“The KEY2 brings several significant updates over the KEYone, including dual cameras and a better keyboard”
There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the BlackBerry KEY2 ever since it was launched in New York last month. The smartphone has just landed in India with a price tag of Rs 42,990. With a redesigned keyboard and dual rear cameras, the smartphone has tried to improve upon the shortcomings of its predecessor, the KEYone (review). If you’re wondering what else the latest from the Canadian giant brings over and above its previous iteration, then read on.
BlackBerry KEY 2 vs KEYone: what’s different
The QWERTY keyboard up front gets some big changes as well as a few subtle ones on the KEY2. The new unit is 20 percent larger than the one on the KEYone, and it even has better contours to make the keys more tactile. Combined with a matte finish replacing the earlier sticker coating, the typing should be easier and more accurate on the new smartphone. There’s just one Shift key on the KEY2, but it introduces a new Speed Key that can be used to assign shortcuts to apps and initiate actions from anywhere, without the need of returning to the homescreen.
Despite their premium looks, both these BlackBerry phones come with mid-range chipsets. That said, the Snapdragon 660 chipset running the show on the KEY2 is a good bump up from the Snapdragon 625 SoC that was at the heart of the KEYone. The performance of the new phone will also get a huge boost from its RAM capacity which stands at 6GB. The KEYone, in comparison, came in 3GB and 4GB RAM options. Storage-wise, the KEY 2 gets 64GB of memory, up from the 32GB base variant of the earlier device. A 128GB version of the BlackBerry KEY2 also exists, but that hasn’t made its way into India.
The other big change between the two handsets is in the camera department. The BlackBerry KEY2 has gone for a dual-camera unit that includes a 12MP f/1.8 snapper and a 12MP f/2.6 secondary snapper. As opposed to that, the KEYone ships with a single 12MP f/2.0 camera. While the resolution of the front camera is the same for both phones — 8MP — the aperture of the KEY2 is slightly wider at f/2.0. The KEYone boots Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box, and received the Oreo flavour only a few weeks ago. In contrast, the KEY2 runs Android 8.1 and is in line to get the Android P update, whenever it’s launched.
There are a few interesting software additions to the new phone. The Locker app which could previously hide photos and other sensitive files can now also be used to lock apps. Firefox Focus is also part of the Locker now, which enables private browsing. A new privacy shade feature also comes onboard, providing you with a little window which you can drag along the text you don’t want others to read over your shoulder.
BlackBerry KEY 2 vs KEYone: what’s the same
Both the BlackBerry KEYone and KEY2 feature the same 4.5-inch display. The IPS screen offers a 3:2 aspect ratio and a resolution of 1,080 x 1,620 pixels. The fingerprint scanner retains its position on the keyboard’s space bar, and the presence of the headphone socket and Type-C port also remains untouched. The smartphones also come with capactive touch functionality for the keyboard, which enables quick scrolling on webpages among other things. Another thing common between these handsets is the microSD card slot, which allows storage expansion of up to 256GB.
The KEYone provided an admirable battery life with its 3,500mAh power pack. Perhaps that’s the reason why BlackBerry has chosen to continue with the same. The KEY2 also supports Quick Charge 3.0. While the rear camera setup has changed completely on the new phone, one thing that unfortunately remains common between both the handsets is the absence of OIS.
Price and availability
When the BlackBerry KEYone had first arrived in India, it carried a price tag of Rs 39,990. That value was recently brought down to Rs 32,999. The KEY2 on the other hand, has been priced at Rs 42,990 and will go on sale starting July 31st.
It makes a little sense for anyone to consider buying the KEYone now that the KEY2 has arrived. For BlackBerry loyalists, it’s a powerful handset that promises to offer good camera performance and a long-lasting battery, along with focusing on privacy and featuring a full-sized physical keyboard. However, for everyone else, the KEY2 might not make much sense considering that you can now get a flagship in this price segment.