This all-screen Android grants a flavor of the BlackBerry experience in a more convenient, water-resistant case. It’s held back by old hardware and a lackluster camera, but powerful battery life indicates workaholics might just fancy it. Let’s dig deep for its specs and features in the BlackBerry Motion review below.
What We Like?
- Water resistance
- Programmable key
- Endless battery
What We Don’t?
- Unreliable camera
- Frustrating key placement
- Mediocre hardware
Highlights Of BlackBerry Motion Review
- The Motion costs a little less than its hard-keyed sibling, coming in at £399 (around $535, AU$705) to the KeyOne’s £499 ($549, AU$729).
- Highlights include the generous 4,000mAh battery, the highly-regarded BlackBerry security software, and some extras that – while fairly standard in the Android market – are not common to BlackBerry phones.
- These include dual-SIM capability, IP67-rated water resistance, and a 5.5-inch 1080p screen with no hardware keyboard on or underneath it. Really, this is the phone BlackBerry should have produced when it was busy trying to make BlackBerry 10 happen, but that ship has very much sailed.
Back in the past days, when BlackBerry was the leading smartphone manufacturer, you could rely on its devices to highlight two things: a physical keyboard and long, robust battery life. Something has evolved a lot since then, but part of that legacy exists on in the BlackBerry Motion. It might lack that typical keyboard, but it makes up for that with one of the most extended smartphone batteries I’ve experienced all year. That should keep some hardcore enthusiasts happy, right? We’re not accurately sure when (or even if) the Motion will land in the US, but that’s just as well: It’s a fine phone but overpriced for what it is.
- Review Price: £399
- 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS LCD screen
- 4GB RAM
- Snapdragon 625 CPU
- 32GB storage
- 12-megapixel rear camera
- 8-megapixel front camera
For those who haven’t heeded the BlackBerry saga over the last few years, the Motion isn’t really a BlackBerry phone in a similar way as, say, a BlackBerry Curve from 2007. In late 2016, Chinese maker TCL signed a licensing/production contract with BlackBerry, as it has done in the past with Alcatel. TCL is also resolute to revitalize Palm, for all you underling lovers out there.
BlackBerry is still promulgated to have a knack in the design and software of the smartphones – and the Motion unquestionably looks and feels like a BlackBerry, even though it doesn’t arise with a classic BlackBerry physical keyboard. The company logo lies on front and rear of the device, and the soft-touch plastic of the back sports a business-like stepped pattern.
The Motion feels relatively dense, and while much of the phones are made of plastic, the corners are of aluminum. The rounded plate on the rear that ensures the camera is made to look like smoothed aluminum, but it’s plastic.
The application of plastic by phone makers is okay, as long as it isn’t sheer or made to look like something it’s not. The one stability concern on my singular handset was the appearance of a few small bubbles in the back soft-touch coating around the BlackBerry logo, which suggests the cover may start to shed off after a while.
The BlackBerry Motion also requires the ultra-slim screen girdles of some of the newest phone designs. However, it’s about similar in size to the Sony Xperia XZ Premium. Since the phone has an extraordinarily large battery, a 4000mAh unit, I’m content to forget slight size complaints.
The BlackBerry Motion is also water-resistant to IP67. The device can endure a dunk in water without concern of permanent damage.
The BlackBerry Motion’s screen is comparable to that of other smartphones at this value. It isn’t ultra-high resolution; nor is this an OLED panel. But its feature is good enough to sustain a comparison with a phone at any price.
BlackBerry doesn’t offer much power over the Motion display’s aspect. However, there is a colour temperature slider in Settings with which you can customize the screen for a more warm or fresh look. Top brightness is satisfying. And, as usual with a firm LCD, the only time you’re expected to notice a notable shortfall in performance is in a dark room seeing a movie.
Blacks won’t look perfect, but they’re not too far away off. Contrast is substantial. Viewed from an extreme vertical angle, you’ll notice quite a bit of colour shift too – but this isn’t really a primary issue in what is a mid-range phone.
Inside, the BlackBerry Motion highlights the same Snapdragon 625 processor and 4 gigabytes of RAM as its keyboard-fitted brother KEYone. That might be a bit disconcerting if you were expecting for flagship-tier specifications. While it may not be the most powerful phone on the smartphone market and won’t likely blow your mind when it comes to benchmarks; the Motion still does admirably in the day to day practice. You will see the occasional stutter when the phone is under massive load and some little rubber banding when swiping or scrolling. But for most everyday tasks such as launching applications, web browsing, checking emails or playing graphically demanding games, the Motion is more than proficient. Read on BlackBerry Motion review to know more about this phone.
Where the Motion lacks in specifications; it makes up for it in hardware. On the base side is the standard USB Type-C port that’s flanked by a particular speaker, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack, a port that has converted a rarity in 2017.
Regarding storage, the Motion comes in a 32GB configuration but is expandable via microSD. Without a permeable physical keyboard, BlackBerry was capable of making the Motion IP67 dust and water-resistant, a characteristic that has become more and more common in smartphones.
