The successor to TCL’s flagship KeyOne smartphone, the Key2 is continuing the focus on a candybar design complete with a physical QWERTY keyboard. We get a close look at all the new bells and whistles on the Key2 ahead of its global launch.
Compared to the KeyOne, the keys offered on the Key2 are 20 per cent bigger. TCL says that’s to help make typing on this device even easier. The metal frets between each row of keys have also been removed. This helps you feel your way around the keyboard.
New to the BlackBerry Key2 is the speed key. Replacing the “shift” key on the right-hand side, just hold this down and press any of the other keys to trigger pre-programmed shortcuts. You can do this even when you’re inside another app. The shortcuts are up to the user. You can even have two shortcuts per key – one for a short-press and one for a long-press. For example, you could make quickly pressing “M” open up Google Maps. Or for when I press and hold “M,” it could open up Messenger.
As with other recent BlackBerry devices, the Key2 comes with exclusive access to DTEK. This app gives you visibility into what permissions your apps are using on your phone. A new interface presents a much cleaner look for this app, quickly alerting you to any possible problems. DTEK will also now proactively flag the user when a sensitive permission is used. Are you paranoid that Facebook is listening to you? DTEK will flag you every time the app accesses the microphone.
BlackBerry’s priority on security also continues with its commitment to patch Android as soon as Google pushes out updates. The Key2 also ships with the Firefox Focus browser, which is built with privacy in mind.
The Key2 also now comes with a dual-lens camera on the rear, with a dual LED flash. Another new feature with the camera is that when you take a photo using the fingerprint sensor as the shutter button, the image will be saved to a special photo locker. That means it’s saved only on the device, and not backed up in any cloud that you might normally use. The fingerprint sensor is still found on the space bar, by the way.
The display is unchanged since the KeyOne. It’s also the same 3500 mAH battery here. The Key2 will feature a new app called “Power Center.” BlackBerry says it will use AI to warn users how much battery life they have left. A feature called “contextual battery” will learn how you use the phone and how much power you’ll need as a result.
What’s different is a minimum of 64 GB of storage space. There’s also a new, faster processor with the Snapdragon 660. This processor was designed by Qualcomm to bring flagship performance to mid-tier devices. Hopefully, that will give the Key2 a nice speed upgrade. It might also help explain why the price is a bit higher than the KeyOne at launch.
The BlackBerry Key2 will be available in both black and silver upon release. It is priced starting at $829 in Canada and is expected to be available fairly soon. Thanks for watching All Hands on Tech.