BlackBerry KEY2

7.4/10 AVG.
RATING



7.4/10
Informr score
The BlackBerry KEY2 currently has an Informr score of 7.4 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 56 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

The "1-Minute" Review

Verdict

Undeniably one of the best BlackBerry releases yet, the value of the phone is ultimately determined on your opinion about physical keyboards. While the keyboard separates this phone from the pack, you can find a better value on other features elsewhere.

What's good

  • Clicky, physical keyboard
  • Great security options
  • All-day battery life
  • microSD support
  • Grippy, sturdy design

What's bad

  • Odd screen resolution
  • Dim display
  • So-so camera
  • Price

The smartphone era hasn’t been kind to BlackBerry. Since their partnership with TCL, they’ve tried to bring the BlackBerry experience into the age of touchscreens with little success. The KEY2 is their latest release and looks to improve upon the response to the KEYone and make the BlackBerry a contender in the productivity-centric market. 

The phone features a rigid aluminum frame with a soft-grip rear coating. Reviewers found the phone pleasant in the hand with plenty of grip and easy access to the various buttons around the side. However, some questioned the balance of the phone. 

Around front, you’ll find a 4.5-inch 1080p IPS display with full QWERTY keyboard. Reviewers found the display offered plenty of detail but fell behind many similarly priced phones in terms of color, contrast, and overall brightness. While it’s plenty for emails and productivity, the screen isn’t ideal for media consumption or gaming due to the odd 3:2 aspect ratio. 

Opinions on the keyboard varied. CrackBerry said, “The KEY2 keyboard, in my opinion, is among one of the best BlackBerry keyboards ever built on a BlackBerry smartphone.” Still, other reviewers found it hard to use and inaccurate. 

It likely comes down to your keyboard preferences. Still, when it comes to phones with physical keyboards, the KEY2 is one of the most powerful options available. If you like a clicky keyboard, with low-profile keys, you’ll likely be impressed. But if you’re looking for the chunky BlackBerry keyboards of the past, you’ll be disappointed.

In terms of processing power, TCL went with an octa-core 2.2Ghz Snapdragon 660 processor paired with 6GB of RAM. This provides smooth app switching, and respectable, stutter-free performance in most productivity-based apps, social media, or other daily tasks. But for gaming, the phone falls flat. 

Depending on the variant, you’ll find either 64 or 128GB of internal storage. This is plenty for most users. But should you need more space, microSD support up to 256GB makes expanding storage easy and affordable.

The phone runs a nearly stock version of Android 8.1 Oreo with the usual addition of BlackBerry apps. Reviewers found some apps great -- such as the granular privacy options in the DTEK app and the built-in file browser -- and others a bit underwhelming -- such as BlackBerry Messenger. However, the bloat is in line (if not better) than most of the competition.

While BlackBerry has never been known for its cameras, the 12MP dual lens rear camera with 2x optical zoom performed well in decent lighting. Reviewers found it confusing that the auto-focus feature was disabled by default. And the low-light performance is hit or miss. But it was capable of taking balanced, detailed outdoor shots and portraits.

There’s also a front-facing 8MP lens with a flash for selfies. As expected, it doesn’t compete with the rear shooter in terms of image quality but allows for respectable snapshots for social sharing or plenty of quality for video chat.

The phone’s 3500mAh battery will last a full day with ease on a single charge. If you’re a light to moderate phone user, you might even squeeze two days out of a single charge -- an accomplishment even compared to 2018’s flagship phones. When you need to top up, the USB Type-C charging and Quick Charge 3.0 support mean you won’t need to wait long.

Pricing was the biggest complaint from reviewers. The phone is priced like a flagship but has specs firmly in the mid-tier bracket. And the focus on productivity puts the phone in a very specific niche. As an everyday phone for the average person, it might not compete. But for someone looking to get things done, manage schedules, dive into social media, or use their phone as a work-centric device, it offers tools and a format that few phones can match.

