BlackBerry Key2 Hands-on Review

By 02:22 Thu, 19 Aug 2021 Comments


In a sea of smartphone sameness, there are very few outliers, that can still boast a unique angle of their own. Most of TCL's lineup still proudly fits into that category. Understandably, all the turbulence and leadership change in recent years did result in some plain devices, like the DTEK models. On the flip side, devices like the Keyone embody the classic BlackBerry spirit in full.

Meet the BlackBerry Key2 - a modern 2018 mid-ranger, that is distinctly classic in its looks and mobile philosophy. It's an incredible mix of recent and new, unlike any other.

BlackBerry Key2 key features

  • Body: Series 7 aluminum frame, Gorilla Glass 3 front, soft-touch texture on the back for added comfort and grip, Touch-enabled backlit full QWERTY keyboard. Black silver and chrome color scheme; 151.4mm x 71,8 mm x 8.5mm
  • Display: 4.5-inch IPS LCD, 1620x1080px resolution, 3:2 aspect ratio, 434ppi
  • Rear camera:Dual: 12MP, f/1.8, dual PDAF, 1.28µm pixel size, 73.9-degree FoV, 12MP, f/2.6, PDAF, 1.0µm pixel size; dual-tone Light Emitting Diode (LED) flash, 4K recording @ 30fps
  • Front camera: 8MP fixed-focus camera, selfie flash via Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) display, 1080p video @ 30 fps
  • OS/Software: Android 8.1 Oreo; BlackBerry Hub and various UI enhancement, BlackBerry's suite of apps
  • Chipsets: 14nm elegant Qualcomm Snapdragon 660: Octa-core 2.2 Giga Hertz (GHz) Kryo 260 + 1.84 Giga Hertz (GHz) Kryo 260, Adreno 512 GPU
  • Memory: 6GB of RAM; 64GB/128GB on-board storage, expandable via microSD card
  • Battery: 3,500mAh battery (sealed) with Quick Charge 3.0 support
  • Connectivity: Single-SIM/Dual-Sim versions; USB-Type C (Universal Serial Bus (USB) 3.0) with OTG and DisplayPort out; Dual-band Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) a/b/g/n/ac; GPS; NFC; Frequency Modulation (FM) Radio; Bluetooth 5.0
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader embedded into space bar, single bottom-firing speaker, 3.5mm audio jack; Speed Key for shortcuts

Duality seems to be in the very essence of the Key2. In an industry fighting against physical controls, it offers a full querty setup, complete with advanced swipe gestures and even a recent Speed Key for shortcuts. Even keeping the capacitive navigation buttons in place.

The Key2 also openly rebels against the norms of the day, opting for a metal, plus rubber build, over the trendy, but fragile glass sandwich fad of the day.

As unique as it seems on the 2018 scene, the Key2 actually borrows a lot from its Keyone predecessor. Even at first sight, BlackBerry fans will instantly note it's somewhat of a refined version of the original, a 2.0, if you will, rather than a fresh recent device - yet another tradition, deeply embedded in the brand philosophy.

Having assumed all that, the BlackBerry Key2 also strives to be a modern device. All the design refinements have a distinct 2018 look, without breaking the classic look. The KeyOne's surprisingly fine capturing camera experience has been significantly improved thanks to a trendy dual 12MP setup. And on a software level, Android 8.1 Oreo and a tight update plan create for an up-to-date Android experience. But also a secure and familiar one, thanks to BlackBerry's ongoing effort to deliver and support classic BB software experiences and security features in a recent Android environment.

We had the pleasure of playing around with the BlackBerry Key2. Join us on the following pages, as we explore the new, the familiar and the refined.



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