Hands on with BlackBerry's next-gen keyboard smartphone

Hands on with BlackBerry's next-gen keyboard smartphone

Hands on with BlackBerry's next-gen keyboard smartphone

At an event held in New York, TCL took the wraps off its new smartphone for the Blackberry brand- the Key2.

The new device is an update to last year's BlackBerry KeyOne.

Boasting a lightweight and clean aluminum frame, with a stunning 4.5-inch touch display made of impact resistant Gorilla Glass, the rear of the device has been updated with a new diamond pattern that adds to the premium design while also adding more grip and comfort.

And with much the same focus, the original BlackBerry candy bar phone with a full small-button keyboard at the bottom is also returning, delivering refreshed and renewed icon once more, coming in the form of the recently announced Key 2.

The evolved keyboard also acts like a trackpad for quickly scrolling through emails and web pages.

That doesn't make it any less BlackBerry, however, as it still uses a BlackBerry designed keyboard as well as a host of BlackBerry built software made specifically for the Android platform - in this case it is running Android 8.1 Oreo.

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As expected, BlackBerry has further refined the physical keyboard for what it describes as a "more immediate" and "effortless" typing experience. BlackBerry has added a Speed Key to the mix as well. Unfortunately, the phone relies on a Snapdragon 660, a mid-range octa-core processor clocked at 2.2 GHz and not on a Snapdragon 845. It includes 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage (supports expandable storage up to 256 GB via microSD card). With many exciting features. This dual camera system offers the usual portrait depth mode as well as the ability to enable 2x optical zoom without losing any detail. All of that along with its enhanced security and privacy measures may just make this the comeback Smartphone of the year.

"It continues to amaze me that the market doesn't recognize that BlackBerry is arguably the better choice if you are concerned at all about safety and privacy", said Enderle.

Since TCL has not announced any US mobile carriers will sell the KEY2, customers would have to buy the handsets elsewhere and then go through the process of getting them to work with their cellular provider's network, he said. It offers features like private folders so that your data doesn't get uploaded into the cloud. It has DTEK security software, which keeps a check on what's accessible to apps and also lets you block unauthorised access from apps and also gives security rating accordingly.

The KEY2 is the third smartphone that TCL has launched through a partnership with BlackBerry, which decided in 2016 to stop making smartphones and license its software to other manufacturers. Therefore it is up to you if you wish to order Black Variant or a Silver variant.

If you're in NY and curious about the new phone, BlackBerry will let you test it in their pop-up showroom.

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