It is referred to as the BlackBerry Key2, but it surely’s such a leap over final yr’s KeyOne, it would as nicely be referred to as the BlackBerry squared.

BlackBerry Cell’s newest keyboard cellphone builds on 2017’s BlackBerry KeyOne Android handset by bettering all the things — and I do imply all the things — concerning the handset’s hardware and design. 

For those who’re on the lookout for a cellphone with an old-school bodily QWERTY keyboard, that is in all probability going to be your solely new selection for 2018. Whether or not it is a good selection is one thing else totally, which we’ll know much more about after we get our closing pattern for evaluate. Because it stands now, I’ve bought pretty affordable hopes that the Key2 will give keyboard followers, or folks with sturdy bouts of BlackBerry nostalgia, a fuller smartphone expertise than final yr’s KeyOne.

I am speaking concerning the measurement and form of the keys — stiff, small issues you might barely kind with on the KeyOne — to a twin 12-megapixel digital camera setup that has a portrait mode, a sooner processor and double the reminiscence and storage.

The Key2 additionally doubles down on a novel, intelligent characteristic that turns the keys into shortcut app launcher buttons if you press them. Similar to final yr’s KeyOne, you possibly can program 52 shortcuts that open an app or activity if you give it both a brief or lengthy press (26 letters of the alphabet, occasions two).

Learn: For BlackBerry Key 2, the street to comeback is paved in privateness software program

However now, the apps open sooner, with the assistance of a button and from anyplace you might be on the cellphone. Earlier than, you used to must be on the house display to open them.

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BlackBerry Key2 provides a greater keyboard

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In comparison with the KeyOne, the Key2 is hands-down the higher looker. The again nonetheless has that grippy floor someplace between plastic and rubber, but it surely loses the cheap-looking aluminum body and accents.

Every little thing has been painted with a extra fashionable brush, from the speaker grille on the prime to the cellphone’s straighter corners and sides. These facet buttons feel and look higher, too, with the ability/lock button transferring from the left backbone to the appropriate and selecting up a ridged texture that makes it straightforward to search out by really feel. The BlackBerry Key2 is, in a phrase, tidier.

In fact the most important change of all involves the keyboard buttons, which BlackBerry says are 20 % bigger than on final yr’s KeyOne. I did not have a whole lot of time to kind, however they’re already a step up when it comes to grippiness (they lose final yr’s gloss) and separation, which suggests they’re simpler to tell apart from each other as you kind. You continue to will not discover any key ridges like on the improbable BlackBerry Daring of yesteryear, and the “O” nonetheless appears to be like prefer it toppled over on its facet.

The BlackBerry Key2’s keyboard buttons are 20 % bigger than the KeyOne’s.

Sarah Tew/Proinertech

BlackBerry Cell additionally retains the little additional options I beloved seeing within the KeyOne, like a delicate keyboard you possibly can swipe over to scroll the four.5-inch display, a fingerprint reader constructed into the keyboard’s house bar and a comfort key you possibly can program to open your favourite apps. The cellphone additionally retains the productiveness hub, a tab paying homage to Samsung telephones that you simply pull open to take a look at your calendar, contacts and messages.

There is a headphone jack, too, however the keyboard makes it unattainable for the Key2 to be absolutely submersible. You will must accept splash-proof as a substitute.

The BlackBerry Key2 comes with BlackBerry’s DTek safety software program on board. The cellphone will promote someday in June for $649 and £579. The US worth converts to roughly AU$847.

BlackBerry Key2 specs

four.5-inch LCD display with 1,680×1,080-pixel resolutionDual 12-megapixel rear cameras8-megapixel digital camera with 1080p video recordingAndroid Oreo eight.12.2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor64GB or 128GB storageUp to 256GB exterior storage6GB of RAM3,500mAh batteryQualcomm Fast Cost three.0Fingerprint sensor within the house barHeadphone jackUSB Sort-C port

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