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Samsung Galaxy S10 UK cost, release date and specs rumours

Information: Following the release of the Honor View20, the world’s first smartphone to characteristic an in-screen digital camera, Samsung responded with its very personal Galaxy A8S. Apart from aiming at totally different segments of the market, the A8S includes a 6.7mm selfie digital camera, whereas the Honor has a a lot smaller 4.5mm pinhole.

Current rumours suggest the Galaxy S10 may have an identical 4.5mm-sized pinhole and may have the digital camera on the right-hand edge quite than on the left aspect like its sibling and the Honor View20.

Beneath, you may discover famend tipster Ice Universe leaking a picture of a protecting movie that’s designed to suit the upcoming Galaxy S10.

There have been just a few rumours surrounding its design, too. Forbes reviews that well-known cellphone case producer Ghostek has leaked a render of the Galaxy S10, which you’ll see under.

The idea seems to indicate a close to bezel-less design with a single cutout digital camera on the entrance of the cellphone, within the high right-hand nook. On the again is a triple-camera setup with zoom and tremendous wide-angle lenses flanking the primary snapper.

Ghostek has a observe report of reliability when supplying one of these insider information – it efficiently pre-empted the iPhone XR and the Galaxy S9, and can be seeking to make it a hat-trick of types this time spherical with the Galaxy S10.

There has additionally been chatter that the Galaxy S10 might have an in-display fingerprint reader and that it will likely be the final cellphone from Samsung to characteristic a 3.5mm jack – one thing that has quickly vanished from many different producers’ choices. Different rumours have instructed that there can be three or 4 fashions, with Samsung pitting the Galaxy S10 straight in opposition to Apple’s iPhone XR, Xs and Xs Max.

Is your mouth watering with pleasure now? Quench that thirst with every little thing that you must know in regards to the Galaxy S10.

Samsung Galaxy S10: Every little thing that you must know

Samsung Galaxy S10 UK launch date: When will you have the ability to purchase one?

Going by the discharge of the Galaxy S8 and S9, we’d anticipate the brand new S10 (alongside its variants) to return out in March or April 2019. Nevertheless, according to some sources, the Galaxy S10 would possibly even come out sooner than anticipated, because of the launch of the foldable Samsung phone. If true, it means we’d see the flagship cellphone at CES 2019, which takes place in Las Vegas in early January.

Samsung Galaxy S10 worth: How a lot will it value?

We’d love for the Galaxy S10 to reverse the development of smartphones turning into dearer with every iteration. To recap the value of the corporate’s previous couple of flagships, the Galaxy S7 launched at £569, the S8 at £689 and the S9 at £739. That’s an increase of £170 in simply two years.

Nonetheless, Samsung cellphone costs are likely to drop fairly shortly after launch, for instance, the Galaxy S9 that launched in early March, now prices simply £530 – £239 cheaper.

Our guess is that the brand new S10 will value as a lot because the S9’s launch worth, if no more. In fact, we might like to be mistaken, however given the present development, we won’t see any modifications within the firm’s course. Count on a hefty £800+ price ticket for the common model, whereas the Plus variant would possibly break the £1,00zero mark. Gulp.

Samsung Galaxy S10 title: Will it’s named the Galaxy X?

It will make sense for the cellphone to be named the Galaxy S10, following the established Samsung smartphone naming conference. Nevertheless, it’s Samsung’s official ten-year anniversary of the sequence, so don’t be shocked to see it named the Samsung Galaxy S or Galaxy X.

It’s very Apple, we all know, however it will make sense given the present advertising development throughout totally different producers.

Samsung Galaxy S10 options: What is going to it do?

In-screen fingerprint reader

Just a few producers have began utilizing these. For instance, the Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS options the expertise – even when it prices an arm and a leg to buy.

We anticipate that 2019 is the yr we see producers absolutely embrace the expertise, or not less than present it as an elective characteristic to work alongside facial recognition tech and rear- or front-mounted fingerprint scanners.

