BlackBerry KEY2 was launched last week as the successor to the BlackBerry KEYone. BlackBerry licensee TCL has made it clear that it still wants to make smartphones that run on the Android operating system, paired with BlackBerry's security features and the physical keyboard. The KEY2 is the first BlackBerry-branded smartphone to sport a dual camera setup. It has introduced features such as portrait mode and optical zoom. Additionally, its physical QWERTY keyboard now comes with some intelligent shortcuts helping users launch apps and activate commands with the press of a single key. Also, the new smartphone offers a Series 7 aluminium alloy frame, a textured diamond grip back panel, and a claimed two-day battery life.
A quick look at both the BlackBerry KEY2 and KEYone, and it is amply clear that they are BlackBerry handsets, especially because of the iconic QWERTY keyboards. Since BlackBerry does not appear to make fullscreen handsets, and wants to lure in its fans who expect a secure phone with a full QWERTY keyboard, the KEY2 doesn't compete with the likes of Apple iPhone 8 and Samsung Galaxy S9. As a result, the right smartphone to compare the KEY2 would be to the previous model - BlackBerry KEYone. We take a look at the price, specifications, features of the KEY2 and compare it with the 2017 variant.
BlackBerry KEY2 price has been set at $649 (roughly Rs. 43,800), EUR 649 (roughly Rs. 51,700), GBP 579 (roughly Rs. 52,600), and CAD 829 (roughly Rs. 43,100) and will start shipping globally sometime later this month. It will be made available in Black and Grey colour options. Considering its predecessor, the BlackBerry KEYone, was launched in India, we can expect the KEY2 also to arrive in the country sometime later this year.
When BlackBerry launched the KEYOne, it was priced at $549 (roughly Rs. 38,600) in the US, GBP 499 (roughly Rs. 41,400) in the UK, and EUR 599 (roughly Rs. 42,100) in Europe. Later the BlackBerry KEYone was launched in India as an Amazon-exclusive handset, in partnership with manufacturing and distribution partner Optiemus Infracom, and the smartphone's price in India was set at Rs. 39,990.
The dual-SIM (Nano) BlackBerry KEY2 runs Android 8.1 Oreo out-of-the-box, and sports a 4.5-inch full-HD (1080x1620 pixels) IPS LCD display with 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass, a 3:2 aspect ratio, a pixel density of 433ppi, and 24-bit colour depth. The handset is powered by a 64-bit octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC (four Kryo 260 cores clocked at 2.2GHz and four clocked at 1.8GHz), combined with 6GB of RAM.
As for camera specifications, the BlackBerry KEY2 sports a horizontal dual camera setup with two 12-megapixel rear sensors that include Dual Tone LED flash, HDR, 4K video recording at 30FPS, and dual PDAF. The primary sensor has a FoV (Field of View) of 79.3 degrees, 1.28 micron pixels, and an f/1.8 aperture, while the secondary sensor has a 50-degree FoV, 1.0 micron pixels, and f/2.6 aperture. On the front, the smartphone gets an 8-megapixel fixed focus with screen flash and full-HD video recording.
The smartphone comes in 64GB and 128GB internal storage variants, expandable via microSD card (up to 256GB). Connectivity options on the BlackBerry KEY2 include 4G LTE (on both SIM cards), Wi-Fi 802.11ac (dual-band 2.4GHz, 5GHz), Bluetooth v5.0 LE, GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, NFC, FM radio, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and USB Type-C. A 3500mAh battery powers in the internals from underneath the hood, with Quick Charge 3.0 support. Sensors onboard the handset include accelerometer, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, hall effect sensor, fingerprint sensor (on spacebar key), magnetometer, and proximity sensor. Dimensions of the BlackBerry KEY2 are 151.4x71.8x8.5mm and weight is 168 grams.
DTEK by BlackBerry app now includes the new Proactive Health check feature. It also has the enhanced Convenience Key, making it easier to access your most-used apps with custom profiles for at home, in the car, in a meeting or on the go.
The BlackBerry KEYone specifications were quite mediocre. The dual-SIM BlackBerry KEYone arrived with Android 7.1.1 Nougat, and a 4.5-inch IPS LCD display with a 3:2 aspect ratio (1080x1620 pixels) and a pixel density of 433ppi. It was powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC clocked at up to 2GHz, coupled with 4GB of RAM.
Interestingly, BlackBerry had made some changes to the specifications of the smartphone for India. The KEYone was launched in a 4GB RAM + 64GB inbuilt storage configuration, compared to the 3GB RAM + 32GB inbuilt storage configuration that was launched in international markets. The company called the model the BlackBerry KEYone Limited Edition Black. Also, the Indian model supported dual-SIM cards.
In terms of optics, the KEYone camera setup had a 12-megapixel rear camera with an f/2.0 aperture, PDAF, EIS, and dual-tone LED flash, apart from the 8-megapixel front camera that had an f/2.2 aperture and an 84-degree wide-angle lens. As for storage, the BlackBerry KEYone came with 64GB of inbuilt storage, expandable via microSD card (up to 2TB) in a hybrid dual-SIM configuration.
Connectivity options in the BlackBerry KEYone included 4G VoLTE, dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) Wi-Fi 802.11ac, NFC, GPS/ A-GPS, Bluetooth v4.2, FM radio, USB Type-C (3.1), and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Sensors on board the smartphone included accelerometer, ambient light sensor, digital compass, gyroscope, and a proximity sensor. It was powered by a 3505mAh non-removable battery that supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, said to charge the smartphone from zero to 50 percent in just 30 minutes. It measured 149.3x72.5x9.4mm, and weighed 180 grams.
The BlackBerry KEYone shipped with preloaded security apps such as DTEK by BlackBerry and BlackBerry Password Keeper, while productivity apps such as BlackBerry Hub, BlackBerry Calendar, BlackBerry Productivity Edge, and BlackBerry Workspaces were also on board. The Smart Keyboard functionality offered contextual auto-correction, next-word prediction, and 'flick typing' that adapted to the user's language style.
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|Release date||June 2018||February 2017|
|Dimensions (mm)||151.40 x 71.80 x 8.50||149.30 x 72.50 x 9.40|
|Battery capacity (mAh)||3500||3505|
|Screen size (inches)||4.50||4.50|
|Resolution||1080x1620 pixels||1620x1080 pixels|
|Pixels per inch (PPI)||434||433|
|Processor||2.2GHz octa-core||2GHz octa-core|
|Processor make||Qualcomm Snapdragon 660||Qualcomm Snapdragon 625|
|Expandable storage type||microSD||microSD|
|Expandable storage up to (GB)||256||2000|
|Rear flash||LED||Dual LED|
|Operating system||Android 8.1||Android 7.1|
|Wi-Fi standards supported||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac|
|Bluetooth||Yes||Yes, v 4.20|
|Number of SIMs||2||2|
|Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL)||-||No|
|Ambient light sensor||Yes||Yes|