Yes, Blackberry are still around.  Yes, Blackberry still have physical keyboards and yes I know you thought they disappeared back in 2008!  But, in a sea of generic rectangular devices, with very little between them, Blackberry is, and looks, different.  Which is good!  They have stuck to what they do best; keys and Security.

 

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Blackberry Key2

If you didn’t know how or why Blackberry devices still exist, it’s very simple.  They still have a user base.  A big user base!  They are built for a more specific market and their purpose is clear; to work for the enterprise and business users.  The hardware is now made by Chinese firm TCL and the software is Android.

The KeyOne, which I reviewed last year, was a return to form for Blackberry and their selected hardware manufacturers.   It was made for only a select few users; those who still prefer a physical keyboard and those business users who live on their device! But this is not a bad thing! Yes it probably limited the amount of units they would sell, focusing on such a niche, but at least they knew what they wanted and went for it!

Blackberry have now returned with the Key2, which they say, is an improved KeyOne based on user feedback!

 

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Features

So what are the changes this time around, I hear you ask? Well, the most noticeable are the keyboard, camera and physical appearance.

The keyboard is more user-friendly with 20% larger Matt coated keys. To this day I would argue the best device ever made was the 9900, and many comments from the launch event are likening the new Key2 keyboard to that of its much older predecessor. This is great news if so!

While the physical keyboard remains, so does its modern-day functions! If you don’t want to use they keys it can double up as a trackpad, just like a laptop! Flick Type returns to speed up long messages and the space bar once again conceals the finger print scanner.

I was dubious about this on the KeyOne, how could such a slim button provide a decent scan when many of the full fingered round buttons on other devices sometimes let you down? Well, the Blackberry scanner works very well indeed!

Finally on the improved Keyboard is an all new button for a Blackberry device; the Speed Key!  A customisable button that gives you up to 52 shortcuts to functions and apps!

 

“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.”Alain Lejeune, Senior Vice President, TCL Communication & President, BlackBerry Mobile

 

The main rear camera has been given a welcome boost with an additional lens.  The new Dual 12MP lens promises to bring better image quality along with, what many would consider standard by now, functions such as Portrait Mode and Optical Superzoom.  It can also record 4k Video at 30fps.

 

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The screen size remains the same as the KeyOne as a 4.5″ diagonal display but, sadly, is still LCD!  I understand this is probably to keep production costs down and help support the quoted Two Day Battery life, but any LCD used next to a device with an AMOLED display provokes a huge amount of screen envy!  The top bezel has been reduced in size so the screen can move up and make way for the larger keys below.

Security is Blackberry’s calling card though, and with the Key2 they are, once again, claiming this model to be the most secure Android smartphone available!  The Key2 comes with the DTEK app that can control and advise you on the health of your handset and apps doing things you’d rather they didn’t!

 

Blackberry Key2 Specifications

Although the Key2 is aimed at specific user group, in the bigger, picture, it is still a very good mid-market handset.  The price certainly puts it at the more expensive end of that market, but it’s well packed with features!

  • Dimensions – 151.4 x 71.8 x 8.5 mm
  • Weight – 168g
  • Operating System (OS) – Android Oreo 8.1
  • 2 Day Battery Life (depending on usage)
  • Physical QWERTY Keyboard with Fingerprint Scanner
  • 4.5″ IPS LCD Touchscreen
  • 64GB Storage w/Expandable MicroSD slot up to an additional 256GB
  • Dual 12MP Lens Rear Camera w/ 4k Video Capture
  • 8MP Front Facing Camera
  • 3.5mm Headphone Port
  • USB-C Charging Port
  • 2 Colour Options Black or Silver

 

How Much does the Blackberry Key2 Cost?

The expected retail price will be starting at $649 USD / €649 EUR / £579 GBP / $829 CAD.  Some outlets have begun taking preorders such as Carphone Warehouse in the UK.

The BlackBerry Key2 will begin shipping globally later in June!

 

Connect with Blackberry

 

 

Blackberry Key2 Release Video

 

 

 

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