BlackBerry Key2 {Review}: For the love of QWERTY


  • The BlackBerry Key2 is an peculiar Android smartphone, however with one out-of-the-ordinary characteristic: a bodily keyboard.

  • The telephone is moderately costly, priced at Rs 42,990, and is on the market on Amazon India.

  • Regardless of the years, the Key2 stays loyal to the BlackBerry lifestyle.

When the all-touch smartphone turned a actuality, individuals resisted. In any case, how may it ever be snug to kind on a small display, that too with out a stylus? However that’s precisely what occurred; and right now typing on a contact display is second nature. And one previously profitable firm that guess huge on bodily keyboards misplaced virtually all the pieces on account of this huge change in the best way we use our smartphones.

BlackBerry right now has modified arms and signed licensing agreements galore, however stays an current model with a portfolio of merchandise. Nonetheless, its model notion has modified significantly since then, to the purpose that everybody I’ve confirmed the BlackBerry Key2 overview unit to has responded with the identical query – “Does BlackBerry nonetheless make telephones?” Sure, BlackBerry nonetheless makes telephones, they usually’re fairly good, too, with manufacturing and advertising in India being dealt with by Optiemus Infracom. Right here’s our overview of this yr’s flagship BlackBerry, the Key2.

Picture Credit – Rehan Hooda

BlackBerry Key2 Design and Show

Whereas different smartphones are likely to look related, the BlackBerry Key2 has one distinct distinction that each units it aside in addition to defines its character – the bodily QWERTY keyboard. In traditional BlackBerry trend, the Key2 proudly has its strong, clicky and tactile bodily keyboard sitting proper beneath the display. It clearly isn’t as detailed a keyboard as one you’d discover on a pc, given the house constraints.

Nonetheless, all of the letters are current, together with buttons for backspace, enter, alt, shift, house, and image. Getting particular characters, capitalization or numbers wants you to press one of many particular keys first, then hit the relevant letter key (which has particular characters in small print proper above). Curiously, you’ll be able to assign shortcuts to the letter keys, permitting you to rapidly set off apps and features from the house display.

One intelligent piece of design that returns from final yr’s BlackBerry KeyONE is the fingerprint sensor embedded within the spacebar. It’s a sensible place to place it, since the hot button is giant sufficient to suit the sensor, and successfully doubles up as each features. Its place on the backside additionally places it on the ideally suited place for a fingerprint sensor, making for very efficient placement. One other neat contact is that all the keyboard is swipe-sensitive, letting you run your fingers throughout it to realize the identical consequence as swipes on a display. You need to use this to navigate across the interface, but it surely doesn’t essentially work with all apps.

Typing on the keyboard is what I’d name tough. Positive, ten years in the past all of us knew find out how to kind rapidly on a bodily smartphone keyboard, however these habits have since gone away. We’re all snug with touch-screens now, and going again to the bodily keyboard requires re-learning the ropes. The tactile components of its are completely different too, since merely tapping is undeniably faster than truly urgent down on a key. The trickiest is getting in particular characters; it takes some effort, and is certainly slower than doing the identical factor on a great aftermarket keyboard app reminiscent of Swiftkey.

Picture Credit – Rehan Hooda

And whereas it’s going to contain a studying curve, ultimately you may get used to it and even choose it, particularly in case you spend numerous time typing in your smartphone. It does all come right down to your private preferences, and having a bodily keyboard comes at the price of a bigger display on this case. Whether or not that works for you is solely depending on you and your use-case, although.

Proper above the keyboard is the display, full with off-screen capacitive Android navigation keys. The display itself is a 3:2 side ratio 1080×1620 pixel IPS LCD show, which is clearly in contrast to anything you’ll see out there right now, notably on this age of bezel-less telephones. What you get is a screen-to-body ratio that weighs in at an unflattering 55 %, and a display dimension that’s nearly 4.5-inches throughout. However keep in mind, the display doesn’t must account for the keyboard, so possibly its dimension isn’t a foul factor in any case.

