I was fortunate enough to get hold of a Blackberry Motion to trial. When I started out in IT, Blackerry devices were all the rage and the full qwerty keyboard was very much a neccesity. Having also had a look at the Blackberry Key One (which has the full QWERTY keyboard), it was odd to get a spanking new Blackerry out of a box and find a full screen, modern day smartphone, made by Blackberry, without the QWERTY keyboard. Having had a Blackberry myself around 9 years ago (the Blackbery Bold), which at the time only had GPRS, I have seen first hand how quickly things have moved on. Blackberry, in order to keep up with the competition, has had to do the same. So with the new Blackberry Motion, we have a new handset with the Android 7.1.2 OS (slightly bespoke with Blackberry features) built in.
The design is okay. It has a rounded bottom and a square top and is relatively light, weighing in at 167g. The phone is mostly plastic whilst the sides are aluminium. It feels like it could probably take a knock or two. It has the Blackberry logo on the back and the home button doubling up as a fingerprint reader at the bottom on the front. It has a USB-C charge point and an unusually large 4000mAh unit battery. Storage is 32GB and there is a microSD slot in the SIM tray. The BlackBerry Motion is also said to be water-resistant to IP67.
The screen is a 5.5” scratch-resistant screen with a 8MP front camera with flash and a 12MP auto-focus rear camera. It’s a 1920 x 1080 IPS LCD screen which appears to be bright and responsive, but it’s no high-definition OLED screen. But it competes well with phones in the same price range.
The 4000mAh unit battery is certainly one of the Motion’s big selling points. It easily lasted 2 days whilst I tested it, with average daily usage, answering a few quick calls, using Whatsapp and taking a few pictures. It is said to charge to 50% in 40 minutes which proved to be the case thereabouts. If a good battery is your thing, then the Motion certainly competes with the best in this category.
The Blackberry Motion has a Smart Convenience Key on the right hand side which you can customise to instantly bring up apps and functions you use most often based on your location or what you are up to. For example, at home you can program the key to launch your Whatsapp whilst at work you can press to compose a new email. The BlackBerry Motion’s home button doubles as a perfectly placed fingerprint sensor for device unlocking.
There was a bit of nostalgia for me, just using a Blackberry after having used and supported so many different models over the years. The company I work at now had the infamous Blackberry Server software running as little as 5 years ago. I hope for Blackberry’s sake that this new model propels them back in to the limelight. The phone itself is good when pitted up against others in the same price range. As a work phone, the battery life might be the deciding factor when choosing a new phone for your employees and the Blackberry Hub is a nice addition, making accessing e-mails, calendars and contacts as easy as swiping in from the right. As a personal phone, I’m not sure there are any features which makes it stand out above the rest – but it certainly competes. With the Android OS it will not prove difficult to use and the few Blackberry-esque addons may prove helpful. Overall a 7 out of 10.