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BlackBerry KEY2 LE announced: New colors, affordable price, and polycarbonate frame

The BlackBerry KEY2 is a phone for QWERTY fans and the new KEY2 LE continues with that same approach, but at a more affordable price thanks to some changes in materials and specifications.

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Image: TCL Communication

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Today at IFA, TCL Communication announced the new BlackBerry KEY2 LE that will be launching globally in September, starting at just $399. The KEY2 LE has the same great QWERTY keyboard with Speed Key that is found on the KEY2, but there are some changes in specifications to achieve a price $300 less than the KEY2.

While the KEY2 is a fairly conservative device with black and silver variants, the KEY2 LE will be offered in slate, champagne, and atomic to add a bit of vibrancy to the lineup. The frame is made of polycarbonate material so that it is lighter and less expensive to build.

Specifications

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 636
  • Display: 4.5 inch 1620x1080 pixels resolution IPS LCD
  • Operating system: Android 8.1 Oreo
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 32GB/64GB internal with microSD expansion card slot
  • Cameras: Rear 13 megapixel f/2.2 and 5 megapixel f/2.4 aperture cameras. Front 8 megapixel fixed focus camera
  • Battery: 3000 mAh
  • Wireless connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0 LE, FM radio, NFC
  • Dimensions: 150.25 x 71.8 x 8.35 mm and 156 grams
  • Colors: Atomic (red), Champagne (gold), and Slate (black)

There will be four variations of the KEY2 LE for the different radio bands around the world, including two variations with dual SIM support.

Compared to the BlackBerry KEY2, the differences include the following:

  • Processor: The KEY2 has a Snapdragon 660 while the KEY2 LE has a Snapdragon 636 model.
  • RAM: The KEY2 has 6GB of RAM while the KEY2 LE has 4GB
  • Dual cameras: The KEY2 has a different rear dual camera setup with one of the 12 megapixel cameras supporting telephoto capture. The dual cameras on the KEY2 LE are designed for portrait mode capture.
  • Size/weight: The KEY2 LE is 0.15mm thinner and 12 grams lighter.
  • Materials: The KEY2 LE has a polycarbonate frame while the KEY2 is made of metal.
  • Software enhancements: Some improvements have been made to the software, such as contextual battery, but these will also be coming to the KEY2 in a future update.

The BlackBerry KEY2 LE also includes the refreshed DTEK by BlackBerry application that brings new scanning features for proactive security checks to easily identify and mitigate potential security risks, such as unwanted data access by a downloaded application on your smartphone. BlackBerry is also committed to monthly Android security updates and so far has a solid track record with the KEY2.

If you are interested in having a phone with a full QWERTY hardware keyboard, the KEY2 LE looks like a nice affordable option with some attractive color options.

Related ZDNet BlackBerry KEY2 coverage