A current report from Korean web site The Investor mentioned that the Galaxy S10 might characteristic an ultrasonic fingerprint reader. This extra superior tech takes a 3D picture, that means it is extra dependable and safe. The entire S10 variants are mentioned to characteristic some sort of fingerprint reader, with the 2 higher-end fashions set to make use of the in-screen model, whereas the lower-end mannequin would supply a devoted button.

Moreover, the newest info from ET News means that the handsets may have the newest version of Qualcomm’s ultrasonic sensor. The sensors transmit an ultrasonic pulse in opposition to the finger, mapping the ridges of every particular person fingertip. The expertise then generates a 3D copy of the consumer’s fingerprint, guaranteeing most safety. It is fairly cool stuff.

It is an ever-growing hearsay, however one which we consider will turn out to be a actuality. With producers corresponding to Vivo, OnePlus, and Huawei utilising the expertise, it will not be lengthy until Samsung and the opposite massive producers begin utilizing it too.

There’s additionally a style at what Galaxy S10’s show might appear to be. In accordance with Android Police, Samsung has unveiled 4 new forms of infinity show; Infinity-U, Infinity-V, Infinity-O, and New Infinity. Three of which have several types of notches, whereas the final display screen seems to be to be fully bezel-less.

This corresponds with rampant cellphone leaker Ice Universe‘s claims that the Galaxy Notice 9’s current Android Pie beta replace features a night time mode demo, which seems to disclose a bezel-less display screen. Might a notch-less show be on the playing cards for the Galaxy S10? Why that is definitely not out of the realms of chance.

3.5mm headphone jack

It’s doable that the Galaxy S10 would be the final cellphone from Samsung to characteristic a 3.5mm headphone jack. The corporate has caught by the port whereas many different producers have completely distributed with it and opted for a USB-C port for audio playback.

In accordance with a report from ET News, the three.5mm jack may very well be gone by the point the Notice 10 is launched, with 2020’s Galaxy S11 more likely to be USB-C-only as nicely. We hope that Samsung will without end hold the three.5mm jack, however who is aware of what the South Korean producer will do: will it’s just like the others and buckle to (unpopular) traits or will it stand robust in opposition to its rivals?

Digicam specs and a doable pop-up selfie digital camera

Whereas the Galaxy S9’s digital camera is unbelievable, we don’t anticipate Samsung to cease innovating on this division. The South Korean producer is more likely to up its recreation additional for its tenth-anniversary flagship.

In accordance with KB Securities analyst Kim Dong-won, the upcoming S10 will characteristic three rear-camera lenses. However this would possibly not be the primary of its sort, as Huawei already launched the P20 Pro in April 2018. A more moderen report factors that method too, with Sam Mobile saying that we’ll see a 12-megapixel foremost sensor, plus an excellent wide-angle 16-megapixel lens and a 13-megapixel lens sitting beside it.

The primary sensor is ready to have the identical variable f/1.5-2.Four aperture because the S9+, whereas the opposite two lenses may have a f/1.9 and f/2.Four aperture respectively. Supposedly, the 16-megapixel sensor will not have OIS, whereas the opposite two may have stabilisation.

May we even see 4 cameras across the again? With the Galaxy A9 that includes 4 sensors, we might even see Samsung utilise as many as six sensors; 4 on the again, two on the entrance.

As for the selfie digital camera, some assume Samsung would possibly even use the identical design as Chinese language producer, Vivo, and undertake a pop-up selfie digital camera like on the Vivo Nex S. These rumours stem from a concept video on YouTube, which showcases how the S10 would possibly appear to be. There’s no arduous proof to again up this idea, however given how Vivo and Oppo have opted for a pop-up digital camera, it won’t be removed from the reality

Others recommend the cellphone would possibly even have an in-display selfie digital camera. This eliminates the necessity for a notched show or a mechanised pop-up digital camera. If the rumours are to be true, we’re in for an actual deal with.

Ben Geskin (also referred to as @VenyaGeskin1 on Twitter) has just a few idea designs – the prospects are thrilling, see under.

A brand new processor

We’re nearing a yr for the reason that launch of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 and reviews have mentioned that its successor, the rumoured quad-core 855, can be mass-produced within the remaining quarter of this yr.

