Last week another amazing smartphone was announced featuring what we don’t see anymore – a physical keyboard – in an era when most OEMs are moving towards an all-screen smartphone.
The newly released smartphone, the BlackBerry Key 2, the successor of the BlackBerry Keyone was officially announced at an event held in New York, offering huge improvements over its predecessor. Here’s everything you need to know.
The keyboard is back and better than ever
A standout feature of the BlackBerry smartphone brand has always been the physical keyboard, and the launch of the BlackBerry Key 2 brings with it a lot of improvements in this particular area.
The keyboard comes with a 20% increase in height, thereby improving typing accuracy and comfort. The major addition in this area is the new Speed Key located at the bottom-right of the keyboard. It provides you with shortcuts that can instantly take you from one app to another at any time, call a favourite contact or access functions. All you need to do is just press down the Key and select any of the preset shortcuts.
Same design, refined
In terms of design, there isn’t any much difference between the BlackBerry Key 2 and Keyone, but there are some few changes. The phone has a Series 7 aluminium frame, more straight edges in comparison to Keyone, with a diamond pattern finish. The entire front panel apart from the keyboard is covered with Gorilla Glass 3, while in Keyone, it only covered the screen. Giving the phone a more modern and sleeker look.
Mid-range specs focused on battery longevity
The Key 2 sports a 4.5-inch LCD display with Full HD 1080x1620px resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio. It is powered by a 3,500mAh battery featuring Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0. Other features include a headphone jack, a USB Type-C port and dual speakers.
It also comes with a new Power Center app which provides the user with battery usage information and the options you have to control it. The app has a machine learning feature that allows it to monitor your charging behaviour and predict how many hours you have left before it’s completely drained.
Under the hood, the phone features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 chipset paired with 6GB of RAM and two storage variants of 64GB for US market and 128GB for the global market.
Dual camera: A BlackBerry first
The BlackBerry Key 2 sports a dual camera setup at the back, a first on BlackBerry devices.
The camera is a dual 12MP snapper, with a f/1.8 aperture and 1.28μm pixels and a telephoto f/2.6 aperture and 1μm pixels. 2x optical zoom is possible through the second lens and both lens sports EIS instead of OIS. The dual camera is also capable of portrait shots.
The front-facing camera is an 8MP selfie shooter with f/2.0 aperture and 1.12μm pixels.
Although the Key 2 sports some new features in terms of the camera over the Keyone, we are yet to find out if it can take on the big boys.
Privacy at its best
Over the years, the major forte of BlackBerry software has been in privacy and security, and the company took it to another level with the BlackBerry Key 2.
The phone sports a new Private Locker feature which hides sensitive information from other people. The feature can only be accessed with the owner’s fingerprint, a pin or password. Anything ranging from files, pictures, videos to even applications can be securely stored in Private Locker. The BlackBerry Key 2’s Private Locker also has a feature that makes it possible to hide anything stored in it from the “main” section of the phone. It is not backed up to the cloud but stored on your device.
BlackBerry Key 2 Price and Availability
The BlackBerry Key 2 will be available for sale by the end of this month in part of the North American and European markets, and also China. The global market launch will be in July.
There are no pricing details available for the bigger 128GB storage variant yet but the 64GB variant will be sold at a high price of $649 (N234,000), N36,000 more than its predecessor.