This BlackBerry Android phone is optimised for business

What makes the DTEK60 a BlackBerry phone is the host of preloaded security and productivity software.
What makes the DTEK60 a BlackBerry phone is the host of preloaded security and productivity software.PHOTO: BLACKBERRY

There is a new BlackBerry phone selling at local telcos.

But the DTEK60, with its wholly forgettable moniker, is not actually made by the former mobile phone giant. Instead, the DTEK60 is produced by TCL Communication Technology Holdings under licence from BlackBerry. The Chinese manufacturer also makes phones under the Alcatel brand.

What makes the DTEK60, which runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow, a BlackBerry phone is the host of preloaded security and productivity software.

Business users who appreciate these features would be gladdened by the fact that the DTEK60 has the latest January 2017 Android security patch. In contrast, the just- launched Samsung Galaxy A7 is a month behind with the December 2016 security patch.

Additional security is provided by the DTEK app, which checks whether the phone has been configured securely, and a password manager.

BlackBerry fans may appreciate the BBM messaging app and the BlackBerry Hub, which puts all your e-mails, messages, calendar entries and contacts into a single app.


    PRICE: $768

    PROCESSOR: Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 (1.6GHz dual-core, 2.15GHz dual-core)

    DISPLAY: 5.5-inch Amoled, 2,560 x 1,440 pixels (534 ppi pixel density)

    OPERATING SYSTEM: Android 6.0.1


    CAMERA: (Rear) 21MP, f2.0, (Front) 8MP, f2.2

    BATTERY: 3,000mAh non-removable


    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5




    OVERALL: 4/5

I am not a fan of the BlackBerry Keyboard, despite its ability to predict your next word while typing a message. This is because the predicted words hover right over their first letters on the keyboard - you are supposed to swipe the desired one. I cannot get used to this style, which seems more finicky than SwiftKey's predictive keyboard.

These BlackBerry apps are available for any Android device, though, unlike the preloaded versions on the DTEK60, the ones from the Google Play Store usually come with ads.

You can swipe from the Home button and activate a number of shortcuts, like making a phone call. You can also view app widgets by swiping up or down on an app icon. But take away these gestures, as well as the BlackBerry apps, and the interface of the DTEK60 feels very much like stock Android, especially the looks of the notification shade and settings menu.

In terms of design, the DTEK60 is similar to the DTEK50 that was launched last October. It is attractively thin, with a metal frame and a slippery glass back. More importantly, it has a fingerprint sensor at the back, unlike the DTEK50.

The new model upsizes the hardware from the mid-range Snapdragon 617 to the flagship Snapdragon 820 chip. The amount of storage has been doubled to 64GB and the camera has been improved.

The screen is now an Amoled display instead of an LCD while its size has gone from 5.2 to 5.5 inches. Accordingly, the screen resolution has increased from 1,920 x 1,080 pixels to 2,560 x 1,440 pixels.

The power button is placed at the left edge and a bit higher than what I would prefer. I initially confused the Convenience Key, a round button in the middle of the right edge, for the power button. Instead, the Convenience shortcut key can be configured to perform a variety of tasks, from launching a specific app to composing an e-mail.

The DTEK60 has a significant camera bulge from its 21-megapixel rear shooter. Thanks to its high megapixel count, this camera captures a lot of details, though it lacks optical image stabilisation.

Colours tend to be neutral, so the photos I took do not really stand out. They also appear to look darker than they should. In low-light conditions, the camera is a bit slower to focus and there is more noise in the photos. But overall, this is a very competent camera that gets the job done.

With its Snapdragon 820 processor, the DTEK60 feels as fast as any Android flagship device. In the Antutu mobile benchmark, it scored 148,042 compared with 135,079 for the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge.

Battery life is similar to that of other smartphones I have tried. The DTEK60 will last you a work day, but you'll need to charge it at night.

Vincent Chang

•Verdict: Forget about physical keyboards. The latest BlackBerry is a good solid Android phone with BlackBerry software.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2017, with the headline 'This BlackBerry Android phone is optimised for business'. Print Edition | Subscribe