It’s almost two years since the Blackberry returned to shelves in Australia with the KEYone and while the KEY2 was announced late last year it’s only now finally going on sale in Australia.

The KEY2 is a fantastic followup to the launch device for the TCL produced device using the iconic BlackBerry brand.

It’s a whole lot thinner but with a very familiar look following on from the KEYone.

As an Android device it’s got everything you’ll want in terms of App support, but with the addition of a physical keyboard for those who struggle with the on-screen keyboards.

That Keyboard

It’s not just a keyboard as it may appear – and that’s what you really need to know and learn to get the most of the KEY2.

Sure it’s a physical typing keyboard, which even for the biggest BlackBerry fan of old will still take some getting used to – it’s small, and hard to remember which key gives you caps and which gives you the alternate keys for symbols and numbers.

Once you remember that you’re off and flying.

The space bar doubles as a fingerprint reader for fast unlocking of the device as a whole.

But the real party trick is the mouse-like effect that swiping the keyboard has for scrolling through pages on the web or emails.

If you’re reading a webpage or email, rather than swiping down on the screen you swipe your finger over the keys in the same motion. This allows you to see the whole screen, not cover words while you read with a swipe. Really nifty and I’d say a core feature of the device.

As a Camera

With a dual 12 megapixel rear camera the KEY2 is very much 2018 camera tech, so don’t expect it to perform alongside a triple lens camera – there won’t be a mega-zoom or an ultra-wide option

But here’s the thing, it’s bloody good.

I took it to Game 4 of the NBA Finals here in San Francisco at Oracle Arena – check these out:

Taken on BlackBerry KEY2
Shot on iPhone Xs

And then for something a touch more challenging when the lights go down:

Taken on BlackBerry KEY2
Shot on iPhone Xs

If your main game is photography of course there are better options out there, but for us mere mortals snapping pics for Instagram and Facebook – your mates won’t notice a thing.

The Price?

I’ve reviewed here the Blackberry KEY2 Black Edition. You’ll find it right now at Amazon for $1,149 with orders kicking off June 27.

There is also the Red Edition which has 128GB storage, over the 64GB in the Black – and it’s red! It’s $1,349 at Amazon.

If you want to save a bit of coin, I recommend the KEY2 LE – It’s just $799 at Amazon, it offers a barely paired back camera, smaller battery and different processor – but it’s going to do almost all of what you want as a mid-range Android device. It’s the real bargain here.

The Upshot?

This is a high quality, great performing Android smartphone. Mid Range these days given the price tag in the low thousand’s, but it would be a stunner at $899 or $999.

Personally I’d take the KEY2 LE at $799, if you’re a risk taker perhaps the Black and Red editions will come down in price, but primarily for those who want a device to stand out from the crowd there’s nothing but upside to the BlackBerry KEY2 whichever one you can afford.