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KEY2: The iconic BlackBerry gets a new keyboard and dual cameras

For those preferring to type on a physical keyboard, TCL has just announced the new BlackBerry KEY2. This is a security-focused Android smartphone with a QWERTY keyboard and it succeeds the KEYone.

The KEY2 retains a similar appearance as its predecessor and this is a modern take of the iconic BlackBerry Bold. It uses Series 7 aluminium for its frame and a soft touch back with a new diamond pattern. Upfront, they have kept the same 4.5″ 3:2 display that pushes 1620×1080 pixels resolution. Under the hood, they have updated the processor to a more powerful Snapdragon 660 unit with 6GB of RAM.

It comes with a choice of 64GB or 128GB of storage which can be expanded via microSD up to 256GB. For the first time on a BlackBerry, the KEY2 comes with dual-cameras at the rear. It consists of a 12MP f/1.8 main shooter and a secondary 12MP f/2.6 camera that offers 2X Optical zoom and portrait bokeh effects. It also gets an 8MP selfie camera.

The key highlight of the KEY2 is the keyboard and it claims to offer a better typing experience with a couple of design tweaks. The keys are now 20% taller with a matte finish and they have also improved the spacing as well. Like its predecessor, the keyboard doubles up as a touch-sensitive trackpad and the fingerprint sensor is still integrated on the spacebar.

New on the KEY2 is a speed key which works like a Function key. It’s used for shortcuts and you can program up to 52 combinations including long pressing an alphabet together with the speed key.

Privacy and security have always been a focus on BlackBerry devices and the KEY2 is no exception. You get a host of security features including DTEK and a locker where it keeps your photos and documents private. For safer browsing, it even comes preloaded with Firefox Focus.

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Powering the KEY2 is a 3,500mAh battery which is rated to last up to 2 days on a single charge. It supports 18W QuickCharge 3.0 and USB PD 2.0 charging via its USB-C port. In terms of connectivity, it has 802.11ac 5GHz WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0 LE, NFC and there’s also a headphone jack. Out of the box, it runs on the latest Android 8.1 Oreo.

According to TCL, the Blackberry KEY2 will be shipping globally starting this month. It’s priced at US$649 which is about RM2,583 if converted directly. As a reference, the previous BlackBerry KEYone was launched in Malaysia for RM2,688 with 6% GST. The KEY2 comes in Black for both 64GB and 128GB models while the Silver model only comes with 64GB of storage.

The BlackBerry KEY2 has also passed our Malaysian SIRIM certification which is a sign that it’s coming very soon. From the listing below, we are getting the Dual-SIM version (BBF100-6) which is good news.

Are you still interested in a QWERTY smartphone? Let us know in the comments below.

Thanks @KevinNgTK for the tip!


[ SOURCE 2 ]

Alexander Wong