BlackBerry Key2 LE first impressions: Inferior specs, steep price and more

BlackBerry Key2 LE doesn’t offer anything new to consumers. Instead it does away with elements that the newer BlackBerry phones interesting in the first place.

tech Updated: Sep 03, 2018 11:10 IST
Kul Bhushan
Kul Bhushan
Hindustan Times
BlackBerry,BlackBerry KEY2,BlackBerry KEY2 LE
BlackBerry Key2 LE runs on inferior Snapdragon 636 processor as compared to Key2’s Snapdragon 660 processor.(BlackBerry)

BlackBerry, well the brand, still exists, courtesy licensee partners like TCL and Optiemus (in India). The problem with BlackBerry’s comeback is that they are yet to find their one phone that will turn things around for them.

The latest offering BlackBerry Key2 LE is classic example of where the new BlackBerry brand owners have gone wrong. Unveiled at the IFA 2018 conference in Berlin, Key2 LE is another phone that is destined to be easily forgotten.

Not that BlackBerry Key2 LE is a terrible phone, but it has barely anything new to offer to even old BlackBerry fans. Moreover, the focus is on to make the phone more affordable to consumers. But in order to achieve this, BlackBerry has simply stuffed inferior specifications and removed a few useful features from the Key2 which was recently launched in India.

BlackBerry Key2 LE runs on inferior Snapdragon 636 processor as compared to Key2’s Snapdragon 660 processor. The RAM power has also been reduced to 4GB from 6GB RAM. The battery has been reduced to 3,000mAh from 3,500mAh. BlackBerry is not just cutting the corners in terms of specifications but some features that made BlackBerry’s comeback interesting in the first place. The keyboard does away with the touch capability that enabled users to quickly access some of the important functionalities by swiping on the keyboard. In the camera department, it has 13-megapixel and 5-megapixel dual sensors on the back. On the older Key2, there are two 12-megapixel sensors.

Apart from these things, BlackBerry Key2 LE brings nothing new to the table. It retains the same 4.5-inch IPS display with 1620 x 1080pixels resolution. The same Android software with a wide range of propriety software that promise security and privacy. There’s a fair bit of customisation in the UI which manages to be good enough during our brief usage. The DTEK security, in our opinion, remains the highlight of the modern BlackBerry phones. The suite of apps including Locker that lets users to store their private photos and files can appeal to those who are very cautious about their privacy and data safety.

BlackBerry KEY2 LE features the same 4.5-inch IPS display with 1620 x 1080pixels resolution as the Key2. (HT Photo)

Design wise, it’s same as the KEY2. And not it’s not negative. It feels compact and light weight. But if you have moved on from physical QWERTY keyboards on phones, the lower half of the phone is a dead weight for you.

There’s no official word on the India availability and pricing. In Europe, the phone sells for roughly Euro 500 (Rs 46,000 approximately). For the specifications on offer, BlackBerry Key2 LE may not appeal to Indian consumers who have far better options like Xiaomi Poco F1 and OnePlus 6 in the Rs 30,000 price category.

First Published: Sep 03, 2018 11:08 IST