BlackBerry has launched two ‘Made in India’ Android smartphones – the BlackBerry Evolve and Evolve X – with full touch displays. Both these smartphones have been conceptualized, designed, and manufactured in India by Optiemus Infracom, and will be sold ‘exclusively in India’, the company said in New Delhi.
BlackBerry Evolve is the cheaper model of the two. It comes at a price of Rs 24,990 and will be made available through Amazon by the month-end. The BlackBerry Evolve X has been priced at Rs 34,990, and will officially go on sale starting mid-September via Amazon India. Both these smartphones will also be available via other retail channels including offline retail partners later in the year. Hardip Singh, Executive Director, Optiemus Infracom told BGR India, “there’s no fixed time frame for it” yet.
The company is focusing on security now. With the Evolve series, it’s staying focused. Both smartphones run Android 8.1 Oreo out-of-the-box. BlackBerry claims that these are the “Most Secure Android Smartphones” that come with a secure bootloader that uses multi-stage verification on top of Google’s Android security.
We got a chance to chance to checkout the BlackBerry Evolve (on the right below) and Evolve X (on the left below) at the New Delhi event, and here are our initial impressions.
Design and Display
Both BlackBerry Evolve and Evolve X pack the same a 5.99-inch full-HD+ FullView LTPS display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and 1080 x 2160 pixels resolution. BlackBerry says that these include 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection with oleophobic coating for a smudge-free experience.
As for the outer look of these phones, both devices look similar but with a very little difference in design. The chassis of both phones is made of Series 7000 aluminum frame, and these have passed over 8 lakh test cycles in durability test. BlackBerry calls them the “ultra-durable” devices.
Talking about the back, BlackBerry has got its signature textured style rubberized back panel on the Evolve and Evolve X. Having said that, in our limited time with the two devices, we felt that both lack premium feel to it, and especially coming from a brand like BlackBerry, these could have been a little better. We are yet to review the devices, but until then we would like reserve our final comments.
Processor, RAM and Storage
The lower priced variant – BlackBerry Evolve – comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 SoC coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. The little more premium variant, the BlackBerry Evolve X, packs the 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 octa-core SoC coupled with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Both come with a hybrid dual-SIM (Nano+Nano/microSD) slot, which gets the expandable microSD card option (up to 2TB) if you are not using two SIM cards at a time. These also include Dolby surround sound for quality entertainment experience as per BlackBerry.
Cameras and Face Unlock
BlackBerry didn’t let us try the camera on the devices at the launch, since these were prototype models. As for the optics, the BlackBerry Evolve boasts of a dual rear camera setup with 13-megapixel + 13-megapixel sensors with f/2.0 aperture, RGB+Mono mode, and dual tone LED flash. The BlackBerry Evolve X features dual rear camera setup with a 12-megapixel primary sensor with f/1.8 aperture, 1.4-micron pixels, and a 13-megapixel secondary sensor with f/2.6 aperture.
On the front, both Evolve and Evolve X pack the same 16-megapixel with f/2.0 aperture camera with 78-degree wide-angle lens and real-time bokeh mode. Both smartphones support Face Unlock, and BlackBerry says it takes only 0.4 seconds to unlock the device.
Battery and wireless charging
BlackBerry for the first time launched a wireless charger for its devices, however, only the BlackBerry Evolve X supports wireless charging. This wireless charger will be sold separately. As of now, BlackBerry is planning to release it with Evolve X in mid-September, and the pricing will be revealed at that time only.
For the battery, BlackBerry has been very generous this time around and has included a 4000mAh battery under the hood, for both Evolve and the Evolve X. These also support Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0.
Both these BlackBerry devices focus on Android Security more than anything else. During the presentation also, the company said it is not going after the specifications battle. Keeping that in mind, we feel that these two devices will only cater to certain section of buyers. As for our initial impressions, we feel that the price range in which both devices come, the market has grown a lot. Purely on the basis of specifications, both devices do not stand a chance among competition. At 24,990, the Evolve is tad pricey to qualify as an option. For the Evolve X, the competition is from the likes of OnePlus 6 and Asus Zenfone 5Z.
We are still not putting down the two BlackBerry Evolve devices yet, because with BlackBerry, it’s always been experience over specs. Do keep an eye for our final review of the BlackBerry Evolve and BlackBerry Evolve X.