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Hands-on with the BlackBerry KEY2 Red Edition: Double storage and vibrant color

TCL released a new color model of the BlackBerry KEY2, it's highest end BlackBerry to date. It's pricey at $699, but it sure looks good.

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Topic: Mobility
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1 of 13 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

BlackBerry KeyONE, KEY2, KEY2 LE, and Red KEY2

While cameras are a major focus of high end smartphones today and often these prices approach or exceed $1,000. The new BlackBerry KEY2 Red Edition is designed to help you get work done and while it is a bit pricey at $699, it is focused on consolidated communications and enterprise security.

The KEY2 in Red looks great and is built like a tank with a two day battery life. However, you really need to be a fan of physical smartphones to justify this device over others in this price range. ZDNet's Jason Cipriani found a few good things to love about this phone.

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2 of 13 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Keyboards everywhere

The physical QWERTY keyboard really is the focus of the KEY2 and if you have no interest in using this at all then you shouldn't even consider the phone. However, if you like keyboards then this is one of the best made for a BlackBerry.

The capacitive function to scroll pages is useful while thumb typing away on a note or message is quick and easy. The red highlights really help the keyboard pop out of the casing too. 

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3 of 13 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

KEY2 Red Edition in hand

With the KEY2 LE, we saw some cost savings in material used with that phone. The KEY2 Red Edition is a metal phone with red coating highlights around the keyboard and around the edges.

The phone fits well in the hand, has a good display, and can go a couple of days with regular usage.

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4 of 13 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

QWERTY keyboard

The QWERTY physical keyboard is great with one of my favorite features of scrolling by swiping on the keyboard. There are way more shortcuts available than I can ever remember, but you should setup and use at least a few to improve your efficiency.

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5 of 13 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Breaks in the metal for antenna bands

There are a few breaks around the edges so that your signal strength is not degraded with the aluminum casing.

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6 of 13 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Headphone jack is still here

It's rare to see headphone jacks still used on phones, but the KEY2 has one up top.

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7 of 13 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

BlackBerry logo

The iconic logo is present on the back with a textured back too.

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8 of 13 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Raised ridges on the power key

The power key is centered along the right side and has raised ridges so it stands our from the other buttons. A quick double press of the button also launches the camera.

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9 of 13 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

USB-C and a view of the bottom

USB-C is used to charge up the phone while a speaker and microphone are found on the bottom. There are also a couple more antenna lines seen along the edges.

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10 of 13 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Rear dual camera and flash

A dual camera setup is present on the KEY2 Red Edition and it stands out from the back of the phone.

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11 of 13 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Top of the display

The red color comes down a bit from the edge. A front-facing camera and headset speaker are also present on the front.

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12 of 13 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Textured back and red sides

The red color stands out with the textured back panel. The back has good tactile feel and also acts to protect the phone too.

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13 of 13 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Red highlights of the KEY2

The red aluminum frame is dotted with black buttons and a textured black back panel.

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