BlackBerry has now officially taken the wraps off its newest Android phone, the successor model to the rather fantastic BlackBerry KEYone is dubbed as the BlackBerry KEY2 and, as the name and the character of the first-gen both imply, it is loaded with a physical QWERTY keyboard.
The firm launched the BlackBerry KEY2 at a dedicated event in New York. As with previous Android BlackBerry launches, the BlackBerry KEY2 is produced by TCL Communication using the BlackBerry brand under license from BlackBerry itself.
That doesn’t make it any less BlackBerry, however, as it still uses a BlackBerry designed keyboard as well as a host of BlackBerry built software made specifically for the Android platform – in this case it is running Android 8.1 Oreo.
The BlackBerry KEY2 is also the first BlackBerry handset to run a dual-camera, and it also features a new universal shortcut Speed Key to rapidly access your favourite apps and functions from any part of the interface. The dual-sensor camera is rated at 12MP with an f/1.8 lens as well as an f/2.6 telephoto lens with zoom and depth-of-field features.
BlackBerry KEY2 Design
At a glance the BlackBerry KEY2 looks quite similar to the BlackBerry KEYone as the overall highly angular shape, metal build, and QWERTY keyboard all make a return once again. However, the KEY2 uses a tough Series 7 aluminium construction, which BlackBerry says is “cleaner” and more “elegant” than its predecessor. In addition, the back panel is made of soft-touch material with a grip-friendly diamond pattern.
The touch display is a 4.5in IPS LCD with a 1080×1620 pixel resolution and a 3:2 aspect ratio, as well as 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass.
As expected, BlackBerry has further refined the physical keyboard for what it describes as a “more immediate” and “effortless” typing experience. The key height has been increased by a factor of 20% which together with a new fret layout and matte key finish is aimed at making the keyboard more comfortable to use. BlackBerry says it has also improved the keyboard mechanics, feedback and tactile response, plus, as with the KEYone, the keyboard also acts as a touch trackpad. There’s also a fingerprint scanner inside the space key and the return of flick typing.
BlackBerry KEY2 Specs & Price
Inside it is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 6GB of RAM, and is available in either 64GB or 128GB onboard storage models. BlackBerry claims two days of battery life on a single charge with a Smart Battery feature, as well as support for Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0.
As with previous Android phones, BlackBerry is promising monthly security updates and has also said there will be at least one major Android update, which probably means Android P. The BlackBerry KEY2 will go on sale before the end of June with an RRP of €649/£579/$649
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