BlackBerry Key2: The keyboard is king

June 27, 2018

Let’s check out BlackBerry’s latest flagship.

BlackBerry’s next flagship is the successor to last year’s KeyOne. That smartphone was well-received not just by long-time BlackBerry fans but also by users who’d use the smartphone more for productivity.

‘An icon reimagined’ is the Key2’s tagline – that line basically describes the Key2: an improvement on the best aspects of the KeyOne. The BlackBerry Key2 has a larger (20 percent larger) keyboard along with a new key that unlocks a plethora of new ways for you to use shortcuts.

The exteriors of the Key2 blend a professional and modern design. A matte finish surrounds the sides of the smartphone, while a textured back gives some grip on the device. This lets you easily hold the device, and to be honest I prefer this material compared to the shiny and glossy glass material on other flagships.

There are three buttons on the right side of the Key2 is for the power, volume and a convenience key where you can assign any shortcut. Speaking of shortcuts, the Key2 features a new key in its excellent keyboard: a Speed Key. It’s basically a way for you to assign shortcuts across they keys.

I wasn’t entirely convinced about the Speed Key but the more time I spend on the Key2 the more I realized how convenient it was assigning keys to open apps. After a couple of days, I’ve already assigned shortcuts to my favorite apps – there’s no need for me to open the app drawer, look for the app and launch it.

BlackBerry clearly knows they physical keyboard is the main selling point of the Key2, which is why they’ve invested a big part in the design and function. The matte keys are very comfortable to type on, and even if I’ve gotten used to touchscreen keyboards it didn’t take time for me to adjust to using a physical keyboard. Note that the entire keyboard is also capacitive, meaning you can use it as a virtual trackpad when scrolling or browsing.

BlackBerry Key2 Specifications:

  • 4.5-inch screen, 1620-by-1080 pixels
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 660
  • 6 GB RAM
  • 64 GB/128 GB storage
  • microSD up to 256 GB
  • USB Type-C with fast charging support
  • 3500 mAh battery
  • 8-megapixel front-facing camera
  • Dual 12-megapixel rear cameras

The BlackBerry Key2 has a decent hardware configuration as you can see from above, though I’d prefer if I BlackBerry has gotten a faster CPU like the Snapdragon 845. Still, the Key2 is able to handle all productivity tasks that I’ve done while I was using it: sending emails and messages, calls and the usual social media browsing.

The Key2’s screen won’t wow users, but it’s good enough to read emails and text and watch the occasional YouTube video.

Evidently, the BlackBerry Key2 is geared towards fans of the brand and for users who would prefer a smartphone where they continue being productive. In my case, I realized I was replying to emails faster when I had the Key2 since it was so convenient using the physical keyboard.

The Key2 runs on Android, but BlackBerry has also included its own DTEK app that tells you more about the security of your smartphone. This includes information on how each app has access to your phone, giving you another layer of security that’s not present on other devices.

The BlackBerry Key2 will sell for 2,399 AED for the 64 GB version and 2,699 AED for the 128 GB version. The price might put off some users, but seeing as that Apple charges more than 4500+ on the iPhone X, this, in turn, doesn’t look expensive.

Overall, the BlackBerry Key2 satisfies every aspect – if you prefer a BlackBerry. The physical keyboard and the design is top notch, and while it could have benefitted from a faster processor it still gets the job done.

We Love:

+ Excellent build quality

+ Keyboard is great as always

We Hate:

– Price

– Could have benefitted from a faster CPU

Final Rating: 4/5

by Victor Philip Ortiz
Tech Enthusiast and Movie Buff. When he’s not busy playing with the latest games, Victor usually spends his time collecting Blu-rays and building his own movie library. As the Online Editor for T3 Middle East, he develops and writes content for www.T3ME.com which includes reviews, features, and videos in addition to managing its social media and web content.