A smartphone with a physical keyboard is something of an oddity in today’s smartphone market, but after using the BlackBerry KEYone last year we can confirm that it’s actually rather convenient.

Earlier this week, we saw rumours¬†floating around that BlackBerry would be releasing a follow-up to the KEYone. Those rumours turned out to be true when on Thursday, TCL Communications (the firm that manufactures BlackBerry devices) announced that the BlackBerry KEY2 would begin shipping “globally beginning this month”.

As with the KEYone, this new device is running the Android operating system – Oreo version 8.1 to be precise – alongside BlackBerry’s marvellous DTEK security software.

The front of the display features the keyboard (which houses a fingerprint sensor) as well as a 4.5-inch 1620 x 1080 display.

Inside, the handset is running the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 chipset; it’s not the newest piece of kit but the specs are decent. The CPU runs at 2.2GHz, there is support for 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wifi at up to 5GHz and you get LTE connectivity. As we said, the specs won’t blow anyone’s mind, but they are decent.

Along with the 660 chipset you also get 6GB of RAM which is pretty damn good, but even better is the dual 12MP snapper at the back of the handset. The sensors will be good in low-light conditions looking at the specifications, but don’t expect similar performance to flagships such as Samsung’s Galaxy S9 handset.

The front-facing camera, meanwhile, is a rather average affair at only 8MP.

We’ve been told in an unofficial capacity that the BlackBerry KEY2 will be coming to South Africa, but neither confirmation from Blackberry SA nor exact dates/pricing have been received. We’ll let you know when we hear anything concrete.

We have received official word from BlackBerry Mobile that the KEY2 will be coming to South Africa, but as yet we have not exact dates or pricing. We’ll be sure to update you with that information as and when we receive it.

BlackBerry KEY2 specifications

Chipset Snapdragon 660

RAM 6GB

Storage 64GB or 128GB (microSD support up to 256GB)

Connectivity 2G, 3G, 4G, 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wifi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC

Interface 35 key backlit keyboard, USB Type C, 3.5mm jack, fingerprint scanner

Display 4.5inch 1 620 x 1 080

Rear Camera 12MP + 12MP dual camera, f/1.8, 4K recording @ 30fps, HDR, phase detection

Front Camera 8MP

Price TBC

UPDATE 08/06

This article was updated with official word from Blackberry Mobile regarding the availability of the KEY2 in South Africa