To the surprise of many, TCL managed to revive what pretty much seemed like a dead and buried brand last year with the Chinese company’s rookie QWERTY/touchscreen BlackBerry hybrid effort.
But despite earning praise from the overwhelming majority of tech reviewers, the KEYone didn’t exactly turn into a mainstream hit. Expectations are now also a lot higher for the BlackBerry KEY2, so it wasn’t a surprise that TCL needed almost 18 months to unveil the greatly anticipated sequel.
In many ways, the refined Android 8.1 phone is precisely what veteran “CrackBerries” like our own Jaime Rivera were looking forward to. Specifically, a robust communicator with a vastly improved hardware keyboard, a battery (almost) as powerful as the KEYone, an arguably prettier design, and a highly customizable software experience.
Unfortunately, the BlackBerry KEY2 is by no means a perfect device, cutting some big corners in at least one essential department for most of today’s mobile consumers. There should have been no room for mediocrity at this bad boy’s price point, yet that’s exactly what we’re dealing with when analyzing the camera performance.
That said, you’ll still want to watch our full, in-depth video review before deciding to skip this very honorable sophomore attempt at bringing the physical keyboard back from the dead. Perhaps you’ll find the KEY2’s many strong points to offset its few but major weaknesses.