BlackBerry KEY2 LE Sheds Metal Frame, Adds a Splash of Color
TCL today announced the BlackBerry KEY2 LE, a mass-market smartphone with a keyboard. The phone is a scaled back variant of the KEY2 with a new exterior. Gone is the rigid metal build and in its place is a polycarbonate frame with a soft-touch material on the rear surface. The KEY2 LE comes in three color combos: slate, champagne, and atomic red. The latter two have contrasting shades to give them more personality. The LE is less buttoned-down than the standard KEY2. The screen is the same size and resolution (4.5 inches, full HD) as the original. One area where TCL moved to cut costs was the keyboard. The keys are the same shape as those on the pricier KEY2, but the keyboard loses capacitive touch support. The phone is powered by a Qualcomm 636 processor with 4 GB of RAM and 32 or 64 GB of storage. A dual-camera system graces the rear of the phone and a selfie camera is on front. The main shooter is a 13-megapixel job at f/2.2 and the secondary sensor is a 5-megapixel job at f/2.4. Other hardware features include 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C, and the dedicated speed key on the keyboard. The phone has a 3,000mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0. Of note, TCL says the KEY2 LE will be compatible with more networks. It will be able to operate on Verizon's network as an LTE-only phone. It is also compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile. TCL has lined up a wide number of retail and carrier distribution points for the phone, which goes on sale for $399 / 32 GB and $449 / 64 GB at the end of September.
TCL gave its BlackBerry phone a total makeover and hit all the right spots. The phone is easier on the eyes, easier to hold and use, and more powerful than ever thanks to improved specs.
The Key2 LE shares the same basic size, shape, and appearance of the pricier Key2, but downshifts materials and components to make it less costly. If you're a keyboard die-hard, the Key2 LE is an intriguing and affordable option thanks to the solid Android platform and productivity-boosting software from BlackBerry.
IFA is Europe's big consumer tech show. Every year we head over to Berlin to check out everything in person, and honor the standouts with our Best of IFA award.
TCL has a new BlackBerry on deck for keyboard lovers. The KEY2 LE is a stripped-down version of the KEY2.
The BlackBerry KEY2 takes the basic design of last year's phone and makes improvements all around. The phone has a decent-sized screen, physical QWERTY keyboard, and metal chassis.
4.5" display FHD+ resolution
Snapdragon 660 processor 6 GB RAM
3,500 mAh battery
Telephoto Camera, Memory Card Slot, Hardware Text Keyboard, Headphone Jack (3.5mm), NFC, Fingerprint Reader