|Launch Date||October 12, 2018 (Official)|
|Also Known As||Blackberry KEY2 LE|
|Operating System||Android v8.1 (Oreo)|
|SIM Slot(s)||Dual SIM, GSM+GSM|
|SIM Size||SIM1: Nano|
|Network||4G: Available (supports Indian bands)|
|Colours||Slate, Champagne, Atomic|
|Screen Size||4.5 inches (11.43 cm)|
|Screen Resolution||1080 x 1620 pixels|
|Pixel Density||433 ppi|
|Display Type||IPS LCD|
|Screen Protection||Corning Gorilla Glass v3|
|Screen to Body Ratio (calculated)||56.02 %|
|Chipset||Qualcomm Snapdragon 636|
|Processor||Octa core (1.8 GHz, Quad core, Kryo 260 + 1.6 GHz, Quad core, Kryo 260)|
|Internal Memory||64 GB|
|User Available Storage||Up to 53 GB|
|USB OTG Support||yes|
|Resolution||8 MP Front Camera|
|Image Resolution||4128 x 3096 Pixels|
|Settings||Exposure compensation, ISO control|
|Shooting Modes||Continuos Shooting, High Dynamic Range mode (HDR)|
|Camera Features||Fixed Focus|
|Video Recording||1920x1080 @ 30 fps|
|Standby time||Up to 22.3 Hours(2G)|
|Network & Connectivity|
|SIM Size||SIM1: Nano, SIM2: Nano (Hybrid)|
|Network Support||4G (supports Indian bands), 3G, 2G|
|Wi-Fi Features||Wi-Fi Direct, Mobile Hotspot|
|USB Connectivity||Mass storage device, USB charging|
|Audio Jack||3.5 mm|
|Other Sensors||Light sensor, Proximity sensor, Accelerometer, Compass, Gyroscope|
The BlackBerry KEY2 LE is not an usual smartphone. It is a niche device that is targetted specifically towards the BlackBerry fanboys who used to flaunt their ‘cool’ BlackBerry phones back in the days. The KEY2 LE is a decent smartphone that offers a functional QWERTY keyboard. The overall performance is good, interface is smooth and camera department is capable of clicking good pictures. So if you’re a BlackBerry enthusiast and would like to purchase a good QWERTY phone that also has a touchscreen, then go for the BlackBerry KEY2 LE. If you want to purchase normal smartphones in this range, then look at the Vivo V11 Pro, Asus ZenFone 5Z and Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018).
Optiemus had launched the TCL-made BlackBerry KEY2 LE, a cheaper variant of the KEY2 in India, back in October 2018. It has a small touch screen display along with a full fledged 4-row physical QWERTY keyboard. BlackBerry does not have a dominating presence in the smartphone world anymore but they are trying to build a niche for themselves. So let us check out the BlackBerry KEY2 LE review in order to find out if you should buy this smartphone or not. Although, do take a quick look at the specifications of the mobile below.
The BlackBerry KEY2 LE is powered by a Snapdragon 636 octa-core processor, that runs Android 8.1 Oreo OS. The mobile features 4GB RAM, 64GB internal memory (expandable up to 256GB) and rocks a 4.5-inch Full HD display. In the camera department, we get a 13 megapixel primary shooter along with a 5 megapixel secondary camera at the back and a 8 megapixel selfie shooter at the front. We get a 4-row physical QWERTY keyboard and the fingerprint sensor is placed on the spacebar key. The phone has Dual SIM connectivity along with 4G VoLTE, 3G HSPA+, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (Dual Band), Bluetooth 5.0 LE, NFC, GPS and GLONASS. In the sensor section, we get an accelerometer, magnetometer, gyroscope, ambient light and proximity sensors. Under the hood, the KEY2 LE packs in a 3000mAh non-removable battery with Quick Charge 3.0 support.
The BlackBerry KEY2 LE is a very different looking smartphone if you’re used to the modern bezel-less smartphone design. The KEY2 LE is made up of a lightweight polycarbonate frame. It is a classic BlackBerry smartphone with a touch screen and a QWERTY keyboard. The build quality is good and the phone feels very good in hands. It is not very compact in size but you can use it with one hand if you have big hands or else you need to use both your hands to use the phone properly. It has thick bezels on both top and bottom but the sides have really thin bezels. The edges are circular and thus we get a strong grip. You can use the phone comfortably for longer period without causing any pain in your hands. The back cover has a soft textured back which offers a better in-hand grip to prevent drops. Starting with the front of the BlackBerry KEY2 LE, there is a 4.5-inch display panel along with the selfie camera, couple of sensors and earpiece. There are three capacitive buttons below the display for navigation along with a 4-row QWERTY keyboard. The volume rockers, Speed Key and power/lock button are situated on the left side while the right side has the tray for SIM and microSD cards. The microUSB port, primary microphone and loudspeaker are found at the bottom while the top houses the 3.5mm headphone jack and secondary microphone. Turning towards the back, we have the dual rear cameras on the top left with LED flash on its right side. The BlackBerry brand logo is seen below it. Underneath the non-removable back cover, we get a 3000mAh battery (non-removable). Overall, the BlackBerry KEY2 LE has an old-school charm that comes with decent hardware.
