We were impressed by the KEYone last year. Now, TCL Communication, the BlackBerry-brand licensing partner, has announced the KEY2. They say the KEY2 is “the most advanced BlackBerry smartphone yet”.
There is still plenty of love for the BlackBerry physical keyboard. Furthermore, there is still plenty of reasons to take advantage of BlackBerry Limited’s security and privacy enhancements.
The great news is that this all-new BlackBerry smartphone packs a number of features that are firsts for any BlackBerry smartphone too.
Following on from the handy shortcut features on the previous phones, the new device includes the introduction of Speed Key. This is a universal shortcut key that hands you instant access to the apps, contacts and functions you use most from anywhere on your device at any time.
Design and quality
It is great to see that the KEY2 retains the build quality of its predecessor. You get a Series 7 aluminium frame and updated soft touch back that features a new diamond pattern. This gives the phone a premium look and feel. Moreover, it makes it comfortable to use as well as a giving it more grip.
The 4.5-inch touch display is protected by 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass and creates a more seamless design and edge to edge look.
Arguably the biggest USP of the KEY-series phones is their QWERTY board. This has been given special attention and we are told that the evolved keyboard has been improved to make on the go typing more immediate and effortless. Firstly, key height on the BlackBerry KEY2 has been increased by 20% for more accurate typing. The keys have also been treated to a new matte finish and fret design for optimised key spacing.
You also get an in-keyboard fingerprint scanner with updated mechanics.
The new Speed Key enables shortcut access to a number of functions at any time. No longer do you have to return to the home screen or search in an app folder to access your most used apps, contacts and functions. Just press Speed Key along with any of your customisable 52 shortcuts to instantly access your favourite features or call your top contacts. Naturally, flick typing for faster messaging is still present. You can also still use the keyboard as a trackpad to quickly scroll through emails, web pages and more.
Under the hood
Starting off with the BlackBerry’s great stamina, the KEY2 offers up to two days battery life.
Also on offer is 6GB of memory as well as a choice of 64GB and 128GB storage variants. Both can be expanded via MicroSD support.
This is all powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor. This bundles in Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 (via its USB-C port) as well as a new Smart Battery Experience. This learns from your daily charging habits and recommends when to charge up.
Around the rear of the phone you’ll find a pair of 12MP cameras. Software takes care of auto white balance, faster auto focus, improved image stabilisation and new photo capture experiences such as Portrait Mode and Optical Superzoom.
With Portrait Mode, you can now capture beautiful portrait photos creating more dramatic and professional looking images.
In addition, Optical Superzoom makes it possible to capture better photos with greater details from further away. The Superzoom uses multi-frame capture to reduce noise on zoomed photos. Finally, BlackBerry KEY2 also integrates Google Lens. This enables you to quickly and easily search and get more information on things such as book reviews simply by capturing a picture of the book’s cover. This also includes details of landmarks, and such.
The company are confident that the BlackBerry KEY2 is the most secure Android smartphone.
It comes preloaded with DTEK by BlackBerry that provides an ‘at a glance’ security meter. This shows the overall security rating of your device and provides a simple way to view how apps may be accessing your data and manage app permissions. The app also now includes a Proactive Health check feature, which enables you to scan your device and receive instant feedback on potential vulnerabilities and security optimisations.
Locker has also been improved to offer even greater personal privacy and control over your content.
The BlackBerry KEY2 is also part of the Google-led Android Enterprise Recommended program. This means that business users can buy with confidence knowing they’re getting the most secure Android smartphone experience possible.
Alain Lejeune, Senior Vice President, TCL Communication and President, BlackBerry Mobile stated
Although there are many different smartphones for consumers to choose from today, most tend to offer very similar experiences without much distinction from one to the next. With the introduction of BlackBerry KEY2, we’ve created a distinct smartphone that captures all the traits that have made BlackBerry smartphones iconic, while introducing new innovations and experiences that not only make this one of the best devices for security and privacy, but also the most advanced BlackBerry smartphone ever.”
Alex Thurber, SVP and GM of Mobility Solutions at BlackBerry, added
BlackBerry phones are the world’s most secure Android smartphones. We design them for security from the inside out and we’re proud to partner with TCL Communication on the launch of their all-new BlackBerry KEY2. BlackBerry has been iterating and perfecting our approach to mobile security for decades, and we’re excited to have this new genuine, modern BlackBerry smartphone available for our fans around the world to enjoy.”
Price and availability
The BlackBerry KEY2 will begin shipping globally this month with the suggested retail price starting at £579 / €649.
For more information about the all-new BlackBerry KEY2 and to register for pre-order updates, please visit www.BlackBerryMobile.com.