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BlackBerry KEY2: Everything you need to know

Following a heap of rumors and leaks, BlackBerry finally unveiled the highly-anticipated KEY2 on June 7, 2018. The KEY2 is a direct successor to last year's KEYone and retains the same general design while offering upgraded specs across the board.

There's a lot to unpack with the KEY2, so let's go ahead and get into it.

The latest BlackBerry KEY2 news

August 10, 2018 — BlackBerry KEY2 LE design and specs revealed in new leak

Looks like the KEY2 LE is the real deal!

Our friends at Android Police recently shared a heap of info regarding the phone, including the above picture and a list of its official specifications. As expected, the KEY2 LE looks a lot like the regular KEY2 but trims back some of its internals to allow for a (hopefully) more reasonable price.

The current spec sheet for the KEY2 LE compared to the KEY2 is as follows:

CategoryBlackBerry KEY2 LEBlackBerry KEY2
Display4.5-inch 1080 x 1620 LCD4.5-inch 1080 x 1620 LCD
ProcessorSnapdragon 636Snapdragon 660
Storage32GB or 64GB64GB
RAM4GB6GB
Rear Cameras13MP + 5MP12MP + 12MP
Battery3000mAh3500mAh
Dimensions151.4 x 71.8 x 8.5 mm151.4 x 71.8 x 8.5 mm
Weight168 g168 g

In addition to the difference in specs, it's also reported that they keyboard will be slightly different. The style appears to be more in-line with that of the KEYone, and unfortunately, it looks like the awesome trackpad functionality won't be available on the KEY2 LE, either.

July 30, 2018 — BlackBerry's next phone will be the KEY2 LE

Earlier this month, a hands-on photo appeared showcasing a new BlackBerry phone that's expected to be a lite version of the recently released KEY2. Following that, an FCC document has now confirmed that this handset will go by the name of the BlackBerry KEY2 LE.

We were previously expecting this phone to be called the KEY2 Lite, but as the branding above shows, BlackBerry is going with KEY2 LE instead.

It's not entirely clear what LE will stand for, but seeing as how we're expecting it to be a more affordable version of the KEY2, Lite Edition is the most likely contender.

All the big details

Read our full review!

The KEY2 doesn't do too much that's different to the KEYone, but it improves everything in either minor or major ways. Three areas, in particular, get focus: performance, keyboard quality, and design.

There's no doubt that the KEY2 is a faster, better-looking version of its predecessor, but how do things like the camera, battery, and typing experience hold up in day-to-day use?

For the full lowdown on the KEY2, check out Daniel's review! 👇

BlackBerry KEY2 review: Just my type

See how it compares to the KEYone

The BlackBerry KEYone was no slouch of a phone, but with the KEY2, BlackBerry made upgrades in just about every area imaginable.

Between higher-end specs, the addition of dual cameras, improved keyboard, and more, the KEY2 is a better gadget in just about every regard.

However, if you already shelled out $550 for the KEYone last year, is it really worth spending another $650 this year? Let Daniel help you out with that dilemma in the comparison below 👇

BlackBerry KEY2 vs. BlackBerry KEYone: Should you upgrade?

The design is mostly the same

One of the main reasons the KEYone stood out so much was thanks to its productivity-focused design. Instead of releasing a glass, all-screen slab like so many other companies, BlackBerry kicked out a chunky, physical keyboard-touting phone.

With the KEY2, that theme is present once again.

The KEY2 measures in at 151.4 mm x 71.8mm x 8.5mm, making it taller, yet thinner, than the KEYone. The screen is once again a 4.5-inch panel with a 1620 x 1080 resolution, and the 3:2 aspect ratio makes a return, too.

You've got access to 35 backlit keys on the physical keyboard, and similar to the KEYone, the spacebar doubles as an integrated fingerprint sensor.

It's got more RAM and a faster processor, but the battery is slightly smaller

Although the KEY2 may look similar to the KEYone on the outside, it's got a lot of improvements under the hood.

Last year's Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor and measly 3GB RAM have been replaced with a Snapdragon 660 and impressive 6GB RAM. You also have your choice between 64 or 128GB of internal storage, both of which can be upgraded to 256GB via a microSD card.

The battery is ever-so-slightly smaller at 3,500 mAh compared to the KEYone's 3,505 mAh unit, but thanks to the power-sipping nature of the 660, the KEY2 should still be a battery champ.

BlackBerry KEY2 and 6GB of RAM: Why it's a big deal

BlackBerry steps up to dual cameras

The single 12MP rear camera on the KEYone was fine. It had the capacity to take decent photos, but often struggled in low-light and produced very shakey 4K video.