The BlackBerry KEY2 LE rocks a 4.5-inch IPS display, which has a resolution of 1620 x 1080 (Full HD). It is not like any regular smartphone display as the screen is small and comes with 3:2 aspect ratio. However, we get minimum bezels around the display. If we put the size factor aside, then the display is quite good. The colors are accurate, brightness levels are quite good. The display might be small but the overall size of the phone is quite big due to the physical QWERTY keyboard, so you might need two hands to use the phone efficiently. The texts, photos and videos look sharp on a Full HD panel. The viewing angles are good and sunlight legibility is decent as well. The immersive display is great for consuming content. There is Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection on top of the display that saves it from daily wear and tear.
Coming to the touch response of the BlackBerry KEY2 LE, it is very fluid and lag free and that is mainly due to the good quality display and smooth interface. Overall, the BlackBerry KEY2 LE has a very decent display.
The BlackBerry KEY2 LE is being powered by a Snapdragon 636 octa-core processor clocked at 1.8GHz. It is quite a powerful processor from the house of Qualcomm and it handles the general day-to-day tasks very well. There was no visible lag or stuttering. Most popular apps and games loaded up fairly quickly. There is 4GB RAM for performing intense multitasking. You'll have around 2.5GB of free RAM even after running more than seven apps in the background. In terms of gaming, you can play most of the high-end games for sure but some of them will run in low or medium graphics settings. The BlackBerry KEY2 LE comes with 64GB of internal storage, out of which we got around 52GB of free space. The storage can be extended externally by up to 256GB if you need extra storage and you'll most likely need it if you're a heavy user. There is a fingerprint sensor embedded into the spacebar. You might need some time to get used to its placement but it works well.
Coming to the world of connectivity, we get both Dual SIM (nano) option along with 4G VoLTE support. Also, 4G is supported on both the SIM card slots and you can use them simultaneously. There is a 3000mAh battery (non-removable) under the hood, which is quite standard and there is Quick Charge 3.0 support. You will get around one day of battery life with moderate usage.
Overall, the BlackBerry KEY2 LE is a decently good performer
In the BlackBerry KEY2 LE smartphone, there are two rear cameras - a 13 megapixel primary camera and a 5 megapixel secondary camera. It is a decent camera and you can click good images in daylight conditions. We got a lot of details and the color saturation was also neutral. The photos shot were vivid and sharp. However, the low light pictures clicked indoors had little grain. The focusing mechanism was quite fast. HDR mode helps in taking great landscape pictures with a lot of dynamic range. Also, macro images looked quite good with shallow depth of field effect. The second lens is used to capture portrait images with bokeh effect and it does a decent job in good lighting conditions. Talking about the front-facing camera, we get a 8 megapixel lens and it can take pretty good selfies like most other selfie cameras.
The camera app of the KEY2 LE is very easy to use as it has a simple interface. The stock app offers various shooting modes including a pro mode and it is good enough for clicking and editing pictures and videos. The primary camera can shoot Full HD videos and the quality is quite good. Overall, the BlackBerry KEY2 LE has a good camera department.
The loudspeaker of the BlackBerry KEY2 LE is located at the bottom left. The speaker sounds quite good and it is loud as well. There is no audio distortion even at the highest volume levels. However, while playing games or videos, sound will get blocked by your palms. There is a default music app that comes with the phone and it has most of the features that you will require for listening to music. Although, you can also download your favorite music app to replace the native player. A bundled earphone comes in the box but the quality is average, so you can purchase a good pair of earphones if you do not own one already.
The KEY2 LE is able to play both Full HD and 4K videos quite easily as the display and processor are quite powerful. Again, the default video player app is sufficient but you can download a third-party video player like MX Player for the best possible video watching experience. Overall, the BlackBerry KEY2 LE gives a good audio and video experience.
The BlackBerry KEY2 LE runs on Android 8.1 Oreo OS out of the box. Hopefully, we will see some major OS updates in the future. Talking about the interface, we mainly get stock Android here. There are a lot of widgets, wallpapers, effects and themes. Thus, you can make some cosmetic changes according to your preferences to change the look of the interface. In terms of stability, the interface is very smooth and does not lag in general day-to-day usage. There is a Security Centre app that also includes a power manager, notifications disabler, data monitor and memory cleanup tool. We get a new Speed Key for a more customized universal shortcut experience. It is complimented by 52 customizable shortcuts, so you can program each key to instantly bring up the contacts and apps you use most. Thus, this is an important part of the interface, which also makes it different from any other Android smartphones. There are some pre-installed apps (bloatware) but you can easily uninstall them if you do not want to use them. In case you do not like stock Android interface, then you can just download any third-party theme of your choice to get a different look.
Overall, the BlackBerry KEY2 LE has a fluid interface but it is specially customized for a QWERTY keyboard.