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June 12, 2017

BlackBerry KeyOne durability test reveals one particular weakness

by John_A

Why it matters to you

The KeyOne is clearly a durable device, but potential buyers might still want to know about its apparent weak spot.

There’s a group of tech fans out there who enjoy nothing more than scratching, dropping, drowning, bending, burning, and sitting on new gadgets within days of them hitting the market.

While such behavior may for some be driven by innate destructive tendencies, the majority tend to see it as a public service duty, allowing potential buyers of the device to learn more about how it might handle a box cutter accidentally scraping across the screen, or a cigarette lighter burning away up close, or a fall from 1,000 feet in case you drop it from a hot air balloon or a cliff top or something.

The latest gadget to be put through its paces in the most horrendous ways possible is BlackBerry’s KeyOne, the company’s latest flagship handset that launched at the end of May.

One of the first to get their hands on the 4.5-inch Android phone was YouTube’s JerryRigEverything, who immediately set about being as nasty as possible to it so you don’t have to. Kicking off with a determined effort to wreck the phone’s Gorilla Glass 4 display with some severe scratching, we see it stand up pretty darn well. The phone’s physical keyboard, however, doesn’t look too good following a prolonged encounter with a box cutter, though this was more to test the keyboard’s scrolling function, which continued to work perfectly when the tester ran his finger over it. Even the fingerprint scanner at the bottom of the KeyOne carried on working after it was pretty much ripped to shreds in a way that’s just not going to happen during everyday use.

Following more brutal scratching and scraping, which, incidentally, showed the phone to be one robust product, the tester took a lighter to the display. Holding a naked flame to the screen for around 15 seconds, a black mark appeared, though it disappeared once the flame was removed and left BlackBerry’s newest phone with no obvious damage.

But it was the dreaded bend test where the KeyOne appeared to show some weakness. Using his hands only, the tester gently applied pressure, causing the display to pop out of its frame fairly quickly. Unlike many of its competitors, the KeyOne seems to have no adhesive holding the display in place, increasing the chances of it coming out in this way. When the tester then bent the phone the other way, the display stopped functioning thanks to a torn ribbon cable inside the device at the bottom of the display.

As he points out, BlackBerry could secure the display relatively easily, and it may find itself having to tweak the manufacturing process if users complain about the issue in any great number in the coming weeks and months.

Digital Trends’ in-depth review of the KeyOne praised it for its great battery life, impressive keyboard customization options, capable camera, and reliable security. Downsides were listed as occasional performance stutters, subpar navigation icons, and a bulky design. Check out the full review of the $550 phone here

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