BlackBerry has formally unveiled its latest flagship, the KEY2, during an exclusive event in New York. The Android-powered KEY2 retains its distinctive BlackBerry aesthetics with a physical QWERTY keyboard. Here's all the juicy details regarding Blackberry's followup to the venerable KEYone.
- OS: Android 8.1 Oreo
- CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 660
- GPU: Adreno 512
- Display: 4.5" IPS LCD
- Resolution: 1620 x 1080
- RAM: 6 GB
- Storage: 64 GB (expandable via microSD)
- Rear Cameras: 12 MP + 12 MP
- Front Camera: 8 MP
- Battery: 3,500 mAh
- Bluetooth: 5.0
- I/O: 3.5 mm headphone jack
Like its predecessor, the BlackBerry KEY2 sports a gorgeous physical QWERTY keyboard that's become the brand's most defining characteristic. The keyboard is 25% larger than the KEYOne's, and maintains its capacitive functions to give you the ability to navigate the screen simply by swiping across the buttons.
To further expand on the KEY2's shortcut function that lets you assign your favorite apps to each of its keys — such as assigning the letter "I" for Instagram and "F" for Facebook — the flagship now has a built-in speed key that you can press in conjunction with a shortcut key to instantly switch between apps.
BlackBerry flagships are well-known for their premium construction, and the KEY2 is no different, featuring an aluminum unibody with a textured, slip-resistant rear panel that should greatly aid the device's ergonomics. The rear camera bezels are fashioned out of stainless steel, with the display itself made out of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for increased scratch and shatter resistance.
The BlackBerry KEY2 comes equipped with Qualcomm's octa-core Snapdragon 660 CPU, and an Adreno 512 GPU. While that might seem like a letdown compared to flagships like the S9 which utilize the more powerful Snapdragon 845, BlackBerry prioritized battery life with the KEY2. The 660 is far less power-hungry than the 845 while still being capable of performing everyday tasks without a single hiccup — perfect for BlackBerry's enterprise customers.
Storage-wise, the BlackBerry KEY2 comes with 64 GB of on board storage and a microSD slot to provide additional external storage that can support up 256 GB. The KEY2 has an impressive 6 GB of RAM, which should make multitasking snappy.
Not to be outdone by the competition, the KEY2 features a dual camera setup consisting of a pair of 12 MP sensors, the first of its kind for a Blackberry device. The flagship features a telephoto lens that's capable of 2X zoomm giving the KEY2 the added ability of taking photos in portrait mode. For those all important selfies, the KEY2 provides an 8 MP front camera that gives it parity with other flagships in the market.
The KEY2 comes with a non-removable 3,500 mAh battery, which is slightly smaller than its predecessor's. To ensure you get the most out each charge, however, the flagship comes with a new Power Center app to monitor usage with a fine tooth comb. In addition to keeping track of battery usage down to individual apps, the app keeps track of your charging habits to gives you a reminder of when to recharge.
As far as the display goes, the KEY2 remains largely similar to its predecessor, and sports a 4.5-inch IPS LCD display coupled with Quad HD resolution of 1620 x 1080 (434 ppi). The flagship utilizes the now-standard USB Type-C charging port that's capable of fast charging, along with a 3.5 mm audio jack that's located along the handset's top-left corner.
The BlackBerry KEY2 runs Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box. The UI itself is almost stock Android, with added goodies, such as BBM, BlackBerry Hub, and the DTEK security suite to set it apart as a BlackBerry device.
BlackBerry is known the world over for its emphasis in security and privacy, and the KEY2 embodies this fully. Apart from the easy-to-use DTEK security suite, the flagship now comes with a new private locker, which lets you further secure sensitive apps and files in their own virtual vault that can only be accessed using your PIN, password, or fingerprint.
If those weren't enough, The KEY2 will receive Android's monthly security updates to make sure your device is always up to date and protected from hackers. In all, these security features make the KEY2 a solid handset for security-minded individuals and a certain contender for one of the most secure flagships of 2018.
The BlackBerry KEY2 will be available for purchase stateside by the end of June 2018, and is priced at $649 for the 64 GB model. There's a 128 GB KEY2 that features dual-SIM which costs $749, though it'll only be available for overseas markets with no word on availability in the US. That said, we expect to see the device for sale by most major electronics retailers and carrier stores when the KEY2 touches down.