Once upon a time, a BlackBerry was the only smartphone to be seen with. Nowadays, Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy devices line the pockets of most in the western world.
Hardware keyboards, push email and that blinking red LED bring back doe-eyed memories of the mid-2000s, but these days you’d be hard pressed to find an old-style BlackBerry on sale anywhere, let alone in the hands of someone on the bus.
BlackBerry’s slow decline was largely down to the company’s inability to adapt to the launch of the iPhone in 2007, so consequently developers left the platform to build apps for the touchscreens of iOS and then Android.
While some of the older BlackBerrys on this list run BB10, the latest and last official BlackBerry operating system, many instead run Android – and it’s on Android that BlackBerry is having a mini renaissance.
So just be careful if you go for the Passport or Classic as you won’t find the wealth of apps you will on Android.
BlackBerry on Android
BlackBerry the hardware manufacturer is no more. While some of the phones in our chart are BB10 keyboard phones, a Chinese company called TCL now manufacturers phones using the BlackBerry brand and running Android.
These phones take the top positions in the chart, as they are more suited to the modern smartphone era. Security updates are still excellently frequent, and the KEYone and Key2 even have physical keyboards still.
The DTEK line offer BlackBerry and Android with a touchscreen, while some of the others in the list are still viable purchases in 2018.
Click through for full reviews and to find a good deal on each. And happy BlackBerry picking.
The best BlackBerry phones for 2018
The Key2 has excellent build quality, thoughtful software additions and a keyboard that purists will adore. But in the smartphone market, that doesn’t make it a viable choice for most people.
Typing on a physical keyboard this small is difficult no matter what any enthusiast says, and the form factor is harder to hold than the smaller BlackBerry Bolds of a decade ago.
Battery life is above average and it runs much faster than the KeyOne, but the BlackBerry Key2 is very much a phone for a select few people who still must have a keyboard – and no one else.
Read our BlackBerry Key2 review.
But then, the KEYone is the best BlackBerry phone for years. It has (finally) successfully melded classic BlackBerry design with the necessary mix of Android and nostalgia. Importantly, the latter is only faint this time – this is a device for 2017, not 2007.
If you love your iPhone or Samsung, you’ll hate the KEYone and won’t even consider buying it. But if you’ve made it to the end of this review, chances are you’re weighing up a buy. If you think you’ll love the BlackBerry KEYone, then I’m pretty certain you won’t be disappointed. You’re part of a minority, but finally BlackBerry has a phone for you that doesn’t force you to compromise.
Read our BlackBerry KEYone review.
For the first time in a while, this is a BlackBerry we can recommend to the individual consumer. It is also a business device, but the flexibility of Android means it is versatile enough to be moulded to the needs of both. It marries the Android operating system with robust, easy to use security features and slick design, all for under £500.
It doesn’t have the brand clout of an iPhone or the curved edges of a Samsung Galaxy, but with its admittedly quite straight-faced take on the modern smartphone BlackBerry has just – just – turned a corner. This is an excellent smartphone.
Read our BlacKBerry DTEK60 review.
The BlackBerry Motion proves a difficult device to rate. It’s too big, and there’s not much to tempt a casual smartphone buyer here aside from outstanding battery life. It is too austere and clunky even in comparison to the KeyOne, and won’t stand out in the £400 price bracket – a price hangover from the premium leanings of the BlackBerry name.
BlackBerry isn’t a cool brand, but the Motion has a huge battery, a headphone jack and a CPU that will just about cope with what you want it to do besides high level gaming. If the KeyOne was a comeback, the Motion is just about a solid sequel but there are phones like the Moto G5 Plus with similar specs for half the price.
Read our BlackBerry Motion review.
The BlackBerry DTEK50 is a good phone. Above average, even. But we can’t fully recommend it because of the way BlackBerry is marketing it. The perhaps incorrect status quo is that people don’t want to worry about security; they just want a phone that works. Security flaws on huge scales are largely down to external database hacks, not device vulnerabilities. The DTEK50 is a good phone at a good price, but it isn’t different enough to drag BlackBerry back into smartphone relevance.
Read our BlackBerry DTEK50 review.
The BlackBerry Priv is a well-made Android phone with a unique feature set. We commend BlackBerry for turning its hand to being an Android OEM, and the result is a fast smartphone with a great display, hardware keyboard and solid build and design. Battery life could be better, but our main quibble is with the price: at this price the Priv needs to be a world beater. And as good as it is, it isn’t that. Still, if you want an Android with a hardware keyboard and some BlackBerry features, this is the phone for you.
Read our BlackBerry Priv review.
The BlackBerry Passport is not for everyone. The Passport is designed to be used as a productivity tool, in the workplace. As such it is powerful and versatile, and for those who want a portable productivity device with a hardware keyboard it will be a perfect companion. For many others it may be a hopelessly hobbled entertainment device.
Read our BlackBerry Passport review.
This is a hard product to score. If you want a smartphone with a keyboard, and you want it purely for messaging and calls, with a little web-browsing thrown in, the BlackBerry Classic is the perfect device at an excellent price. A five star product. But general smartphone users will be frustrated by the relatively low power, and the paucity of screen space. If you are a BlackBerry fan, you will love the Classic. Otherwise there are better deals elsewhere.
Read our BlackBerry Classic review.