Blackberry Motion Review: Can they do it without the keys?

Blackberry phones used to be the phone every business owner not only wanted but needed. The physical keyboard on Blackberry phones was the best in the industry, but the world has moved on as touch screen inputs got better. With the introduction of the Blackberry Motion, we need to know if it lives up to the expectations of the old devices previously manufactured by RIM.

Here in the UAE, Blackberrys also gained huge traction for a few years as a device that was great for youngsters since it came with ridiculously cheap social plans. 

Now while trying to gain its Blackberry follows up its KeyOne (which we loved) with the Motion, let’s check it out. 

Blackberry Motion: Body and design

The sleek body of this smartphone is a beautiful blend of aluminium and glass. It managed to look unique with a faux carbon fibre back and is a nice break from all the monolithic phones out there. The phone seems heavier than it is with a weight of just 167g which when coupled with its boxy side is a bit of a turn-off.

The 155.8 x 75.5 x 8.12 mm size is a bit larger because of its 5.5″ LCD and the massive bottom lip which houses the capacitative navigation key and home button/fingerprint combo. The bottom bezel does make holding it inconvenient for people with small hands. On the right-hand side, it houses a convenience key, power button, and a volume rocker. Having all the buttons on one side sounds terrible but the convenience key has a unique texture that distinguishes it from other buttons and after a week I got used to it.

Waterproofing

Blackberry Motion is IP67-certified (dust and water resistance down to one meter for thirty minutes). This is an absolute must for 2018 smartphones.

Fingerprint Reader

The fingerprint scanner is embedded in the physical home button imprinted with the Blackberry logo. The large fingerprint sensor allows you to swipe down on it to drop the notification drawer which is something I absolutely loved.

Headphone Jack

Yes, at the bottom where it should be.

Speaker

It has a single speaker placed right beside the USB-C port which is adequate for making conference calls but don’t expect to have enjoyable Youtube marathons thanks to it.

Blackberry Motion: Display

The smartphone has a 5.5″ 1080p LCD. The resolution is justified for the price and it honestly never had me wanting for more pixels. Its colour reproduction and viewing angle are great and I never felt like it required an AMOLED screen which is known for its bright colours and sharp hues. Outdoor visibility was okay even in Dubai’s blinding sunlight.

Blackberry Motion: Processing power

The smartphone uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset with an Adreno 506 GPU and 4GB of RAM.

Daily Use

Though the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 is not the fastest processor Qualcomm has to offer, the phone managed to run smoothly with barely any stuttering. It’s only when you place it side by side with a flagship device when you notice how slow it can be. Credit needs to go to both Android and Blackberry for ensuring regular updates. The phone is targeted for businessmen and as a work phone, it can easily handle tasks such as making phone calls, sending emails, editing documents while not using too much battery.

Blackberry Motion: User interface

The operating system is great mainly because it’s mostly stock bundled with the typical Blackberry suite of applications. Even though the launcher is not stock, it’s great to see it’s themed to look like stock Android, ensuring the overall feel of the device is more holistic and follows Material design, which is Androids new visual theme.

Holding the home button thankfully brings up Google Assistant and not a proprietary AI which is great because it is the best smartphone AI currently.

With the Blackberry Hub, you can view the tasks, email, social media channels, and calendar in a single location. The set up is and I found myself loving it within a week and actually being able to prioritize messages and tasks better.

Blackberry Motion: Camera

Blackberry devices have never been renowned for their camera and this still hasn’t changed.

It has a 12-megapixel sensor, dual-tone LED flash and 6-element lens with an f2.0 aperture. It also possesses the Multi-frame low light image enhancement which is Blackberry’s version of HDR. The specs sheet tick all the right boxes, but the images leave much to be desired.

Before we talk about the camera quality, let’s quickly walk through the camera UI. Launches quickly, with settings located on the left side and camera modes, shutter button and live filters on the right side. Overall it’s quite easy and intuitive to use.

Without mincing words, Blackberry Motion’s main issue is its unreliability. Every camera is unique and after using it for some time; you understand its strengths and weaknesses & one tends to play around it. But sadly with the Motion, I was never really sure when I would get a good photo.

With proper lighting, it takes great photos with good colour reproduction and detail but the moment it gets bereft of light, the image quality decreases rapidly, making the lack of optical stabilization evident.

Even Blackberry’s version of HDR or “Multi-frame low light image enhancement” is not that effective. Images captured at night are noisy, and it hunts for focus.

Then again, you don’t buy a Blackberry for its camera but it does the job well and has no issue taking photos of receipts and business cards.

Selfies taken with the front camera are good. It sadly captures all the blackheads on my nose.

Blackberry Motion: Battery life

This is the icing on the cake. The Blackberry Motion has a 4,000mAh battery, an efficient 625 processor, and a 1080 display. I still managed to have 40% battery life left after heavy daily use of phone calls, watching Youtube videos and stalking browsing social media.

I think this is key for a business traveller. It’s perfect for someone who travels a lot and can last a two-day conference without needing a charger or power bank.

It also has Quick Charge 3.0 which makes the charging process faster and ensures it stays in your hand more than on the charger

Blackberry Motion: Conclusion

There is no perfect smartphone in the world. All smartphones come with an issue which smears its perfection. A phone for Dh1699 with excellent battery life, almost stock OS which does everything right and slightly marred by the camera. It’s the perfect phone for enterprise or anyone who needs a work-horse.