Blackberry KEY2 Red Edition back panel

Blackberry hasn’t been a major player in the smartphone market for a long time. The phone brand was saved from complete extinction when TCL licensed the right to use the name in 2017. A short time later, India based Optiemus Infracom would also become a licensee and would release a few phones to the Indian market. Now it seems Blackberry phones may finally go the way of the dinosaur, as TCL recently announced it didn’t renew its license to produce Blackberry phones.  Optiemus Infracom still has a license for now, but it’s been a while since they’ve produced anything.

What all this means is that your options as a Blackberry fan are quite limited. The Key2 is the best, and the Key 2 LE is the only reasonable alternative. While both phones aren’t bad, they are also rocking out of date mid-range chipsets, meaning that it’s getting harder to recommend them unless you really can’t live without a keyboard. Here’s to hoping someone else (or even Blackberry itself) eventually starts making Blackberry phones again. 

Related: Yet another nail in the Blackberry phone coffin

1. BlackBerry Key 2 — Best overall device

Released in 2018, the BlackBerry Key 2 is the closest thing to a modern flagship with the BlackBerry name. Granted, it is pretty underpowered by today’s standards, but it will likely deliver the best overall experience for most users.

The Key 2 retains the physical QWERTY keyboard on the front, which sits below the 4.5-inch Full HD display. On the back, you’ll find the trademark rubber grip material that BlackBerry is known for, as well as a pretty decent dual-camera system.

Related: BlackBerry Key 2 review

Inside, you’ll find the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor, which is the same as you’ll find in 2019 mid-rangers such as the Nokia 7.2 and the Redmi Note 7. In other words, you’re not going to see the same power as the Snapdragon 855 or newer, but it will get the job done.

There’s also a decent 6GB of RAM, 64 or 128GB of internal storage, and a 3,500mAh battery. Those are respectable specs, but nothing noteworthy.

Unfortunately, the BlackBerry Key 2 still hasn’t gotten an update to Android 9 Pie, and may never. It also isn’t easy to find the device in a brand new state, as it appears TCL is no longer shipping new products. As such, you might need to settle for a used device, but it’s worth seeking out a new one if you can get it.

BlackBerry Key 2 specs:

  • Display: 4.5-inch, FHD
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 660
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 64 or 128GB
  • Rear cameras: 12 and 12MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,500mAh
  • Software: Android 8.1 Oreo

2. BlackBerry Key 2 LE — Best current device

BlackBerry Key 2 LE

The BlackBerry Key 2 LE is a slightly-cheaper variant of the Key 2. It cuts some corners in the specs department in order to drop the price by just a tad. Notably, the Key 2 LE is still easy enough to find in a brand-new state. It hasn’t received an update to Android 9 Pie though, so there’s that. 

Related: BlackBerry Key 2 LE review

The Key 2 LE looks pretty much the same as the regular Key 2. The differences are in the specs and they are very subtle. For example, there’s a 3,000mAh battery in the Key 2 LE instead of the 3,500mAh battery in the Key 2. The Key 2 LE also drops the RAM by 2GB, offers lower-capacity storage options, and has a slightly weaker camera system.

You’ll also find a slightly weaker processor in the Key 2 LE: a Snapdragon 636 as compared to the 660 in the Key 2.

Really, the only reason to buy the Key 2 LE over the Key 2 is that it’s easier to find brand new, although it’s still one of the best BlackBerry phones you can buy at all. If you can find a new variant of the Key 2 selling somewhere, definitely grab it. If not, the button below will take you to a page where you can purchase a brand new Key 2 LE, which will be almost as good.

BlackBerry Key 2 LE specs:

  • Display: 4.5-inch, FHD
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 636
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 32 or 64GB
  • Rear cameras: 13 and 5MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,000mAh
  • Software: Android 8.1 Oreo

As you can see, there just aren’t any good options for Blackberry phones anymore — or keyboard phones in general. I guess it’s time to move on?

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