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Once upon a time, BlackBerry phones were so popular among the business and enterprise crowd, they were referred to as “CrackBerry” devices because they were so addictive. Then the smartphone industry exploded with the launch of the iPhone and the many Android-based handsets over the past decade. BlackBerry tried to keep up with new phones that used its own BlackBerry OS, but slowly it lost its huge market share to the competition.

Today, the company has completed its transition from a hardware phone and OS business to one that develops security software for businesses. However, it does license out its BlackBerry name to other smartphone makers who use it to make their own Android-based devices, with BlackBerry software installed. That means you can still buy a new phone with the classic BlackBerry name attached to it. In this feature, we take a look at the best BlackBerry phones that you can currently buy, including the new ones made by other companies, along with some of the older ones that BlackBerry itself designed and made.

Best Keyboard Phone: BlackBerry KEYone

This Android-based device in our best BlackBerry phones list is the first smartphone with that brand that was actually designed and made by TCL, who now owns the rights to use the BlackBerry name on handsets. It’s also notable in that TCL decided to go with one of BlackBerry’s old, but still distinctive, features for its first such phone: a physical QWERTY keyboard.

That feature alone makes the KEYone stand out from the competition. Owners of older BlackBerry phones will feel right at home in using the keyboard, although it may take some getting used to for others who have used a virtual keyboard on a touchscreen for years. The KEYone keyboard, combined with the BlackBerry Launcher software, allows users to create and access shortcuts to features on the phone, such as launching specific apps, playing games, using it with its camera, and more.

The 4.5-inch 1,620 x 1,080 touchscreen on the KEYone may sound small, but with its physical keyboard, the screen can now be used for apps and other uses exclusively. It also has an qcta-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor running at 2 GHz, along with Android 7.1.1 Nougat out of the box,  3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of onboard storage. The company recently announced a new version, the BlackBerry KEYone Black Edition, that has 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage, in addition to an all-black finish, as opposed to the black and silver look of the original.

Both versions also have a rear 12 MP camera, a front-facing 8 MP camera and a 3,505 mAh battery. The fingerprint reader is embedded in the keyboard’s spacebar. The body of the KEYone is made of thick aluminum, with a rubberized plastic material on the back to give the hand a better hold. BlackBerry’s mobile software is installed on the phone, which includes its DTEK security software for apps.

The BlackBerry KEYone should please old-school BlackBerry fans who want a physical keyboard and is definitely a must on our best BlackBerry phones list. It’s clearly made mostly for business customers, however, and regular smartphone consumers might be intimidated with the design. You can get an unlocked version at Amazon now for $536.64, or you can get it on a payment plan via AT&T or Sprint.

Specs

  • Display: 4.5-inch IPS LCD  with 1,620 x 1,080 resolution
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
  • RAM: 3,4 GB
  • Storage: 32, 64 GB
  • OS: Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • Camera: 12 MP rear, 8 MP front-facing
  • Battery: 3,505 mAh
  • Dimensions and weight: 149.3 x 72.5 x 9.4 mm, 180 g

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Best Slider: BlackBerry Priv

The next phone in our best BlackBerry phones list is the Priv. It is one of the last phones that was fully designed and made by BlackBerry, and was also the very first phones from the company to use Android instead of its own operating system. Launched in 2015, it remains one of the more unique Android phones you can buy. Not only does it have a physical keyboard, but it actually slides out from under the Priv’s main screen.

This design, even with the sliding keyboard, is still pretty slim. The QWERTY keyboard itself is clearly meant to be used by power owners of the Priv who want the full BlackBerry experience, but if you don’t need it, you can simply slide the display down and use the large 5.4-inch Quad HD display. It also has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, clocked at 1.8 GHz, along with 3 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of onboard storage.There’s also a large 18 MP rear camera, a small 2 MP front-facing camera, a 3,410 mAh battery, and of course you also get BlackBerry’s security and business software pre-installed.

The BlackBerry Priv was launched with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box, and later got an update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. If you do decide to get this phone, be aware that BlackBerry does not plan to update the OS anymore, so you won’t be able to upgrade it to Android 7.0 Nougat or 8.0 Oreo. Amazon is currently selling the Priv unlocked for $266.

