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These are the best BlackBerry phones (hint: there aren't many options)

BlackBerry might not be as popular as it once was, but it still has a few great devices in its lineup. Check them out here.
July 5, 2021
Blackberry KEY2 Red Edition rear cameras

BlackBerry hasn’t been a major smartphone producer for quite a few years. The phone brand was saved from complete extinction when TCL licensed the right to use the name back in 2017. A short time later, India-based Optiemus Infracom would also become a licensee and release a few phones to the Indian market. BlackBerry has been saved from the ax again by Onward Mobility, which has promised 5G-ready BlackBerry phones in 2021.

Unfortunately, we’re more than halfway through the year, and there’s no sign of a forthcoming BlackBerry device. We’re keeping our eyes and ears peeled, and we’ll be sure to update this list as soon as we can.

What all this means is that your current options as a BlackBerry fan are quite limited. The Key2 is the best, and the Key 2 LE is the only reasonable alternative, though it’s costly to buy used. While both phones are passable, they are also rocking out-of-date mid-range chipsets, so it’s hard to recommend them unless you need a keyboard. Maybe you can also give the BlackBerry Evolve a try, though it doesn’t have a US warranty. Here’s to hoping Onward Mobility has lofty goals for BlackBerry.

Related: 5 underrated Android Blackberry features we want on new Blackberry phones

1. BlackBerry Key 2 — Best overall device

Best BlackBerry phones Key 2

Released in 2018, the BlackBerry Key 2 is the closest thing to a modern flagship with the BlackBerry name. Granted, it’s pretty underpowered by today’s standards, but it’s still the best BlackBerry phone 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

The BlackBerry Key 2 LE is a slightly cheaper variant of the Key 2. It cuts some corners in the specs department 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.

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 pick up a used 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

3. BlackBerry Evolve — A third option

The BlackBerry Evolve.

The Evolve is unique among modern BlackBerry devices in that it skips the physical keyboard. Instead, it sports a more traditional smartphone design with a rear-mounted fingerprint reader and dual-camera setup. Like its Key 2 siblings, the BlackBerry Evolve cuts a few corners to save on price.

See also: Are there still any phones with a physical QWERTY keyboard?

A glance down the spec sheet reveals an entry-level Snapdragon 450 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage space. You should have no problem keeping the 5.99-inch display in your pocket, and the 4,000mAh battery should keep you going all day long. It also ships with Android 8.1 Oreo onboard, so it’s on par with the Key 2 siblings.

There aren’t too many reasons to go for the BlackBerry Evolve, considering its age and spec sheet. However, it is a BlackBerry through and through, and the 13MP shooters should do the trick for most people.

BlackBerry Evolve specs:

  • Display: 5.99-inch LCD
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 450
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Rear cameras: 13 and 13MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 8.1 Oreo

As you can see, there aren’t any good options for Blackberry phones until Onward Mobility unveils its plans. It’s not time to give up quite yet, but the hourglass is certainly running out.