BlackBerry KeyOne Black Edition boasts more RAM and storage

The BlackBerry KeyOne Black Edition has been officially released at IFA 2017 in Berlin, offering physical keyboard fans a fresh new(ish) look and a bit of extra grunt under the hood.

In terms of design and most of its specs, the new KeyOne Black Edition is identical to the silver variant that launched at the start of 2017, but there are two key upgrades (over and above the stylish, yet understated black finish).

Firstly BlackBerry – or rather TCL, the firm that licenses the brand name to stick on handsets – has upped the RAM from 3GB in the original to 4GB in the Black Edition.

While it gives the Black Edition a little extra zip on screen, you’re unlikely to notice too much difference during day to day usage.

It should mean that the new KeyOne should perform better when it comes to heavy lifting tasks, although we were unable to put it to the test during our brief hands on time.

The second upgrade comes in the form of more space for all your stuff, with 64GB of storage stuffed inside (up from 32GB). It may be a welcome addition for some users, but the fact that both the KeyOne and KeyOne Black Edition both come with microSD slots that support cards up to 2TB in size means the boost here is a little less impressive.

For handsets such as the OnePlus 5 and iPhone 7 that don’t have an expandable storage option, offering different tiers of space makes sense. It’s a little more difficult to justify the move, and additional cost, here.

BlackBerry KeyOne Black Edition hands on gallery

A swish new look

The new color is actually rather nice, and we prefer it over the silver version. The black matte finish is sleek and stylish, which will suit those looking for something a little more understated than the slightly flash, silver KeyOne.

We still have reservations about the physical keyboard though, as typing on it requires a low grip on the phone which can make things a little top heavy and unwieldy in the hand – although there’s still a staunch fan base for physical keys out there.

In terms of the rest of what the KeyOne Black Edition offers, there’s a 4.5-inch full HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset, 12MP rear camera, 8MP front facing camera, Android 7.1 and a 3,505mAh battery. Oh, and the physical keyboard with a fingerprint scanner built into the space bar.

It also comes with BlackBerry’s security and privacy features, with additional safety functions built into the software and the inclusion of the DTEK app which helps you control which apps can see your personal data.

So what will the extra RAM and storage, and that new color scheme, set you back?  The BackBerry KeyOne Black Edition will go on sale initially in the UK during mid-September with a retail price of £549 (around $700, AU$890).

That’s a small jump from the £499 ($579.99, around AU$730) price tag of the standard KeyOne, and BlackBerry says it’ll roll the handset out to more countries, including the US and Canada, in the weeks following the UK launch.

KeyOne vs KeyOne Black Edition hands on gallery

IFA 2017 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.