Here’s BB’s best shot at staying relevant

The BlackBerry Key2 is the successor to the KeyOne. It has some major changes when compared to the KeyOne. Do these changes make the Key2 worth consideration?

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There used to be a time when each phone looked different. Then came smartphones and phones stopped looking different from each other. They could now be classified as slabs. Among such crowd, if there was a company that created a different device, it was BlackBerry. After losing its fortunes though, BlackBerry Mobile came under the ownership of TCL. Fortunately, after some nice-yet-polarizing devices like the Priv, the company created a unique smartphone called the KeyOne in 2017. 2018 marks the arrival of KeyOne’s successor, the BlackBerry Key2. It has been launched in India for a price of Rs 42,990 and will be on sale on Amazon India from July 31. Will it be as successful as the runaway-hit KeyOne?

Specifications BlackBerry Key2
Price Rs 42,990
Processor 2.2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 660
RAM 6GB
Display IPS LCD, 4.5-inch, Full HD (1620x1080p) resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio
Internal Storage 64GB/128GB (expandable up to 256GB with microSD card)
Operating System Android 8.1 Oreo
Rear Camera 12-megapixel + 12-megapixel
Front Camera 8-megapixel
Battery 3500mAh with fast charging
Dimensions 151.4mm x 71.8mm x 8.5mm
NFC Yes
Fingerprint Scanner Spacebar-embedded
Water/Dust resistance N/A

What’s new about the BlackBerry Key2?

The BlackBerry Key2 looks like an update more than an upgrade over the KeyOne. However, that is quite far from the truth. Let’s start with the changes made to the keyboard first. After all, that is the feature why most would buy the Key2. As per BlackBerry Mobile, the keys on Key2 are 20 per cent bigger than those on KeyOne. The Shift key (right of the keyboard) has been removed in favour of a Speed key to trigger one of the shortcuts mapped on the keyboard. The glossy feel of the keys is gone too, replaced by a matte finish. The black colour option does not get glossy frets either (and even the frets have become smaller). What has not changed is the fingerprint scanner that was residing under the space bar.

BlackBerry-Key2-4

Elsewhere, the Gorilla Glass 3 protection up front now goes all the way around the speaker grille as well. The front camera and sensor array hide nicely in the forehead. The power button has been relocated to the right of the phone. It now sits between the volume rocker and the Convenience key. It has been textured to help it stand out. The rear now has a textured panel spanning the entire panel. Speaking of the rear, there is a new horizontally-stacked dual rear-camera setup. The phone still packs a 3.5mm headphone jack and a USB Type-C port.

BlackBerry-Key2-3

The BlackBerry Key2 gets an octa-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor paired with 6GB RAM. Two internal storage variants are available for the phone – 64GB and 128GB – of which the latter seems India-bound. Either storage variant gets an expansion option of up to 256GB with micoSD card. Up front is an IPS LCD display measuring 4.5 inches which has FullHD (1620x1080p) resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio. The phone runs on Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box and gets DTEK mode for security-focussed users.

BlackBerry-Key2-7

There’s the 3.5mm headphone jack

The dual rear-camera setup on the BlackBerry Key2 has two 12-megapixel sensors. The primary sensor has f/1.8 aperture, dual PDAF, and dual tone LED flash. The secondary sensor has f/2.6 aperture and PDAF. The front camera comprises of a fixed focus 8-megapixel sensor with Screen Flash support. Connectivity options on the phone include Bluetooth 5.0, FM Radio, NFC, Wi-fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-SIM with dual-standby, GPS/A-GPS/GLONASS/Galileo/BeiDou, 3.5-mm headphone jack, and USB 3.0 with OTG. A 3500mAh battery powers the BlackBerry Key2 and it supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 standard. The phone is 151.4mm long, 71.8mm broad, and 8.5mm high.

Is the BlackBerry Key2 worth consideration?

For those who were sitting on the fence for the KeyOne or couldn’t get it in time (like me), the BlackBerry Key2 is definitely worth consideration. Do keep in mind that it is not a device for media consumption but for productivity purposes. Yes, it can be used to play games and watch videos. However, it lacks the immersion level provided by the ‘slabs’ that populate the smartphone market. What this phone excels in is tasks where speed and accuracy are of utmost importance. The keyboard has been designed to aid that experience.

BlackBerryKey2-2

Power button has been textured and relocated to the right side

The touch-sensitive keyboard lets users use the device without touching the screen, like scrolling pages, relocating the cursor when typing, and more. However, it still offers touchscreen experience for those who like the ‘slab’ experience. The keyboard offers it a few neat tricks like mapping of two shortcuts to each key. This time around, no matter what app or task the phone is handling, the user can use the shortcuts to trigger the mapped action. This is just one of the many tweaks made to the KeyOne to make the Key2.

BlackBerry-Key2-8

Here’s the most important aspect abut the BlackBerry Key2 to consider buying it. It is perhaps the only phone that has a single-minded focus on productivity. Almost everything about it is an evidence to that focus. Today’s touchscreen smartphones may be great at media consumption, but they still haven’t got something as simple as keyboard typing sorted. This phone does that and also offers a secure Android experience. For Android fans, that should be reason enough to consider the BlackBerry Key2. Productivity-mindedĀ folks, here’s the device for you.

BlackBerry Key2 – Synopsis

  • Priced at Rs 42,990, will go on sale on Amazon India from July 31
  • Gets 20 per cent larger keys than the KeyOne
  • Ditches the glossy look for a matte finish all around
  • Features a textured diamond grip non-slip panel at the back
  • Sports an octa-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 chip with 6GB RAM
  • 64GB/128GB storage options available with expansion option of up to 256GB
  • Retains the IPS LCD display from KeyOne measuring 4.5 inches with FullHD (1620x1080p) resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio
  • Retains the touch-sensitive keyboard and comes pre-loaded with DTEK
  • Becomes the first BlackBerry device to get a dual rear camera with two 12-megapixel sensors
  • Front camera contains an 8-megapixel sensor
  • Runs on Android 8.1 Oreo
  • USB 3.0, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, and dual-SIM among connectivity options offered
  • Powered by a 3500mAh battery with Qualcomm Quick Charging 3.0 support
  1. […] interfaces. However, that changed and today, few people like something that has buttons (like this phone). It is in light of these trends that talking about a phone like the Motorola Moto G6 makes most […]

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