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BlackBerry Key2 changes everything

Like with its 20 percent bigger keyboard buttons than the BlackBerry KeyOne.

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Perla Shaheen, Jessica Dolcourt
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1 of 38 Josh Miller/CNET

From the outside in, the BlackBerry Key2 is the modern upgrade of last year's KeyOne.

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2 of 38 Josh Miller/CNET

Though a lot has changed from the BlackBerry KeyOne, the nod to BlackBerry's classic keyboard remains.

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3 of 38 Josh Miller/CNET

There's that iconic BlackBerry logo.

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4 of 38 Josh Miller/CNET

And here's a close-up of the textured backing. 

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5 of 38 Sarah Tew/CNET

The keys are now matte, instead of glossy as they were on the KeyOne.

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6 of 38 Josh Miller/CNET

There's more room in the keyboard for the key height to increase by 20 percent.

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7 of 38 Josh Miller/CNET

This is all meant to make the keys easier to press by feel.

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8 of 38 Sarah Tew/CNET

You can assign each key to a shortcut in settings; two, actually. A short press to open one app and a long press to open another.

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9 of 38 Sarah Tew/CNET

So you can assign one key to two shortcuts, depending on how long you press down.

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10 of 38 Josh Miller/CNET

The keys can launch any app or task of your choice from anywhere you are on your phone...

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11 of 38 Sarah Tew/CNET

 ...you don't have to go to the home screen to quick-launch an app like with the BlackBerry KeyOne.

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12 of 38 Sarah Tew/CNET

The keyboard is touch sensitive, which means you can swipe up and down or side to side by dragging your finger lightly over the board. You can also just use the touchscreen for this. But hey, why not both?

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13 of 38 Sarah Tew/CNET

If you do the math, that's 52 shortcuts you can access from the keyboard alone.

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14 of 38 Sarah Tew/CNET

You have to click on the new shortcut key, called the Speed Key, at the bottom right of the keyboard before clicking on the letter with the assigned shortcut. 

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15 of 38 Josh Miller/CNET

It's the one with the square of nine dots on it, to the right of the space bar.

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16 of 38 James Martin/CNET

You can also program three more action or shortcut apps to launch when you press the convenience key. Here, you can tap to open the flashlight, the calendar and compose in Gmail.

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17 of 38 Josh Miller/CNET

The BlackBerry Key2 has two 12-megapixel cameras on the back...

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18 of 38 Josh Miller/CNET

...making it the first ever BlackBerry smartphone to feature a dual rear-camera.

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19 of 38 Sarah Tew/CNET

BlackBerry says that the camera setups improves auto white balance and image stabilization, with faster auto focus too.

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20 of 38 Sarah Tew/CNET

The BlackBerry Key2 also contains new capture modes: Portrait and Optical Superzoom, meant to catch details from further away.

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21 of 38 Sarah Tew/CNET

The camera's built-in Google Lens feature also lets you to search for information on the things you take photos of. For example, you could find book reviews by simply taking a picture of a book's cover.

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22 of 38 Sarah Tew/CNET

You might be thinking, where's the fingerprint reader? Right in the space bar.

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23 of 38 Josh Miller/CNET

Just like the rest of the keyboard, the space bar has a dual function: It doubles as the fingerprint sensor.

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24 of 38 Sarah Tew/CNET

The lock button on the side has ridges, for easy recognition.

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25 of 38 Sarah Tew/CNET

The BlackBerry Key2 has a standard USB-C port...

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26 of 38 Sarah Tew/CNET

...in addition to a headphone jack.

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27 of 38 Sarah Tew/CNET

By swiping the productivity tab, the BlackBerry Key2 gives you quick access to some of the most important info on your phone.

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28 of 38 Sarah Tew/CNET

The tab is a small grey sliver at the side of your screen. If it ever gets in your way, you can always change the side it shows up on, its height and general placement.

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29 of 38 Sarah Tew/CNET

The productivity tab lets you customize your widgets, so they're a swipe away, no matter which screen you're on.

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30 of 38 Sarah Tew/CNET

BlackBerry's trademark focus on security appears in the DTEK app installed by default.

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31 of 38 Sarah Tew/CNET

You can easily see what mobile data your apps have access to, including important things like location, camera and the microphone.

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32 of 38 Josh Miller/CNET

The BlackBerry Passport, left, looks insane next to the Key2.

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33 of 38 Josh Miller/CNET

That logo stands out on the silver model.

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34 of 38 Josh Miller/CNET

The Key2's 3,500mAh battery lasted 15 hours in our looping video test (in airplane mode).

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35 of 38 Josh Miller/CNET

The KeyOne sells in 64GB and 128GB options, and has 6GB of RAM.

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37 of 38 Sarah Tew/CNET

Portrait mode shots don't have fancy extras like lighting options or a blur adjustment.

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38 of 38 Josh Miller/CNET

The Key2 will sell for $649 and £579. The US price converts to roughly AU$847. Read our full BlackBerry Key2 Android phone improves literally everything for all the good and bad.

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