BlackBerry Key2 LE: Everything you need to know

The BlackBerry Key2 LE is back home at Verizon, but only for business types

BlackBerry Key2 LE Hands On
Simon Hill/Digital Trends

The BlackBerry Key LE is a lower-cost version of the Key2, doing away with some of the more high-tech features seen on the expensive sister phone, and cutting costs by using different materials for the body, to create a more affordable but still distinctly BlackBerry smartphone.

You can check out our Key2 LE review to learn more about what it’s like to live with the phone, but in the meantime, here are all the technical specs, details, and availability options.

Updates

The BlackBerry Key2 LE is available to buy at Verizon, but only to business and enterprise customers, according to reports. Verizon’s selling the Key2 LE for $450 without a contract, or for $100 if you sign up for a two-year plan. The phone does not show up on Verizon’s non-business store, so there does not seem to be the option to buy the phone for this price without a business plan.

The release doesn’t come as a surprise, as the reinvigorated partnership — BlackBerry and Verizon have a considerable history together — was announced at CES 2019 in January, but the phone’s availability has taken longer than expected.

Design and display

The BlackBerry Key2 LE looks similar to the Key2. It has the same 4.5-inch display and a matte keyboard, but the keyboard is slightly smaller and the phone weighs less. The keyboard does not have the capacitive touch feature fro the Key2, but the Speed Key is still present. It makes swapping between apps much faster by using a keyboard shortcut.

Flip the phone over and you’ll also notice that the textured back on the Key2 LE is a little different than the Key2. The chassis is plastic instead of aluminum, but it does come in more colors: Slate, atomic, and champagne. Of the three, the atomic version — which is red with a dark rear panel — looks best, and offers the only instance where the color extends into the frets between the keys on the keyboard.

While TCL may have cut some corners on the BlackBerry Key2 LE, the display didn’t take a hit. You’ll find the same 4.5-inch LCD screen on the Key2 LE as is present on the Key2, with a 1,620 x 1,080 resolution.

Camera

The BlackBerry Key2 LE has a dual-camera lens module on its rear just like the Key2, but the megapixel counts are different. The primary lens comes in at 13 megapixels, while the secondary lens comes in at 5 megapixels. Google Lens is integrated into the camera as well. The front-facing camera comes in at 8 megapixels and has an LCD flash. There’s also a Wide Selfie Mode and beauty filter for more options when you’re snapping away.

Specs and software

While the BlackBerry Key2 falls firmly into midrange smartphone territory, TCL wanted to make its lightweight Key2 LE more competitive. To do so, it made some minor hardware changes. The Key2 LE ships with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor and 4GB of RAM.

As for storage, the default option comes in at 32GB. However, a 64GB option will also be available in many regions. If that’s not enough, though, the phone also has a MicroSD slot for external storage. There is a fingerprint sensor in the space bar key, and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the body.

The battery on the Key2 LE is slightly smaller as well, coming in at 3,000mAh compared to the 3,500mAh on the Key2. That still should be enough to get you though more than a full day though, and since the phone features Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0, you’ll be able to charge the battery quickly.

Like the BlackBerry Key2, you’ll find Android 8.1 Oreo on board, along with the software suite provided by BlackBerry. The Convenience Key defaults to triggering Google Assistant, and it can be customized a little more now. TCL promises the Key2 LE will receive monthly Android security updates.

Price and availability

The BlackBerry Key2 LE was released at the end of 2018 and is available all over the world. While prices varied for the phone depending on the color chosen at first, now the prices have stabilized for the Key2 LE. The BlackBerry Key2 LE can be purchased on Amazon starting at $500. You’ll also be able to find the Key2 LE in select Best Buy stores and online with prices currently starting at $400, regardless of the color and including the atomic red version. The Key2 LE will work on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon’s networks.

In the U.K. and Europe, prices for the BlackBerry Key2 LE start at 400 British pounds, or about $515, through the BlackBerry online store.

Updated on May 31, 2019: Added news the Key2 LE is available at Verizion’s business store, plus updated price and availability details

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