The BlackBerry DTEK50's hardware is almost irrelevant, as the magic lies in the software.
Pleasing screen, camera provides good results, hardened security, price
Unremarkable design, so-so performance, confusing button placement, poor battery life
Hardware and performance
At this point we know what we're getting. The Alcatel Idol 4 was never going to win prizes for its performance, so unsurprisingly the BlackBerry DTEK50 has middle-of-the-road innards.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 chipset muddles along just fine with its four 1.5GHz cores and four 1.2GHz cores. It is rounded off with 3GB of RAM and an Adreno 405 for graphics.
GeekBench 3 was unable to provide us with test results owing to a server error, but the phone returned a score of 4,558 in PCMark and 41,792 in Antutu. The poor Antutu result was the first indication that the DTEK50 might be in trouble, especially when compared with the Moto G4's 44,968 (a phone that costs half as much).
Moreover, for a little bit extra the Vodafone Smart Platinum 7 scores 82,366 and provides a more powerful engine room overall. We realise that benchmarking isn't an exact science, but you've got to take notice if most signs point to a device that underperforms.
Both of these scores are uncomfortably high and didn't budge despite repeated tests.
Performance was unsurprisingly split. The BlackBerry DTEK50 runs adequately for the most part and handled everyday tasks with ease, but there were moments when things inexplicably froze.
This occurred most often after an intensive bout of gaming, or activities that put a lot of strain on resources (there is a question here about whether the DTEK50's prospective customers are gamers, but we'll leave that for another day). Closing the offending app fixed the problem, but the handset heated up to unwelcome levels at times.
One of the early things that stuck out about the DTEK50 was the 5.2in IPS LCD panel. It has a Full HD resolution (1920x1080) equating to a super sharp 424ppi.
There's a good level of clarity and, while it's not eye-poppingly bright, it's not as muted as some 2016 handsets that have passed our desk. Even under the hotchpotch of office lights we found viewing angles to be top notch.
The display is protected with Dragontrail glass, in addition to an oleophobic coating that BlackBerry said makes it harder for thieves to identify your PIN from fingerprint marks.
Security and privacy are obviously the bigger draws here, but there's a 13MP rear-facing camera should you feel the need to indulge in some surveillance of your own.
The rear snapper has an f/2.0 aperture, phase detection autofocus and dual-LED flash, and there's an 8MP sensor on the front. The camera app benefits from a fresh look and feel, and functionality is right at your fingertips.
There's a manual mode that allows focus adjustments and control over shutter speed, white balance, and brightness (exposure compensation). Instagram fans will enjoy the selection of filters.
In our test shots we were pleased to observe a palette rich in colour, and under bright natural light our scenes weren't left overexposed but instead crammed full of detail.
The only negative is the absence of OIS which makes macro photography a bit of a hit and miss affair.