Head-To-Head: BlackBerry KEYone Vs. Google Pixel

Small Is Beautiful

There are plenty of new, premium Android smartphones on the market right now. Samsung, LG and Sony are among the vendors with slick new smartphones and some very cool features. Many of these phones are also very big. If you're a bit more old-school, or just don't want a huge device in your pocket, you may want to go with something a bit smaller. And if you're very old-school, you might want to go with a phone that has a physical keyboard. Yes, that's an option once again, thanks to the introduction this week of the KEYone, a BlackBerry-branded phone made by TCL. But how does the KEYone stack up against another Android phone on the smaller end of the spectrum, the Google Pixel? In the following slides, the CRN Test Center breaks down how the BlackBerry KEYone compares vs. the Google Pixel on specs and price.

First Things First

As mentioned, the BlackBerry KEYone includes physical keys as part of what it calls the phone's "Smart Keyboard." What that means is that the keys do more than type. You can program keys to become shortcuts to certain contacts and apps. In addition, the keyboard has some of the responsiveness of a trackpad, allowing you to use the keyboard to scroll through web pages or emails, for instance.

Another differentiator for the KEYone is that it uses BlackBerry's fabled mobile security software – including the DTEK security monitoring app – making it the "most secure Android smartphone," according to TCL. Google, meanwhile, promises that Pixel owners will receive three years worth of security updates.

For the operating system, both the KEYone and the Google Pixel run the most recently released version of Android -- Android 7.1 (Nougat).


As a result of allotting space to a physical keyboard, the the BlackBerry KEYone display is pretty small by contemporary standards, at 4.5 inches diagonally. By comparison, the Google Pixel display measures 5 inches diagonally. The Pixel also has the higher resolution and higher-end display technology of the two devices, with its 1,920 x 1,080 AMOLED display, vs. the 1,620 x 1,080 IPS display of the KEYone.

Size And Weight

All-around, the BlackBerry KEYone is the larger of the two devices, again as a result primarily of having a physical keyboard. The KEYone measures 5.8 inches x 2.8 inches, compared to the Google Pixel, which measures 5.6 inches x 2.7 inches. There's a more significant difference in the thickness and weight of the two devices, however. The KEYone has a thickness of 0.37 of an inch and weighs 0.4 of a pound, while the Pixel has a thickness of 0.2 of an inch and weighs 0.32 of a pound.

Processor And Battery Life

Neither the BlackBerry KEYone nor the Google Pixel can offer the latest top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. The KEYone goes with the Snapdragon 625, which has a clock speed of 2.0GHz. The system-on-a-chip in the Google Pixel is the Snapdragon 821, and it's a bit faster, with a clock speed of 2.15Ghz.

One of the features of the BlackBerry KEYone that TCL is touting most heavily is the battery life, enabled by a 3,505mAh battery ("the biggest battery ever put into a BlackBerry," the company says). The result is a promise of all-day battery life for the KEYone, though no specific estimate is provided. Google's Pixel battery is significantly smaller, at 2,770mAh, but the company is willing to be a bit more specific about the battery life you can expect from the device – 13 hours on a charge for WiFi or LTE usage. Both devices also include fast-charging capabilities.

RAM, Storage And Camera

The Google Pixel has a bit more to offer in the RAM department, with 4GB, compared to 3GB with the BlackBerry KEYone. The Pixel also has two options for storage, 32GB or 128GB, whereas the KEYone just comes with 32GB. However, the KEYone does feature expandable memory, with an option for a microSD card containing up to 2TB of storage.

For cameras, the KEYone includes a 12-megapixel camera with a Sony IMX378 sensor and other special features, such as phase-detect autofocus and fast focus lock for speedier photo-taking. Google's Pixel camera, with 12.3 megapixels to offer, also includes phase detect auto focus as well as laser detection autofocus for improved photos.

Price And Availability

The good news with the BlackBerry KEYone is that it's the more affordable of the two devices, at $549.99. The bad news is that the phone may be difficult to acquire, as demand has been high following the launch this week, according to TCL. As of this writing, the KEYone site and online outlets such as Best Buy and Amazon indicated that the phone is sold out. "We’re working closely with our retail partners, ensuring additional stock is available ASAP," TCL President Steve Cistulli said in a tweet.

The Google Pixel has had supply issues of its own, though Google's website indicates that the phone is currently available in two of its three colors (silver and black), though not available in blue. The Pixel is priced well above the KEYone, at $649 for the 32GB base model and $749 for the 128GB model.