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
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.