You don't buy BlackBerry phones for their excellent cameras, but this is another area where the KEY2 should offer some serious improvements.

Around back, BlackBerry's outfitted the KEY2 with dual 12MP sensors. The primary one features a large 1.28um pixel size with f/1.8 aperture while the secondary one touts a 1.0um pixel size and f/2.6 aperture. You can record video in 4K at 30 FPS, dual-tone flash helps to brighten dark scenes, and there's Phase Detection Autofocus.

In regards to the selfie camera, you're looking at an 8MP sensor that's capable of recording 1080p video at 30 FPS.

You'll need to cough up $650 to own one

As you'd expect, the KEY2's many enhancements have resulted in a steeper price tag compared to last year's model.

While the KEYone started out at $550 in the U.S., the KEY2 is $100 more expensive at $650. Elsewhere, the KEY2 will cost €649 EU, £579 GB, and $829 CDN.

Specifics on the U.S. release are still up in the air, but BlackBerry's since confirmed that the KEY2 is coming to Canadian retailers and carriers in July.

Where to buy the BlackBerry KEY2

Updated June 27, 2018: Added our full review of the KEY2.

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

37 Comments
  • I don't understand the draw to this type of phone. I had a Palm Treo back in the day and loved it at the time, but once touchscreens came into existence, I never looked back.
  • Because unbelievable as it sounds some people prefer a physical keyboard. They are just faster than a virtual keyboard will ever be for an input device.
  • Omg yes.
  • Because physical keys provide a unique layer to a phone's UI that a virtual keyboard cannot match. Typing alone is more accurate. However, it's the shortcuts that make it a powerful tool. I still don't understand why touch screens are as popular as they are. The most common thing we use our smartphones for is messaging; if you can message more accurately on a physical keyboard, why wouldn't you want one? Physical keys will never be replaced by virtual on a laptop-hopefully.
  • I decided to buy on BB Keyone2 if it works on Sprint.
  • I guess Blackberry has no interest in surviving as a phone company. Every device is severely overpriced since they made the switch to Android. At $399 for a version with 4gb ram and 64gb of storage and at $449 with 6/128 this would have made sense. You can't charge such a ridiculous premium for a physical keyboard. People like me will just shrug off the idea and decide they can live without it. Also, a physical camera button would have been nice considering how awkward reaching the shutter button on that screen will be.
  • The volume rockers function as a camera shutter as does the convenience key if you want it to I believe It works great on keyone
  • The spacebar can also be used to snap photos
  • Well the nice thing is that BlackBerry doesn't have much to lose here. The phones are now made by TCL. BlackBerry licensed their tech and the name to them. Much as it may surprise people, they aren't trying to compete against Samsung and Apple. Heck, there's not much they are trying to compete with at all, since they know their target audience is business professionals who long for a physical keyboard (which, in the current smartphone market, means they provide about the only option). It's a niche market and TCL/BlackBerry Mobile knows it. They know they won't sell nearly as many handsets as Samsung, but that's not the market they're aiming for.
  • Blackberry gave up the phone market a while back. This phone is from TCL with some licensing and software made by blackberry.
  • The space button/bar works as a shutter key very nicely.
  • The phone is not for you.. End of. What's hard to understand is why people like you cannot be content with the fact that BlackBerry does not target or want you. They target and want those that want physical keyboard phones. It's the same way Mercedes-Benz does not target those who can't afford it.
  • It's not that people can't afford it or even that they don't want it.
    It's just too much money for what it offers in the opinion of some potential buyers.
  • This is not overpriced for anyone who needs it. Especially when it comes to business enterprises.
    Also, the extra buck you pay is not covering the keyboard but timely security updates with added security features like no other phone.
    $650 as starting price is OK. Months from now it may drop a 100 or so.
    When I show this phone to my wife , she will see it as cheaper than Samsung and Apple and better for every day use. On top of that, beating them in battery life is just a cherry on top. She culdn't care less about the processing power as most people don't. They buy what they like and what they can afford. Those who know and care about every little spec are in minority and definitely not a target group for this product.
    If they sell it through carriers stores it will do great. I just doubt it's gonna be incentivized as the big 2.
  • Incredibly sharp looking device, superior battery life, and perhaps the best keyboard ever made. It's baffling why people would buy a 'virtual-board', when a physical keyboard is far, far more efficient and precise. The price and improved internals are fair. Camera specs? Plenty good, but I don't buy a communication device for camera specs. The combination of BlackBerry Hub & security, battery, power, android, physical keyboard, and overall professional appearance - it's arguably the best communication device in the world. WILL be buying a Key2 ASAP.
