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BlackBerry Motion Review: Another Boring Phone from BlackBerry & TCL

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BlackBerry Motion review
Photo: BBMobile/Twitter

The “mid-range” Android offering from BlackBerry is finally official, but is it really worth the $500 sticker price? 

BlackBerry Motion Review: The new Android offering from BlackBerry and TCL does sound enticing, but is it REALLY good enough?

BlackBerry unveiled their latest Android phone dubbed BlackBerry Motion at the GITEX tech exhibition at Dubai. As rumored, the new handset offering from the company is for the budget-conscious consumers and features pretty decent hardware specs.

Mind you, BlackBerry didn’t make the new handset. BlackBerry doesn’t make any smartphones now, it is the parent company TCL that manufactures them. In fact, the new BlackBerry Motion is the second offering from TCL after it acquired BlackBerry in December 2016. The first one was the BlackBerry KeyOne that was launched earlier this year.

Unlike TCL’s KeyOne, the new device is an all-touch handset. And that means, it doesn’t have a physical keyboard, unlike most BlackBerry phones. So if you’re a BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard fan, you’re probably not gonna adore the Motion.

Without further ado, let’s get into our BlackBerry Motion review:

BlackBerry Motion Review: Design and Display

BlackBerry Motion review

Before I start off, I repeat, unlike the BlackBerry KeyOne, the new BlackBerry Motion is an all-touch handset with no physical keyboard. For those who love the QWERTY keyboard on BlackBerry phones, this could come as a bummer. But if you’re anything like me, who votes not to have a physical keyboard on a phone, then this one could just be the perfect daily driver for you.

Like every BlackBerry phones out there, the new device also features a very premium look and feel. Sure, it doesn’t feature an all-screen design and has huge bezels on the top and bottom. But, it’s worth noting that the company hasn’t compromised on the premium materials used for making the device.

Speaking of, the outer frame of the BlackBerry Motion is made out of Aluminum, and to our surprise, the handset feels pretty light in hands. The rear of the device reminds me of the KeyOne as it features the very same soft-touch textured rear. Up front, there is a 5.5-inch IPS LCD screen with a display resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels (Full HD). Under the display is a fingerprint reader that unlocks your phone in no time.

Moving onto the rear, you’ll find a single 12MP camera along with a dual tone LED flash. The bottom of the device houses a 3.5mm headphone hack, a noise-canceling mic, a USB-C port for charging and data transfer, and speaker grill. The left side has the SIM/MicroSD tray, while the right side contains the volume rocker, power/unlock button and the convenience key that helps you switch profiles in a press.

BlackBerry Motion Review: Hardware Specs

The BlackBerry Motion is powered by an octa-core 2.0GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor. Coupled with the mid-range chipset, the phone runs on 4GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage.

The Motion is backed by a 4000 mAh battery, which the company promises to last you over 32 hours on normal usage. Also, it supports QuickCharge 3.0 fast-charging technology that should charge the device 50% in just 36 minutes.

On the camera front, it features a single 12MP, f/2.0 shooter on the rear with phase detection autofocus and supports functionalities such as geo-tagging, touch focus, panorama, HDR, and automatic face detection. On the front, there is an 8MP, f/2.2 snapper which supports 1080p video recording.

Connectivity options on the device include Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, NFC, GPS/GLONASS, and USB-C. Besides, the phone is IP67 certified which means it is fully dustproof and can withstand being submerged in 1 meter of water for about 30 minutes.

BlackBerry Motion Review: Camera

BlackBerry Motion camera review

The BlackBerry Motion has retained the same old camera as the KeyOne. We’re talking about a single 12MP, f/2.0 shooter on the rear and an 8MP, f/2.2 sensor on the front.

It’s disappointing to see BlackBerry not making any improvements in the photography department, and opting to retain the same old camera of a phone that’s almost a year old now. But, make no mistake: The cameras on the KeyOne were already pretty decent, and were able to capture some decent shots in good lighting conditions. So, that could likely be the reason why BlackBerry didn’t go for an upgrade.

The rear camera is a Sony IMX378 sensor, the same magnificent sensor on the original Pixel phones that was capable of taking some best shots than any phone camera could ever take. But, wait… The photos taken on the BB Motion doesn’t stack up well against the ones taken on Pixel. Blame it on the poor hardware integration or the mediocre software, the low-light photography on the Motion is an absolute nightmare. The low-light pictures are noisy, cloudy and terrible.

BlackBerry Motion: Price

Although the distribution of the BlackBerry Motion smartphones was restricted to the Middle East, the UK, and the Netherlands initially, it looks like BlackBerry has heard the voice of hundreds of thousands of fans across the globe and is planning to expand the availability. BlackBerry has now released the smartphone in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland as well. The US release date of the handset is still unknown so far.

In the United Kingdom, the device is priced at €399 ($469) and is available via the two big carriers: Clove and Carphone Warehouse.

According to a report on CrackBerry, popular European retailer Saturn has started taking preorders for the device as well. You can now order the device from Saturn for a price of €469 (including VAT).

BlackBerry Motion Review: Verdict and Other Alternatives

While a BlackBerry device at less than $500 does sound like an enticing deal, the specs offered by BB Motion is on subpar with its rivals like OnePlus 5. The latter comes with flagship-level specs including Snapdragon 835 processor, 6/8GB RAM, and 64/128GB storage while retaining the awesome budget price tag. So, you’re better off with an OP5 rather than a BB Motion if you want a bang for your bucks.

When it comes to specs, the BlackBerry Motion is on par with Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 and Mi A1. And the two handsets cost only half of what the Motion costs.

However, if you are a BlackBerry fanboy and looking for a new handset that doesn’t cost a ton, then BlackBerry Motion should be pretty good for you. Besides the decent midrange specs, it comes loaded with the usual BlackBerry security features. We’re talking about the BlackBerry LOCKER feature that lets you hide all your important documents and photos, and the Private Shade feature that restricts the field of view to a tiny area on the screen. The second feature, especially, should come in handy while you are in a public space; and don’t want strangers to be snooping at your screen.

BlackBerry Motion

€399.00
BlackBerry Motion
5.8

Design and Looks

6.0/10

Display

7.0/10

Performance

8.0/10

Camera Quality

5.0/10

Pricing

3.0/10

Pros

  • Excellent build quality
  • IP67 certified
  • Excellent battery life
  • Outstanding security features
  • UI feels like stock Android

Cons

  • Design looks dated
  • Slightly overpriced
  • Mediocre camera quality

Abhin’s love for all things tech started when he got his first smartphone, Galaxy S (the first), in 2010. Since then, he has been crazy about technology and tried out all major Android flagships from Samsung, and HTC. However, he currently uses a OnePlus 5 as his daily driver.

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