back to article BlackBerry Motion: The Phone That Won't Die

The oddly named "Motion" – not an odd word, just an odd choice – is BlackBerry Mobile's second phone as a new venture, a quasi-startup housed within Chinese giant TCL. It's a hefty slab of durable, full-touch, midrange metal modelled after a Scandinavian industrial workshop. You may be wondering what's the point? A BlackBerry …

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Motion

Two possible explanations:

Motion because it's genuinely mobile and you can take it away from base without worry.

Motion because the battery life obviously craps on almost everything else.

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Joke

Re: Motion

No, it's toilet humour. Somebody from the Carry On team is now working in marketing.

First the Priv, now the Motion.

Next the Kasi, with the robustness of the brick-built.

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Re: Motion

Two possible explanations:

Motion because it's genuinely mobile and you can take it away from base without worry.

Motion because the battery life obviously craps on almost everything else.

Third reason:

Blackberry were originally called Research in Motion or RIM for short.

I expects its a mixture of all of the above!

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Trollface

Re: AMBxx

First the Priv, then the motion

2018: the Blackberry Wipe

2019: the Blackberry Stand

2020: the Blackberry Pull Your Pants Up

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Re: Motion

Or because they used to be known as 'Research In Motion'?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Motion - Or because they used to be known as 'Research In Motion'?

Which an unkind person could interpret as "going through the motions" or, as has been happening for several years, wading through shit looking for something valuable.

(I like the BlackBerry hub, this isn't simply snark.)

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Re: Motion

There is also the KEYone. I am using the KEYone. I moved up from the PRIV. I like the KEYone very much. Has some improvements. The battery life with the KEYone is terrific.

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So...

Could 'Blackberry' have found it's new niche?

Good enough phones which can take on the Duracell Bunny? This could actually be a smart move as it will fit a sizable group of people that are fed-up with needing to charge the phone every night to avoid it running out on the afternoon of day 2 and is still able to do everything they need and some more beyond?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So...

For a second there I skimmed that as "taking Duracell batteries" and assumed you were suggesting a phone that ran on off-the-shelf alkaline AAs. (#)

Then again, you probably want a "D" battery for something that demanding- I'd love to see phone manufacturers forced to use them as mandated standard replaceable batteries purely to see how fast Steve Jobs would spin in his grave at the disastrous effect it would have on the iPhone's sleek lines. ;-)

(#) Probably not a good idea to try running it on 15-for-a-quid-at-Poundland zinc chloride batteries.

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Re: So...

a phone that ran on off-the-shelf alkaline AAs

I had one of those back in 1999 / 2000 or so. It was a Motorola with big rubbery keys and had a rechargeable pack, but if you took it out four AAs would fit in instead. Unfortunately they wouldn't stay in unless you had the fractionally deeper optional backplate. In an emergency you ended up holding the phone very carefully and hoping the batteries wouldn't fall out in the middle of a call.

As for capacity, with NiMH AAs these days coming near to 3000mAh (low self-discharge are lesser capacity), four of them (4.8V) would probably just about match a 4000 mAh LiOn (3.7V) for energy.

M.

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Re: So...

The battery life alone makes me want to see one in action. The one thing I am so totally sick to death of now is watching an iPhone draining power and having to remember to charge the phone at work, just in case I need to (heavens forbid) actually use it to make a call.

RIM could do worse than advertise it as "It can recharge your iPhone AND still have 30 hours spare!"

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Re: So...

My keyONE lasts 2 days easily, or 3 if I do not use it much. It comes with 3.5Ah battery. So yes, it might be the niche for Blackberry to fill.

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Re: So...

I have the KEYone. It runs on Android. The battery lasts a lot longer than most other smart phones.

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Demanding apps to test battery life

How about a few tests with apps that hammer battery, e.g. Ingress, Pokemon Go with heavy GPS and SIM data use when out and about, especially in poor signal areas where you can almost feel the battery drain .

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Re: Demanding apps to test battery life

Do people still play Pokémon Go?

