BLACKBERRY KEY2: FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Earlier this month, Blackberry announced the newest version of its QWERTY smartphone – the KEY2 and here are our first impressions of the phone

BLACKBERRY KEY2: FIRST IMPRESSIONS

While there’s still time before you can actually own a new Blackberry KEY2 smartphone, let’s make the most of it by giving you our first impressions, to help you decide whether or not the phone is for you.

So, let’s just go right ahead and check out what this upgraded version of the keyboard-enabled Blackberry KEYone has on offer.

In so far as looks are concerned, Blackberry can’t really do much to change the design language of this kind of form factor.

However, despite that, the company has incorporated some subtle, yet significant, changes, one of which is its brick-like appearance, for want of a better description.

The sides are much flatter this time around, with more defined edges that can be easily felt, but not uncomfortably so, thanks to the rubberized back that makes the phone so much easier to grip than its predecessor.

The buttons, including the power button, the convenience key, and the volume rocker, are all conveniently located on the right-hand side of the phone, making them easier to locate.

The power button has a mat kind of finish to it, with the ridges on it giving it more texture; hence, making it easier to find by feel alone.

The convenience and volume buttons, on the other hand, are smooth and glossy, and on closer inspection, you’ll notice that there’s a kind of mirror-like reflection on these keys that looks so very cool.

Yes, there is a headphone jack on top, if that’s one of your concerns, and you have a USB-C charging port down on the bottom edge of the device, but the fact that Blackberry has not made provisions for wireless charging is, rather, disappointing.

The KEY2’s QWERTY keyboard is another big improvement on the previous version, in that it’s more tactile and feels a lot more premium, ensuring a sublime typing experience.

The keys are better spaced than before and are a little bit larger and there’s a bit more space between rows, as well – pretty much reminiscent of the Blackberry Bold era.

What the spacing, actually, does for you is that it does not cramp you in like the KEYone, which allows for better maneuvering of your thumbs.

The good thing is that Blackberry has not compromised on screen real estate to give you that extra spacing on the keyboard; the display is still a 4.5-inch IPS LCD panel with full HD resolution.

The most significant change on the keyboard, however, is the new shortcut key on the bottom right that allows you to trigger your keyboard shortcuts regardless of where you are in the UI.

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It, basically, binds your keyboard keys to whatever shortcut you want; and, by the way, there are 52 keyboard shortcuts that the KEY2 allows.

Without a doubt, this bit of innovation is going to enhance productivity and make multitasking so much easier and seamless than what you experienced on the Blackberry KEYone.

Powering the KEY2 is the Snapdragon 660, which is a mid-range processor but good enough to get most things done pretty efficiently and, hopefully, it’s been tuned even better than before with the 6GB RAM for longevity.

The next main improvement to the phone is in its cameras; you now have a dual-camera set up on the back of the phone, one of which is 12-megapixel wide-angle shooter and the other a telephoto zoom lens – quite similar to the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus or, for that matter, the iPhone X.

For selfies, you have the 8-megapixel front-facing camera that actually lets you work using manual controls, allowing you to change everything except the auto-focus.

The KEY2 is fitted with a huge 3,500mAh battery that promises an insane battery life – almost two full days on a single charge

The KEY2’s OS gets an upgrade, as well, and it’s the Android 8.1 Oreo that we’re talking about here, which, needless to say, is simply awesome with all of the different design elements that Android Oreo introduced to the OS.

So, this was our first impressions of the Blackberry KEY2 smartphone and we’ll be back soon with a full review after we have rigorously put this one through its paces, specifically the camera, which should turn out to be great, going by the one we saw on the KEYone.

In the box you have your K2 handset; there’s a quick-charging brick, which will charge up your device much faster than some of the smaller ones out there; then you have some instructions, which, of course, most people don’t read these days; there’s also a USB Type C cable; and last, but not least, you have a pair of earphones – something that most manufacturers have stopped including in the box.

On a lighter note, it’s probably there to remind users that there is actually a headphone jack built into this thing and despite the fact that the phone is designed for productivity, you can still enjoy some podcasts, audiobooks, and music, without having to depend on some sort of adaptor.

Blackberry KEY2 Quick specs

  • Dimensions: 151.4 x 71.8 x 8.5 mm (5.96 x 2.83 x 0.33 in)
  • Weight: 168 g (5.93 oz)
  • Display: IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
  • OS: Android 8.1 (Oreo)
  • Chipset: Qualcomm SDM660 Snapdragon 660
  • CPU: Octa-core (4×2.2 GHz Kryo 260 & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 260)
  • GPU: Adreno 512
  • Rear Camera: Dual: 12 MP (f/1.8, 1/2.3″, 1.55µm, DP PDAF) + 12 MP
    (f/2.6, 1.0µm, PDAF), phase detection autofocus, dual-LED dual-tone flash
  • Selfie camera: 8 MP (f/2.0, 1.12µm), 1080p
  • Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3500 mAh battery
  • Releasing: First week of July

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