Introducing BlackBerry KEY2 - An Icon Reborn

TCL launches the BlackBerry Key2 for $649

BlackBerry Key2 specs, photos leak ahead of June 7 reveal

For those preferring to type on a physical keyboard, TCL has just announced the new BlackBerry KEY2.

This is also the first BlackBerry handset to include a dual camera. BlackBerry is also introducing a new Speed Key that lets you use custom shortcuts from anywhere on the screen.

Alain Lejeune, Senior Vice President at BlackBerry Mobile calls this "a distinct smartphone that captures all the traits that have made BlackBerry smartphones iconic", no doubt referring to the BlackBerry KEY2's new touch-enabled, 35 key backlit version of BlackBerry's unique physical keyboard.

According to Blass, the Key2 will start at $649 which delivers a 4.5-inch (1,620 x 1,080 resolution, 434 PPI) IPS LCD with a 3:2 aspect ratio covered in Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It will be available for pre-order in the US, UK, UAE, Canada, Germany, China and France this month while global availability will be in July. BlackBerry will also be hosting pop-up stores across cities like New York City, a la OnePlus, so potential buyers can come and experience the KEY2. Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the BlackBerry KEY2 gives users all the power they need to get more done wherever the road takes them.

The KEY2 doesn't do too much that's different to the KEYone, but it improves everything in either minor or major ways. Unlike the BlackBerry deal, TCL controls the software on Alcatel devices, TCL said. It comes preloaded with DTEK by BlackBerry application that removes the complexity of security by providing an "at a glance" security meter. The bottom part of the phone is occupied by an intelligent QWERTY keypad with 20 percent larger keys and dedicated speed keys which allows users to assign up to 52 customised shortcuts. The phone comes with up t 128GB of internal storage which is further expandable by up to 256GB via a micro-SD card slot.

On the front of the device, there's an 8 megapixel fixed-focus camera, which can record full 1080p video. Even the keyboard gets a new finish on top (which already looks like an improvement).

Powering the KEY2 is a 3,500mAh battery which is rated to last up to 2 days on a single charge. Across Europe, the suggested retail price is €649, while the handset is going for £579 and $829 in the United Kingdom and Canada respectively.

What do you think of the BlackBerry KEY2?

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