Sci-tech

Blackberry releases its ‘most advanced’ smartphone ever. Here’s a look

Blackberry releases its ‘most advanced’ smartphone ever. Here’s a look

Privacy and security have always been a focus on BlackBerry devices and the KEY2 is no exception. Unveiled in NY today, the TCL-made smartphone delivers what we've come to expect from the BlackBerry brand of late: the combination of a touchscreen and a QWERTY keyboard in a minimalistically-handsome design, along with the latest version of Google's OS.

On the BlackBerry KeyOne, each key was customizable, meaning you could set it up as a shortcut to access from your home screen. It uses Series 7 aluminium for its frame and a soft touch back with a new diamond pattern. The display above it comes in at 4.5 inches, at 1620x1080 resolution. The BlackBerry Key2 is both slimmer and lighter than the BlackBerry KeyOne, has a larger 4.5-inch display that's almost edge-to-edge, and has a larger physical keyboard. You still get in-keyboard fingerprint recognition. It's used for shortcuts and you can program up to 52 combinations including long pressing an alphabet together with the speed key.

New on the KEY2 is a speed key which works like a Function key. The whole keyboard still works like a trackpad too.

Additionally, the KEY2 features a first for any BlackBerry-branded device: a dual rear-camera setup. The rear camera is capable of shooting 4K videos at 30fps and 1080p videos at 60fps. On the front, the KEY2 comes with an 8-megapixel camera. In terms of connectivity, it has 802.11ac 5GHz WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0 LE, NFC and there's also a headphone jack.

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Powering the KEY2 is a 3,500mAh battery which is rated to last up to 2 days on a single charge. Even the keyboard gets a new finish on top (which already looks like an improvement).

Also installed out of the box is Locker, which offers private folders for documents and photos. If the microphone is triggered by an app, the phone will give a warning - a clear appeal to consumers who may be anxious by stories about virtual assistants like Google's Alexa eavesdropping on them. This should offer some pretty decent portrait performance, but I don't expect anything groundbreaking, considering that photography has never been a core concern of BlackBerry's userbase.

"Security has never been so relevant and so important as today", Alain Lejeune, president of BlackBerry Mobile and senior vice-president, TCL communication, said in introducing the KEY2, the flagship smartphone replacing the KEYone.


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