Based mostly on Samsung’s different telephones, it’s extremely seemingly that the 855 can be powering the Galaxy S10 in China and the Americas, whereas Samsung’s next-gen Exynos 9820 would be the processor for Galaxy S10 telephones launched within the UK.

Famend tipster @universeIce on Twitter has shared the primary recorded rating of the Exynos 9820 processor. It achieves 325,076 within the fashionable Antutu benchmark, an extremely quick rating that is round 30% sooner than the Samsung Galaxy S9’s. You will additionally see that it is operating Android 9, has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of inner space for storing.

There are additionally rumours to suggest the S10 may have new circuitry inside; consequently, we’d see extra chips layered contained in the S10’s shell, and subsequently we’d see a good larger increase in efficiency. May we lastly see an Android cellphone surpassing an iPhone? Time will inform.

5G connectivity

Samsung telephones, within the US not less than, are normally among the many first recipients of Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon chip and now that the Snapdragon 855 has been formally unveiled it seems to be just like the Samsung Galaxy S10 goes to be among the many first telephones to get 5G, too.

Qualcomm’s newest chip has a triple-CPU design and a few thrilling new digital camera options, not least the flexibility to seize video in HDR10+ however, alas, we will predict with a good diploma of certainty that it will not be coming to European Galaxy Telephones; until you import it from overseas, that’s.

Might that imply the European Samsung Galaxy S10 misses out on 5G in 2019? It might nicely be, particularly since Samsung’s newest Exynos 9820 chip lacks help for 5G. Having mentioned that, with help for 4G downloads of as much as 2Gbits/sec, the Samsung Exynos 9820 is hardly gradual and it may very well be that, simply as with Qualcomm’s answer, Samsung provides its personal 5G modem into the combination to carry it on top of things.

Bone conduction expertise

There’s speak of the Galaxy S10 that includes bone conduction expertise. This works, very like some headphones available on the market, by transmitting a sign by vibrations. Samsung would possibly use it to conduct sounds by the cellphone’s entrance panel. These rumours come after Samsung displayed its new prototype bone-conducting tech on the Society for International Display (SID).

Android Pie

We anticipate seeing Android Pie used within the Galaxy S10. Google’s newest working system has but to roll out formally in Samsung’s newest flagship telephones, however we suspect it’s going to come out as an replace quickly. Count on the S10 to ship with Android Pie out-the-box.

Samsung Galaxy S10 design: What is going to it appear to be?

In the meantime, famend tipster Ice Universe has been busy sharing loads of particulars on how the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10 telephones are anticipated to look. This time round, he seems to think there might even be dual-front cameras built into the display on the S10+ model. See, there are three fashions rumoured to be popping out: The S10 Lite, S10 and the S10+. All of that are certain to have a recent tackle the bezel-less design. Quite than having a notch, they’re set to deploy an in-display digital camera peeking by a gap within the display screen.

Nevertheless, with the S10+ that includes dual-front dealing with cameras, would possibly we see two separate digital camera holes or a mix of them within the show?

Idea pictures

Over the summer season, recent Galaxy S10 idea pictures surfaced on In the event that they’re in any respect consultant of the ultimate cellphone, we needs to be in for an actual deal with. The photographs give us an thought of what a cellphone with an in-display fingerprint reader and 5 digital camera lenses might appear to be.

New colors have additionally been introduced, which we might see make an look on the Galaxy S10. In accordance with TechRadar, ought to anticipate silver, inexperienced, black, blue and pink color schemes when the cellphone launches.

Show upgrades

If one factor is for positive it’s that we’re certain to see a brand new and improved display screen. We anticipate the identical 1,440 x 2,960 decision in a 5.8in (or barely bigger) display screen. We’d be shocked if Samsung deviated removed from that golden decision. Count on the show to be HDR10-compliant Tremendous AMOLED, too.

Among the many most fun rumours to hit the scene is that the Galaxy S10 could come outfitted with that sought-after characteristic – an “unbreakable” display screen.

If this seems like an unlikely fact, news that Samsung Show has introduced its first unbreakable smartphone panel will add some clout to the hearsay. The display screen in query makes use of a versatile OLED show, which is then ensconced in a fortified plastic window quite than glass, reviews recommend.

