the hang of it. This phone is fast! Everything is smooth about it. The camera is phenomenal. Fast too. Same with the video. By far the best I have seen on any BlackBerry phone. There was a gentleman there that put his Dtek50 up against the KEYone. No contest. KEYone hands down the champ!
I should mention that my wife who also has a BlackBerry came out as well and is completely in love with the KEYone. Goes without saying that she will be getting one too.
I see myself putting this phone to great use.. on the social media front I know It will help me bring my game to a whole new level!
The one thing I am sad about is that the BlackBerry name is not on the KEYone. Sure, the logo is forever recognized but still it would have been nice to have the name branding as well.
Before the #KEYone showed it’s beautiful face i could care less about Android or Blackdroid for that matter. I had no plans to leave my trusted #Passport SE… Then we got teased with the KEYone.. Then we got more at MWC.. Then we were promised that we could get our hands on the #KEYone starting in April.. then the bomb dropped that it was delayed. Then silence…it bothers me that i am bothered by the delay but the fact is i actually got excited. The KEYone got me willing to go to the dark side!!! I am a volunteer at a youth soccer club and started to plan out what i’d be using the KEYone for.. well, our season has started and at this rate who knows when i will get this phone. Hopefully, before the season is done. In any case, this delay has got me feeling all kinds of this:
So here’s the thing I am a huge BlackBerry supporter and have been for years. I am also a huge BB10 supporter but in recent months have come to terms with the fact that I must transition to #Blackdroid because the clock is ticking for BB10 and its demise. Of course, the announcement of #KEYone got me excited and more willing to embrace the dark side. The KEYone was first teased at CES then later made official at MWC where it was announced it would be available in April. Well, yesterday @BlackBerry announced during their earnings call that the KEYone was being pushed to May release. Later in the day @BBMobile put out a ‘clear the air’ post, tweets etc with an explanation behind the delay..so now it’s like BlackBerry/BBMobile have to fact check each other in an odd way. Oh the irony!!!
There’s really nothing to clear up. This is yet another misstep. In a way you kind of expected it from BlackBerry.. over the recent years they’ve had a few… but atleast you could excuse them because they lacked resources and funds… now, TCL, this huge entity, what to make of this? This is a huge, experienced company who has been to this dance before, yes?
The explanation given by Steve Cistulli on twitter was at best a weak attempt at damage control. You were surprised by the demand? Obviously this can’t possibly be consumer demand because we haven’t had the chance to place our pre-orders yet…hello???? so I guess this would be carriers and enterprise??? Even so, it’s not like #TCL introduced the phone last week. I mean how long ago was CES?? How do u get caught ‘off guard’ like this to the point you have to delay the release? Maybe TCL should have asked BB Merah Putih for some pointers on phone launches!!! It’s very disappointing. Very. Over the years I have never really engaged a lot within BBM groups or left tons of ‘first’ type comments on @CrackBerry or other sites for that matter but yesterday i felt i had to chirp on my disappointment on Twitter. I even left a comment on CrackBerry!!! Yes, that’s how disappointed i am! Some folks are so annoyed they’re talking jumping ship to Samsung or whatever. As disappointed as I am, I am actually not that petty. Of course I will wait… but I cannot hide my disappointment. When CrackBerry Kevin has his Montreal meet-up.. he will hear it from me 🙂 not that he can doing anything about it. I am almost sure the release of the #KEYone was delayed because he hasn’t completed all the scheduled meetups 🙂 !!!