The BlackBerry brand has been fighting its way back for a while now, and last year the KeyOne from TCL Communication was arguably the first successful attempt at an Android-based phone with the famous BlackBerry keyboard. Today, the KEY2 is announced and we got a few moments hands-on with the new device. The most important takeaway from our time with the KEY2 is that it addresses most of the issues that were brought to light when the KeyOne was reviewed last year (TCL and BlackBerry KeyOne Unlock Serious Feels, GeekDad, September 24, 2017 by Mordechai Luchins).
Features Were Missing From BlackBerry, Not Anymore
This all-new BlackBerry KEY2 smartphone finally includes a dual-rear camera—something that was sorely missing from all previous incarnations of BlackBerry smartphones. The 12MP cameras improve the overall photographic experience with auto white balance, faster autofocus, improved image stabilization, and new photo capture capabilities. Additionally, an optical “superzoom” captures better photos with greater details by utilizing multi-frame capture to reduce noise on zoomed photos. The BlackBerry KEY2 also features Google Lens technology, allowing users to quickly and easily search within photos.
Running the latest Android operating system (8.1 Oreo), the BlackBerry KEY2 also includes the introduction of Speed Key, a universal shortcut key that now makes it possible to instantly access the apps, contacts, and functions you use most from anywhere on your device at any time.
The KEY2 is a substantial step forward in the design of BlackBerry devices, featuring premium materials and refined details including a continuous aluminum frame for added strength and a clean appearance. The display is a 4.5-inch (1620 x 1080) LCD display made of the super-tough Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The soft touch back (that was a fingerprint magnet in the KeyOne) now has a new diamond pattern that adds to the premium design while also adding more grip and comfort.
Delivering an estimated two days of battery life, the KEY2 has added a new Smart Battery Experience that learns from your daily charging habits and recommends when to charge up with the Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 to optimize battery life.
Powered by a Qualcomm 660 Snapdragon processor, the BlackBerry KEY2 has 6GB of memory onboard with 64GB and 128GB storage variants, both with expandable storage through MicroSD support.
World-travelers will be happy to know that a variant with dual SIM capability will be available in some markets.
The enhanced security and privacy features that have been the backbone of BlackBerry smartphones are highlighted in the KEY2, from a hardened operating system to BlackBerry’s proprietary technique for establishing a hardware root to the processor, the BlackBerry KEY2 is the most secure Android smartphone ever. Even including an application that provides an “at a glance” security meter to show how apps access your personal mobile data such as your location, access to your camera, microphone, and more, with active controls over your mobile privacy and safety.
The special “Locker” continues to be an integral part of the BlackBerry security system: providing secure, offline folders, and now including the private Firefox Focus browser. The updated Locker allows applications to be added, ensuring that only approved users can access them as they will not appear on the regular home screen.
Want One? Get Your KEY2
The BlackBerry KEY2 will begin shipping globally beginning this month with the suggested retail price starting at $649 USD. All the details about the all-new BlackBerry KEY2 are available by visiting www.BlackBerryMobile.com, where pre-order registration will be available later this month.