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Re: Demanding apps to test battery life

Plenty of people spending time on Pokemon Go whilst waiting at the train station in the hope of a train ever arriving - though amount of people playing it seems to have decreased a lot from peak craze times it still seems to have number one usage slot in battery killing AR apps.

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Facepalm

Re: Do people still play Pokémon Go?

One tool here in Vancouver was just ticketed for doing that while driving (over $350).

"But I wasn't texting!"

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"It's a while since we saw a phone that either packed in a 4,000mAh battery, or could comfortably last two days, or both."

I use a Moto E4 Plus, new this year. Has a 5000 mah battery. Takes SD card. Android Nougat. Best bang for buck £150. Downsides: Can't use for strava because it will not stay awake, regardless of what settings are used. No compass, which is a pain when navigating on foot or trying to get bearings. Sometimes dodgy bluetooth pairing. PITA bug that if you set mobile to be 3g only, you can't set it back to 4g without some weird fernagling. Fingerprint sensor - isn't the best. Moto stuff isn't well integrated. I wish manufacturers would just give up on trying to write decent applications. They just usually do a half arsed job.

However, it won't get anywhere near the same number of updates the Blackberry will, and I am a hub user anyway, and I have more faith in Blackberry regarding security updates. For that reason alone, I will be getting a blackberry Motion. I staved off the Keyone because I got addicted to larger batteries.

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Isn't the Motion basically a Moto Play Z (not Z2) with 12% more battery (3.5k vs 4k mAh)?

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Actual testing would be nice

"It's a while since we saw a phone that... could comfortably last two days, or both."

I've never had a phone that couldn't easily last that long. It all depends on what you do with it. This is why competent reviews do actual objective tests instead of the bollocks listed here of "I read some papers for an undefined time then listened to a bit of music". Loop video until it dies, run satnav, play a game (multiple games), and so on - there are plenty of ways to do standardised tests that allow useful comparison between products. Obviously I gave up expecting competence from Orlowski long ago, but it would be nice if he could at least pretend to have some clue from time to time.

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Re: Actual testing would be nice

Seriously personal attack there, 'Cuddles'! Bearing in mind that those objective tests don't really give you an indication of how it will ultimately work, and it doesn't give you an idea on how well the radio functions drain the battery. Personally, I suspect that AO's phone gets a lot of real world use.

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Re: Actual testing would be nice

@cuddles

That means you aren't the average phone user, nor the target market.

Well done.

The rest you could have easily kept to yourself, don't be an asshat.

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Re: Actual testing would be nice

Would have been fun/useful to see how well it fared playing Candy Crush. I spent a journey into work playing that on my Galaxy S3 mini. Started off with 95% battery and finished up at work with 12% left. I deleted it shortly after that.

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Playing Candy Crush

You had nice warm hands though!

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Re: Actual testing would be nice

@m0rt: I agree re the unnecessary personal attack but other than that he's right. Most newer phones, when exhibited to a similar low demand usage, will manage 2 days or more. Heck, my current iPhone SE manages 2.5 days with a similar use profile, and this phone has a measly 1624mAh battery. Same with my old BlackBerry Passport (3450mAh battery). It tells you pretty much nothing how long the phone lasts when actually doing stuff with it.

You wrote that you suspect Andrew's phone gets a lot of real world use. Well, it won't, because for pretty much every user 'real world use' is something completely different. That's why credible reviewers use certain tests to find out how long the phone will last doing certain tasks, because contrary to your statement this does actually tell you how long the phone will most likely perform in your own use scenario. For example, if a phone say lasts 5 hrs playing back videos and 3hrs playing a demanding game then you know that per hour video you'll use approx 20% battery capacity and per hour of playing roughy 33% per hour. And from that it's pretty easy to calculate the drainage for your personal use case.

The article could pass as a first hands-on review, but it's far from being a credible test.

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Re: Playing Candy Crush

You had nice warm hands though!

That's true!

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Hmm...