CrackBerry sums this up well saying, “It's not going to cater to everyone, that's just the nature of QWERTY devices...” The Verge was more skeptical, saying, “The very thing that makes the KEY2 a BlackBerry is the same thing that keeps the Key2 from competing in a modern smartphone world. A BlackBerry needs a keyboard, but no one needs a keyboard on a smartphone in 2018.”


Operating system
Android
Processor
2.2 GHz
Screen Size
4.5"
Camera
12+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


Digit

The Blackberry Key2 is not the phone of choice for everyone. It is aimed specifically at older Blackberry users who still wish for a QWERTY keyboard. In fact, this is the dream phone for anyone wishing for a physical keyboard paired with the Android interface.

- Subhrojit Mallick, Digit
BGR

If you’re someone that uses your smartphone for work, or just need a second smartphone for your job, the BlackBerry Key2 is the suit-wearing corporate’s favorite toy. Its focus on productivity, quality design, good software, adequate camera and nostalgia-inducing physical keyboard make it the ideal...

- Ali Pardiwala, BGR
IT Pro

It’s difficult to look beyond the physical keyboard and the cropped screen, both of which are alien in today’s mobile phone market. Despite vast improvements from the KeyOne, BlackBerry is still not relevant in the world of smartphones.

- Bobby Hellard, IT Pro
Business Standard

The BlackBerry Key2 is a niche product aimed at users preferring physical keyboard to on-screen touch keyboard or those who use their phones to write content, articles, emails, etc. The phone is not a powerhouse and its screen is strictly not meant for multimedia enthusiasts. But, the phone has some...

- Khalid Anzar, Business Standard
Good Gear Guide

So whether you are an ex-BlackBerry user wondering if you should go back or someone who is intrigued with the idea of a physical keyboard, it’s safe to say that the KEY2 is worth your time.

- Adam Patrick Murray, Good Gear Guide


Prices (Where to Buy)




Common Questions


BlackBerry released the KEY2 on June 26, 2018.


The KEY2 price will vary depending on retailer, age, special offers and whether or not it's purchased with a service plan. If purchased with a 2 year service contract for example, you would likely pay much less for the phone itself up front. You can compare BlackBerry KEY2 prices from around the web here on The Informr.


We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the BlackBerry KEY2 user manual here.


BlackBerry backs up the KEY2 with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.


If your KEY2 has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact BlackBerry support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find BlackBerry's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.



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Quick view

Screen Size
4.5"

The BlackBerry KEY2's screen size is 4.5 inches with 1080 x 1620 pixels resolution.

Processor
2.2 GHz

There is a Qualcomm SDM660 Snapdragon 660 Octa core 2.2 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the Android 8.1 Oreo operating system (OS).

Camera
12+ MP

You can take photos or capture video with the phone's onboard 12+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 8+ megapixels resolution.

Storage
64/128 GB

Internal memory is 64/128 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 256 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
3500mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 3500 mAh battery. BlackBerry's performance ratings are 1740 minutes, 708 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

BlackBerry KEY2 Specs

Overview
Release date June 26, 2018
Regions available USA, Canada, UK, India
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
UMTS:
850/900/1700/1900 /2100 MHz
LTE:
1700/1900/700/2100 /800/850/900/1800/2600/2300/2500 MHz
Data:
GPRS, EDGE, HSUPA, HSPA+, LTE
SIM card Nano-SIM
Dual SIM Yes
Operating System Android 8.1 Oreo

