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BlackBerry DTEK60 review

A great phone with a rubbish name

Verdict

Given that BlackBerry was considered to be on the ropes not so long ago, the DTEK60 is a surprisingly assured release.

It successfully combines an elegant design with powerful hardware, a fantastic screen, largely stock Android and a surfeit of genuinely useful apps, not to mention powerful security features aimed at keeping your data as protected as possible.

32GB of storage should be more than enough for most users, and the ability to boost this with a microSD card is welcome – and not something that all Android flagships offer. The battery is large and can be charged quickly, and the stereo speakers are powerful and offer 360-degree audio.

Perhaps the biggest let-down is the camera, which, while being an improvement over traditional BlackBerry snappers, isn't as accomplished as those seen on other phones in this price bracket.

We also struggled with the placement of the power button, which seems to have been positioned exactly where our fingers would never naturally sit during use.

Who’s this for?

Given the BlackBerry branding, it should come as no surprise that the DTEK60 has a strong business and security focus. If you value your privacy and security, then there's really no better Android option in this price range.

Of course, if you pick Android because you like customizing the interface, gaining root access and flashing new ROM images, then you'll almost certainly want to avoid the DTEK60; this is as locked-down as Google's operating system gets, so tinkering is almost entirely out of the picture.

Should you buy it?

If you're kept up at night by the fear of people hacking into your phone and gaining access to your personal data, then the DTEK60 is the answer to your prayers.

Regular software updates, super-secure features and high-level encryption keep BlackBerry's handset rock-solid, but remarkably the company has achieved this without layering an obtrusive interface on top of Google's core Android software.

With a SIM-free price of $499/£475 (around AU$650), the DTEK60 undercuts many Android phones with very similar hardware specifications, making it a solid choice if you're feeling flush but still appreciate a bargain.

The BlackBerry DTEK60 is a strong Android flagship - arguably the company's best, but there are a number of other great high-end phones. These are three of the best alternatives you might want to consider.

Samsung Galaxy S7

2016's Android handset to beat, the Galaxy S7 uses the same Snapdragon 820 chipset as the DTEK60 (at least in the US) and also uses an AMOLED screen – albeit one which is slightly smaller.

It has a waterproof casing, which BlackBerry's phone lacks, along with a far better camera and a more premium build, but also costs a little bit more SIM-free, though you can often find it reduced now, bringing the S7 more in line with the DTEK60’s pricing.

iPhone 7

If you're not tied to Android then Apple's latest and greatest is perhaps worth a look. It's water resistant for the first time ever and boasts a great camera, powerful internals and a super-fast fingerprint scanner.

Thanks to Apple's locked-down OS, it's also more secure than most Android phones, DTEK60 aside. If you're shopping on a budget then cost will be an issue, as the iPhone 7 is a lot more expensive than BlackBerry's device.

Google Pixel

Rocking the latest Snapdragon 821 chipset and Android 7.0, the Google Pixel is the replacement for the long-running Nexus line of handsets. Constructed with Google's input and boasting build quality to rival the iPhone 7, it's one of the best Android phones money can buy.

That brings with it a high price though, with the Pixel costing more than the DTEK60 (and if you want the 5.5-inch Pixel XL the price goes up even higher).

First reviewed: November 2016