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No, the TCL-operated BlackBerry Mobile enterprise is not joining the war against bezels, and the hot new KEY2 handset is not trying to ride the wave of Apple’s (moderate) iPhone X success with a screen cutout of any sort either.

Instead, this 4.5-inch display is paired with a retro QWERTY keyboard, upper mid-range Snapdragon 660 processor and security-enhanced Android 8.1 software for top-notch mobile productivity.

Our first impression of the BlackBerry KEY2 is that the “reborn icon” comes with just the right amount of design refinements and performance upgrades over the well-reviewed KEYone.

The more robust, versatile and comfortable physical keyboard almost looks like a Bold 9900 throwback, which is obviously a good thing, while the overall build quality simply feels better.

The user interface is as minimalistic and practical as you’d expect, including a fundamentally revised DTEK app and a bunch of other proprietary services that actually improve the UX in many meaningful ways.

Of course, we’ll need to spend significantly more time testing the BlackBerry KEY2 before deeming it a hit, but until that in-depth review is done, we must admit we have a very good feeling about this bad boy. It’s not a radical redesign or a full-fledged flagship device, but it appears to have plenty going for it to more than justify that $649 price.

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