Tech Reviews: Blackberry DTEK50 – Business As Usual

By : Tomi Adebayo |


3449UNILAD imageoptim IMG 0107 640x426

Blackberry DTEK50 is what Blackberry calls the most secure Android device and it is, but how well does it perform everywhere else? and the security feature just a hype?

After the fall of Blackberry OS, the DTEK50 is one of the latest devices in Blackberry’s portfolio rocking Android OS with a hint of what current or ex-Blackberry users would be familiar with.

Ditching your old Blackberry Bold won’t mean the loss of things like Blackberry Hub or that keyboard swipe gesture that some users have come to love.

Taking the DTEK50 out of the box, you may begin to wonder about the name and what it’s about? It’s the device that Blackberry claims to be the most secure Android device out there.

Blackberry DTEK50 Design Review

With a similar design to that of Alcatel’s Idol 4 smartphone, there are only a few subtle differences between the two. The Idol 4 features a glass back, while the DTEK50 has a rubbery, dimpled back that actually feels nicer our opinion.

40666UNILAD imageoptim IMG 0077 640x426

Elsewhere, you have a 3.5mm audio jack and a microphone; you’ll also notice the antenna band that subtly blends in with the rest of the phone.

45371UNILAD imageoptim IMG 0101 640x426

On the right side, there’s a volume rocker finished with silver diamond-cut edges which give it a premium look and just below the volume keys is a programmable convenience key. This button can be programmed to launch any app for quicker access.

57251UNILAD imageoptim IMG 0081 640x426

The convenience button will take some getting used to as it can be easily mistaken for the power button which is actually located within reach on the left side of the device.

21602UNILAD imageoptim IMG 0079 640x426

On the bottom is where you can insert your microUSB cable for charging and data transfer. There’s also a secondary mic to the right of the microUSB port and the antenna band that sits flush with the rest of the design.

11117UNILAD imageoptim IMG 0099 640x426

The DTEK50 features a 5.2-inch display with a 1,920×1,080 pixels quality (1080p FHD), it looks sharp, colours look great too. on the front, you’ll also notice the 8-megapixel front-facing camera with a light sensor to the left of it and to the far left, a notification light.

56837UNILAD imageoptim IMG 0088 640x426

I used to work for a mobile network a couple of years back, and I can’t begin to tell you about how many people walk through the door asking for a device with a notification light.

Blackberry did not shy away from the fact that it’s the same device as the Idol 4, however, I believe they have gone with the manufacturer that is true to what Blackberry devices are about, or what people are used to.

The last thing Blackberry wants is their current users switching to their Android devices and feeling like they have to learn all over again.

14574UNILAD imageoptim IMG 0087 640x426

It’s secure, features the programmable secure button, feels like a Blackberry in hand with the rubbery back and it still features that notification light.

Elsewhere on the back, you have a 13-megapixel shooter that doesn’t protrude like the iPhone, so when you place it on a surface, it doesn’t wobble.

42649UNILAD imageoptim IMG 0084 640x426

The DTEK50 feels nice in-hand, it’s only 5.79 x 2.85 x 0.29 inches and weighs 4.76 oz (135g). When it comes to audio, there’s a front and back JBL stereo speakers that sounded punchy – I expected nothing less fro JBL, although having them back-firing is questionable. Let’s not forget the Blackberry logo on the back too!

Blackberry DTEK50 Display Review

Sporting a 1080p LCD display, it handles all the day to day activities well. Whether you’re watching videos on YouTube, reading books or playing games, it’s what you’d expect from such device.

1047UNILAD imageoptim IMG 0105 640x426

With a PPI of 424 pixels per inch, text appears sharp, images look just right with no oversaturation and colours are accurate enough, at least for my not so 20/20 vision.

One thing I also like is the ability to adjust the display colour balance as I’ve gotten used to it now for when I use it at night. You can slide from cool to warm, with it set right in between by default.

Blackberry DTEK50 Software Review

Blackberry is known for many software functions including encryption (highly secure), hub, messenger and more. Now that it’s on Android, you may ask, what separates it from other Android devices out there?

53487UNILAD imageoptim Screen Shot 2016 10 04 at 11.42.53 270x426

From the get-go, you’ll notice similarities with other Android devices, it’s loaded with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, so Android fans would be familiar with how it works.

