BlackBerry KeyOne vs. iPhone 7: Which is best for you?

BlackBerry KeyOne our first take
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
The keyboard-toting BlackBerry KeyOne runs Android and could hardly be more different from the iPhone 7. It can be tricky comparing apples and oranges, or in this case, blackberries, but we’re here to delve into the major differences in specs and try to explain what they might mean for you.

If you’re agonizing over whether to pull the trigger on a new iPhone, or get your fingers on a shiny new BlackBerry keyboard, we’ve got the answers you need in this BlackBerry KeyOne vs. iPhone 7 comparison.

Specs

BlackBerry KeyOne

BlackBerry KeyOne

Apple iPhone 7

samsung galaxy s8 plus vs iphone 7 thumb 2333

Size 149.1 x 72.4 x 9.4 mm (5.87 x 2.85 x 0.37 inches) 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 in)
Weight 180g (6.35oz) 138g (4.87oz)
Screen 4.5-inch IPS LCD 4.7-inch Retina HD LED-backlit widescreen
Resolution 1,080 x 1,620 pixels (433 pixels per inch) 1,334 x 750 pixels (326 ppi)
OS Android 7.1.1 Nougat iOS 10
Storage 32GB 32, 128, 256GB
MicroSD card slot Yes No
NFC support Yes Yes
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 A10 Fusion with 64-bit architecture, M10 motion coprocessor
RAM 3GB 2GB
Connectivity GSM / CDMA / HSPA / LTE GSM / CDMA / HSPA / LTE
Camera 12MP rear, 8MP front 12MP rear, 7MP front
Video 2,160p at 30fps 2,160p at 30fps
Bluetooth Yes, version 4.2 Yes, version 4.2
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Other sensors Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass Barometer, 3-axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor
Water resistant No IP67
Battery 3,505mAh 1,960mAh
Quick Charging Yes No
Wireless Charging No No
Ports USB-C, headphone jack Lightning
Marketplace Google Play Store Apple App Store
Color offerings Black Gold, rose gold, silver, black, jet black
Availability May 31, carrier support to come in the summer AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile
Price Starts at $550 Starts at $650
DT review First Take 3.5 out of 5 stars

The BlackBerry KeyOne has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, which is capable, but hardly top-of-the-line — you’ll find the same processor in Lenovo’s budget Moto G5 Plus, for example. The iPhone 7 sports Apple’s own A10 Fusion chip. All you really need to know is that the iPhone 7 is more powerful, faster, and smoother in general navigation or when playing games and loading apps. With 3GB of RAM, the KeyOne actually bests the iPhone 7, which only has 2GB, on paper, but Apple squeezes better performance out of its hardware, so there’s no real advantage here.

Winner: iPhone 7

Design, display, and durability

blackberry keyone tips and tricks 4
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

With a curved, aluminum body, recessed glass fingerprint sensor, and a 4.7-inch display the iPhone 7 is an attractive phone that’s comfortable to handle. The build quality is excellent, but the lack of a headphone port will be an annoyance for some. The KeyOne is all about the full QWERTY keyboard on the front, but it still sports a Full HD 4.5-inch screen. It is thick and heavy by comparison, with a rounded aluminum body, a rubberized coating on the back, and a flat, angular top that might just remind you of Frankenstein’s monster.

Apple has been trailing the competition for quite some time when it comes to display technology and the iPhone 7 didn’t buck that trend. The 4.7-inch screen looks good, with realistic colors and decent brightness, but it’s not as sharp as many competitors with a resolution that translates to 326 pixels per inch. However, it does support 3D Touch, which allows you to press down for further options and handy shortcuts. The KeyOne’s 4.5-inch display is cut short by the keyboard which gives it a slightly odd resolution, but it’s sharp at 433 ppi. The keyboard can also be used to swipe around, which helps make the most of the limited screen real estate.

In terms of durability, the iPhone 7 scores an IP67 rating, which means it can withstand short spells in water without sustaining long term damage. The BlackBerry KeyOne doesn’t have the same level of water resistance, but it does have a tough frame that can withstand accidental drops.

Winner: iPhone 7

Battery life and charging

As the biggest bugbear for most smartphone owners, battery life is an important factor for any phone and the BlackBerry KeyOne boasts an unusually big, 3,505mAh battery. It also has a USB Type-C port that supports quick charging. The iPhone 7 has a 1,960mAh battery, which we found is generally enough to see you through the day, but offers little better than average battery life. You’re also stuck with the Lightning port for charging the iPhone and there’s no quick charging capability.

Winner: BlackBerry KeyOne

Camera

Apple iPhone 7
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Both these phones have a 12-megapixel main camera, while the KeyOne has an 8-megapixel front-facing camera and the iPhone 7’s selfie cam is packed with 7-megapixels. They can also both record 4K video. It may look as though the KeyOne has a slight edge here, but there’s a lot more to cameras than megapixels. In the real world, the iPhone 7 camera is faster, more accurate, and boasts a better app. It sadly doesn’t have the dual camera you’ll find in its bigger sibling, the iPhone 7 Plus, but the iPhone 7 camera still comfortably beats the BlackBerry KeyOne.

Winner: iPhone 7

Software

In truth, there are a lot more similarities between Android and iOS than differences, but the software experience on these two phones is quite different. The BlackBerry KeyOne has the very latest Android 7.1.1 Nougat, while the iPhone 7 is currently on iOS 10.3. BlackBerry is committed to regular updates, which will encompass Google’s monthly security patches, so the KeyOne is a good choice for security-conscious Android fans. But fast updates are nothing new for iPhone owners.

We hope Android version updates will also be timely for KeyOne owners, but we’ll have to wait and see. For now, this is a tie.

Winner: Tie

Price and availability

The iPhone 7 starts at $650, so the BlackBerry KeyOne is $100 cheaper. You can pick up an iPhone 7 for no money down as cheap as $21.67 per month, but you will have to lock yourself into a two and half year contract to get that price. We’re still waiting for confirmation on which carriers other than Sprint will be offering the KeyOne, and what the contract prices will be, but we expect it to be cheaper than the iPhone 7.

Apple iPhone 7 BlackBerry KeyOne
AT&T $650 or $21.67 per month for 30 months $550
Sprint $650 or $27.09 per month for 24 months $550
T-Mobile $650 or $27.09 per month for 24 months $550
Verizon $650 or $27.08 per month for 24 months $550

The BlackBerry KeyOne was set for an April release, but that has been pushed back to May 31 in the U.S.

Winner: BlackBerry KeyOne

Overall winner: Apple iPhone 7

If you’re struggling to choose between these two phones, then the chances are good that you miss the old physical, BlackBerry keyboard. If that’s the case, then you aren’t going to find a better choice than the KeyOne. It also has good battery life and the latest flavor of Android, with a solid commitment to regular updates. If you can live without the keyboard, then the iPhone 7 is a better phone in almost every other respect. The faster performance, better camera, and slim design are enough to justify the extra $100 you’ll need to spend.

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