STUFF highlights on the BlackBerry KEY2

Impressive security features, above and beyond those that other Android devices have.

The BlackBerry Key2’s keyboard is a lot like those of old BlackBerrys. Its keys have sloped edges so you can feel the spaces between them. And they use just about every millimetre of free space to make sure they are as comfy and as wide as possible.

In fact, they’re 20% larger than the keys on the KeyOne, and that extra allowance for improving the typing experience is noticeable.

New and improved keyboard aside, there’s no doubt the design of the Key2 looks to be very similar to the KeyOne. But there’s been more done here than you might think.

For a start, the Blackberry Key2 is significantly thinner and lighter than the KeyOne, at 168g and 8.5mm thick. It feels normal in the hand, while the KeyOne seemed tubby. Its black version looks ultra-smart too and makes the KeyOne seem dated by comparison.

The BlackBerry Key2 continues the trend for long-lasting BlackBerry phones. It has a 3500mAh battery, just 5mAh less than the old KeyOne.

This may not be a mind-glowingly large unit, but it’s big for a phone with a 4.5-inch screen. And stamina is in, say, the top 25% of phones at the price.

There are impressive security features too, above and beyond those that other Androids have. Locker is the main one, which allows you to place personal files, photos and apps in a secure location that will not be shared with the cloud, and which will need a password to be viewed. Firefox Focus is also found here, which offers incognito browsing as standard.

You don’t have to be an uber-nerd to appreciate other parts, though. The BlackBerry Key2 has an unusual fingerprint scanner built into the spacebar. It’s not the fastest in town but does work well.

The keyboard can be used as a trackpad too, letting you scroll up and down menus and articles with a light brush across the top of the keys, going a little way to make up for the screen you lose for having the keyboard.

Ask the average person who BlackBerry phones are (or were) for, though, and they’ll tell you it’s business folk. And sure enough, if you fancy making emailing your boss one of the keyboard shortcuts, you can go right ahead.

However, it’s the BlackBerry Hub software that’ll probably prove most useful here. Flick from the side of the screen and a neat display of tabs for your calendar, emails and daily tasks appears.

It’s the organisational equivalent of the brain of an annoyingly successful CEO-type who gets up at 5am and posts motivational one-liners on Facebook. However, like the keyboard, the more you use it, the more useful it seems.

There’s also the long-standing full Hub app at your service too, which gathers all your messages and accounts into one space: Gmail, SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook, and others. Just like the KeyOne, the Key2 is a good fit if you want a phone that will help you be organised and get stuff done.

Almost everything it tries can be replicated with third-party apps, of course, but here it’s all part of a neat, clean-looking BlackBerry UI.

Privacy Shade is perhaps the most unusual feature. It lets you block out your screen, other than a small, scrollable slither. That’ll make it harder for those nosey people on the train looking over your shoulder as you read a personal email. Well, hopefully anyway.


Read the full review from Stuff HERE 


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