The BlackBerry faithful loved what the Canadian company did with the KEYone and with the new BlackBerry KEY2, it seems we still got lots of loving to do. The company unveiled the handset on June 7, bringing to an end a flurry of rumors and leaks that had given out just about everything that was of importance to many of us fans.
The BlackBerry KEYone was the first of its kind and given the good reception it enjoyed among the BB faithful, the Canadian company opted to keep a huge chunk of the looks, albeit with a few tweaks here and there.
The physical QWERTY keyboard is still there, but the phone is slightly taller and thinner than its predecessor. Despite this, the screen size remains unaffected and so does the display resolution, which remains at 1620 x 1080 pixels. Like the KEYone, you’ll also use the spacebar for fingerprint-related functions.
Being a direct successor to the KEYone, the BlackBerry KEY2 comes with superior specs and features compared to its counterpart, but being a year apart, there wasn’t going to be much of a change in terms of the general design.
- 4.5-inch IPS LCD display, 1620 x 1080 pixels
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor
- 6GB RAM
- 64GB/128GB expandable storage
- Dual 12MP + 12MP main camera
- 8MP front camera
- 3500mAh battery
- Android 8.1 Oreo
- Extras: Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C, 3.5mm audio jack, front-mounted scanner (in keyboard), Quick Charge 3.0, NFC, 4G LTE, etc.
A faster processor and more RAM
While the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 found in the BlackBerry KEYone remains to be one of the best there is, it has come of age. Furthermore, the 3GB RAM it was mated with makes any phone in today’s world look quite average. In the new BlackBerry KEY2, you get an even more powerful Snapdragon 660 chipset that promises faster performance and to match the expectations of every smartphone enthusiast, there’s a massive 6GB RAM pairing to go with.
You also have the option to choose from two storage options of 64GB and 128GB, both of which can further be expanded via a microSD card of up to 256GB, just in case they aren’t enough.
A slightly smaller battery
The KEYone has a 3505mAh battery unit and on the KEY2, you find a 3500mAh battery unit. Although quite insignificant, it might concern some that the change in battery capacity is negative. On the brighter side, the power-sipping Snapdragon 660 is there to the rescue alongside Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0, which should ensure you get back on the road in the shortest time possible.
It’s not water resistant
It’s great to see that BlackBerry is still giving its fans the 3.5mm audio jack. At a time when even Google – after making fun of Apple for ditching the audio jack – has caved in and ditched this much-loved feature, many buyers of the KEY2 will be glad that BB made this decision.
However, one area that BlackBerry has failed is the omission of IP6X certification for dust and water resistance on the KEY2. But of course, this has a lot to do with the design choice that productivity junkies favor so much. It’s also worth noting that the BlackBerry KEY2 should still be equipped with the regular protection that is accorded to any smartphone in order to survive minor splashes.
There’s a dual-lens camera on the back
It’s not like BlackBerry had a choice, but in this day and age, having a phone priced beyond $400 and has no dual-lens camera is simply not acceptable. It’s the reason others like the Huawei P20 Pro are trying to set themselves apart with a tri-lens camera, but the KEY2 only has two on the back.
Both 12MP lenses, the primary shooter has a large 1.28 micron pixel size alongside a wide aperture of f/1.8 and is boosted by dual phase detection autofocus while the secondary lens touts a 1.0 micron pixel size and smaller aperture of f/2.6 as well as PDAF. It is this secondary lens that is responsible for 2x optical zoom and portrait mode shots. The phone also comes with dual-tone LED flash to improve performance in poorly-lit environments.
Like the KEYone, the main shooter also supports recording 4K videos at 30fps and 1080p at 60fps. On the front is an 8MP lens that is equipped with fixed focus and supports 1080p video recording at 30fps.
It’s not cheap
Like its predecessor, the BlackBerry KEY2 isn’t available on the cheap. In fact, the KEY2 is $100 costlier with its $650 price tag in the U.S. This price hike hasn’t spared other target markets too, where those in the UK will part with £579 and the rest of Europe will have to shell out €649 to get their hands on one of these.
In Canada, the home of BlackBerry, the KEY2 will set you back $829 CDN and while we also expect the phone to make its way to the Indian market at some point in future, pricing is not available at this point in time. Still, expect anything in the regions of INR 40,000.
Although not cheap, price shouldn’t be a concern for anyone looking into the BlackBerry KEY2. Like the KEYone, this is a niche phone that is targeting productivity junkies who would pay anything to get their hands on one of these. For those who prefer a full-screen smartphone, it wouldn’t make sense to them why one would part with such an amount to get this phone, especially in a market that has the likes of OnePlus 6 and Huawei Honor 10, just to name but a few.