The BlackBerry Key2 showed how the world is coming around to accepting a phone with a physical keyboard again. It took just three months for TCL Communications — the company that licences the BlackBerry name for hardware — to release the Key2 worldwide, compared to the nine months it took the KeyOne. The interest is there, and BlackBerry is keen to exploit it.
But as much as we really like the Key2, it’s not cheap. BlackBerry now has the answer with the BlackBerry Key2 LE , a budget conscious Key2 that’s billed as a more accessible entry point into the Key2 range. The Key2 is everything a new smartphone should be — visually enticing, technologically innovative, and engrossing to use with a wide variety of features. It looks, feels, and operates like a premium smartphone worthy of its price. The Key2 LE is cheaper, but you’re making some sacrifices.
Should these sacrifices stop you buying the Key 2 LE?
Here’s the bottom line: the BlackBerry Key2 LE is a business phone, for businesses to buy. It doesn’t have the same high-tech attraction of the Key2, and the substandard camera and small screen mean it can’t quite cut it as a smartphone all-rounder.
Is there a better alternative?
Yes. The Key2 LE feels more like a BlackBerry of old, with fewer high-tech features than the Key2, pulling the emphasis back towards the presence of a physical keyboard and high levels of security. However, because it’s relatively basic, there are far more interesting smartphones available for a similar price.
The $350 Nokia 7.1 is an excellent choice, as is the Nokia 6.1 , and the 230 British pound Honor 8X . Spend a little more and the OnePlus 6T is yours, and that feels like a phone from the future compared to the Key2 LE. Yes, they’re aimed at very different people; but phones need to perform many different tasks today, and the OnePlus is more versatile and will last longer.
If a physical keyboard is calling you, then we’d strongly suggest spending more to get the Key2 . It’s next-gen technology inside a classic BlackBerry shell, and we like that a lot. The Key2 LE is familiar BlackBerry tech inside a classic BlackBerry shell, and we like it less.
Should you buy it?
No. We like reinvigorated BlackBerry when it’s doing interesting, forward-thinking things, and shaking up the familiar BlackBerry formula. The Key2 LE exists for a good-for-BlackBerry business reason — it’s for IT departments to bulk buy and hand out to staff — but it’s not a phone regular consumers should consider as a daily device. You’ll get a lot more satisfaction and enjoyment from the regular BlackBerry Key2 , and the many other great smartphones available for a similar price.
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