One of the greatest pros to the Motion is its plentiful battery capacity. The Motion is outfitted with a massive 4,000 mAh cell and that, combined with the Snapdragon 625’s battery-sipping properties, is a recipe for long-lasting battery life. The Motion consistently lasts me a full two days on a single charge and screen time easily hits the 6-hour mark. My practice is quite substantial with some hours of gaming and YouTube watching per day on top of more conventional activities such as checking emails, texting, and keeping tabs on of social media during the BlackBerry Motion review and I’ve been very fascinated with how long the Motion persists despite my usage.
Wireless charging is not available despite a non-metal backside, but the phone does arrive with the standard Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 for comfortable top offs or fill-ups.
The BlackBerry Motion doesn’t run the newest version of Android, but don’t assume it’s not as reliable as phones running the new Android 8.1 Oreo. Notwithstanding running on Android 7.1 Nougat, our BlackBerry Motion has the most up-to-date security patch from Google, reaffirming the company’s dedication to security. It makes BlackBerry have an edge; as it’s one of the handfuls of companies, alongside Google and its Pixel, that gives timely security updates.
This phone easily lasts all the day under regular use and could last another day too.
The software itself is comparatively close to stock Android, though there are some BlackBerry-specific apps and features. The keyboard’s haptic feedback is gratifying, and it’s smart too. Like the KeyOne, you can use flick writing for following suggestions. Instead of a bar at the tip of the keyboard, words emerge above letters, and you’ll swipe up to include them in your text. It unquestionably makes typing fast.
The BlackBerry default apps can be genuinely beneficial. BlackBerry Messenger will entice in BlackBerry sourdoughs; Content Transfer serves you transfer files from your old phone; BlackBerry Hub allows you view all your notifications in one place; and DTEK monitors and manages your phone’s security to have your data safe, like anti-virus software.
Slide the pull out tab from the right edge of the screen, and you can instantly access tools like your calendar, recent messages, contacts, and tasks. We didn’t use it much during the BlackBerry Motion review. But, some may find it useful. It’s akin to the Edge Panel on Samsung Galaxy phones.
We like BlackBerry’s approach here with the software: It’s relatively lightweight, with a few additions that some may find genuinely useful. Read on BlackBerry Motion review to know more about this phone.
The BlackBerry Motion has one 12-megapixel camera on the back of the phone, neatly moving around the set of dual-lens zooming and background blurring several mid-range smartphones now offer.
This is a somewhat conventional camera, but it does possess one feature that’s so “BlackBerry” it hurts. The camera has a distinct mode of taking business cards, finished with optical character recognition.
One other element that’s imperceptibly offbeat from the norm is the “always there” exposure dial, which lies just to the left of the shutter button. You can change the brightness with a quick gesture. If you’d instead just point and shoot, that runs too.
The BlackBerry Motion’s camera feels reasonably fast in just above all conditions, with minimal shutter delay and (usually) no focus seeking.
In daylight, the Motion’s photos are excellent. There’s enough detail to satisfy, and color balance is satisfactory. However, the best competitors offer far ampler dynamic range optimisation.
At night photos seem very soft, and the settings employed by the Motion (according to the images’ EXIF info at least) are at times quite exceptional. The shutter delays down to 1/3 of a second at night; which is remarkably bold for a phone that’s needing optical image stabilization. That said, I was still capable of achieving sharp images within the limits of the low-light processing (not that sharp at all).
One-third-of-a-second exposures should determine the Motion can take detail-packed images with a still hand, but the effects end up looking vague. Looking over the dozens of photographs I’ve taken, there are also a lot of shots with handshake blur.
More importantly, it’s apparent the Motion was designed with durability in mind. Qualcomm’s power-sipping chipset and 1080p display couple perfectly with the enormous 4,000mAh battery wedged inside and, consequently, the Motion routinely served two full days before needing to be recharged during the BlackBerry Motion review. To be fair, that’s two full days of me reading my email like a lunatic, furiously Google browsing and binging on YouTube videos. Over peaceful weekends, I could extend the Motion’s battery life to approximately two and a half days before topping it up. Not bad at all.
Our Point Of View -BlackBerry Motion Review
With several mid-range Androids, take the trademark off, and you’d be hard-pressed to know the manufacturer. The Motion, however, is BlackBerry through and through.
From its commercial-like design to the security-conscious software, the brand DNA makes its appearance known. Whether that’s a good thing depends on your motives for considering the phone.
Overall, it’s a solid mid-range offering a fair package for the price as per our BlackBerry Motion review. There are no significant low points, just some common choices; many of those won’t affect you much in day-to-day use. Yes, it’s nice to have a QHD screen, but when it’s not sitting next to a higher-end smartphone, you probably won’t keep noticing.
The software included on the Motion is a refreshing change from many manufacturer additions in that some of it genuinely enhances the experience – the Productivity Tab and keyboard are notable high points – and it’s great to see BlackBerry adapting to market trends for things like waterproofing, dual-sim, and quick charging.
Where the BlackBerry Motion really stands out, though, is stamina. It comfortably outlasts most of its competitors; while not everyone will love the chunkier, heavier handset that results from that focus; there’s no denying it looks smart enough to take into any meeting.
All work and no play makes the BlackBerry Motion a decent effort from TCL.