The BlackBerry Key2 LE gives you a physical keyboard for less cash

BlackBerry’s Key2 didn’t exactly win over the world when it came out. The best that can be said is that it’s a phone with a physical keyboard for people who really like phones with physical keyboards.

But that isn’t stopping BlackBerry (and TCL, which sells devices using the BlackBerry Mobile name and brand) from trying again with the new Key2 LE. It’s a lower-specced, cheaper version of the Key2 that brings features like the iconic keyboard at a more affordable price.

Keyboard aside, the price may be the most important part. The Key2 LE is set to cost $399 for a 32GB model, or $449 for a 64GB model. That’s dramatically less than the standard Key2’s $649 price tag.


That discount comes at a cost, however: the Key2 LE has a weaker processor, less RAM, worse cameras, and a smaller battery than the Key2. So instead of the already less-than-ideal Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, it’s a Snapdragon 636. There’s also 4GB of RAM instead of 6GB, a 3,000mAh battery instead of a 3,500mAh one, and the rear cameras are a dual 13-megapixel / 5-megapixel setup instead of two 12-megapixel lenses.

That said, the Key2 LE is still a perfectly respectable midrange Android phone on paper, and the price does seem right for what you’re getting, assuming you’re okay with the other sacrifices that every Key2 has demanded, like the small screen.

The Key2 LE will be available next month starting at the aforementioned $399 price. It’ll come in three colors: atomic (red), champagne (gold / beige), and slate (black).

Correction: Better clarified BlackBerry Mobile and TCL’s relationship.

Optiemus unveils BlackBerry Evolve devices with massive batteries and displays

Optiemus Infracom has announced a new line of BlackBerry-branded smartphones for the Indian marketplace: the new Evolve line of smartphones, which includes the BlackBerry Evolve and the BlackBerry Evolve X. Both phones share tall screens with 18:9 aspect ratios, and both also have massive batteries. The Evolve line will ship running Android 8.1 Oreo.

Unlike fellow BlackBerry licensee TCL’s latest device, the the Key2, the Evolve won’t have a physical QWERTY keyboard, but a standard full-width touchscreen instead. For security, both phones offer fingerprint sensors on the back, along with a face-unlock feature. Both phones also sport 4000 mAh batteries, charge via USB-C, and are compatible with wireless charging.

The Evolve will be available exclusively through Amazon India towards the end of August for about $365, while the beefier Evolve X will be offered mid-September for about $510. For the extra bucks, users get an extra 2GB of RAM, for 6GB in total, over the standard Evolve’s 4GB. Both come with optional cashback offers from different Indian carriers and banks. Right now, Optiemus hasn’t confirmed availability beyond India anytime in the near future.

Update 8/3, 12PM ET: Clarified that Optiemus is a BlackBerry licensee for the Indian market, so the company develops, manufactures, and markets the device without direct support from BlackBerry Mobile. The headline has been updated to reflect this fact.