1. Alex_Hong's Avatar
    After about a week with the phone, here's my written review of the phone for those who don't want to watch the video review.

    Before I start, here's a bit of background before I get lumped together with reviewers who just doesn't "get" BlackBerry devices. haha. My love for phones started with BlackBerry devices, and I've used quite a few of them over the years. In fact if you look at my forum profile, you'll find the majority of my posts are on CrackBerry.

    (Priv too, just not in this collage)

    So let's get started.

    I'm sure everyone can already see from the spec sheet that this isn't a phone that is "value for your money". It's practically mid-range hardware for a phone that sells for more than some flagship devices. A lot of what the phone is offering... is just enough for what it needs to do.

    The SD660 processor & 6GB ram is just good enough to provide a smooth experience for your productivity apps, some multi-tasking. The speaker is loud, but sounds a bit shrill/tinny at higher volume. Oh, and no stereo speakers. There's no water resistance, which is kind of understandable due to the keyboard, but still...

    The screen. Oh man... The screen is just a bit too dim for me under bright sunlight. It's actually dimmer than some mid-range phones I've used which is a little disappointing. It's usable, but just not an enjoyable experience.

    The camera, is good, but not great. Definitely could be much better considering the price of the phone, especially in low light. Original resolution samples here. It's passable IMO, but i've seen better, even on mid range devices.

    It does excel in terms of battery life though. I can easily get over a day even with heavy use, and lighter usage can see me going to 2 days of use. And often than not, i'm seeing lighter usage when using this phone since the multimedia aspect of the phone isn't that great.. Which brings me to the downsides that I'm sure most of you saw coming.

    The screen is small, and with the keyboard occupying a third of the front, multimedia experience is not that great. Watch a 16:9 video, the effective screen size is just a bit bigger than the iPhone SE. Playing games in landscape? be prepared to do some hand acrobatics and reach across the keyboard. Playing like MOBAs, or PUBG, you might find yourself accidentally pressing the back button. Turn the phone the other way around, and your palm will be covering the speaker up completely. So just don't bother.

    But then again, if you're looking at this phone.... those are probably the least of your concerns. So let's move on to the highlight, the keyboard.

    I think this is probably the best physical keyboard on a phone to date. Not just because of the typing experience, but also because of the additional capabilities. The touch gestures to fill in predictive text, deleting words, moving the cursor, highlighting text, spacebar fingerprint sensor etc. The most important, is the ability to customise all 26 letters of the alphabet to any shortcuts you want.

    This is the fastest way to launch apps once you take the time to program everything you need in. The new button that lets you use this feature in apps too? That is probably the best thing about the key2 to me. Switching from one app to another (not just previous using app), is the fastest on any phone I've used so far.

    If you're working on a word document, you need to do calculation, you need to do research, you need to refer to Google Keep, you want to change a music track. You can just jump straight into ANY of those apps with just 2 button presses. For folks who values productivity, or switch between apps a lot, I can see this being the reason to buy this phone.

    But there are downsides to this keyboard too. Typing on virtual keyboard is just way faster and easier for me. Especially when you're talking about using the phone one-handed (with swipe typing), which I do a lot. Key2 is a really hard phone to type one-hand for me (small hands perhaps, YMMV). I get that it's nice to type on and all, but for me, I just prefer virtual keyboard these days.

    I do like the software though. I think BlackBerry Hub might not be entirely necessary these days, even though it could still be nice to have to folks with high volumes on communication coming in. But other than that, I think BlackBerry has a lot of good customisations on the software side. Monthly patches are nice to have too. Hopefully they'll improve on major software version update speed.

    So all in all, I think the Key2 is probably going to be incredible for BlackBerry fans, and folks who really like using physical keyboard still. The fast app switching, the tweaks in the software, all remains focused on the traditional strengths of what BlackBerry has been known for. Just that now you actually can get all the apps you need (BB10 users will understand).

    But for regular consumers, I don't think it's worth getting because there are plenty of other better options out there. But that's fine, because TCL isn't really targeting the phone at regular consumers. This is a niche product, and one that really excels at appealing to its target audience. I still think that even then, this is quite a bit pricier than it should be, but most people buying it will probably still love it nonetheless.
    codeda likes this.
    07-21-2018 08:00 AM
  2. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Nice review and video. And man, that's a LOT of Blackberrys!
    Alex_Hong likes this.
    07-21-2018 03:32 PM
  3. Alex_Hong's Avatar
    Crackberry used to my most visited site afterall. haha. It's like crack, you can't help it. I'm clean now though. haha.
    B. Diddy likes this.
    07-21-2018 10:17 PM
  4. Knightmayre90's Avatar
    Good review, cheers for sharing. I find myself liking it a little more each day and as my typing speed evolves I just feel more and more comfortable with it. I'm gonna stick with it
    Alex_Hong likes this.
    07-22-2018 07:50 AM
  5. Rukbat's Avatar
    Monthly patches are nice to have too. Hopefully they'll improve on major software version update speed.
    They can't, because Google only comes out with security updates every month and version updates every year - and TCL (doing business as Blackberry) has nothing to do with that. As long as they son't cut back, issuing a few security patches a year and version updates a few months after Google does.
    07-22-2018 07:30 PM
  6. Alex_Hong's Avatar
    They're actually pretty good at monthly patches. Just the major updates. KeyOne hasn't gotten Oreo as far as I know. Just rumours here and there, and beta program? The Priv was notoriously bad too. haha. Version updates a few months after Google does would be more than good enough. Hopefully they can improve.
    07-22-2018 07:50 PM
  7. o4liberty's Avatar
    Very nice review well done and honest. I don't agree with all you said but again well done.
    07-23-2018 09:23 PM
  8. o4liberty's Avatar
    Just past two weeks with mine and it's my daily driver.
    the_boon likes this.
    08-05-2018 08:29 AM

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