What’s extra, the show will not be confined to the Galaxy S10 – it is anticipated to be utilized to tablets, transportable video games consoles, cell navy units and even autos.

There’s additionally an opportunity, nevertheless minute, that the Galaxy S10 might characteristic a folding display screen, the patents for which we noticed again in 2016. Nevertheless, the corporate’s president has mentioned that the folding display screen would debut beneath the Notice model, so it appears unlikely.

Lastly, the Galaxy S10 ought to characteristic a 2K+ show. Not less than that’s in accordance with famend tipster Ice Universe. A pixel density exceeding 600ppi is predicted, which places it someplace between 2K and 4K. For reference, the present Galaxy S9 show has 570ppi at a decision of 1,440 x 2,960, whereas the Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium 4K show (3,840 x 2,160) has 760ppi.

Even smaller bezels

The rationale that the fingerprint scanner moved to the again of the S8, after having been on the entrance for earlier fashions, is that it takes up invaluable house on the entrance of the cellphone.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 has a powerful 83.6% screen-to-body ratio, one of many highest we’ve seen on a Samsung cellphone. Nevertheless, we consider Samsung can enhance on this with the Samsung Galaxy S10 and one hearsay suggests we’re proper. Giz China is reporting that the S10 might characteristic an Infinity Show with a screen-to-body ratio of as much as 93%, so it’s doable we’ll see the underside bezel disappear altogether.

If that is the case, we’d even see a removing of the front-facing digital camera, with Samsung choosing a pop-up or in-display digital camera as a substitute.

As we’re anticipating to see the Samsung Galaxy S10 debut in Q1-2 2019, there are certain to be extra rumours nearer to the time. We’ll make sure you replace this text with any new developments.

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OnePlus 6T McLaren Version: No need for speed

Last year’s OnePlus 6T made quite a statement. The definitive flagship killer remains the best-ever OnePlus phone to date and offers 99% of what its rivals can do at roughly 60% of the price. If there ever was a case against spending upwards of four figures on the latest handset, well, this was it.

OnePlus 6T McLaren Version

Final yr’s OnePlus 6T made fairly an announcement. The definitive flagship killer stays the all-time OnePlus telephone thus far and presents 99% of what its rivals can do at roughly 60% of the worth. If there ever was a case in opposition to spending upwards of 4 figures on the most recent handset, effectively, this was it. OnePlus 6T McLaren Version Review is here.

Besides there’s now a brand new OnePlus to shake issues up a bit. This particular McLaren Version of the OnePlus 6T, which prices an additional £150 over the bottom mannequin, is a slightly-beefier handset with 10GB of onboard RAM as a substitute of the same old 6- or 8GB configurations.

Purchase OnePlus 6T McLaren Version

It additionally features a fairly uncommon McLaren-inspired design, with a shiny carbon fibre-like rear and light “papaya orange” accents across the again edges of the underside half of the telephone, which mimics a Method 1 race automotive’s velocity trails.

However the variations between the two finish there. Sure, it should finally arrive in your doorstep in a particular presentation field together with some McLaren-branded knick knacks (which I’ll get onto later) however elsewhere this “restricted version” smartphone is far the identical as earlier than.

OnePlus 6T McLaren Version

Not that that’s a nasty factor. Like its non-McLaren branded counterpart, this new OnePlus 6T continues to be powered by Qualcomm’s fastest-ever cell processor, the octa-core 2.8GHz Snapdragon 845 chipset, which additionally retains issues ticking alongside on most of its flagship counterparts. It additionally features a large 256GB of onboard storage, albeit with no area for a microSD card – not that you just’ll essentially want it. Actually, that implies that though it’s £150 greater than the bottom OnePlus 6T, it’s solely £70 greater than the 8GB and 256GB mannequin.