To be truthful, it’s nonetheless a small display, contemplating that the keyboard isn’t energetic on display on an everyday smartphone on a regular basis anyway. Right here you’re successfully pressured to have your keyboard seen even in case you’re doing one thing that doesn’t want the keyboard. Nonetheless, a typical BlackBerry person is somebody that’s often doing issues that want a keyboard more often than not, reminiscent of typing out emails or textual content messages, or possibly writing paperwork on-the-go. With that in thoughts, the design is ample, and even ideally suited for the goal person.

WATCH: BlackBerry Key2 First Look

The display itself is nearly as good because it will get, with respectable brightness and colours. Whereas an AMOLED display might need been a pleasant addition at this worth, the height brightness of the IPS LCD show makes for a sensible expertise if you want to have the ability to see the display even below brilliant gentle. As such, the telephone sticks to the transient of being sensible for enterprise and productiveness functions.

Whereas the BlackBerry Key2 is probably not about two slabs of chilly, shiny glass sandwiching the telephone in between, construct high quality continues to be spectacular, and on-point with the company picture. The telephone has a metallic body and textured plastic again. The again has a textured end that provides glorious grip, whereas the metallic body feels strong and robust. The underside of the telephone has the speaker grille and USB Kind-C port, the highest has the three.5mm jack, the left has the hybrid dual-SIM tray and the best has the ability, quantity keys and the customizable comfort key. The ability key can also be textured for straightforward recognition by your fingers.

Picture Credit – Rehan Hooda

BlackBerry Key2 Efficiency and Software program

With regards to specs, the BlackBerry Key2 does sit on the costly aspect of issues, particularly if you take the specs under consideration. The telephone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC, together with 6GB of RAM, and 64GB of inside storage. You additionally get a 3,500mAh battery and Corning Gorilla Glass Three on the system. These specs are typical in a worth vary a lot decrease than the BlackBerry, elevating the purpose that Rs 42,990 could in actual fact be an excessive amount of for this telephone.

It’s truthful to additionally level out that that is no peculiar telephone, and its particular options give it a particular edge over typical telephones with related specs. The design, bodily keyboard and software program suite are this telephone’s USPs, and certainly for consumers taking a look at productiveness and safety, the telephone represents a whole bundle even with the specs it sports activities. However that is, in any case, a distinct segment product, and most consumers could be higher suited by a extra typical smartphone.

That stated, the {hardware} isn’t dangerous by any means. You get a dependable expertise that’s ample for the everyday functions that somebody utilizing a BlackBerry Key2 would wish. That’s to say that multi-tasking, typing out paperwork, working closely with e mail and different productiveness apps, and usually operating a dependable and safe Android expertise are what this telephone is about.

Picture Credit – Rehan Hooda

The telephone isn’t constructed for heavy graphical use, and certainly the thought of taking part in PUBG Cell on a BlackBerry does come throughout as foolish, so it doesn’t actually matter as a grievance. Even in case you do discover it’s worthwhile to do a little bit of photograph or video enhancing on the telephone, it’ll deal with these ably sufficient. Maybe the one factor that falls brief right here is the interior storage, which is a bit low at 64GB.

The BlackBerry Key2 runs Android 8.1 Oreo, with the corporate’s customized software program UI and suite on high. It’s designed to look stylish, understated {and professional}, and pulls it off moderately nicely. It additionally has some moderately helpful software program instruments, together with the privateness shade (darkens the display to cover from prying eyes), redactor (allows you to clean out delicate data in screenshots), a password keeper, particular apps for notes, the DTEK telephone safety scanner, battery log, BBM and BB Hub. The final two will probably be acquainted to anybody who has used a BlackBerry prior to now.

