BlackBerry announces the KEY2 with its physical keyboard, starting at $649


The Black Berry Key2's keyboard buttons are 20 percent larger than the KeyOne's. Sarah Tew CNET

A year ago the smartphone company had launched BlackBerry KEYone which is the predecessor to the latest release.

- The KEY2 is BlackBerry's first phone to ship with dual rear cameras. Arriving just after a year, the BlackBerry Key2 carries the same design as that of its ancestor with a lot of fine notable enhancements.

The phone is built like a tank, featuring a Series 7 aluminum alloy frame and a Textured diamond grip non-slip back. The handset retains the 4.5-inch display with 1080x1620 pixels and 3:2 aspect ratio. The leys have also been arranged in a new fret pattern to optimise spacing. The promise is more accuracy and fewer typos.

Let us know if you spot any other pre-sale deals - if so, help out the community by dropping into the comment section below! This new button functions as a shortcut key for a number of functions on the handset.

For example, holding the Speed Key and pressing the T key can be set to launch Twitter, bypassing the need to launch the app from the phone's home screen.

It features a classic QWERTY keyboard for those smartphone users who still aren't used to typing on a touchscreen.

Camera wise, it sports a 12MP primary rear camera with dual-tone LED Flash, f/1.8 aperture, 1.14µm pixel size, 79.3-degree wide-angle lens, and Dual PDAF alongside a 12MP secondary rear camera with f/2.6 aperture, 1.0µm pixel size, and 50-degree lens.

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The cameras are also capable of recording videos in 4K resolution at 30fps.

The front 8MP camera has slow-motion and panorama modes as well as the ability to record 1080p video at 30 fps.

Inside, TCL's trend of opting for mid-tier chipsets rather than power-demanding flagship silicon continues. Other core specs reportedly include a 3,500-mAh battery and an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 clocked at 2.2 GHz.

Overall, the Key2 seems pretty promising.

The smartphone comes in 64GB and 128GB internal storage variants, expandable via microSD card (up to 256GB). For safer browsing, it even comes preloaded with Firefox Focus. It's running Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box.

Earlier this year, a TCL Communication executive told The National that the Middle East market was crucial to BlackBerry Mobile's success with plans to deepen the company's presence in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which together account for about five per cent of sales. From the listing below, we are getting the Dual-SIM version (BBF100-6) which is good news. In the United Kingdom, the smartphone will cost 579 GBP (Rs.52,100 approx.), while in the rest of Europe it will carry a 649 EUR (Rs.51,400 approx.) price tag.

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