Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Technology | By Russell Knight

BlackBerry Key2 smartphone launch

BlackBerry Key2 smartphone launch

The BlackBerry KEY2 will go on sale later this month, priced at $649 unlocked and SIM-free.

This is the latest BlackBerry smartphone released by TCL under a brand licensing agreement with the Canadian company that was signed in December 2016.

The new BlackBerry Key2 smartphone is displayed at a product launch event for the device in Manhattan in NY, U.S., June 7, 2018.

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As we learned only a few days ago, BlackBerry isn't done pushing phones with physical keyboards. It includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 chipset, and Quick Charge 3.0 to charge the 3,500mAh battery. There's a 4.5-inch 1620×1080 display with a 3:2 aspect ratio up top, and below that is a physical keyboard with a key height that's been raised 20 percent and a new matte key finish for a better typing experience.

According to Blass, the BlackBerry KEY2 will cost £579 at launch, an increase of £70 over the KEYone. Firefox Focus, Mozilla's privacy browser, is present too. The exact dimensions are 151.4mm x 71.8mm x 8.5mm (slightly wider, shorter, and slimmer than its predecessor).

Key2 also features two 12MP rear cameras (1.28 µm and f1.8, 1.0 µm and f2.6) and an 8MP front-facing sensor.

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There's a dual rear camera setup on the KEY2, up from the single rear camera on the KEYone. The keyboard-toting flagship brings a number of new features.

With a "hardened" operating system to defend against attacks, the KEY2 is described by TCL Communication as "the most secure Android smartphone". BlackBerry is also introducing a new Speed Key that lets you use custom shortcuts from anywhere on the screen. "With the introduction of BlackBerry Key2, we've created a distinct smartphone that captures all the traits that have made BlackBerry smartphones iconic, while introducing new innovations and experiences that not only make this one of the best devices for security and privacy, but also the most advanced BlackBerry smartphone ever". You still get in-keyboard fingerprint recognition.

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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