The BlackBerry KEY2 is one of the last remaining phones with a hardware QWERTY keyboard, but that's not the only reason it is worth considering for the business user.
Like the BlackBerry KEYone, the KEY2 is powered by Google's Android operating system. There are plenty of options available in the Android world, but there continue to be a few unique aspects of the KEY2. In addition, some standard features of Android make it compelling for the enterprise user as well.
Here are seven reasons that make the BlackBerry KEY2 good for business:
- QWERTY keyboard: After a few years of on-screen keyboards, it definitely takes some practice to use a hardware QWERTY keyboard again. That said, it is an excellent keyboard with good spacing and tactile feedback, shortcuts galore, touch sensitivity that make it wonderful for scrolling without touching the display, and intelligent prediction where you can spend half your time just swiping up to accept the next words presented to you. You can also double tap to activate the cursor in a text field, customize the currency key, and jump around the Hub with a key press.
- Security: The DTEK app is designed to raise your awareness of security on your phone so while it may not make your phone more secure automatically, it clearly presents you with different options for security. The KEY2 runs Android 8.1 Oreo and BlackBerry has shown to provide quick monthly Android security updates. The KEY2 runs a version of Android that is mostly stock so updates can be rolled out quicker than phones with custom UIs.
- Private Locker: The KEY2 has a secure area called the Private Locker where a secure file explorer, secure photo gallery, and Firefox Focus reside with the option to add other apps. The Firefox Focus browser auto-deletes your browser history upon exiting.
- Long battery life: Some recent devices, the Samsung Galaxy S9, the HTC U12 Plus, and LG G7 ThinQ, have disappointed me in regards to battery life and I've rarely been able to go a full day with those devices. The large capacity battery and mid-level processor help you go more than a full, busy day with the KEY2 and for business you need a phone that lasts.
- BlackBerry Hub: While there are plenty of email and social media apps avaialable, the centralized communications platform provided by BlackBerry Hub means you can spend most of your time in one area of the device. The Hub takes a bit of time adopting, but it can improve your efficiency with practice.
- Convenience key: While you can have up to 52 shortcuts via the keyboard and Speed Key, you can also setup the right side Convenience key to launch one app or a quick shortcut pop-up for up to three apps or utilities. This is one other way the BlackBerry KEY2 focuses on efficiency.
- Privacy Shade and Redactor: I often see business users with privacy screens on their phones and the BlackBerry KEY2 offers a different approach with a shade that only provides visibility to a few rows of the display at once. You can resize the shade and move it up and down the display with most of your display in hidden mode. There is also a Redactor tool that lets you quickly remove sensitive information from screenshots that you want to share. The Redactor tool provides a more professional look than when you try to use a photo editor and scribble out information.
The BlackBerry KEY2 will be available starting next week for $650.