So  is 2GB extra RAM value £70? Effectively, a smartphone with 10GB of RAM is principally overkill for almost all of smartphone customers – you received’t discover any discernible variations in day-to-day use, and it doesn’t actually add something to the telephone’s total efficiency. The OnePlus 6T McLaren Version obtained nearly an identical scores within the Geekbench four assessments

In real-world use, although, juggling a number of purposes and video games did really feel just a little bit snappier in comparison with the common OnePlus 6T. If for some motive, you’re continually pushing your telephone to its limits and will do with all the grunt you may get your arms on, there’s merely no different different in the meanwhile.

Fortunately, the added RAM doesn’t seem to have negatively affected the telephone’s stamina. The OnePlus 6T McLaren Version’s battery life stays largely unchanged, reaching a complete of 21 hours in our steady video playback check earlier than needing to recharge. The telephone additionally advantages from what the agency calls “Warp Cost 3.0”, which prices the OnePlus to 50% from empty in simply 20 minutes.

The remainder of the telephone’s particulars additionally stay the identical. The 6.41in AMOLED display continues to be 2,340 x 1,080 in decision and contains the little drop notch on the prime for the embedded selfie digicam. This association hasn’t modified both; the front-facing digicam is a 16-megapixel unit, which works with the 2 rear-facing 16- and 20-megapixel snappers.

Digicam high quality is an space the place the OnePlus 6T excels, and the McLaren version isn’t any totally different. Supplied you may have loads of mild (low-light pictures do undergo from some heavy-handed compression artifacting), photographs look sharp and detailed, with a pleasingly-natural color palette.

The telephone can be working the most recent model of Google’s ever-popular cell working system, Android 9.0, albeit with OnePlus’ personal Oxygen OS excessive. Don’t fear, so far as software program tweaks go that is the least intrusive of the lot, and the expertise feels very very similar to inventory Android. There’s a particular McLaren theme with this mannequin, although, with black backgrounds and orange textual content – however it may be turned off for those who don’t prefer it.

OnePlus 6T McLaren version: Added extras

OnePlus 6T McLaren Version

Let’s discuss that particular presentation field and McLaren-branded gubbins, then. Open the lid, and the very first thing you’ll spot is a elaborate McLaren “Salute to Velocity” e book, which works into plenty of depth in regards to the racing agency’s historical past and notable successes.

The e book additionally features a spot of AR performance. When organising the telephone, you’ll be able to level the rear digicam on the pages and reveal supplementary video diaries and even an in depth 3D picture of a Method 1 race automotive. It’s fairly enjoyable, and particularly fascinating for those who’re a eager racing fanatic. The handset itself can be discovered contained in the e book.

Sitting beneath is the McLaren-branded telephone case, in addition to the telephone’s charger and USB-C to three.5mm headphone adapter. Lastly, there’s additionally a fairly neat carbon fibre McLaren emblem, which is constructed from the Surrey-based racing workforce’s MCL33 Method 1 race automotive (which was pushed by Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne) and encased in glass for show in your shelf.

OnePlus 6T McLaren Version evaluation: Verdict

Is any of this additional stuff truly well worth the added value? Effectively, not precisely, and particularly not for those who aren’t a giant Method 1 fan. The RAM improve doesn’t provide a lot in day-to-day use, whereas the included McLaren-branded merchandise is fascinating at first however will in the end find yourself gathering mud on a shelf.

Purchase OnePlus 6T McLaren Version

If you’re a eager follower of McLaren’s Method 1 appearances, nonetheless, and just like the look of the telephone’s particular design, there is definitely a powerful case to be made for paying the additional value.

However, with the added £150 bringing the worth of the OnePlus 6T McLaren version to a not-so-mid-range £649, the telephone strikes dangerously near nearly all of top-shelf Android flagships. It fails to achieve pole place in consequence.

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BlackBerry Key2 LE review: Party like it’s 2002

It feels odd to say this, given TCL Communications has sent us a phone with a physical keyboard in 2019 but, in a strange way, the Chinese company is listening. It’s not that people are buying BlackBerry handsets in huge numbers any more.

BlackBerry Key2 LE

It feels odd to say this, given TCL Communications has sent us a phone with a physical keyboard in 2019 but, in a strange way, the Chinese company is listening. It’s not that people are buying BlackBerry handsets in huge numbers any more. That ship well and truly departed a decade ago. But, with the Blackberry Key2 LE, the company has fixed our main issue with the KeyTwo: the, uh, “optimistic” pricing.

