Getting honest feedback on the new BlackBerry KEY2 required a special kind of insight — two kinds actually.
One from an expert business user and another from someone who uses their device as a day-to-day personal phone. Details of the power and feature-rich KEY2 were covered just after its announcement: BlackBerry KEY2 Is Beautiful, Powerful, and Secure (GeekDad, June 8, 2018) and we were pleased to receive a unit of the KEY2 for this post, all of the options are those of the reviewers.
GeekDad Core Contributor Mordechai Luchins volunteered to be our expert, and his first impressions of the KEY2 were positive. He immediately loved the feel of the phone in hand (lighter than other devices, but not “cheap”), the spacebar fingerprint key and BlackBerry’s highly customized, but not heavily skinned, Android OS. I called in a family member to be our noob for this post and her initial reaction was that the device felt sturdy and clean.
Both of our reviewers sampled the Blackberry Hub and agreed that they would need to get used to it, but it is a great way to centralize alerts and mail into a single stream.
The novice experimented with the substantial Blackberry security features, but hesitated to jump into them as they appeared to be more robust than she would need as an end-user… “my faith in BlackBerry security meant that I didn’t feel the need to run through them. I was more concerned that they would prevent some games from operating — they didn’t.”
Our expert noticed that the screen on the KEY2 was the same as on the KeyOne, but is housed better and feels more solid. Our novice also liked the screen but was initially concerned that the screen was smaller than most current devices; after using the KEY2 for a few days, she realized that without the need for an on-screen keyboard there was arguably more visible screen when typing.
The biggest problem that both of our reviewers had with the KEY2 was that the keyboard was over-sensitive, often causing double letters with a single press (this might have been an issue unique to our review unit, as other reviewers did not seem to have this problem). Mordechai noticed that the software keyboard was active by default, a major waste of screen real estate.
Both reviewers were happy to have a headphone jack, even though both said that the Bluetooth connection seemed to be stronger than other devices they have used.
Of course, the rear-facing dual cameras were a substantial improvement over previous BlackBerry devices, which were missing the dual cameras.
A few more comments from our expert:
- The mappable launcher key on the right side is way too close to the power button and the different texture on the surface of the power button is a good start, but not enough.
- The changes to the keyboard are slight but noticeable and very welcome. Additionally, the new ability to make any key a shortcut that functions in any app is amazing.
Despite a slightly smaller battery than the previous model, the KEY2 still had enough power for a full day (and then some); Mordechai remarked that some of this is because of the older Snapdragon 660 chip, but you don’t notice that as “slow”. Our novice also commented that battery life was good and that the KEY2 did not heat up the way other Android devices have.
The KEY2, boasts 6 GB RAM, double the memory on the KeyOne, meaning more room for applications. Unfortunately, the US model has only 64 GB of storage, additional storage is possible through the microSD but that is well below the typical amount on other premium Android devices.
Both reviewers were a little shy about the KEY2 price of $649 (a full $100 more than the price of the KeyOne). Our novice did compare the cost to her current Samsung, which was slightly higher in price.
Overall, both nerd and noob were quite happy with the BlackBerry KEY2, especially it’s feel in the hand and battery life.
All the details about the all-new BlackBerry KEY2 are available by visiting www.BlackBerryMobile.com, where pre-order registration will be available soon.