The BlackBerry KEY2: A great business phone made better

July 9, 2018 Chad Sapieha
@chad-sapieha
Technology - Jul. 9, 2018

The BlackBerry KEY2: A great business phone made better

An improved keyboard, long-lasting battery and BlackBerry’s first dual-lens camera are just some of the KEY2’s highlights

The KEYone, made by TCL Communication in partnership with BlackBerry Limited, was exactly the sort of phone many business users wanted. It had a terrific physical keyboard and came equipped with the company’s legendary security while providing a big, bright screen on which to experience Google’s popular Android operating system. As always, though, there’s room for improvement, and that’s exactly what the TCL Communication and BlackBerry KEY2 delivers. BlackBerry’s new phone keeps the original’s comfy textured diamond non-slip back while reducing the overall size and weight via a new aluminum alloy frame. More importantly, it adds and augments key features by boosting battery life, adding a second camera lens and upgrading its already world-class keyboard. It’s an executive phone that really means business.

“BlackBerry’s engineers also added a 'Speed Key' that enables 52 quick-switching shortcuts between apps and activities.”

The king of keyboards

The keys on the KEY2’s QWERTY keyboard are 20% larger, which should prove a little more forgiving for speed typists. BlackBerry’s engineers also added a “Speed Key” that enables 52 quick-switching shortcuts between apps and activities. Just tap the Speed key and another on the board to switch to texting, email, web surfing or any other app assigned to a specific key. Returning KEYone features include a space bar that doubles as a fingerprint reader, a sensor that makes the keyboard function as a trackpad when needed and BlackBerry’s patented “flick” typing.

A bigger battery

BlackBerry knows a low battery warning can be a busy executive's worst enemy. That’s why it gave the KEY2 a giant 3,500 mAh slate of lithium ion that can last up to two days on a full charge under normal usage conditions. And when you do finally need to power up, it won't take nearly as long as you might expect. Support for QuickCharge 3.0 technology means you can get a 50% charge in a little over half an hour. According to BlackBerry’s power usage estimates, that ought to keep you working for about another day.

“Although the KEY2's default web browser is Google Chrome, Firefox Focus – a privacy- and security-focused browser that blocks online trackers and specific types of content – is also included.”

Safety first

BlackBerry’s industry leading security – the phone maker’s chief draw for tech-minded executives – is in full force on the KEY2. DTEK by BlackBerry, an app that watches other apps for suspicious activity, comes preinstalled, as does Locker, a place for you to securely keep your most sensitive files and photos. Although the KEY2's default web browser is Google Chrome, Firefox Focus – a privacy- and security-focused browser that blocks online trackers and specific types of content – is also included. It's one of the safest ways to surf the web.

Two lenses are better than one

The KEY2 sports BlackBerry’s first-ever dual lens rear camera; one with an f/1.8 aperture, the other with an f/2.6. Both deliver crisp and clear 12 MP images. The KEY2 also introduces 2x optical zoom to bring distant subjects a little nearer with no loss in clarity – handy for worksite shooting – plus a portrait mode with a bokeh effect that can produce stunning and artistic headshots for your company's websites. Also useful: You can use the spacebar thumbprint sensor to save photos straight to your BlackBerry Locker.

Check out Connected’s hands-on video for the BlackBerry KEY2.

At a Glance

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, supported by 6GB RAM
  • Storage: 64GB internal, expandable up to 256 GB via MicroSD
  • Display: 4.5-inch IPS LCD, 1,620-by-1,080
  • Camera: Dual 12 MP (f/1.8, f/2.6) with phase detection autofocus
  • OS: Android 8.1 (upgradable)
  • Battery: 3,500mAh

Looking to add some G Suite apps to your new BlackBerry KEY2? Click here for some suggestions.


About the Author

Chad Sapieha has been writing about technology since 1998, and his work has appeared in publications throughout North America, including The Globe and Mail, the National Post, and CBC News.

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