BlackBerry Priv was released as the first device with Android. It has been locked down, encrypted and had Android 5.0 running. With a stellar camera, keyboard and internals, it did stir up considerable excitement but had issues with premium pricing. Nevertheless, after its commercial launch, BlackBerry outsourced the entire device portfolio to TCL and others.
DTEK60 was launched in November 2016 and had garnered rave reviews in the Android world. Based on the original Alcatel Idol4 design, BlackBerry has secured it with it’s secret encryption sauces. With a generous 5.5 inch screen and 2560×1440 resolution, it’s a bright device and a delight to hold. What’s most striking is that device feels considerably light compared to my previous BlackBerry Priv. All glass body with rounded corners in a familiar candy bar design becomes a fingerprint magnet but it isn’t as bad. Some users find it “slippery”.
On the back, the device has a distinct camera bump (which differs from its younger sibling DTEK50) but it’s not a game changer. The actual internals of the camera are standard and the hefty 21 MP camera is a good shooter. The front 8 MP selfie camera also comes with flash. BlackBerry comes with it’s own app (although there are many other after market play store apps are available). There’s also a fingerprint scanner just below the camera (although I haven’t personally used it and I don’t think biometrics for security is a cool idea).
The innards are powered by Snapdragon 820 processor with 32GB storage; although I am using an external SD card (with support up to 2TB). The battery supports QuickCharge for very rapid top up.
This is so much for the internals.
Any android device requires a lot of mucking with the settings. Left alone, to their default settings, Android is a data and battery sieve that mucks up your device and background data. Not to mention, the persistent tracking.
My first recommendation is to disable everything Google, except the Play Store. There are credible alternatives to Chrome (use Firefox), avoid speaking to “Okay Google” and disable everything from them. This also involves enabling background restrictions to the data in background. Subsequently, a third level block is by installing NetGuard Firewall and denying access to Google’s apps.
Using this, I have managed to keep my data limits very thrifty. (about 1GB per month- mostly used for BBM/ my channel/ internet browsing/ emails on the go). My battery life is astounding (powered by 3000mah); I charge only once in two days. From nearly zero, it zooms to 100% in about 45-50 minutes. I think, this is because I have disabled background data refresh and blocked everything. I have also used DTEK60 to deny access to contacts etc unless absolutely necessary.
The Hub continues to improve (finally, I have the dark theme!). Other applications installed are AndrOpen for office files, Cam Scanner, Solid Explorer for file management (which also integrates with Dropbox) and chat applications- BBM, BBM Enterprise, Signal and Threema. I don’t recommend and use WhatsApp or any other “popular applications” like Viber/Skype etc.
Dig around in App Notifications and you’ll be able to switch off the “notifications vomit” cluttering your screen.
As usual, always check DTEK app to get a grip on your settings and privacy. This is a very good visual indicator of how the apps are accessing your device innards.
The best part of DTEK60 is the handy convenience key that allows to configure it take pictures or one stop key for music etc. Configure it to your hearts desire!
The sound output is great. It uses Maxx audio to give crisp tones and decent sound on the speakerphone. It has speakers on top and bottom with no distortion in sound. The apps open up quickly with no lag. (Check out our speaker shootout as well!)
How is this “review” different from others? For once, I have extensively used the device for daily use. Why recommend only BlackBerry? There are two main reasons why it’s an amazing differentiator from so many clones out there. One, it’s the absolutely locked down security. No parallels there in the similar price range. All users get the regular monthly security updates. BlackBerry has been very consistent in this aspect. Second, is the absolutely stunning BlackBerry keyboard. It takes a little while to get attuned to your preferences but there’s simply no parallel. It’s true that you can install others but that would compromise your privacy. I love the number of BlackBerry shortcuts as well.
In short, DTEK60 is a great, perfect device for general use. A secured device with efficient workflows is best of both the worlds! (Just in case, you are interested why this offers best value for your hard earned money, we have comparisons with other devices as well here)
Don’t forget to head out in forums to discuss this!