BlackBerry KEY2 unveiled, touts physical keyboard and touch display

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In traditional BlackBerry fashion, there's also a 35-key backlit physical keyboard with integrated fingerprint sensor as well as a dual rear-facing camera (12MP + 12MP), an 8-megapixel selfie cam and a 3,500mAh battery. It also includes the introduction of Speed Key, a universal shortcut key that now makes it possible to instantly access the apps, contacts and functions you use most from anywhere on your device at any time.

Elsewhere, the BlackBerry KEY2 comes with a 4.5-inch 1080p IPS LCD screen with an unusual aspect ratio of 3:2. Even the keyboard gets a new finish on top (which already looks like an improvement).

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The KEY2 is the third smartphone that TCL has launched through a partnership with BlackBerry, which decided in 2016 to stop making smartphones and license its software to other manufacturers.

The BlackBerry KEY2 is now official.

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Depending on how you feel about the physical keyboard, you've been looking forward to this day for a while: TCL just officially announced the BlackBerry Key2. Pre-installed with Android Oreo 8.1, it is also equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, 6GB of RAM, and up to 128GB internal storage with the support for microSD card of up to 256GB. BlackBerry has also added in portrait mode so that you can add a blurry background to your photos if you'd like.

BlackBerry is going back to basics with its new device. Although the KEY2 will be available for buying in the West this month, in global markets (including in India), the phone will be available for buying in July, BlackBerry has confirmed. BlackBerry stripped away the KeyOne's gaudy metallic accents, frets between the key rows and overly rounded edges for a sharper, more minimalist vibe that really lets the 7000-series aluminum frame stand on its own. There's 4K HDR video recording at 30fps, and Google Lens integration. Battery life is up to two days with a feature that follows your charging habits and learns to when to prompt you for a recharge to keep the phone running through a meeting or flight. Firefox Focus, Mozilla's privacy browser, is present too.

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The KEY2, which retails for US$649, features a BlackBerry app called DTEK that helps users see and manage how data is used by other apps. As a reference, the previous BlackBerry KEYone was launched in Malaysia for RM2,688 with 6% GST.