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Christmas Gift Guide

A 13-megapixel rear camera, with flash

Maybe too bulky for some

Battery lasts about a working day

Blackphone's glossy back has its flaws

A phablet-sized phone for the privacy-minded

Volume fared poorly in real-world testing

Sharp, vivid 5.5-inch high-definition display

Silent Circle's second-generation smartphone, the Blackphone 2, runs like any other Android phone -- with a twist. Its Security Center feature helps you lock down your device to prevent hackers from gaining access to your sensitive data.

Caption by / Photo by Zack Whittaker/CNET

The 13-megapixel camera is fair in general testing. The phone itself has all the trimmings of a modern smartphone, but its core software is designed to strengthen your privacy.

Caption by / Photo by Zack Whittaker/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Zack Whittaker/CNET

The phone has 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.

Caption by / Photo by Zack Whittaker/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Zack Whittaker/CNET

The phone has curved corners and lightly textured edges, making it easy to hold, despite being on the larger size.

Caption by / Photo by Zack Whittaker/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Zack Whittaker/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Zack Whittaker/CNET
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