Specs

  • Display: 5.4-inch Quad HD resolution
  • Processor:  Qualcomm Snapdragon 808
  • RAM: 3 GB
  • Storage: 32 GB
  • OS: Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • Camera: 18 MP rear, 2 MP front-facing
  • Battery: 3,410 mAh
  • Dimensions and weight: 147 x 77.2 x 9.4 mm, 192 grams

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Best Budget: BlackBerry DTEK50

 
This phone on our best BlackBerry phones list is a precursor to TCL’s deal with the company. The DTEK50 is basically a somewhat modified and rebranded variant of TCL’s Alcatel Idol 4 phone. Aside from the branding, the biggest different between the two phones s that the DTEK50 has a rubber backing, compared to the glass back on the Idol 4.

Aside from that, the BlackBerry DTEK50, which launched in August 2016, has the same hardware specs as the Idol 4. It has a 5.2-inch IPS LTPS display with a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, along with a octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor, 3 GB of RAM and 16 GB of onboard storage. It also has a 13 MP rear camera, an 8 MP front-facing camera and a 2,614 mAh battery. The phone comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box, and it also has a number of BlackBerry security-based software apps pre-installed.

This phone is basically a budget Android phone with the BlackBerry brand and some security software included for the business user. Amazon is currently selling it online for $204.88.

Specs

  • Display: 5.2-inch screen, 1,920 x 1,080 resolution
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 617
  • RAM: 3 GB
  • Storage: 16 GB
  • OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • Camera: 13 MP rear, 8 MP front-facing
  • Battery: 2,614 mAh
  • Dimensions and weight: 147 x 72.5 x 7.1 mm, 135 grams

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Going BB10: BlackBerry Passport, BlackBerry Classic

It wasn’t that long ago that BlackBerry was not only designing and making phones, but also developed its own mobile operating system for them. The latest, and final, such OS from the company is BB10, and for those of you BlackBerry die hards who want to use it over Android, this best BlackBerry phones list includes two of them: the Passport and the Classic.
The specs for the Passport, which was first released in 2014, include a 4.5-inch square touchscreen display with a 1,440 x 1,440 resolution, along with a QWERTY keyboard. It has BB10.3 pre-installed, along with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of onboard storage, a 13 MP rear camera, a 2 MP front facing camera and a 3,450 mAh battery. You can still buy one on Amazon for $199.99.
Specs
  • Display:  4.5-inch 1,440 x 1,440 resolution screen
  • Processor:  Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
  • RAM: 3 GB
  • Storage: 32 GB
  • OS: BB10.3
  • Camera: 13 MP rear, 2 MP front-facing
  • Battery: 3,450 mAh
  • Dimensions and weight: 128 x 90.3 x 9.3 mm, 196 grams
The BlackBerry Classic, which also launched in 2014, is also a much smaller phone than the Passport. It has a 3.5-inch display with a square 720 x 720 touchscreen and a QWERTY keyboard. It has BB10.3 installed, along with a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus processor, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of onboard storage, an 8 MP rear camera, a 2 MP front facing camera and a 2,515 mAh battery. Again, you can still buy one on Amazon for $199.95.
Specs
  • Display:  3.5-inch 720 x 720 resolution screen
  • Processor:  Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • Storage: 16 GB
  • OS: BB10.3
  • Camera: 8 MP rear, 2 MP front-facing
  • Battery: 2,515 mAh
  • Dimensions and weight: 131 x 72.4 x 10.2 mm, 177 grams
Keep in mind that if you buy one of these two phones, the official support for the BlackBerry 10 OS is now just for security and privacy enhancements only; the company is not going to be adding any new features or upgrades. Also, many major third-party apps no longer will be updated for those phones as well. Of course, it is worth noting that BB10 supports a select number of Android apps, including APK sideloading. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s the best you have if you really want to be part of the Blackberry purist camp.

The future of BlackBerry phones

As we said, BlackBerry is no longer designing or making its own phones. TCL has the main license to create phones that use the BlackBerry branding for most of the world, and have pre-installed software from that company. TCL has apparently seen a lot of sales success with the launch of the KEYone earlier this year, which bodes well for future BlackBerry devices.
TCL has already revealed it will launch an all-touchscreen BlackBerry phone, made for business customers, sometime in October, and the phone itself may have been revealed in a recent photo leak. TCL may also launch a consumer-based phone with the BlackBerry name sometime in 2018. Anyway you slice it, the BlackBerry name will likely continue to be used on new phones for some time to come.
Which phone on this best BlackBerry phones list is your favorite and why? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!