To do so, TCL has had to make a number of concessions but overall they’ve been made in the right place to bring the BlackBerry Key2 LE to a price that shouldn’t leave you in total disbelief.

Unless you happen to think that buying a BlackBerry in 2019 is a mad thing to do, which is a point it’s pretty hard to argue with, considering the quality of the opposition.

BlackBerry Key2 LE review: What you need to know

It’s the third outing for the reborn, keyboard-based BlackBerry. No, it’s not still made by Canadian firm RIM but by TCL Communications, the firm that’s also recently brought back Palm in a pique of retro fever.

The second keyboard-based BlackBerry, the KeyTwo impressed us well enough last year but the price felt a bit high considering the distinctly middle-of-the-road innards. Suffice to say you were paying a premium price for a keyboard.

The Key2 LE (“Light Edition”) fixes that, knocking a cool £229 off the price. To do that, TCL has cut the processor speed, RAM and battery capacity and included a slightly less appealing keyboard.

BlackBerry Key2 LE review: Price and competition

With that kind of specification surgery, you’d better hope the price is low and, gratifyingly, it is. While the original BlackBerry KeyTwo came in at £579, only £20 less than the LG G7 Thinq, the Key2 LE is a far more reasonable £350.

If specifications are all you care about you can still do better for the price, though. The Pocophone F1 is £330, and it comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, a chip that, bluntly, wipes the floor with the Snapdragon 636 inside the Key2 LE.

But, let’s assume you want a physical keyboard (why else would you be reading a BlackBerry review in 2019?) What alternatives are there? Well, there’s the original BlackBerry KeyOne, of course, which now goes for around £230. My advice, though, would be to look at buying a Samsung Galaxy S8, and pairing it with Samsung’s keyboard cover. It’s the most powerful BlackBerry-like experience you’ll get in 2019 by some distance.

Samsung hasn’t made the keyboard cover for the S9, so I can only assume nobody was buying them, though.

BlackBerry Key2 LE review: Design

Buy you’ve presumably ruled out buying a Samsung flagship, so let’s talk about BlackBerry. The Key2 LE’s design is actually rather smart and I’ve found myself growing rather fond of it over the time I’ve spent using as my main phone.

It’s certainly different. A 3:2 aspect-ratio display in an era where phone screens are favouring 18:9 or greater is a bold move, although not quite as bold as occupying the bottom two-fifths of the front with a 35-key keyboard. It’s separated from the screen by a bezel filled with off-screen capacitive navigation keys.

As for the rest of the design, that’s quite nice, too, and echoes the layout of the Key2. The top of the chassis is neatly squared off, the bottom has curved corners so it shouldn’t catch on the lining of your pocket and the whole phone is framed in a smart, champagne gold trim.

Flip it over and you’ll find a nicely rubberised back that feels wonderfully grippy in the hand and a genuine breath of fresh air when compared with what BlackBerry hopes will be its rivals. The familiar BlackBerry logo is embossed in silver two-thirds of the way up and a dual-camera sits at the top.

You can buy a dual-SIM version and it supports microSD cards up to 256GB in size. It isn’t waterproofed – there are quite a lot of gaps between those little keys – but it does maintain the headphone jack, like the good old days.

BlackBerry Key2 LE review: Keyboard

There’s no getting around it: I have big hands and, as such, I’ve never seen the appeal in poking at tiny buttons like I’m playing the world’s most tedious minature game of Whack-A-Mole.

Actually, I’m not really a big fan of typing on smartphones, full stop. I only type on my phone as an absolute last resort: WhatsApp Web is a Godsend. That said, I’ve actually found the BlackBerry Key2 LE keyboard a pleasant surprise. I can certainly see the appeal, even if part of that appeal is the clickity-clack of looking important while you hammer out a tiny email.

The keys are decently spaced enough that typos are rare, although it has the strange side effect of making me watch my fingers, rather than the words appearing on the screen. Additionally, adding commas and question marks requires you to press the tiny “alt” button first, which is tedious if you’re the kind of bore that insists on perfect grammar in your texts. (Solidarity, reader: I’m one of you.)

