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Yes, this budget yet classy smartphone from BlackBerry is finally out, but only in Indonesia for now. Those who would want to take their hands on this device can cheer up though, because the BlackBerry Aurora is set to be released outside Indonesia, soon. So, if you’re interested to know how well this phone can deliver, this brief review from TechRadar will give you thoughts whether it’s worth chasing after or not.
First and foremost, the main factor that makes this device attractive is its pricing. Despite carrying the label of a well-known tech brand that caters business solutions to consumers, its price is surprisingly affordable. Currently, in Indonesia it sells for about Rp3,465,670 (that’s P13,100, RM1,117, or SGD 360).
This smartphone is basically aimed at emerging markets, which explains why it isn’t immediately available in other regions. And, it’s least likely to be launched in the US, UK, or Australia. It is possible however that TCL (the company currently responsible for the new BlackBerry smartphones) might create a similar device tailor fit outside Indonesia.
It comes in three different colors: black, gold, and silver. Its standard specs include 32GB storage, 4GB of RAM, 3000mAh battery, 13MP rear camera, and 8MP selfie camera. It’s pricing somehow justifies its overall package, but one might argue that there are better phones in the market today for the same price tag. Despite that, it seems to be doing pretty well in Indonesia and BlackBerry was able to make enough noise to bring its name back in the spotlight again.
Another phone that was launched together with the Aurora is the BlackBerry KEYOne, and early reviews hint that it is as promising as what it’s supposed to be. This one, however, isn’t just limited to the Indonesian market, it’s available for all regions. If you’re simply after the latest BlackBerry device, you might chase after that instead.
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One of BlackBerry’s latest handsets, the Aurora, is packed with mid-range specs and an affordable price tag. It was introduced back in March this year by BlackBerry CEO John Chen. In his video message, he congratulated the manufacturer, BB Merah Putih, on their successful launch of the Aurora and thanked Indonesian customers for their undying support and loyalty.
The Blackberry Aurora sports a textured plastic exterior in gold, black or silver. Unlike its predecessors, it doesn’t wield the QWERTY keyboard. Instead, the things you will see on its front side are the narrow bezels and the 5.5-inch display with a pixel resolution of 720x1280.
In the hardware and software department, the Aurora comes with a Snapdragon 425 processor with 4 cores clocked at 14 GHz and the top-of-the-line Android 7 Nougat. It boasts a 4 GB of RAM, making it on par with high-end flagship models like the LG G6 and the Samsung Galaxy S7. This large amount of RAM is a rare find in most phones at this price range.
The BlackBerry Aurora also boasts a 3,000 mAH battery, which is more than enough to power its decent display. It also has 32 GB of storage that can be extended up to 256 GB using a micro SD card. Like most mid-range handsets, the Aurora is equipped with a 13 MP primary camera and an 8 MP front snapper.
Previously, the handset was only available in Indonesian markets but now users in South East Asia and other parts of the world can preorder the device from online retailers in Indonesia. It costs around 1180 RM (which converts to 381 SGD, 13822 PHP, 2145 HKD). As for its global release, there has been no official confirmation on this yet from BlackBerry and BB Merah Putih. However, it is believed that it might get a wider launch in the near future.
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In an effort to slowly get back on the smartphone competition, the brand BlackBerry kicks it off by dominating subregions instead of an entire one. BlackBerry, in a bid to gain back its glory, launched the first ever Indonesia-made smartphone with the help of PT BB Merah Putih back on March 9, 2017. The device is not just BlackBerry’s first Indonesia-made smartphone, but it’s also their first budget Android handset - the BlackBerry Aurora.
This first ever smartphone manufactured by the PT BB Merah Putih may be a budget device, but it’s nothing near underpowered. It comes equipped with a 13-megapixel rear shooter with a dual-tone LED flash and a competitive front camera with 8-megapixels and a LED flash. It’s safe to say that this phone’s selfie game is strong; the user will have a great Snapchat or Instagram stories experience.
Since it’s basically a smartphone originally made for Indonesians, it’s also designed to fulfill the most common needs of Indonesian customers as it fulfills the requirement of 30% local content (TKDN) for smartphones in Indonesia. It also houses DTEK technology from BlackBerry Limited, which can allow users to track and be notified of any unauthorized activities using the smartphone, from taking a photo or a video, sending text messages, or location access. This feature is a boost in smartphone security which we all need now, not just Indonesian consumers.
And, to make it more appealing, BlackBerry Aurora throws in a dual-SIM capability to attract Indonesians who have more than one phone line. It’s also worth noting that this is the first ever BlackBerry device that sports a dual-SIM feature.
The BlackBerry Aurora has already been launched in Indonesia in March 2017, however, there’s no word yet whether the rest of the world or at least the SEA region will get its hands on it. Despite that, it’s pretty clear that BlackBerry is trying to win their market the best way they deem it possible, and we’re sure to hear and see more from this brand.
BlackBerry’s executive chairman and CEO, John Chen hints that they are just getting started and they’re here to stay!
"BlackBerry is no longer just about the smartphone, but the smart in the phone. Working with trusted partners to extend the reach and availability of our secure mobility software remains a key focus for the Mobility Solutions unit and this joint venture is just one of our next steps in making our software licensing strategy successful."
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Since its announcement, the BlackBerry Aurora has been the talk of the town as fans and enthusiasts alike are eager to know more about this upcoming BlackBerry smartphone. This becomes even more exciting especially when everyone around the world is interested to find out about BlackBerry that plans for a major comeback in a highly contested market.
Thanks to its embedded "Made in Indonesia" label, it appears that the BlackBerry Aurora has been designated for primarily Asian markets. Since BlackBerry Aurora boasts dual-SIM card feature and a 3000mAh battery, they will make the BlackBerry Aurora a perfect device in most Asian countries.
As a matter of fact, the dual-SIM card feature is one notable change that BlackBerry has introduced at the right time when the dual-SIM functionality is the standard feature in Asian market. Furthermore, it is one of the features that people are looking for in that region. As such, this spurs the development of the first ever dual-SIM BlackBerry smartphone in BlackBerry's inventory.
Of course, another amazing thing about this BlackBerry Aurora is that it comes with attractive price tag. In fact, you can get it for AU$260 or USD$192.81 only. After considering its features, it is really a good price that appeals for those that have tight budget plans. Representing the best budget smartphone from BlackBerry, the BlackBerry Aurora can be a successful model that signals the revival of BlackBerry as a dominant force once more.