It’s no wonder people get paranoid about their tech. It turns out that Google’s spying on you, Samsung’s recording your phone calls and Apple’s tracking your every move. Or at least that’s what you’ll read on the internet.
The Blackphone 2 is for people who want to get their privacy back. You’ll have to pay a flagship-style price to get onboard, but this is certainly one of the most secure phones in the world right now.
A spokesperson from Silent Circle, the company behind Blackphone, told us that while they were pretty happy with the way the secure features worked on the first Blackphone, the hardware just wasn’t quite right. This is what they’ve tried to fix in the Blackphone 2.
So, as well as bringing fully upgraded specs to the table, the Blackphone 2 is also a lot more impressive-feeling. Both the front and back are covered with Gorilla Glass, getting you a look not a million miles away from the Sony Xperia Z4 and its brothers.
Unsurprisingly security-obsessed, Silent Circle’s demo phones were all strapped into alarms at MWC 2015, where the Blackphone 2 was announced, but hopefully our photos will give you some idea of what it looks like when set free.
Other than being made of high-grade materials, it’s pretty innocuous-looking. There are light-up soft keys on the front, but otherwise this is about as plain as phone designs get. It’s not an attention-grabber, and deliberately so.
It’ll be familiar if you’ve used any Android phone before too. The layout is similar, but it's stuffed to the gills with custom software. Silent Circle also says the PrivatOS interface was made from the ground up for security. There'll even be a custom app store with far more stringent entry requirements than Google Play.
While it’s a bit of a spy’s phone, the actual additional security elements of the Blackphone 2 are fairly low-key. It’s all about encryption, rather than detecting the sound of camera shutters that might be pointed in your direction from 50 paces.
To that end, your texts and calls will all be transmitted through a secure channel with encryption on both ends. This’ll stop anyone from listening in, as even if someone does hack into your phone line, they won’t be able to decrypt the data. You can actually get the Blackphone’s secure call and text apps for iPhones and other Androids, but there are extras here too.
With a Blackphone 2 you can hold totally secure virtual meetings where all your communications are, again, encrypted. And buying the phone gets you two years' worth of secure services.
Underneath all those secure chops, the Blackphone 2 is more-or-less a pretty standard high-end Android phone, hardware-wise. It has an octa-core Snapdragon CPU with 3GB RAM, a full HD 5.5-inch screen and 32GB storage, expandable using a microSD card.
The 13-megapixel camera on the back and 5-megapixel sensor on the front are all in-line with current high-end standards - although obviously you can get a few bonus megapixels if you side with something like the 16-megapixel Galaxy S6.
The Blackphone 2 is not for everyone. If you can't imagine why anyone would be remotely interested in your phone conversations or texts, there's little reason to choose it over any number of cheaper options.
However, it's a big hardware upgrade over the first Blackphone, netting you top specs as well as super-charged security. So if you are the kind of person who needs to keep a few secrets, it may well be a good choice. We'll give it a full review soon.