New BlackBerry phone aims to revive faded brand

08 June, 2018, 16:12 | Author: Kristen Mcgee
  • TCL launches the Black Berry Key2 for $649

The company has added a new "Speed" key to the keyboard, which allows a shortcut access to a number of apps and features of the handset.

Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the KEY2 also has a 4.5-inch touch display. As for connectivity options, the handset offers 4G LTE, dual-SIM slots, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC and USB Type-C port. It's not a radical redesign or a full-fledged flagship device, but it appears to have plenty going for it to more than justify that $649 price.

A little over a year has passed since we first laid eyes on the KeyOne, which was one of the best BlackBerrys in years. You still get in-keyboard fingerprint recognition.

The new BlackBerry KEY2 will be made available as pre-order in select markets throughout the world starting from this month.

It starts with the design. The metal frets between each row of keys have also been removed. We've even heard prices rumored, with the latest leaks suggesting the BlackBerry Key2 could cost $649 / £579 (around AU$1,015). This is very different from every other Android phone out there for the simple reason that it has a physical keyboard. This is a security-focused Android smartphone with a QWERTY keyboard and it succeeds the KEYone.

The difference in the keyboards comes down to the finish.

While the BlackBerry Key2 technically bears the BlackBerry name, it's made by Chinese electronics company TCL.

BlackBerry is offering KEY2 in two hues - Black and Silver with an identical textured back panel.

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The keys also have a noticeable bevel to them, so you can discern the boundaries more easily, and there's clickier feedback when you press them, too. 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.

All the improvements haven't been saved for the exterior, either.

It also supports quick charging if you're in need of a quick battery boost before an important meeting.

Compared to the KeyOne, the keys offered on the Key2 are 20 per cent bigger.

The KEY2 has dual 12MP rear cameras, better image stabilization and faster autofocus. The KEY2 also comes preloaded with a DTEK app that shows the phone's overall security rating and provides insight into how apps are using data, as well as managing app permissions.

The new device is an upgrade to the BlackBerry KeyOne, which launched in the spring of previous year.

The Key2 launches with Android 8.1 Oreo on board, and BlackBerry says owners can expect one guaranteed update to Android P. Customizations to the stock Android experience are mostly light, though BlackBerry has added a new shortcut key to the right of the spacebar that can be held and combined with one of the other 52 keys to trigger shortcuts from any screen. The newer BlackBerry Key2 has the following dimensions 151.4mm x 71.8mm x 8.5mm with a weight of 168 grams.

The KEY2 retains a similar appearance as its predecessor and this is a modern take of the iconic BlackBerry Bold.

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