What’s different, however, is DTEK by Blackberry; this is the bread and butter of Blackberry’s extra security feature added to the device.

11328UNILAD imageoptim IMG 0067 640x426

With DTEK, you can view the security status of your smartphone within seconds. Inside the app, you will see apps and permissions, to see how apps are using Android OS permissions to access your data.

You get a list of apps on your phone and you can see which permissions they each have available to them as well as control them. You can also see the tracked and non-tracked features such as camera, contacts, location and more.

Like you may have seen with antivirus and security software on a Windows PC before, it gives you the satisfaction of making sure everything is secure with a green shield in front of all the essential things.

When Samsung introduced edge display with a drawer that allows you to place important apps and contacts for quick access, I liked that.

5253UNILAD imageoptim IMG 0091 640x426

Blackberry have included something similar which you can adjust its transparency, which side you want it on and how high or low you want it. It allows you to peek at your newest and most important info from anywhere. You can also remove the tab if you don’t find it useful and it reminds me of Blackberry OS’s peak feature.

The software overlay is basically a launcher which means you can change it a little if you like and make it yours. The main menu with all your applications is set out in such a simple and easy way, so you get to see your apps, widgets and sort your shortcuts too.

All in all, it’s a good software that takes all the essentials from Blackberry OS, integrated seamlessly with Android.

Blackberry DTEK50 Performance Review

The DTEK50 is rocking Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow powered by a 1.5GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor coupled with 3GB of RAM.  For storage, it comes with 16GB of internal storage and you can expand it by up to 2TB with a microSD card.

63831UNILAD imageoptim IMG 0108 640x426

Under the bonnet, there’s a 2,610mAh (non-removable) battery which depending on your usage will see the device last up to a day. During out test, it lasted till about 11pm every night before giving up the ghost.

9455UNILAD imageoptim IMG 0109 640x426

When it comes to performance, this is not the fastest device on the market, in fact, you will notice it straight away when you begin to move from one screen to another, the transition lags a little and could be better.  I believe this device is still focused at those who wants to work on the move and probably won’t find it too bothersome.

Having said that, however, it still runs applications very well with not issues, no random crashes and handles its own when it comes to gaming too, although I wouldn’t recommend to hardcore gamer.

Blackberry DTEK50 Camera Performance Review

With a 13MP camera present, you will never miss a moment. The DTEK50’s camera interface is very simple to figure out and if you’ve used a Blackberry OS device before, you will find it very straight forward.

48592UNILAD imageoptim IMG 0068 640x426

Even though the camera is not the most powerful on the market, I like that they still give you some manual options to get the best of your shots.

Here are some photos shot on the DTEK50 with our analysis on how it performed:

Generally, it struggles in low light situation and highlights can be overblown.  Colours sometimes aren’t accurate and it suffers from some oversharpening.  For the everyday user who maybe posts to Instagram or just to snap for note taking, you will be happy with it.

62110UNILAD imageoptim IMG 20161004 0540426 640x426 36524UNILAD imageoptim IMG 20161004 0540096 640x426 10216UNILAD imageoptim IMG 20161004 0540042 640x426 3827UNILAD imageoptim IMG 20161004 0539520 640x426

Blackberry DTEK50 Verdict – Is it worth the plunge?

The DTEK50 is an all round good device that delivers a decent performance, the design is simple with not much to write home about, although it feels nice in hand, it’s light, it’s loaded with an HD screen which is more than good enough for reading, watching movies etc – it even offers the right level of brightness and colour accuracy.

57251UNILAD imageoptim IMG 0081 640x426

When it comes to battery life, it could do slightly better as it sometimes struggles to last the whole day on heavy use of emails, YouTube videos, social media activity and playing games. For business users, you will get a day out of it just browsing the web and using your emails.

22920UNILAD imageoptim IMG 0094 640x426

It’s a very secure device, although adding the option to lock apps or even hide apps would have topped up its security level. DTEK application is very useful, although I’m not sure it’s anything groundbreaking. Some may say Blackberry’s security claims are a little overhyped.

For the price point of £275, you are probably better off with a Nexus 5X which costs around the same but feels faster and comes with a fingerprint scanner.  If you really want to stick with Blackberry then you can get the Priv, which is also secure, offers a better display panel and feels/looks nicer.


The review device was sent to us for review by Blackberry.  We used it as our daily driver for two and half weeks. All opinion are UNILAD Tech’s.