BlackBerry KEY2 LE hands-on review

GSMArena team, 30 August 2018.

Introduction

Call it circumstance, an unnatural attraction towards stand-out design and functionality, or some of us, around the office simply showing our age and geeky nature. Regardless of the particular reasoning behind it, we kind of liked the BlackBerry KEY2 and judging by some of the responses, we have been reading in our review, we're definitely not the only ones.

Whether you need one out of necessity, are lusting after its retro coolness or dislike it altogether, for a plethora of what, we have recognized as pretty valid reasons, there seems to be one point practically everybody agrees on - the KEY2 is simply too expensive. Don't get us wrong, it's not prohibitively priced. Especially if your company is paying for one, in the first place. However, its just not a good value proposition as a 2018 smartphone. An MSRP of EUR 600 should, franky, get you more than a Snapdragon 660. Either that, or the price needs to be readjusted.

BlackBerry KEY2 LE next to the BlackBerry KEY2 - Blackberry KEY2 LE hands-on review BlackBerry KEY2 LE next to the BlackBerry KEY2 - Blackberry KEY2 LE hands-on review BlackBerry KEY2 LE next to the BlackBerry KEY2 - Blackberry KEY2 LE hands-on review
BlackBerry KEY2 LE next to the BlackBerry KEY2 - Blackberry KEY2 LE hands-on review BlackBerry KEY2 LE next to the BlackBerry KEY2 - Blackberry KEY2 LE hands-on review BlackBerry KEY2 LE next to the BlackBerry KEY2 - Blackberry KEY2 LE hands-on review
BlackBerry KEY2 LE next to the BlackBerry KEY2

TCL seems to have gone for the latter option - stripping away bells and whistles from the BlackBerry KEY2 to bring the price point down. All the while, hopefully, still delivering the unique, core, keyboard-centric experience.

BlackBerry KEY2 LE specs

  • Body: Polycarbonate body, 150.25 x 71.8 x 8.35mm, 156g, 35 key physical backlit QWERTY keyboard, soft touch grip on the back
  • Screen: 4.5-inch IPS-LCD (1080 x 1620 px), ~434 ppi, 3:2 aspect ratio, Gorilla Glass
  • Rear cameras: 13MP (f/2.2, FOV 79.8 degree, 1.12 micron pixel, PDAF) + 5MP (f/2.4, FOV 84 degree, 1.12 micron pixel), dual-tone flash, HDR; 4K @ 30 fps
  • Front camera: 8MP fixed focus, Selfie flash via LCD display, 1080p @ 30 fps
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 CPU, Octa-core (4x 1.8 GHz Kryo 260 Gold and 4x 1.6 GHz Kryo 260 Silver); Adreno 509 GPU
  • Memory: 4GB RAM, 32/64 GB storage; microSD card slot up to 256GB
  • OS: Anndroid 8.1 Oreo with Secure BlackBerry App Suite
  • Battery: 3,000 mAh non-removable battery; Quick Charge 3.0 support
  • Connectivity: Single/Dual-SIM (hybrid slot), Qualcomm X12 modem - support for up to 3x LTE-A carrier aggregation. Cat. 12 (600 Mbps) down, Cat. 13 (150 Mbps) up, USB Type-C (v2.0) with OTG, 3.5mm headphone jack, GPS/A-GPS, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, FM Radio, 802.11 b/g/n for 2.4GHz; 802.11 a/n/ac for 5GHz
  • Misc: Fingerprint scanner in Space key, Convenience and Keyboard shortcuts

The result is the newly unveiled KEY2 LE or Light Edition. At first glance, it seems almost identical to its higher-tier sibling - a pretty good initial impression for a LE. Still, certain corners had to be cut to bring costs down. If you are curious as to what exactly didn't make the cut and what the KEY2 LE has to offer, join us on the following pages.

Reader comments

  • Jl

Blackberry is a best brand ever such as Nokia and iPhone...

  • Anonymous

Blackberry certainly have enough sales of software to continue, and TCL has through the brand a reliable fanbase; and I disagree that these are primarily enterprise, I think it is mostly keyboard fans, and sole business folk. But growth? That w...

OS: Anndroid? nn? I'm not trying to point out misspelling lol, Anyways it's a company that every smartphone person would love see them use the lastest chipsets and components out there 8gb ram, LTE CAT 18, USB 3.1 Snapdragon 845., It's one of the pi...