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm SDM660 Snapdragon 660 Octa core 2.2 GHz
Internal Flash Memory 64/128 GB
RAM 6 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Digital compass Yes
Flightmode Yes
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
TTY/TDD Yes
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 0.72 W/kg
Body: 1.68 W/kg
Languages English, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included USB Power Adapter, Manual, Data Cable
Power & battery
Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 3500 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging Yes
Video Playback Time Up to: 753 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 708 minutes
Internet Use (Celluar) Up to: 669 minutes
Talk Time Up to: 1740 minutes
Standby Time Up to: 20 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Aluminium
Colors Black, Gray
Dimensions [H x W x D] 15.1 x 7.2 x 0.8 cm (5.9 x 2.8 x 0.3 in)
Weight 165 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof No
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Antenna Type Internal
Changeable Faceplates No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology LCD (IPS)
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1080 x 1620 pixels
Pixel density 433 pixels
Size 4.5 inches
3D No
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key Yes
Mute Key No
Input Type QWERTY, Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard Yes
Voicemail Key Yes
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor Yes
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Yes
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Yes
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, IM
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB USB Type-C
USB OTG Support Yes
Infrared No
Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HID, HFP, HSP, PAN
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption WPA/WPA2
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 256 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out No
DLNA Support No
NFC Yes
UMA Support No
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
PictBridge No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
ƒ/ 1.8
Resolution
12+ megapixels
Dual lens
Yes
Zoom
Yes
Flash
Yes (Dual LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Face detection, Geotagging, Multi-shot, Panorama, Self-timer, Dual camera feature (12 MP 2nd camera, f/2.6), HDR
Video Recording Formats
MPEG-4
Video Recording Parameters
Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels), 30 fps
Front Camera
Resolution
8+ megapixels
Zoom
Yes
Additional Front Camera Info
No
Video Recording Parameters
Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), 30 fps
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, eAAC+, MIDI, MP3, MP4, OGG, QCP, WMA, WAV
Radio Yes (FM)
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, 3G2 / 3GPP2, AVI, DivX, H.264 / AVC, MKV, MPEG-4, WMV, XviD
Mobile TV No
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringtone Composer No
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List Yes
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer Yes
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder No
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable, Pre-installed (BlackBerry Apps, Google Apps)
Included Software / Apps
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): BlackBerry BBF100-1, BBF100-2, BBF100-6, BBF100-4

Related Links Manual (PDF)
BlackBerry KEY2 Reviews
Where to buy BlackBerry KEY2
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Critic Reviews


Digit

Remains unchallenged

from Digit

The Blackberry Key2 is not the phone of choice for everyone. It is aimed specifically at older Blackberry users who still wish for a QWERTY keyboard. In fact, this is the dream phone for anyone wishing for a physical keyboard paired with the Android interface.

Read full review

The Blackberry Key2 is not the phone of choice for everyone. It is aimed specifically at older Blackberry users who still wish for a QWERTY keyboard. In fact, this is the dream phone for anyone wishing for a physical keyboard paired with the Android interface.

Read full review

Less

BGR

For the love of QWERTY

from BGR

If you’re someone that uses your smartphone for work, or just need a second smartphone for your job, the BlackBerry Key2 is the suit-wearing corporate’s favorite toy. Its focus on productivity, quality design, good software, adequate camera and nostalgia-inducing physical keyboard make it the ideal business phone.

Read full review

If you’re someone that uses your smartphone for work, or just need a second smartphone for your job, the BlackBerry Key2 is the suit-wearing corporate’s favorite toy. Its focus on productivity, quality design, good software, adequate camera and nostalgia-inducing physical keyboard make it the ideal business phone.

Read full review

Less

IT Pro

About as relevant as Chuck Berry

from IT Pro

It’s difficult to look beyond the physical keyboard and the cropped screen, both of which are alien in today’s mobile phone market. Despite vast improvements from the KeyOne, BlackBerry is still not relevant in the world of smartphones.

Read full review

It’s difficult to look beyond the physical keyboard and the cropped screen, both of which are alien in today’s mobile phone market. Despite vast improvements from the KeyOne, BlackBerry is still not relevant in the world of smartphones.