I'm debating what to get when my iPhone 6+ finally dies and I think it's between this, the Yotaphone (presuming they still exist) and the iPhone SE. Probably have to be the SE because FaceTime, though :(

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Anonymous Coward

That's a good way to kill a Lithium rechargeable battery

Running the battery down beyond 25% ... that's a good way to kill a Lithium rechargeable battery. Keep doing that, and slowly but surely the capacity will diminish. After a while, it'll be 1.5 days, then 1 day, then 1/2 day.... nothing good happens when Lithium batteries are constantly run down below 50% before recharging. Keep them charged above 50%, recharge every night, and Lithium batteries last for years and years and years. [Posting anonymously so that the electronic co's can't track me down and silence me .. .they're making lotso-dough out of selling replacements, both of batteries & electronics with dying batteries.]

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Re: That's a good way to kill a Lithium rechargeable battery

Running the battery down beyond 25% ... that's a good way to kill a Lithium rechargeable battery.

I keep hearing comments like this, and the matching "never charge above 90%", and I'm sure there must be some truth to it, but I have used Lithium-based batteries for years by treating them in a similar way to the way I used to treat Nickel-based batteries, and have never noticed accelerated ageing. My mobile phones are always charged to 100% and then discharged to maybe 10% - my Moto G is nearly 4 years old and I'm charging it right now, having last charged it on Friday evening (but I use it for phonecalls and texts mainly).

My EeePC (though it's been out of use for some months now) could still hold 5 or 6 hours of charge last time I used it, and that is nine years old.

Lithium batteries do apparently have a limited capacity for "recharge cycles" when compared with older NiCd and NiMH technologies - ISTR in the early days of Lithium phone batteries it was claimed to be just a few hundred cycles rather than a thousand or more. If this is still true, then someone who uses their device heavily and recharges it every day could easily run into problems after just a year or so, whereas I - recharging my phone probably on average once every five days - haven't yet had problems.

What absolutely does kill Lithium batteries, in my experience, is keeping them "topped up". I've seen plenty of examples of laptops with new batteries, used mainly at a desk and plugged in that when taken out die from lack of charge in ridiculously short times. We bought a new battery for a laptop at work and once we'd charged it up a couple of times it lasted a good three hours or so. However, it subsequently spent a year mostly sat on a desktop, plugged in. Next time we needed it to work on battery it lasted about 30 minutes.

M.

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Re: That's a good way to kill a Lithium rechargeable battery

There are so many conflicting claims about how to use LiON batteries I just don't worry about it. If you followed all the rules you'd never get to use your device!

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Re: That's a good way to kill a Lithium rechargeable battery

So to clarify, you must only ever artificially restrict yourself to using less than 50% of the capacity of a battery, to stop the battery capacity reducing?

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Re: That's a good way to kill a Lithium rechargeable battery

"Running the battery down beyond 25% ... that's a good way to kill a Lithium rechargeable battery."

No, it's not. It's complete nonsense. Yes, Lithium-based rechargeable batteries lose most of their capacity when discharged too deeply but pretty much every device will switch off long before that point arrives.

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Re: That's a good way to kill a Lithium rechargeable battery

"No, it's not. It's complete nonsense."

I'm not sure. As I understand it the life of a lithium battery really works out at so many full charge/discharge cycles. If you recharge it at around 70-80%, you might get a much longer life than if you recharge at 25%, but the total charge passed through the battery is roughly the same in both cases.

I've trained my wife to do this with her little Sony phone and after two and a half years the battery shows no signs of loss of capacity. Anecdotal, I admit.

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Re: That's a good way to kill a Lithium rechargeable battery

It really depends on when the battery management decides the cell is at 0% and cuts off. If it does that a 3V, then the cell will be fine. 2.5V (or even 2.4V) and we are in damage territory.

The problem is that in order to get 4 stars for battery life from new the pressure will be to suck all of the available juice from the cell to get that rating.

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Screen on time!

Battery life is all well and good but to objectively compare, we need to know the screen on time - i.e. the amount of time the phone was physically being used.

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Agreed, testing needs to be more rigorous and standardised than this; I had a phone a few years ago that wouldnt last a single day in or around my home town, but lasted 10 days in Moscow - because Moscow had decent cell coverage, and the phone wasnt running full power trying to get a signal.

