08 June, 2018
TCL unveiled the BlackBerry KEY2, which runs on Alphabet Inc.'s widely used Android operating system, amid tensions between Washington and Beijing over the sale of Chinese telecommunications equipment in the United States. The new device also features Speed Key, a universal shortcut key that lets users access instantly access the apps, contacts and phone functions that they use most often.
The handset also features a 4.5-inch, 1620 x 1080 IPS LCD screen with a 3.2 aspect ratio, with 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass providing protection against scratches and knocks. But the unique feature is the Speed Key, situated in the bottom right-hand corner of the keyboard.
To most people, BlackBerry might seem like a part of ancient history given its status as one of the pioneers within the smartphone business but don't get it wrong: the brand is still alive.
The physical keyboard has larger keys than on the KeyOne, and the height of the keys has been increased by 20%. The phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 Mobile Platform and comes with 6GB of RAM.
In the case of the KEY2 specifically, it's a clear evolution over the last BlackBerry. If you are into BlackBerrys and you long for the feel of physical keys below your thumbs, though, the KEY2 looks to be a nice upgrade over the KEYone.
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The iOS 11.4 update also comes with the option for stereo pairs via two HomePod devices to create a wider soundstage effect. However, if you set up a new device, you would not see any of your old messages or conversations on that device.
The Key2 launches with Android 8.1 Oreo on board, and BlackBerry says owners can expect one guaranteed update to Android P. Customizations to the stock Android experience are mostly light, though BlackBerry has added a new shortcut key to the right of the spacebar that can be held and combined with one of the other 52 keys to trigger shortcuts from any screen.
BlackBerry is going back to basics with its new device. There's a dual tone LED flash and support for 4K video recording. There are about 15 BlackBerry apps preloaded in total.
The KEY2 has dual 12MP rear cameras, better image stabilization and faster autofocus.
Other features of the BlackBerry KEY² include a 3500mAh battery which BlackBerry claims should last for two days, a USB-C port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and NFC. The phone comes with up t 128GB of internal storage which is further expandable by up to 256GB via a micro-SD card slot. As well as in the USA, it'll ship globally, priced from €649 Euro, £579 GBP, and $829 CAD. As a reference, the previous BlackBerry KEYone was launched in Malaysia for RM2,688 with 6% GST.