BlackBerry KEY2 Android phone with QWERTY keyboard launched

BlackBerry on Thursday launched the KEY2 Android smartphone as the successor to last year’s KEYone. The BlackBerry KEY2 isn’t really a flashy upgrade over the predecessor but what it brings to the table include a larger QWERTY keyboard and slimmed down bezels but without a notch on the top of the display. The handset has been manufactured by TCL, following the deal signed between the two companies.

The BlackBerry KEY2 is available in Black and Grey colour options and costs $649 (roughly Rs 44,000) for the base variant. The smartphone will be available globally this month, however, its India launch could happen in July.

At its grand event in New York City, BlackBerry showcased the KEY2 as “the most advanced BlackBerry smartphone ever”. However, the design and specifications packed in the phone leave a lot to be desired. The smartphone continues with the company’s signature QWERTY keyboard, except now it’s taller and more spaced out.

The BlackBerry KEY2 has a 4.5-inch full-HD LCD display with 3:2 aspect ratio, which is similar to the one on the predecessor. The small screen size compensates for the keyboard, which may render useless sometimes – when you have to watch videos and use the on-screen keypad to find some symbols that are not available on the keyboard.

Powering the internals is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC paired with 6GB of RAM and two storage options – 64GB and 128GB. Apart from this, the BlackBerry KEY2 comes with a dual camera setup – a significant upgrade over the KEYone’s single camera on the rear. The handset features dual 12-megapixel cameras wherein one sensor has an aperture of f/1.8 while the other has a f/2.6 aperture. On the front, you get an 8-megapixel camera that supports slow-motion and 1080p videos.

The BlackBerry KEY2 has a fingerprint sensor mounted on the spacebar while the rest of the keys can be assigned to open up apps. BlackBerry is calling it a ‘speed’ key which you can assign for an app and when you long-press it, the app is launched on the phone. The keyboard also doubles up as a touchpad but only for scrolling through apps and pages, along with new gestures.

BlackBerry has not removed the 3.5mm headphone jack on KEY2, which means you can use any standard earphone cable with a 3.5mm connector, although BlackBerry is shipping its own in-ear headphones with the handset. The handset is backed by a 3500mAh battery, just like the KEYone, which is claimed to last a day on a normal usage.