The next-gen BlackBerry KEY phone came into our senses back in April when a phone hit TENAA, Weibo, and Geekbench as the BlackBerry BBG100-1 device. We were certain it’s the next QWERTY phone from the company that will forever be remembered as the smartphone pioneer. It was officially launched last month as another powerful QWERTY device bearing a Speed Key button and a pair of dual cameras. The BlackBerry KEY2 launch finally happened and we’ve got a team who did a hands-on and a comprehensive review.
The BlackBerry KEY2 is the latest phone offer after the full-touch BlackBerry Motion. The phone will officially arrive in the United States this July 13. Pre-order has started last June 29 on Amazon and Best Buy and we’re only waiting for market release. As the most advanced BlackBerry phone to date, the KEY2 delivers the iconic physical keyboard but with premium specs and advanced features. The reliable security and privacy settings are also promised.
BlackBerry KEY2 is ready in either Black or Silver variant. Pre-orders are now on both Amazon and Best Buy. On Amazon, the BlackBerry KEY2 Black Unlocked Android Smartphone is compatible with T-Mobile and AT&T networks and comes with a 64GB storage and 4G LTE connectivity. The Silver BlackBerry KEY2 can also be purchased straight from Amazon with a $649.99 price tag. There is no discount yet but the price is good enough for a device that is somewhere in between a mid-range and a premium smartphone.
The BlackBerry KEY2 runs on Android 8.1 Oreo OS and Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor. The touch display screen spans 4.5-inches and is protected by a 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass. The 3500mAh battery boasts Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 for fast charging. There’s 6GB of RAM and expandable 64GB or 128GB built-in storage. When it comes to imaging, the dual 12MP rear cameras and 8MP selfie shooter with f/2.0 aperture offer high-quality images. There’s also the standard set of features found on most high-end phones: Bluetooth 5.0, USB 3.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, USB Type-C, and FM Radio.
This BlackBerry phone also offers Portrait Mode, Smart Battery Experience, Optical Superzoom, DTEK, Google Lens, and the Google Assistant. This QWERTY phone is a modern iteration of the old BlackBerry devices that started the smartphone market. It doesn’t have a notch but the screen is almost bezel-less now.
The phone’s build quality as described by our friends is “exemplary”. Battery life is excellent while software and security updates are always admirable. There are a few downsides though like the average camera performance, not so flexible physical keyboards, and the fact that it’s not waterproof and there is still no wireless charging. We can’t really say the phone is more advanced compared to other Android phones but this one is guaranteed secure all the time.
It comes with a new Speed Key that is said to turn every letter into a shortcut for contacts, apps, or other functions you frequently use. The shortcuts can then be used while on the home screen. They’re very much welcome but we’re hoping you can remember every shortcut you assign.