It’s been about two weeks using the new Blackberry Key 2 phone and I have to say I was more impressed than I thought I would be. Experts exclaimed that the keyboard was dead and as an iPhone user I expected to fall in line with that viewpoint. However, after using this unique productivity-focused device I found myself using the keyboard way more than I expected to and after getting used to it, it’s actually pretty awesome.
So what’s new with this phone other than the Keyboard? First off, Blackberry ditched their old operating system and now use Google’s latest android system making it comparable to the top Android devices on the market. In addition to a slick new operating system, the new Blackberry Key 2 has a few productivity apps that increase security and functionality.
The most interesting this about the phone is the amount of attention I’ve received using it in public, almost every day in a shocked tone someone asks me “is that a Blackberry?” If you’re older than 25 there is a good chance you used a Blackberry at some point in your life, and you can tell that people are still fond of the brand at least in a nostalgic sense.
So what’s it like using the Keyboard?
You’d think that after using an iPhone for years using a physical keyboard would be cumbersome… It’s not. The problem I’ve always had with an iPhone is that I have big hands and big fingers and it’s sometimes difficult to get the right letters while typing on an iPhone. The Key 2 was relatively easy and made long-form typing faster and easier for me. I recently went on vacation and opted to leave my computer at home and rely solely on the Key 2. Writing emails was a lot easier and I found myself texting and writing with fewer typos. You can also slide your fingers up, down, left or right on the surface of the keyboard to scroll through pages making web navigation a lot easier than on previous Blackberry devices. Finally, the KEY 2 has convenience keys that allow you to access your favourite apps or even web pages easily.
My only beef with the keyboard is that it takes up screen space, I would have loved to have a full screen with the keyboard added – I’m really not sure why Blackberry opted to reduce the screen size.
How does the phone hold up in real life?
In the words of Larry David, pretty preeettty good. The battery life is very strong ( at least two days with full use) and I used the phone up at the cottage without a case protector and it stood up to drops, sand and the occasional splash. Please note that the phone isn’t waterproof so I don’t suggest taking it near water. The space bar on the keyboard acts as a thumbprint scanner making opening the phone pretty easy. I know that sounds weird but on the last Blackberry device I used, even getting to the home screen was kind of difficult.
So there seems to be some disagreement in the office on whether or not the camera on the Key 2 is any good. Personally, I really liked it! It performs great in regular conditions with a few minor concerns in low lighting. The dual 12-megapixel rear camera works exceptionally well with close up photos and the portrait mode churns out beautiful photography. In addition to the photography capabilities, the Key 2 also takes 4k video producing high-quality movies.