Maybe the one situation with the software program is an absence of correct optimizations for the awkward 3:2 side ratio. Quite a lot of apps don’t acknowledge that the telephone has an ungainly dimension of display, with photos getting unusually cropped on the perimeters; Instagram is one such instance, with photos within the ‘Tales’ operate getting oddly cropped on the high. A few of these points can simply be mounted with a software program replace, although. On the entire, the BlackBerry Key2 achieves the best steadiness between the acquainted Android expertise, and BlackBerry’s traditional software program additions which have made it identified for productiveness and performance.

Picture Credit – Rehan Hooda

BlackBerry Key2 Digital camera

Whereas not a lot has been stated on the digital camera of the BlackBerry Key2, the telephone does include a succesful set of cameras. On the again, you will have a 12-megapixel (f/1.8) + 12-megapixel (f/2.6) dual-camera setup, with the second sensor enabling portrait mode and 2X lossless zoom. Video recording at 4K decision is feasible, and also you additionally get a dual-tone LED flash. On the entrance, the telephone sports activities an 8-megapixel digital camera that may report full-HD video. Curiously, the digital camera app has Google Lens inbuilt, together with software-based video stabilization, slow-motion video and panorama images.

BlackBerry Key2 – Low gentle digital camera pattern

BlackBerry Key2 – No zoom

BlackBerry Key2 – 2X Zoom

BlackBerry Key2 – Portrait mode

Outcomes are as you’ll anticipate from a smartphone priced across the Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 mark, and similar to the digital camera efficiency we’d seen on the Nokia 7 Plus. Photos are clear for essentially the most half, however zooming in far into the picture will present you a little bit of grain and lack of element. Colours do seem a bit uninteresting, however that is extra out of processing for accuracy than for enticing and popping colours. Portrait mode additionally works nicely, as does lossless zoom. Nonetheless, low-light pictures fall a bit brief when it comes to high quality, with seen over-saturation within the brighter areas. In brief, the digital camera works nicely for essentially the most half, however don’t anticipate best-in-class efficiency.

BlackBerry Key2 Battery

The BlackBerry Key2 sports activities a 3,500mAh battery, which is greater than ample to capably run the {hardware} of the telephone and supply lengthy hours of use. All the pieces from the Snapdragon 660 chipset to the 4.5-inch display is geared for frugal power use, and as such you get lengthy hours of battery life. With average use, I used to be in a position to run the telephone for a complete of 30-35 hours of total operating time, with a screen-on time of about six hours, earlier than needing to cost. Even with heavy use, this implies greater than a full day of run time.

Charging is fast as nicely, with the telephone coming with a Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 suitable charger and a USB Kind-C port. You’ll be able to top-up the battery in about one hour and 15 minutes. Battery life is clearly one thing that productiveness and company customers will must be top-notch, and it’s good to see that the BlackBerry Key2 has received this bit proper.

Picture Credit – Rehan Hooda


Is the BlackBerry Key2 costly? Sure, it’s. Is it too costly? That solely is dependent upon what you propose to do with it. If you happen to’re an everyday smartphone person that’s contemplating this telephone purely for the nostalgia aspect, the BlackBerry Key2 is simply too costly. You’d be higher off spending this sort of cash on a tool that extra adequately serves the extra typical utilization patterns of smartphone customers as of late, and also will provide you with higher efficiency for the value.

Nonetheless, in case you’re somebody that makes use of your smartphone for work, or simply want a second smartphone to your job, the BlackBerry Key2 is the suit-wearing company’s favourite toy. Its give attention to productiveness, high quality design, good software program, ample digital camera and nostalgia-inducing bodily keyboard make it the best enterprise telephone. There are small drawbacks, however nothing too critical that may qualify as a deal-breaker right here. Rs 42,990 could sound like lots, however consider it as the right enterprise instrument to earn all of that cash again, and extra.

You Is perhaps

BlackBerry KEY2
Android 8.1 Oreo
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC
Twin 12MP + 12MP

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