The BlackBerry Key2 arrives with dual cameras and a refined look


BlackBerry has formally introduced the Key2, its sequel to final 12 months’s KeyOne. It’s a midrange smartphone with the corporate’s iconic bodily keyboard. The Key2 appears to be like a lot like its predecessor, besides TCL — which makes most BlackBerry telephones now — has slimmed down the highest bezel and made area for barely wider keys. The navigation buttons on high of the keyboard at the moment are backlit as effectively, in order that they disappear when not in use, making the display screen look greater than it’s.

The Key2 additionally slims down the chunkier and industrial-looking KeyOne. From distant it may virtually cross for a Samsung Galaxy Be aware 8, however one look at its bodily keyboard, and you recognize it’s a BlackBerry. That’s what the model is relying on to push gross sales. BlackBerry’s senior vice chairman Alain Lejeune stated in a assertion that TCL’s aim had been to “seize all of the traits which have made BlackBerry smartphones iconic, whereas introducing new improvements and experiences,” which principally come by means of software program.

Nonetheless, even when the Key2 is “probably the most superior BlackBerry smartphone ever,” it hasn’t moved removed from the previous. The Key2 has a 4.5-inch LCD display screen with a 3:2 facet ratio, identical to its predecessor. While you use both cellphone, it’s a trade-off between display screen area for streaming exhibits or enjoying video games and the keyboard for sending emails. The display screen actual property dilemma grows worse in case you want a digital keyboard at instances, particularly for coming into symbols like & and {}, which aren’t provided on the bodily keyboard.

However whereas BlackBerry didn’t do something new with the cellphone’s dimension and display screen, it did add a extremely marketed additional digital camera on the rear of the cellphone. The Key2 has dual 12-megapixel cameras, one with an aperture of f/1.8 and one with a f/2.6 that present Portrait Mode and sooner autofocus. The entrance 8-megapixel digital camera has slow-motion and panorama modes in addition to the flexibility to document 1080p video at 30 fps. Its digital camera specs rival costlier flagships just like the iPhone Eight Plus, though they fall barely brief in comparison with the Samsung Galaxy Be aware Eight or S9’s decrease aperture lenses.

One other facet the place the BlackBerry Key2 shines is battery life. The Key2 has the identical huge 3,500mAh battery seen within the KeyOne that ought to get you thru two days of use.

BlackBerry determined to take away the additional proper shift key and change it with a “pace” key, which resembles an app launcher and enables you to set particular keys as shortcuts. For instance, you may set it up the in order that “I” opens up Instagram. Then whenever you press I, whereas holding onto the pace key, Instagram opens. This may be finished for any of the 52 keys on the bodily keyboard.

The spacebar nonetheless doubles as a digital camera shutter key and as a fingerprint sensor. The Key2 additionally enables you to use the complete keyboard as a touchpad, which can be utilized primarily for scrolling webpages. Now, you may gesture on the keyboard to scroll by means of pages; simply watch out to not press down on any keys.

The Key2 retains the three.5mm headphone jack on the highest left, the facility button on the left aspect, and quantity controls on the proper aspect. The cellphone additionally retains the “comfort key” seen on the KeyOne, which is an additional button on the proper that may be programmed with a shortcut. (That makes a complete of 53 programmable keys.)

Among the BlackBerry Key2’s extra attention-grabbing updates may be present in its safety apps, Dtek, Locker, and Energy Middle. (These software program updates may also roll out to the KeyOne.) BlackBerry spokespeople advised me that whereas these safety updates had been in improvement lengthy earlier than Cambridge Analytica, they had been much more essential at a time like this. Dtek, along with having the ability to provide details about your working system and safety, can now inform you what permissions every app has obtained and detect if an app is appearing unusually.

The Locker mode, which began as a BlackBerry Movement unique, got here to the KeyOne final December as a part of a month-to-month safety replace. Now on the Key2, it should come preinstalled. Along with being a place so that you can retailer fingerprint-protected non-public photographs and information, it’s now a hub so that you can retailer non-public apps and entry Firefox Focus, Mozilla’s non-public browser.

Lastly, Energy Middle will study your charging habits. So if it figures out that you simply often cost your cellphone at 10PM each night time, in case you skip a night time, it should warn you and inform you how a lot time you’ve left earlier than you’re low on battery.

The remainder of the Key2’s specs are slight enhancements to the KeyOne. The Key2 runs Android Oreo out of the field and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, which is typical for midrange telephones proper now. Each RAM and inside storage have been doubled to 6GB of reminiscence and storage choices of 64GB and 128GB. The Key2 begins at $649 for the essential storage possibility and begins delivery globally this month. It is available in black or grey.

I can solely envision that you simply’d use this cellphone in case you love your bodily keyboard such as you benefit from the satisfying clack of a mechanical keyboard or typewriter, or in case you’re nostalgic for the 2000s and additionally occur to be paranoid about safety. The query stays: are any of you BlackBerry followers nonetheless on the market?



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