Still, generally the predictive text jumps in at exactly the points where you would want it to, offering suggestions which generally make sense and adding apostrophes to save you the frustrating alt-key dance. The fingerprint reader is also embedded in the spacebar, which is a very nice touch and works well. It’s a pity that said space bar doesn’t double up as a home button but you can’t have anything.

But remember how I said the keyboard was one area where BlackBerry had cut corners with the LE? It’s no longer touch sensitive. That means you can’t use it as a touchpad for scrolling through webpages and it doesn’t allow you to flick your fingers upwards at the words you want to pick. You can still set keys to act as shortcuts to launch apps, which is a nice touch, if a little pointless given your favourites are easily accessible in a touch-friendly interface an inch away.

Would I pick this over a touchscreen keyboard? Absolutely not but it was a closer call than I thought it would be before I picked up the BlackBerry Key2 LE. The deciding factors are twofold: first, I miss swiping my words, which I still find the quickest way of entering text in a hurry. Second, I found that to type with any kind of speed on the BlackBerry, I need to use two thumbs. That makes texting and walking nearly impossible, which is a real pain if you’re running late and need to tell someone pronto.

BlackBerry Key2 LE review: Screen

Two years ago, phones switched up their aspect ratios, most moving to a long and thin 18:9, rather than the dumpier 16:9 of old. The resurrected BlackBerrys don’t play these games at all, providing a 3:2, 4.5in touchscreen placed just above the keyboard.

Does that make interacting with apps a bit more awkward? You betcha. Even pressing the home, back or menu buttons requires you to lift your thumb above the keyboard, which is as fiddly as it sounds.

But hey, you know what you’re signing up for when you buy a BlackBerry, so how does the display perform on a technical level? Really well, as it turns out. It’s an IPS panel, with a resolution of 1,620 x 1,080 meaning you get a decent pixel density of 434ppi.

Better still, it performs better than the more expensive BlackBerry KeyTwo. It covers 98.5% of the sRGB colour spectrum, up 5% on its pricier sibling and it reaches a peak brightness of 470cd/m2 compared with the KeyTwo’s 397cd/m2. Contrast is slightly weaker but, at 1,239:1, it would be churlish to moan too much.

It’s still not the perfect screen for binge-watching Netflix shows on, thanks to the ruddy great keyboard poking out of the side but it’s actually pretty good for what it is.

BlackBerry Key2 LE review: Performance

So far, so good then: £230 off the price of the original BlackBerry KeyTwo, with only minor keyboard annoyances to contend with. How about the reduction in core specifications?

The new BlackBerry Key2 LE comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor, while it’s more expensive sibling features the 660. Both are octa-core chips but there’s a 400MHz clock speed difference between them. Piling on the pressure for the upcoming benchmarks is the loss of 2GB RAM between versions. While the KeyTwo had 6GB, the Key2 LE has to make do with 4GB.

So, what does that mean in practical terms?

The good news is that it’s not too far behind the non-LE version. You may come up against a memory ceiling now and then. The software warned me at one point that I needed to close things to make it perform better. Generally, however, the difference shouldn’t be all that different. Not £230 different, anyway.

BlackBerry Key2 LE

The elephant in the room is how much better you can do for the money with a non-BlackBerry phone. Off both the charts above is the Xiaomi Pocophone F1, which comes in £20 cheaper. The Nokia 8.1 is £30 more expensive than the BlackBerry Key2 LE and beats it comfortably.

The Samsung Galaxy S8, a handset fast approaching its second birthday, is significantly faster and can be made BlackBerry-like by adding the official Samsung keyboard cover.

Battery life is equally underwhelming, comparatively speaking, with the Key2 LE lasting only 13hrs 18 mins in our video playback test. Confusingly, this is 12 minutes longer than the KeyTwo despite it having a 500mAh smaller battery.

Of course, there’s more to phones than just benchmarks and one of the things that has most impressed me about the Key2 LE is the software. Don’t worry, you don’t have to learn/relearn BlackBerry OS; this is a nicely skinned version of Android with some BlackBerry-specific flavours.

