Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Blackberry Key2 first look: The keyboard returns

TCL launches the BlackBerry Key2 for $649 BlackBerry Key2 specs, photos leak ahead of June 7 reveal
| 08 June, 2018, 16:12

As well as in the United States, it'll ship globally, priced from €649 Euro, £579 GBP, and $829 CAD. As the name suggests, the handset comes with a physical keyboard, and BlackBerry says that an icon is reborn in this new device.

TCL shares the following significant specifications. The company has returned with a followup to last year's KeyOne, the $649 KEY2.

BlackBerry will be streaming the whole announcement event on YouTube, and you can find that video below in this article - though if you're reading this earlier in the day it won't be live yet, so come back later. The KEY2 is a direct successor to last year's KEYone and retains the same general design while offering upgraded specs across the board. How many more of these the duo will make is anyone's guess. New this time around is that the device ships with Firefox Focus, which Mozilla incidentally updated with cookie management and autocomplete improvements just a couple of weeks ago.

BlackBerry KEY2 has a redesigned intelligent keyboard as well as a 4.5-inch touch display that includes 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass which offers increased scratch resistance.

So, a quick rundown.

Snapdragon 660 processor isn't the fastest, but you get a robust 6GB of RAM. There's still the promise of monthly BlackBerry Mobile security updates, and TCL says that the KEY2 will get "at least one major OS update" in its lifecycle.

Rear camera: The BlackBerry KEY2 comes with a dual rear camera system consisting of one 12-megapixel camera (f/1.8 aperture) and a secondary 12-megapixel camera (f/2.6 aperture) for depth sensing and up to 2X optical zoom. Oh, and the headphone jack remains. As for connectivity options, the handset offers 4G LTE, dual-SIM slots, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC and USB Type-C port.


Keyboard has bigger keys with matte finish, and there's a new shortcut key.

Software: The BlackBerry KEY2 runs Android 8.1 Oreo out-of-the-box and a near stock version at that. Dimensions of the BlackBerry KEY2 are 151.4x71.8x8.5mm and weight is 168 grams. BlackBerry is also introducing a new Speed Key that lets you use custom shortcuts from anywhere on the screen.

Alain Lejeune, Senior Vice President at BlackBerry Mobile calls this "a distinct smartphone that captures all the traits that have made BlackBerry smartphones iconic", no doubt referring to the BlackBerry KEY2's new touch-enabled, 35 key backlit version of BlackBerry's unique physical keyboard.

TCL on Thursday unveiled a new premium smartphone: the BlackBerry Key2.

In other words, the message is the same as a year ago.

The user interface is as minimalistic and practical as you'd expect, including a fundamentally revised DTEK app and a bunch of other proprietary services that actually improve the UX in many meaningful ways.

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