Read full review

Less

Business Standard

Legacy keyboard design gets a fresh, useful twist

from Business Standard

The BlackBerry Key2 is a niche product aimed at users preferring physical keyboard to on-screen touch keyboard or those who use their phones to write content, articles, emails, etc. The phone is not a powerhouse and its screen is strictly not meant for multimedia enthusiasts. But, the phone has s...More

The BlackBerry Key2 is a niche product aimed at users preferring physical keyboard to on-screen touch keyboard or those who use their phones to write content, articles, emails, etc. The phone is not a powerhouse and its screen is strictly not meant for multimedia enthusiasts. But, the phone has some strengths in all the areas, making it a complete package.

Read full review

Less

Good Gear Guide

How the keyboard became my Android power tool

from Good Gear Guide

So whether you are an ex-BlackBerry user wondering if you should go back or someone who is intrigued with the idea of a physical keyboard, it’s safe to say that the KEY2 is worth your time.

Read full review

So whether you are an ex-BlackBerry user wondering if you should go back or someone who is intrigued with the idea of a physical keyboard, it’s safe to say that the KEY2 is worth your time.

Read full review

Less

PCWorld

How the keyboard became my Android power tool

from PCWorld

I may have moved on to another phone, but the KEY2 stays with me in spirit. I find myself missing the keyboard. It’s the only Android phone I’ve used this year that truly had me excited. So whether you are an ex-BlackBerry user wondering if you should go back or someone who is intrigued with...More

I may have moved on to another phone, but the KEY2 stays with me in spirit. I find myself missing the keyboard. It’s the only Android phone I’ve used this year that truly had me excited. So whether you are an ex-BlackBerry user wondering if you should go back or someone who is intrigued with the idea of a physical keyboard, it’s safe to say that the KEY2 is worth your time.

Read full review

Less

Gizbot

Keyboards are here to stay and so does the BlackBerry

from Gizbot

BlackBerry KEY2 is a brilliant smartphone. The only caveat is; it's just not for everyone. It wonderfully addresses your productivity tasks and can also take care of occasional multimedia jobs. The design and typing experience is improved making KEY2 a very good successor to the last year's KEYone.

Read full review

BlackBerry KEY2 is a brilliant smartphone. The only caveat is; it's just not for everyone. It wonderfully addresses your productivity tasks and can also take care of occasional multimedia jobs. The design and typing experience is improved making KEY2 a very good successor to the last year's KEYone.

Read full review

Less

India Today

The best BlackBerry you can buy right now

from India Today

The KEY2 is the best BlackBerry that you can buy right now. It marries old-school charm with modern-day technology, and also manages to offer the best of both worlds in real world usage scenarios. It isn't perfect, but its clientele will probably be aware of its limitations before getting their hands on it.

Read full review

The KEY2 is the best BlackBerry that you can buy right now. It marries old-school charm with modern-day technology, and also manages to offer the best of both worlds in real world usage scenarios. It isn't perfect, but its clientele will probably be aware of its limitations before getting their hands on it.

Read full review

Less

Notebookcheck

A solid business smartphone

from Notebookcheck

BlackBerry has reinvented itself, and with the KEY2 combines data security with a practically stock Android Oreo experience. There are comparably priced devices with better speakers and cameras though.

Read full review

BlackBerry has reinvented itself, and with the KEY2 combines data security with a practically stock Android Oreo experience. There are comparably priced devices with better speakers and cameras though.

Read full review

Less

Gear Patrol

Well-designed and feels great

from Gear Patrol

At its core, the Blackberry is a very good mid-range smartphone. It’s fast, dependable and has a more than an adequate camera. Most importantly, it’s fun to use — a flash from the past. However, it’s really designed as a productivity weapon for business folks and doesn’t offer the supre...More

At its core, the Blackberry is a very good mid-range smartphone. It’s fast, dependable and has a more than an adequate camera. Most importantly, it’s fun to use — a flash from the past. However, it’s really designed as a productivity weapon for business folks and doesn’t offer the supreme specs that are found in all today’s best flagship smartphones.

Read full review

Less



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