Does anyone really need a smartphone with a physical keyboard in this day and age? Apparently so. It appears that enough people with an aversion to onscreen keyboards purchased the 2017 BlackBerry Key, justifying the company’s decision to create a different one. Bear in mind, however, the BlackBerry Key2 runs Android Oreo 8.1, which means you’ll still have to employ a little touchscreen dexterity to use it. The keyboard takes up almost a third of the Key2’s span, but it’s a fantastic handset, with a matte finish and wraparound aluminum framework. The silver version looks particularly snazzy. The keys are 20% larger than those of its predecessor, which should allow for quicker typing with fewer errors, and they are certainly satisfying to press.
Sadly, the cramped 4.5in display has a disappointing resolution of 1,080 x 1,620 pixels, which for many people will be hardly good enough to watch YouTube videos, let alone Netflix. And though this is the most powerful BlackBerry phone up to now, it lacks processing power compared to its competitors, with a Snapdragon 660 processor, just 6GB of RAM and an underwhelming battery life. At least BlackBerry has managed to keep up with the competition in one department: the Key2 provides double 12-megapixel cameras with a 2x optical zoom. These work in unison for top-quality selfies, and give rapid autofocus, image stabilisation and automatic white balance. However, the hefty #579 cost makes the BlackBerry Key2 hard to recommend unless you are prepared to pay that much for a physical option to an onscreen keyboard. It’s a good enough phone, but it pales compared with the similarly priced OnePlus 6 and LG G7.