Some of these are purely cosmetic. I like the charging bar that snakes around the edges of the screen when you plug the phone in, and the tiled apps that appear when you tap the menu button, but other features are a hell of a lot more useful.

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BlackBerry Messenger may be a peculiar throwback in 2019, but DTEK by BlackBerry is a useful privacy and security checker, and there are other brilliant tools built in for the privacy and business conscious. Privacy Shade makes the entire screen pitch black, except for a single-line window that you can drag along with your finger, meaning sensitive emails are safe from people reading over your shoulder. Redactor is equally useful, allowing you to paste thick black lines over text in screenshots before sending them, removing secrets from prying eyes.

BlackBerry Key2 LE review: Camera

For those easily bamboozled by specifications, the camera specs look slightly better on paper than the original KeyTwo but, make no mistake, this is a downgrade disguised as an upgrade. Yes, it’s now 13 megapixels compared with the original’s 12 megapixels, but the aperture was a larger f/1.8 and it’s now a smaller f/2.2. Worse, the sensor size has shrunk from 1/2.3in to 1/3.1in, which means considerably less light gathering potential.

Despite this, the performance here isn’t too bad but the complaints we had with the KeyTwo are repeated here: a smoothing effect seems to apply in post-processing which gives things an unnatural look.

As you can see in the comparison shots with the Nokia 8.1, it’s getting plenty of detail, but said detail is lost with aggressive processing that leaves areas of similar colour looking smudged.

The quality of images isn’t too bad for the price but the real issue I have is with the actual day to day use of the camera. You have to remain perfectly still in the second after pressing the capture button. If you don’t, the result will be a blurred image. Suffice to say, this makes my Instagram hobby of cat photography almost impossible but maybe BlackBerry users care more about emails than feline photography.

BlackBerry Key2 LE review: Verdict

Should you buy a BlackBerry in 2019? I wouldn’t personally. Touchscreen keyboards have come a long way in the last decade and a physical keyboard feels like a relic that’s more likely to get in the way than prove genuinely useful nowadays.

But if you do long for a handset that’s a little different then you could do worse than the BlackBerry Key2 LE. On the whole, the cuts made over the original KeyTwo don’t add up to £230 less value in my eyes.

And yes, you could add a keyboard cover to the Samsung Galaxy S8 for a better overall Android experience but if you prefer everything with a BlackBerry taste, then the Key2 LE is worth a nibble.

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Google to remove Android apps requesting SMS and Call Log access

Google has said it will begin removing Android apps that seek unjustified access to the device owner’s call and text message logs.

Google to remove Android apps

Google has said it will begin removing Android apps that seek unjustified access to the device owner’s call and text message logs.

The company is requiring apps that request this highly personal information from users’ devices must fill in a permissions declarations form to explain why, or revoke the permissions in a new version of the app.

Developers that fail to do either will be removed from the Play Store automatically, as will those who fail to provide sufficient reasoning.

The news comes from Paul Bankhead, who is the director of product management at Google, who points out that many apps, such as diallers or messaging tools, require such access as part of their basic functionality.

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In a blog post (via The Register), he wrote: “We take access to sensitive data and permissions very seriously. This is especially true with SMS and Call Log permissions, which were designed to allow users to pick their favourite dialler or messaging app, but have also been used to enable many other experiences that might not require that same level of access.

“Our new policy is designed to ensure that apps asking for these permissions need full and ongoing access to the sensitive data in order to accomplish the app’s primary use case, and that users will understand why this data would be required for the app to function.”

Developers affected by the policy change have already been emailed and have been given 90 days to either remove those permissions or submit the aforementioned form. The company says each submission will be evaluated by its review teams. It says tens of thousands of devs have already resubmitted apps to support the new policy, or submitted a form.

“Over the next few weeks, we will be removing apps from the Play Store that ask for SMS or Call Log permission and have not submitted a permission declaration form,” Bankhead added.

Those apps subject to removal must submit a new version of the app without these permissions or submit the firm before March 9.

Does Google do a good enough job of keeping app permissions under control? Let us know @css0cder on Twitter.


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