Camera Shootout: BlackBerry KeyOne vs OnePlus 3T vs Apple iPhone 7

If you’re like the average smartphone buyer, the camera on that shiny new device is probably one of the biggest deciding factors on what you go with. There’s nothing wrong with that, either; manufacturers spend more marketing time with the camera than most other pieces of the smartphone, and for good reason. Your phone captures your memories as you hang out with your friends, or watch your kids grow up, or, if you’re like me, way too many pictures of your pets.

So, just to see how things stack up in 2017, let’s pit some cameras from several different parts of the spectrum and see who comes out on top. We’ll have the incredibly affordable OnePlus 3T gunning against the newly released and highly-touted BlackBerry KeyOne, and both of those will be competing with Apple’s premium iPhone 7. That covers several different price points and even operating systems, but breaks away from the same old, same old comparisons you’re used to.

All of these pictures were taken with automatic modes on the default camera software for each phone. There’s no studio magic or photography tricks here, just a simple point and click comparison.

BlackBerry KeyOne

OnePlus 3T

iPhone 7

Outdoor shots are usually the easiest for a smartphone camera to take. They’re bright and have natural lighting, so it’s pretty easy to get good images without doing much work. However, something really interesting happened with our three contends.

From top to bottom you’ll see the KeyOne, OnePlus 3T, and the iPhone 7. The KeyOne and OnePlus 3T look extremely similar, but they’re both considerably warmer than the iPhone 7, with the BlackBerry having the warmest of all the cameras. The iPhone 7 captured a more realistic but cooler shot that almost looks washed out next to the other two photos.

BlackBerry KeyOne

OnePlus 3T

iPhone 7

Other outdoor shots follow that trend. The KeyOne and OnePlus 3T are both noticeably brighter and warmer, but the iPhone 7 is a little more accurate. For some people, that’s going to come down to preference, but check out the road on the iPhone shot; there’s clearly more definition in the pavement than what you see in the other two shots.

OnePlus probably nails the best balance out of the two if you’re looking for something with a little more pop, as the KeyOne gets overly bright. Comparing the red colors in the stop sign make the KeyOne’s colors look pretty unnatural and saturated.

BlackBerry KeyOne

OnePlus 3T

iPhone 7

The KeyOne struggles to keep things from overly saturating again, and the iPhone still manages to take a cooler but accurate picture. The OnePlus 3T remains in the middle.

BlackBerry KeyOne

OnePlus 3T

iPhone 7

Indoor shots are always where things get interesting, and that’s important for anyone interested in a smartphone because you’re realistically going to be taking more indoor pictures than outdoor pictures. However, photos inside have worse lighting conditions that can trip even a great camera up.

The BlackBerry KeyOne snaps a picture that’s better lit than the other two, despite softening the image. It did manage to capture less noise than the other two looking at the black wood in the background of the picture. The OnePlus 3T is similarly bright, while the iPhone is more neutral and sharp on the subject.

BlackBerry KeyOne

OnePlus 3T

iPhone 7

For the last shot, the indoor lighting was turned off, so the room was much dimmer and only had window light coming in from across the room. Definitely not ideal photo conditions.

Oddly enough, the iPhone 7 seemed to take a better picture than it did with the indoor light turned on. It stayed in focus extremely well and captured an excellent amount of detail for the poor lighting situation. The other two phones didn’t do so hot.

The OnePlus 3T managed to capture the image without too much noise, but black levels still got pretty messy and lost a lot of detail in the shadows. The KeyOne made a ton of noise and looked very soft.

It’s always tough to pick a winner, and I’d say the only objectively decisive victory any camera had was the iPhone 7 in the dim lighting conditions. Everything else is very preferential.


What’s your pick for the best camera of the three? Let us know in the comments if you’re siding with BlackBerry, OnePlus, or Apple.


About the Author: Jared Peters

Born in southern Alabama, Jared spends his working time selling phones and his spare time writing about them. The Android enthusiasm started with the original Motorola Droid, but the tech enthusiasm currently covers just about everything. He likes PC gaming, Lenovo's Moto Z line, and a good productivity app.


  • meh…

    Looks like you didn’t use manual controls on either the KEYone or the Oneplus. If you did, you might have come away with a better shot.

  • will

    keyone looks the best

  • https://standavietnam.net/ Lioa

    I love Key One… <3