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BlackBerry DTEK50 vs ASUS Zenfone 3: security or glamour?

|November 9, 2016 |Android Phones, Asus, Blackberry, Comparisons

"We test out the recently launched mid-ranger from BlackBerry against the ASUS Zenfone 3"

BlackBerry recently launched the DTEK50 (first impressions) and the DTEK60 (first impressions) in India and with that, brought about a huge change to its mobile business. Going forward, the company will sit on the sidelines and let third-party manufacturers take charge of the hardware side of things of its smartphones. Both the DTEK50 and the DTEK60 have a lot riding on their shoulders, which is why, we decided to compare the lower-end DTEK50 with ASUS’s Zenfone 3 (review), one of the most popular devices in the same price range. Curious to see how it fared? Well, read on to find out.

Display and Design

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Unlike the Priv (first impressions) which featured a sliding QWERTY keyboard and a curved display, BlackBerry didn’t try anything fancy with the DTEK50 and encased the smartphone in a plastic body. Although the plastic body of the DTEK50 feels comfortable enough to hold, the device doesn’t feel premium enough. The unorthodox button placement of the smartphone is a thing to be wary of as well. The ASUS Zenfone 3 on the other hand, is one of the most beautiful looking smartphones in this price bracket. The device makes use of a mix of glass and metal in its construction and is easily a much better-looking smartphone than the DTEK50. While the Zenfone 3 comes with a fingerprint sensor on the back, the same is not present on the DTEK50, which is strange given that the latter is supposed to be more security oriented.

Talking about the displays of the two devices, both the smartphones come equipped with 5.2-inch full HD display panels with the DTEK50 getting an extra layer of anti-smudge coating on top.

Performance, Storage and Software

ASUS ZenFone 3_3

The BlackBerry DTEK50 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor which comes with four high performance cores clocked at 1.5GHz and four battery efficient cores clocked at 1.3GHz. ASUS on the other hand, uses a newer Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor which makes use of faster core frequencies than the Snapdragon 617 chip. Naturally, the GPU rendering graphics on the Zenfone 3 (Adreno 506) is also more capable than the one found on the BlackBerry DTEK50 (Adreno 405). Both the smartphones come equipped with 3GB of RAM.

In terms of storage, the DTEK50 comes with 16GB of on board memory compared to the 32GB storage capacity found on the Zenfone 3. Fortunately, buyers won’t be limited to just what the phones ship with as both smartphones support microSD cards for expansion of storage up to 2TB.

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On the software side of things, the DTEK50 can be seen running a near stock version of Android Marshmallow. The device, however comes with a ton of security features. For instance, users can see which apps are using what services and to what extent. The device also notifies the user everytime the microphone or the camera of the device is being used by some service or app. The Zenfone 3 on the other hand, skins Android Marshmallow with its Zen UI 3.0. The UI is a bit heavy and comes with a ton of bloatware, but does pack some nifty features too.

Camera, Battery and Connectivity

ASUS ZenFone 3_5

In the camera department, the DTEK50 can be seen with a pair of 13MP and 8MP sensors on the back and the front respectively. On the contrary, the Zenfone 3 brings a bigger 16MP rear facing sensor to the table and an 8MP front facing shooter for selfies. While a bigger sensor doesn’t necessarily translate into better imaging quality, the Zenfone 3’s camera is a fairly capable one and the extra pixels might tip the balance in the Taiwanese smartphone maker's favour. However, the front facing camera of the BlackBerry DTEK50 does come equipped with an LED flash, making it a better selfie companion. 

Fuelling the DTEK50 is a 2,610mAh battery and while some might think that the back panel of the smartphone might be removable owing to the plastic build, the same is not the case here. The ASUS Zenfone 3 on the other hand, packs a slightly bigger 2,650mAh battery. For connectivity, the DTEK50 offers users just a single SIM card slot while the Zenfone 3 allows users to insert two SIM cards in it. The rest of the connectivity features are pretty standard with both smartphones supporting 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth etc.

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So, what’s the conclusion? Well, unless you are a hardcore BlackBerry fan or are enticed by the prospect of better security, it doesn’t make sense to buy the DTEK50. While the smartphone does bring some nifty software features, it gets ousted other departments like the camera, performance and looks.

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