Last year’s launch of the QWERTY-BlackBerry KeyOne marked a much needed resurgence for the BlackBerry brand and in an event in New York this week, a successor, the BlackBerry KeyTwo was unveiled by electronics company TCL.
Like its predecessor, the Key2 spots the same physical keyboard that gives you the nostalgia of BlackBerry’s heydays with the Bold, Curve, Storm and other series.
The BlackBerry KeyTwo retains a lot of components that featured on the KeyOne so it is not a complete makeover but nonetheless, major improvements have been made. Here’s what you should know about the BlackBerry KeyTwo.
BlackBerry Key2 Features
The physical keyboard that donned the KeyOne makes an expected return but even much better. The four-row QWERTY keyboard sees a 20% increase in size on the KeyTwo with matte finish that replaces the KeyOne’s glossier feel making it ‘clutchy’ and very convenient when typing or navigating.
BlackBerry adds a new feature that makes switching between apps a seamless exercise by assigning a letter key to a particular application that launches when the assigned letter key is combined the with the all-new Speed key. The spacebar also doubles as a fingerprint sensor.
The KeyTwo is a tad lighter than its predecessor adopting a 7series aluminium frame with a plastic back cover with rubberized surface that is quite grippy. It couples straight corners at the top with slightly rounded bezels at the bottom unlike the all rounded corners in the KeyOne, also being slimmer than its predecessor. All keys including the power key now reside on the right-side of the device.
Sitting above the four row QWERTY keyboard is a 4.5-inch FHD screen with 1620 by 1080 pixels of display resolution, that’s an aspect ratio of 3:2. The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3; a noticeable change considering the KeyOne was covered in Gorilla Glass 4 instead. The IPS LCD display is color sharp standing at 433 pixels per inch of pixel density which makes for good image production.
The BlackBerry KeyTwo snubs Android 7.0 Nougat for the more recent Android 8.0 Oreo operating system with a customized BlackBerry feel as the company also assures users of update to Android P and Android Q in the near future. The KeyTwo also doubles down on security with interesting features on offer to continue BlackBerry’s tradition of being security-conscious.
DTEK retains its check-up and permission feature, locker now allows you keep choice apps under passwords or fingerprint scan besides keeping files and folders private, the stealthy Firefox Focus browser allows you surf the internet unnoticed.
Memory & Performance
Performance is more of the anthem on the BlackBerry KeyTwo combining 6GB RAM with a standard Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 Octa-core chipset. There’s no doubt about how powerful the setup can be in terms of performance but peak performance is expected on optimizations especially getting the most out of the already efficient 3500mAh battery and also on multi-tasking which is already an exciting prospect with the addition of the Speed key.
The BlackBerry comes in two versions in terms of storage capacity, the 64GB model and the 128 GB model both expected to offer microSD expansion support.
BlackBerry finally hops on the dual camera trend, making the BlackBerry KeyTwo its first dual camera phone with its 12MP+12MP rear camera. The secondary rear camera sports a 12MP-f/2.6 aperture lens with 1.0um pixels and Phase Detection Autofocus.
It enhances photo speed and quality with features such as the 2X optical zoom, depth-sensing and portrait mode. The main camera sports a 12MP-f/1.8 aperture lens with 1.2um pixels. It is interesting to see how both cameras hold up considering this is BlackBerry’s first try at dual cameras. The front camera is an 8MP lens.
To complement its high-performance processor, the KeyTwo sports a 3500mAh battery that the mobile company claims will be more than enough juice for even the most demanding users over 24hours. It gets more exciting when considering the presence of Quick charge 3.0 that takes around 36minutes to get the battery charged to half of a hundred percent.
BlackBerry Key2 Full Specifications
2G: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz.
3G: HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz.
Network Speed: HSPA 42.2/5.76 Mbps, LTE-A (3CA) Cat11 600/75 Mbps
SIM Type: Nano-SIM slot.
SIM Count: Single SIM or Dual-SIM
OS: Android 8.1 Oreo.
User Interface: n/a
Design & Display
Dimensions: 151.4 * 71.8 * 8.5 mm.
Display size: 4.5 inches.
Display Resolution: 1620 * 1080 pixels (HD).
Screen-to-body ratio: ~55.2%–
Display Technology: IPS LCD Capacitive touchscreen.
Build: Aluminium frame, plastic black.
Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Colours: Black, Silver.
Processor Name/Technology: Qualcomm Snapdragon 660.
Processor Speed: 1.8GHz.
Number of Processor Cores: Octa-core.
Graphics Processor: Adreno 512.
Internal Storage: 64/128 GB.
External Storage: microSD, up to 256 GB.
Sensors: Fingerprint(front-mouthed), Accelerometer, Compass, Proximity.
Lens: Dual 12MP+12MP.
LED Flash: Yes, dual-LED flash.
Video recording: Yes.
Properties: Portrait Mode, 2X optical zoom, PDAF
LED Flash: No.
Video recording: Yes.
Music Support: AAC, AMR, MP2, MP3, M4A, MKA.
Audio Technology: –
Video Support: MP4/MPEG4/H.263/H.264 player.
FM Radio: Yes.
Bluetooth Profiles: LE, A2DP, EDR.
WiFi: Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot.
GPS: Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS2.
USB: Type-C reversible connector, v3.0.
USB OTG: Yes.
3.5mm audio jack: Yes.
Battery Capacity: 3500mAh.
Battery Technology: Li-ion.
Fast Charging: Yes, Quick Charge 3.0.
Extra Features: –
Launch Date: June, 2018.
Release Date: Not announced yet.
Price of BlackBerry Key2 in the U.S, U.K & Nigeria?
Although there was no news regarding a release date for the BlackBerry Key2, it is expected to hit the market in coming weeks between June and July in several countries including the U.S and U.K.
BlackBerry Key2 will cost around £579 in the U.K, however prices in the U.S remain unknown. You can purchase the BlackBerry Key2 with an option of a SIM-free version or on contract from carriers, most likely to be Sprint, AT&T and Verizon.
When the BlackBerry Key2 touches down on Nigeria’s phone markets, it is expected to carry a price tag of over N280,000.