BlackBerry Key2 vs BlackBerry KEYone: What are the differences?

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Canadian smartphone-maker BlackBerry launched its latest offering the BlackBerry KEY2 at an event held in NY on June 7. The BlackBerry Key2 succeeds the BlackBerry KeyOne, also made by TCL, and, yes, both companies realized it would probably be a good idea to stop spelling out the number. The soft-touch back has a new diamond pattern, which is easier to grip.

Smartphone users who miss the days of typing away furiously at the physical keyboard on their BlackBerry device can now get their hands on a revamped version of the iconic technology. This includes a more compact chassis and a re-positioned convenience key, that's now located on the right along with the power and volume rocker. It is coupled with a physical keyboard that also has an integrated fingerprint scanner.

The KEY2 also introduced the new Speed Key - a shortcut key that gives users instant access to the apps, contact and functions they use the most.

BlackBerry Key2 has a dual-rear camera compared to the single one on the previous KEYone. 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. The rear camera is capable of shooting 4K videos at 30fps and 1080p videos at 60fps.

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Inside, TCL's trend of opting for mid-tier chipsets rather than power-demanding flagship silicon continues.

BlackBerry has kept the battery size same at 3500mAh and it has Quick Charge 3.0 support too.

Snapdragon 660 processor isn't the fastest, but you get a robust 6GB of RAM. It supports 18W QuickCharge 3.0 and USB PD 2.0 charging via its USB-C port.

TCL has paired the Snapdragon 660 with 6 GB of RAM and either 64 GB or 128 GB of storage; there's a microSD slot which will take up to 256 GB cards.

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And as was the case with the KeyOne, it comes bundled with BlackBerry's security and productivity software.

Also installed out of the box is Locker, which offers private folders for documents and photos. New this time around is that the device ships with Firefox Focus, which Mozilla incidentally updated with cookie management and autocomplete improvements just a couple of weeks ago.

This protection comes courtesy of a "hardened operating system", "BlackBerry's proprietary technique for establishing a hardware root of trust adding security keys to the processor", and the fact that the handset comes loaded with its DTEK security meter, which shows the overall security rating of your device as well as how apps may be accessing your data.

Gillian Shaw's airfare and accommodation to attend the BlackBerry KEY2 event was paid by TCL Communications.

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