There was a time that Blackberry phones were the go-to phones in a business environment, exactly because of the built-in keyboard and strong security features. Fast forward to 2018, a world with fullscreen phones and virtual keyboards, and Blackberry phones are no more than a vague memory for most business users.
Yet, Blackberry is still around. Well, actually, the company Blackberry has ceased making Blackberry phones and sold the rights to TCL, a huge Chinese electronics manufacturer best known for their TV panels.
The Blackberry Key2 is their newest phone, and against all recent (and not so recent) trends, it has a physical keyboard. The advantage of that is that writing emails, documents, and texts should be more comfortable than on a virtual keyboard. The keyboard is improved over last years KeyOne, with keys that are 20% larger and better spaced. The keyboard has improved tactile response in order to emulate older (and popular) Blackberry models, and with the use of the Speed Key, you can assign a shortcut to each individual key and launch in an instant.
The screen is an LCD IPS panel, with 1080 x 1620 resolution and 4.5-inches in size. That’s not impressive by 2018 standards, but again, for the target user, it should be more than sufficient. After all, the Key2 is not intended for fullscreen video viewing, advanced photography or gaming.
The Key2 does pack a decent amount of power hardware-wise. The Key2 has a fast Snapdragon 669 processor, 6 GB of RAM, 64 or 128 GB storage a 3,500mAh battery, and Quick Charge 3.0. The phone has also an improved positioning of the microphone and better noise-canceling, to ensure the highest possible quality of calls.
The Key2 has a dual, 12MP camera system on the back, with 2X digital zoom to ensure you can capture all the details in a scene. These are not earth-shattering specifications but considering the business orientation of this phone, it should be more than enough. The front-facing camera is 8MP and that should result in average selfies.
There is no optical stabilization for the rear camera system, but there is digital stabilization that should do a (minimal) amount of correction.
The Key2 runs Android 8.1 Oreo, and it features Blackberry’s DTEK security app, which is a big selling point. After all, business users and especially corporate IT departments care about security, and the Blackberry does have a solid reputation in this area. Standard as well is Secure Locker for files/apps/browsing data, which helps to you keep your important files safe from prying eyes.
Overall, the Key2 is a slick looking business phone, that should appeal to the serious business user that prefers a physical keyboard for typing. In their advertising, Blackberry is pushing all sorts of nostalgia buttons plus, of course, the fact the Key2 is very secure.
The price is the other point that makes the Key2 interesting. At USD 649, it’s considerably cheaper than flagship phones from Samsung or Apple, and that could be a selling argument for companies that need a simple, secure and robust mobile solution for their users. After all, business environments are mostly about writing, sending emails and taking/making calls. For that, Blackberry Key2 is the ideal business solution.