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Thumb Up

i would miss the keyboard on this one. i just switched from samsung galaxy s7 (which was not too bad) to a keyone a few weeks ago and could not be happier with it.

biggest plus: no bloatware on blackberry, and the few apps that do come preinstalled can be removed if i'd want to (the samsung had facebook preinstalled as a system app, so it couldn't be fully removed). the lack of bloatware is noticeable in battery performance (or maybe it just has a bigger battery?), it can easily go for 2-3 days without charging.

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What carried over from Blackberry to make this phone? It wasn’t the keyboard... Is it running stock Android?

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DTEK, the few apps (hub, calendar, keyboard etc which are still good, but not a patch on the original BBos10 versions) and the regular security updates.

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Stock-ish. They run the GR-Security Linux kernel. That's the one which is causing a certain amount of friction between Linux/GPL purists and GR (who serve people like BlackBerry that simply want an OS without a long list of known vulnerabilities).

Couple that with a secured boot loader, and it's still pretty solid, and they may have been able to carry over some of their cryptographic accreditations too (or at least be using the same libraries). AFAIK no one has managed to root BlackBerry's version of Android yet.

Their soft keyboard is very good (in my humble opinion). That's on their Android.

Hub is pretty darned good - though I think the deeper integration that was achieved on BB10 will be something that I'll miss.

Otherwise it seems to be a pretty stock Android experience. That is a good thing - it's easier to keep up with the deltas between Android versions.

Lost Forever

You may already know of the following - this'll serve as a record of what we once had as much as anything else...

BlackBerry Travel is a thing not carried over; in fact it's gone from BB10 too. It was a BB-branded front end for Worldmate, and for the seriously busy traveller it was very good; sorted out your flights, hire car and hotels for you, and coordinated with your colleagues too. Many a busy traveller swore by BB Travel for, well, a decade or more.

Worldmate has shut up shop rather than try and compete against Google (who, as is typical, have waded in to the travel market with an inferior but ubiquitous effort. Try booking hotels, flights, and hire car all in one smooth action with Google..).

Another thing that has gone, probably for good alas, is BlackBerry Balance. On BB10 this was effectively a multi-level security system that was the neatest solution to the BYOD problem I've ever seen. It is significantly better than Samsung KNOX. It was perfect for keeping both the User and Company happy. It suffered from being a concept that was pretty hard to grasp. Being BB10 only meant that there wasn't an Android / iOS equivalent to educate the world. There's very little possibility of doing something so rigorously developed as Balance on top of Linux, or iOS.

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Amazon now handles Blackberry apps. To actually use the app, you have to be logged-in to Amazon "service".

Hmm ...

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Sorry what?

Think you will find it is google play as standard. Amazon was used as a default on the BBOS10 devices.

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Hi M0rt,

Sorry for my confusion. After a long absence, I fired up my Z30 blackberry. I happened to select Amazon APPS icon - which led me to their services.

I had forgotten about Blackberry World. Apps are still there, and there are no restrictions.

Again, sorry for my bit of FUD, and your correction.

Up, up and away - JellyBean :-)

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Anonymous Coward

"A slightly rubbery rear for better grip"

I knew a girl like that once

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "A slightly rubbery rear for better grip"

You're Roy Moore and I claim my $500 Confederate.

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Big Brother

Inscrutable

The PLA have been doing good work on making their myriad Android back-doors energy efficient!

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Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Global Edition

Same Snapdragon 625 processor, a 4100mAh battery and MIUI 9 - easily capable of getting into 3 days between charges and would appear to be what the BB Motion is shooting at. The Redmi is available for just over quarter the price though!

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Re: Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Global Edition

I just ordered a Blackview BV8000 Pro - MediaTek P25 (which is faster than the SD625), 4180mAh battery, 6GB RAM, 64GB flash, 5" FHD screen, IP68, Dual SIM, Android 7 with regular updates, all for GBP220. From what I gather 3 days should be possible with light use. Plus the phone seems to be built like a tank.

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Anonymous Coward

I once wanted a career at BlackBerry...

But then I realized I'd have to tell everybody that I got a RIM job for a living.

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