With a larger keyboard and improved camera, Blackberry unveiled its brand new smartphone the BlackBerry KEY2 this morning in New York City. I had a chance to attend the launch, and get hands-on with the device right afterwards.
Larger, matte keyboard on BlackBerry KEY2
The keyboard is definitely the big story from today’s announcement. With larger keys than the KEYone, and a new matte key finish, the KEY2 is set to give you a more comfortable and accurate typing experience. The keyboard is 20% larger while retaining much of the existing screen size. The keys are also raised ever so slightly higher than the KEYone, meaning they’re a bit easier to type on. The keyboard gives you a built-in hidden fingerprint scanner for security, making access convenient and easy.
BlackBerry touts Speed Key for shortcuts
Also now part of the keyboard is something called the Speed Key, which gives users fast shortcut access to any app you want. No longer do you need to head back to the home screen to access favourite apps. Speed Key can be configured to search in an app folder or to access the apps, or link to contacts and functions you use most often. You’re supposed to be able to just press Speed Key along with any of your up to 52 chosen customizable shortcuts. I’ll be interested to test this out once the phone is released in June 2018.
Dual camera, beautiful portraits on KEY2
Improvements have also come to the camera on the new KEY2. For the first time ever on a Blackberry, a dual rear camera lets you take more beautiful photos, particularly when using selfie mode. We snapped a few shots over lunch and the quality improvement is immediately noticeable.
The 12MP dual rear cameras allow for advances in auto white balance, faster auto focus,
improved image stabilization too. Again, these are all features I hope to be able to verify coming up.
Two days of battery life with BlackBerry KEY2
Blackberry lately is known for its long battery life, and the trend continues with the KEY2. Boasting up to two days of battery life, it’s astounding how long you can go between charges.
BlackBerry KEY2 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, has 6GB of memory and up to 128GB of storage, and it runs the Android operating system. Android™ 8.1 Oreo gives you access to built-in experiences like Google Assistant and Google Lens. It also brings back BlackBerry Hub, which lets you collect all your messages, emails and social feeds into
one consolidated inbox. Read more about that feature and more in the KEYone review here.
Blackberry KEY2 is available in June in all black and silver& black for a price of $829 CAD.
I’m hoping to get hands-on with it for a full user review sometime in the next few weeks so if you have questions, please post them.