Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Industry | By Dora Warner

First look at BlackBerry Key2 smartphone - All Hands on Tech

First look at BlackBerry Key2 smartphone - All Hands on Tech

One day before BlackBerry (err, TCL) was set to reveal the successor to last year's KeyOne, the mobile tipster tweeted what appears to be a full specs list for the Key2. What's more, you can assign shortcuts to all of the letters.

Of all the features on the Key2, it's the display that's changed the least. The phone is now powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor compared to the Snapdragon 625 series on the KEYone.

BlackBerry's priority on security also continues with its commitment to patch Android as soon as Google pushes out updates. Completing its general specifications is a 3500mAh battery which can be used with Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 chargers in order to reduce its charging time. "We design them for security from the inside out and we're proud to partner with TCL Communication on the launch of their all-new BlackBerry KEY2", said Alex Thurber, SVP and GM of Mobility Solutions at BlackBerry. TCL is promising up to two days battery life (unchanged) and a new Smart Battery Experience feature that learns from your daily charging habits to make recommendations for when you should charge your phone to make it through the day.

In the case of the KEY2 specifically, it's a clear evolution over the last BlackBerry.

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Further, the video confirms that BlackBerry is hopping on the dual-camera bandwagon with the Key2, but it's unclear what it intends to use the setup for.

You won't have to wait long to get your hands on a Key2 - the device is hitting retailers later this summer for $649, GSM unlocked. The Key2's front camera is 8MP with fixed focus and capable of recording 1080p video at 30fps. You also have your choice between 64 or 128GB of internal storage, both of which can be upgraded to 256GB via a microSD card.

It wasn't just stock Android though.

Key2's software includes an improved privacy locker where you can lock apps behind fingerprints and passwords. Battery on the original phone is 3505 mAh and BlackBerry had promised 26 hours of talktime with the KEYone.

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The BlackBerry KEY² will be available in Black and Silver.

In terms of software, the Key2 retains most of the same features as the KeyOne. The £30 increase isn't that significant.

The key highlight of the KEY2 is the keyboard and it claims to offer a better typing experience with a couple of design tweaks. It was arguably the first proper BlackBerry phone running Android and one that delivered in all the key areas.

The original BlackBerry KEYone had 3GB RAM, coupled with 32GB storage. BlackBerry's overall focus when it comes to software is making the phone security as robust as possible, so it's added stuff like a hardened OS and you can run a health check.

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