  • ^this The only thing that sucks is the nav keys for future gesture based android P
  • I doubt this will be an issue as BlackBerry 10 was and is exceptional when it comes to swiping as it has been gesture based since 2013. I am quite certain BlackBerry will own the adoption of swiping in Android.
  • not much change in previous design!
  • I'm rather surprised that everyone that is writing about the KEY2 is saying that the price is higher than the original KEYone.
    Yes, that may be, but on a closer look it isn't.
    Spec wise the new KEY2 has more to offer than the Black Edition of the KEYone. That phone was introduced about 8 months ago.... At a price of EUR 649...
    Hey! Wait a minute! That's the price of the KEY2 as well!!!??
  • I would still buy the KeyOne right now if the price drop though. I would spend that money on vacation or a new laptop (If I need it) easy, but not on a cellphone. The KeyOne is just fine at $445+ on Amazon. This one is better of course but from my POV I wont spend that money on a phone. Having said that for people that have to have the last thing and just spends a lot of money on phones like iPhones and they want a phone with a physical keyboard this KeyTwo is the best thing.
  • The ONLY think I would change is the capacitive buttons. I would much rather have a bigger screen. The phone would just look better.
  • I second that!
  • May as well just rename this site to 'BlackBerry Central' Too many BB articles on the main page.
  • I Still don't under stand on mobile nations why there is still a Crackberry and Windows Central. They both have went to android on their operating systems. It may pain Kevin and the people at WC, but just like the webos site they killed they need to kill these two.
  • They run on android now. You're joking, right? 🤣
  • The older I get the less I care about a huge screen. Like others have said, we message more than anything. I think a physical keyboard is more for me, but I'm in this V30 until I find someone wanting to trade. I will say Fleksy works great for touchscreen though.
  • The inaccuracies with touch keyboards has been annoying me more lately. I'd be willing to give a physical keyboard another shot. Sadly, I can't try this phone out unless I switch from Verizon.
  • Nice but needs a bigger screen & glass or metal back for me to get be interested. Typing on a tiny display and that textured plastic back just looks really really dated
  • You not typing on the tiny screen. You typing on the physical keyboard. Visible screen will be the same as in any mobile when keyboard is covering the third of the screen... Someone did the comparison on youtube showing both screens with the keyboard visible on the glass slab. The same size man...
  • It’s a tiny keyboard. Had blackberries and they hardly felt better to me. But I did get bit with the double typing defect on the Bold 9780 which would be a simple software update on any phone that uses a software keyboard. Just saying. That’s a lot of extra parts that can fail.
  • What an ignorant reply, this is a niche device. There are hundreds other copycat phones that has glass and metal and all screen. Why complain about BlackBerry device that's been known to have great physical keyboards and rubber backs are way more durable than expensive glass backs. You wont need a case here.
  • Physical keyboard and two day battery for people who need to work on the move nothing beats the accuracy of a physical keyboard... Blackberry software is great too... Horses for courses... Love my KeyOne Black Edition...
  • I'm getting mine tomorrow, and there's NO WAY this thing will last two days lol
  • I work at a DOE facility and they've begun replacing the Blackberries with........hold your shoes.....the Galaxy S7.... What everyone tells me is how much they like the S7 over the blackberry
  • I try to imagine myself pressing the keyboard and if my fingers can adapt.
  • I blame marketing and john chen for not doing enough to revive the phone business. The keyone/key2 are the phones to get the blackberry back into the spotlight. Coming from a pixel 2, i can't get enough of my keyone. To be able to hold a phone as is, with no case and get that premium feel, along with the best typing experience on available, to go along with android and the hub, made me appreciate the device regularly and was always reminded by the premium feeling as i used the phone. I have no issues with camera quality and the screen is great as is for watching media and social media. It made sense 10 years ago for apple to go the route it did, but now i can't imagine going back to a full slab and leaving that premium build quality and typing experience, along with it's own unique software features. It now feels odd for a phone in 2018 and onwards to be labeled flagship while rocking a "imitation keyboard'.
  • I have to say the key2 is one of the best phones I've ever owned and this is coming from someone who's had galaxy S9+, galaxy S8 and S8+, Motorola X4, Motorola G6, BB Keyone, and yes iPhone. For people who've never used the phone but bad mouth it, you have no idea what your are missing. And yea yea it's not for everyone but if people actually gave it a shot, they'd be surprised how much they'd like the device. Oh and yes I do enjoy media on the phone, smaller screen but clear. And photos are awesome during daytime; a little less so with lower light but usable. Oh well that's my 2 cents.