Hands-on with Silent Circle Blackphone 2: in pictures

The security-focused phone gets a long-awaited refresh, with a brand new phablet-sized design and new privacy features.
Topic: Security
1 of 11 ZDNet/CBS Interactive

Blackphone 2: An Android phone with a privacy twist

Silent Circle's second-generation smartphone, the Blackphone 2, runs like any other Android phone -- with a twist. It's bolstered with a security center that helps users lock down their devices to prevent hackers from gaining access to their sensitive data.

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A phablet-sized phone for the privacy-minded

The phone has curved corners and lightly textured edges, making it easy to hold, despite being on the larger size. It's about the same size as a iPhone 6 Plus, which can be too big for some people's hands.

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A 13-megapixel rear camera, with flash

The 13-megapixel camera is fair in general testing. The phone itself has all the trimmings of a modern smartphone, but has a software core designed at strengthening a user's privacy.

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Thin, light, but bulky

Blackphone 2 is 7.9mm thin, slightly thicker than an iPhone 6 Plus, which is size-for-size almost identical. It comes with a standard 3.5mm headphone jack for watching and listening to music and video content.

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Battery lasts about a working day

The phone comes with Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0, which the company says can charge the battery to about 60 percent from zero in as little as half-an-hour. In field testing, the phone made good on this promise, give or take a few percentage points.

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Blackphone's glossy back has its flaws

The Blackphone 2 is as haunting to look at as its name might suggest, donning a back-to-front glossy, glass-like black finish. But be careful of fingerprints: the phone can get grubby quickly.

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Volume fared poorly in real-world testing

It's worth noting that the device's modestly-sized back-facing loudspeaker was difficult to hear when out and about on the streets of London. Even in quiet spaces, listening to music was difficult at times, because of the position of the speaker and its limited maximum volume.

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Sharp, vivid 5.5-inches high definition display

The Blackphone 2 boasts a crisp and sharp high-definition display, making 1080p videos look stunning and perfectly rendered. The smartphone has 32GB internal encrypted memory for documents and files, but a 128GB expandable card slot for music and videos.

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Encryption, by default

It isn't just what you see that's keeping your data secure; it's also what you don't see. Blackphone 2 has its memory encrypted from the very first time to turn it on, making it almost impossible to descramble its contents without the correct passcode.

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GSM and LTE bands, around the world

The Blackphone 2 runs on most GSM networks, and has support for many LTE bands, making this one of the most secure world phones on the market today, working in both the US, Europe, and further afield.

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Connectivity: Wi-Fi through to Bluetooth

Wi-Fi connects on 802.11 a/b/g/n and the newer ac bands, and the phone also lands with Bluetooth 4.0 (low energy), which helps to save battery.

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