being flat, something we’ve not seen on any other phones recently.
The Motion is on the large side, measuring 155.7x75.4x8.1mm with pronounced bezels. The 5.5in screen is just about manageable one handed, but it’s by no means a small device. Luckily you can swipe down on the fingerprint sensor to pull down the notification shade, but it’s not as intuitive as with a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor.
The sensor itself recalls the Galaxy S6 and S7 in that it is a physical button rather than this year’s trend for static sensors. It’s not the fastest unlock mechanism on the market, but a simple placing of your thumb or finger on the sensor wakes the phone promptly.
In my initial use of the phone it has coped pretty well with all tasks considering the mid-range Snapdragon 625 processor found in the KeyOne and the Moto G5 Plus. 4GB RAM certainly helps that, while it has 32GB of expandable storage up to 256GB for all your local media.
The display is a 1920x1080p IPS LCD with 401ppi, and looks vibrant enough, but isn’t the brightest panel out there. Viewing angles are decent but it does struggle a bit in bright sunlight.
Touch responsiveness is decent, and the panel feels more rugged compared to the sometimes flimsy-feeling KeyOne. The Motion has slight light bleed on the top and bottom of the screen
that’s particularly visible when it’s white, but that is commonplace on devices of this price.
You’re tapping directly onto glass that is nanodiamond coated, a world first according to BlackBerry Mobile. It’s therefore not the industry-favourite Gorilla Glass and considering the promise we actually picked up a small scratch on the first day of use.
It feels nicer to use glass though than something like the plastic coated ShatterShield on the Moto Z2 Force, but BlackBerry is saying the Motion’s screen is antiscratch rather than scratch proof, so it just about gets away with it.
The camera is a 12Mp sensor with f/2.0 aperture and a dual LED flash. It’s also great to see 4K video recording at 30fps on a phone that costs under £400.
Results are predictably mixed, with bright sunlight being the optimum shooting condition (image 1). You need a steady hand too, as it’s easy to get blurry shots without realising until you view them enlarged. We also viewed some images on a monitor to find they were better than the Motion’s display suggested.
So, we can’t recommend the Motion’s camera for more than the odd point-and-shoot situation, though it’s perfectly adequate for social media purposes.
One of the headline specs here is the phone’s 4,000mAh battery, and it delivers on the promise of two
days battery life. Charging happens over USB-C and Quick Charge 3, though you have to unlock the phone and select boost mode when you plug in or it won’t charge as fast.
The Motion breezes past three hours screen on time with at least 60 percent battery left, and with medium to heavy use using the phone as my main device, We comfortably got two full working days from the Motion, and only reached for the charger around midday on the third day. And if you’re wondering, yes this is insane.
Of all the phones we’ve tested recently, only the Lenovo P2 can match the Motion for this kind of battery stamina. It is no coincidence that these phones share the same Snapdragon 625 processor, but the P2 oneups with its 5,100mAh battery. The P2 is half the price, but a pain to get hold of in the UK, so the Motion is a fine alternative.
BlackBerry Mobile relentlessly positions its handsets in the business market as productivity tools, and the battery life is a key part of this. But if you are an avid phone user who needs four hours of screen on time out of a single charge for video and music then the Motion is a phone to consider, but the mid-range processor means high level gaming isn’t possible.
Oddly, the Motion refused to run our normal Geekbench 4 benchmark tests (same as the KeyOne) so we ran Antutu and GFXBench tests to compare the Motion’s pure processing speeds to similar devices.
The phone is also IP67 dust and water resistant, the first ever BlackBerry to be so. This means it’ll
handle a downpour or an accidental submersion with no issues. It’s another attractive benefit to picking the Motion over the KeyOne alongside the price and the increase in battery life.
The Motion did hiccup a few times when we flipped between apps, downloaded them, or general tried to multitask like we might on a high-end device. This is to be expected, but as the Motion is £399, it’s creeping towards that arena. The Moto G5 Plus performs very similarly as the benchmarks show, and costs just £199.99. At first glance, it looks like BlackBerry is charging £100 extra for the physical keyboard of the KeyOne, meaning unless you’re absolutely set on that slice of typing nostalgia, the new Motion will save you money and not compromise on any other specs.
Connectivity and extras
Call quality is good, with a speaker that gets more than loud enough, and we used Bluetooth headphones and a Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro with no trouble over Bluetooth 4.2. Android Pay (and other functions) are a go with NFC, too. Also welcome are the included headphones. They are above-average, in-ear buds in a slick black, but like the fingerprint sensor have unsubtle BB branding.
The BlackBerry Motion ships with Android 7.1.2, and BlackBerry Mobile has confirmed it will receive Oreo ‘in the new year’ which is incredibly open-ended, but good to hear. As with its previous Android devices, BlackBerry’s skin over Google’s stock UI is utilitarian unlike the playful versions found on OnePlus and even Samsung devices, but you may well prefer this.
We enjoyed the widget features where you swipe up on an app to quick-view your widget of choice right on