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Hands on BlackBerry DTEK60 vs Google Pixel

By January 2, 2017Overview, Video
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Google took the Android front by storm when they released the Pixel devices. Taking control of the Android experience is something that was probably a long time coming. A few months before the launch of the Pixel, BlackBerry released the DTEK60, packing high-end specifications into some of the best hardware we’ve ever seen. We compared the flagship specs of the top smartphones from Samsung, BlackBerry and Apple in a separate post. This post however is about the DTEK60 and Google Pixel, and which we feel is the better option for potential buyers.

I’ve been using the Google Pixel and DTEK60 on and off for a few weeks. I even ended up on a BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition for a couple weeks. Before this, I’ve used BlackBerry’s Priv, and DTEK50 devices as well as a Samsung S7 Edge. Suffice it to say I’ve been all over the Android and BlackBerry realms and have a pretty good grasp on the devices I’m about to compare.

To me and many buyers, one of the most important factors is price, and the DTEK60 wins this category. Pixel XL (at its base configuration), which is the same size as the DTEK60, costs $769.00 before taxes. Comparatively, the DTEK60 is only $499 before taxes. That means these two devices are nearly $270 in price variance. I’ll swing back on the price importance later.

For others out there, the camera is the most important factor when buying a smartphone. I can say without a doubt that the Pixel has a far superior camera and software combo, which on paper you wouldn’t believe because the Pixel has a 12MP camera and the DTEK60 has a 21MP camera. Megapixels are not everything, and while the DTEK60 can take some phenomenal shots, it doesn’t compare to Pixel. Here are two shots with both devices in good lighting:

What you see is that the DTEK60 shot is totally usable and, for most, very pleasing. With the Pixel however, you get a sharper image with better dynamic range and faster focusing. While the DTEK60 can produce larger images, there’s more noise in low light areas of the shot and it’s a bit over exposed. To camera snobs, this matters; to a general user who needs to snap some usable pictures here and there, both are absolutely usable. I will say that the DTEK60 has a rather large camera hump on the back of the phone, while the Pixel has none at all. There’s a saying in photography that the best camera is the one you have on you. If I was stuck with either of these phones, I’d be content. However, overall I prefer the Pixel camera physically as well as in the images it can produce. One last example shot for your eyes. You be the judge:

Next up is build – and probably one of the most controversial sections in this write up. The Pixel has a textured power button, glass backplate and a unibody brushed aluminum design. Overall, it’s grown on me a lot. But then I pick up the DTEK60 and realize my preference. I’ll say that the build quality and design on both phones is great. The DTEK60 however seems to have more character to it, while also feeling more premium in the hand. The gently sloping edges of the screen meet the brushed aluminum and you get good delineation and contrasts. It’s more eye-catching than the rather dull Pixel. DTEK60 has an Earth Silver color that I’m not fond of and I prefer the gunmetal dark grey of the Pixel.

I cannot however argue that the build of the Pixel feels superior. Pixel looks like an iPhone clone and that’s not something I jive with. The DTEK60 looks a bit more like a Samsung in terms of the build and, while each is unique in their own way, I actually gravitate toward the build of the DTEK60. The metal and glass combo really works for me aesthetically. DTEK60 has great stereo speakers that shoot audio front and back. It also supports a microSD card slot for expandable storage up to 2 TB. Also, DTEK60 has a convenience key. Overall, I’d say the DTEK60 is built to be more versatile, while the Pixel is built to rely heavily on software to supplement what the hardware lacks. The downward facing speakers and lack of expandable storage really make the Pixel a letdown in the hardware department.

We’ve covered price, camera and build on each of these devices. Ultimately, the best choice comes down to your needs and uses. I recommend the DTEK60 over the Google Pixel and the main reason is the price difference. For what you get on Pixel, you’re not getting enough to warrant the premium, at least right now anyway. Over time as Google fleshes out their Pixel software, it may prove the better investment. But damn, the DTEK60 is such a bargain for a flagship device. Sure, you could get a Oneplus 3T and save even more money, but you won’t get dedicated monthly security updates, or any of the other software hardening and productivity benefits that BlackBerry has baked into this device. The hardware is modern with USB Type-C, a decently sized battery at 3,000 mAh and, overall, a better design. BlackBerry continues to partner smart and TCL put up some great hardware all around, which HTC (maker of the Pixel) should really take into account. You get better value for your dollar with the DTEK60, while Google’s Pixel feels like an expensive compromise. It tries too hard to be like the iPhone in terms of simplicity that it undermines the return for early buyers. Pixel is a little faster, has a better camera and bigger battery but you get what you pay for. I believe with the DTEK60 you get more than you pay for and then some.

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James Nieves

Author James Nieves

Manning the helm here @BBRYFLOW. Feel free to shoot me an email.

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  • Alan

    Save money and why not! Nothing compelling about the Pixel over the Deteck60. Nice video James.

  • xBURK

    Great video. Definitely like both phones, but would pick the Dtek60. Not surprisingly though. I’m a BlackBerry freak.