Blackberry KEY2 announced with 4.5″ screen and backlit hardware keyboard

Blackberry is certainly no longer the mobile giant it once was, but it’s still a player in the global smartphone market. The Blackberry KEY2 is the successor to the Blackberry KEYone and has just been announced. The device boasts some interesting specifications including a 4.5-inch screen and backlit hardware keyboard, just like its predecessor. People may remember that the Blackberry Priv had a slide-out keyboard, and the Blackberry KEY2 looks pretty much exactly like that, but with the keyboard permanently deployed.

The Blackberry KEY2 comes in two colours – Black and Silver.

Blackberry KEY2 Specifications

Specs Blackberry KEY2
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 @ 2.2GHz
RAM 6GB
Camera Rear: 12MP + 12MP with Dual-Tone LED Flash F/1.8 + F/2.6,  1.28μm + 1.0μm pixel sizes, 4k video recording support

Front: 8MP fixed focus, selfie flash, 1080p video recording

Storage 64GB or 128GB with MicroSD support
Display 4.5-inch 1620×1080 IPS LCD
Audio 3.5mm headphone jack, speaker
Battery 3,500mAh supporting Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0
Ports 3.5mm headphone jack, one USB-C port
Miscellaneous Built-in keyboard with fingerprint sensor
Price $649 US / €649 EU / £579 GB / $829 CA

Blackberry KEY2 Connectivity and LTE Band Information

Specs Blackberry KEY2
Connectivity Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4GHz/5GHz

Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy

NFC: Yes

Positioning: GPS/A-GPS

All variant bands HSPA+ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5/6, 8

Quad band GSM/GPRS/EDGE

3GPP Release version:
2G: Rel8
3G: Rel9
LTE: Rel11

LTE Bands: EU, Africa, AU, Japan FDD-LTE: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 19, 20, 26, 28, 32

TD-LTE: 38, 39, 40, 41

LTE Bands: Canada, US, Latin America FDD-LTE: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 19, 20, 28, 29, 30, 66

TD-LTE: 38, 39, 40, 41

LTE Bands: China FDD-LTE: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 20, 26, 28

TD-LTE: 34, 38, 39, 40, 41

CDMA: BC0

LTE Bands: Montenegro, Asia-Pacific, India, Indonesia (Dual-SIM version) FDD-LTE: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 19, 20, 26, 28, 32

TD-LTE: 38, 39, 40, 41

Performance

First and foremost, the Blackberry KEY2 looks to be a great mid-range device. Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Blackberry is aiming for both powerful and efficient with this device. Clocked at 2.2GHz, you’ll have no problem with most tasks. This phone doesn’t need to be the best of the best, it isn’t a gaming phone. Alongside the Snapdragon 660 you’ll also get 6GB of RAM, plenty for nearly all day-to-day tasks. Flagship phones today still come with 4GB or 6GB of RAM, so there’s definitely nothing to worry about here. You’ll also get the option of either 64GB or 128GB of storage – along with being able to put your MicroSD card in if you want, too. You’ll never be stuck for storage with this phone. Preloaded with Android 8.1 Oreo, you’ll have all of the latest features and that’s not to mention Project Treble support, which may prove interesting if the device is bootloader unlockable.

Display

The display is an unusual size, given the built-in keyboard that the Blackberry Key 2 boasts. At 4.5-inches and an aspect ratio of 3:2, the device resolution is 1620×1080 with a 434 PPI. It’s also protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which is old but will do the job for most daily tasks. It looks a bit odd, especially with the on-screen buttons taking up a lot of space on the front. Blackberry could have used on-screen buttons to get more screen real estate. That’s not to mention the fact you won’t be watching YouTube or Netflix on this device thanks to the weird aspect ratio. This phone is definitely not made for multimedia consumption.

Battery

Battery life should be a huge positive for this phone. It packs a 3,500mAh battery and supports Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0. Not only is the battery huge, but the display is small and the processor is efficient. Users should see long periods of usage for this phone without needing to charge it. Even better, QuickCharge means that when you do need a charge, it shouldn’t take too long to get it to 100%. While some of the design decisions here may be questionable, Blackberry certainly didn’t skimp on battery.

Connectivity

Blackberry has announced all of the bands that the different variants of this device will support, depending on your location. Montenegro, the Asia-Pacific, India, and Indonesia will all get to enjoy a Dual-SIM variant of the device too, which supports the same bands as the EU, Africa, AU, and Japan variant. This means those who may want a dual-SIM variant of the phone can import it – so long as they live in one of those locations and want it that much.

Ports and Keyboard

Something many always fear when it comes to a new device getting announced these days is the ports. To get it out-of-the-way: yes, the BlackBerry Key 2 has a 3.5mm headphone jack. The only other port on the device is the USB-C charging port.

The hardware keyboard has a few tricks up its sleeve. The right Shift key has been replaced with a “Speed” key. It’s basically a way to quickly launch apps. For example, you could set it up so when you press “X” and the Speed key, the XDA app will open. You can assign apps to all 52 keys. The spacebar also still works as the camera shutter and fingerprint sensor. You can also use the entire keyboard as a touchpad for scrolling and gestures.

Pricing

The scariest part of any decent looking device is the price tag. Sadly, users are going to be disappointed with this one, as it’s priced at $649. It’s a huge cost, admittedly trumped by the likes of Xiaomi and even OnePlus. You can currently buy the OnePlus 6 in Mirror Black with 6GB of RAM for $529, and that’s with the highest performing specifications possible. Blackberry is asking for a lot of its users here, but is the Blackberry KEY2 really worth that much? It’s hard to say, but it’s even harder to think that many will be happy to buy the device at full price when there are so many better options available on the market currently.

What do you think of the Blackberry KEY2? Let us know in the comments below!

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