When you think of phone brands with devoted followers, Apple and Samsung likely come first to mind. But you would be remiss if you didn’t add BlackBerry, a brand that has created some of the most iconic smartphones of the 21st century, and OnePlus to the list.
Both companies have cult-like followings, and both have just released new phones: The OnePlus 6 and the BlackBerry Key2. The latter has a physical keyboard, and BlackBerry is trying to grab the attention of touchscreen users from all manufacturers. Since these two phones are priced somewhat similarly, we put them head-to-head to see how they stack up.
|BlackBerry Key2||OnePlus 6|
|Size||151.4 x 71.8 x 8.5 mm (5.96 x 2.82 x 0.33 inches)||155.7 x 75.4 x 7.8 mm (6.13 x 2.97 x 0.31 inches)|
|Weight||168 grams (5.92 ounces)||177 grams (6.24 ounces)|
|Screen Size||4.5-inch IPS LCD||6.28-inch AMOLED display|
|Screen Resolution||1,620 x 1,080 pixels (434 pixels per inch)||2,280 x 1,080 pixels (402 pixels per inch)|
|Operating System||Android 8.1 Oreo||Android 8.1 Oreo|
|Storage Space||64GB (U.S.), 128GB (International)|
|MicroSD Card Slot||Yes||No|
|Tap To Pay Services||Google Pay||Google Pay|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 660||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845|
|Camera||Dual 12MP, 8MP front||Dual sensor 16MP (OIS) and 20MP rear, 16MP front|
|Video||Up to 4K at 30 frames per second (fps)||Up to 4K at 60 frames per second, 1080p at 240 fps, 720p at 480 fps super slow motion, HDR|
|Bluetooth Version||Bluetooth 5.0||Bluetooth 5.0|
|Ports||3.5mm headphone jack, USB-Type C||3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C|
|Fingerprint sensor||Yes (front)||Yes (back)|
|App Marketplace||Google Play Store||Google Play Store|
|Network support||AT&T and T-Mobile||T-Mobile, AT&T|
|Colors||Black, silver||Midnight black, mirror black, silk white|
|Buy From||BlackBerry, Amazon, Best Buy||OnePlus|
|Review Score||Hands-on review||4.5 out of 5 stars|
Performance, battery life, and charging
When it comes to performance, there is no contest between the BlackBerry Key2 and the OnePlus 6. You will find a perfectly capable Snapdragon 660 processor on the Key2, but the OnePlus 6 ships with the top of the line Snapdragon 845 chip. That means it will deliver superior performance and can tackle graphics-intensive games better. Both phones come with 6GB of RAM standard, although there is an 8GB option of the OnePlus 6 available for $70 less than the BlackBerry Key2.
The OnePlus 6 has a measly 3,300mAh battery to power a large screen and powerful processor; in our tests, it only manages to last about a day. The BlackBerry Key2’s 3,500mAh battery capacity may not seem like that much more, but there is a much smaller screen, and it’s able to last easily for about two days (based on our experience with the BlackBerry KeyOne, which had a similar battery size).
Neither the BlackBerry Key2 nor the OnePlus 6 feature wireless charging. Both phones do, however, offer a quick-charging option. On the Key2 you will find Quick Charge 3.0, which should return about 50 percent charge in a little under 40 minutes. The OnePlus 6 uses the company’s proprietary Dash Charge technology, which will add about 60 percent charge over the same period of time.
The win for this round goes to the OnePlus 6. Its Snapdragon 845, multiple RAM options, and Dash Charge technology give it the leg up over the Key2.
Winner: OnePlus 6
Design and durability
When it comes to design, the BlackBerry Key2 stands out among the crowd. It manages to look modern, while still being reminiscent of past Blackberry phones. You’ll find a small, but manageable, display butted up to a spectacular physical keyboard on the front, as well as a dual-camera setup on its textured back.
The OnePlus 6, on the other hand, has the look of a traditional flagship smartphone. It features a gorgeous glass body, a bezel-less screen, and a small camera bump and fingerprint sensor on the back. It looks elegant.
In terms of durability alone, the BlackBerry Key2 is much more likely to weather an accidental drop versus its competitor. Yes, the OnePlus 6 does use Gorilla Glass 5, but the Key2 has an aluminum back with a textured rubber coating — it won’t crack like glass. Neither phone is water or dust resistant.
We’re giving this round to the BlackBerry Key2. Since both phones have their own unique design aesthetic, the design portion of this challenge subjective. The Key2 will undoubtedly handle drops better.
Winner: BlackBerry Key2
In 2018, it’s nearly impossible to find a display smaller than 5 inches — even on budget phones. BlackBerry bucks the trend with the Key2, which has a 4.5-inch IPS LCD display with a 1,620 x 1,080 resolution and 434 pixels per inch (PPI). Its the same display configuration as last year’s KeyOne, save for the fact it features smaller bezels.
The OnePlus 6, on the other hand, features a 6.28-inch AMOLED display with a 2,280 x 1,080 resolution. And while it has a lower pixel density of 402 PPI, the difference is hardly noticeable. You do get a nice, large screen for media consumption, though.
OnePlus takes the display round by a long shot. The AMOLED display looks a lot better than the IPS LCD screen, and the screen is nearly two inches larger to boot.
The Key2 is the first BlackBerry to feature a dual-camera setup on the back. There is a 12-megapixel primary lens with an f/1.8 aperture, alongside a secondary 12-megapixel lens with an f/2.6 aperture. While we didn’t have an opportunity to test the camera extensively, we believe it should do well in daylight. Low-light photos will likely be a mixed bag. There is 2x optical zoom on the Key2, as well as a portrait mode.
There is also a dual-camera setup on the OnePlus 6. It features a 16-megapixel primary lens with optical image stabilization, alongside a 20-megapixel secondary lens. Both lenses have an f/1.7 aperture. Camera quality is solid on the OnePlus 6, and it also includes a portrait mode for the front and rear camera.
We haven’t had time to test the Key2’s camera, but we’re giving the win to OnePlus largely because we believe optical image stabilization is a huge benefit for low-light photography.
Software and updates
When it comes to software, both the Blackberry Key2 and OnePlus 6 run Android 8.1 Oreo. In addition to running the latest version of the Android operating system, each phone has its own unique take on Android that adds additional functionality.
OnePlus has its OxygenOS layered over Android, and it adds a few nice features like Gaming Mode, which pauses interruptions when gaming, black and white mode, which offers an ebook reader-like screen, and there are tons of customization options to make the phone look exactly how you want.
But one of the huge selling points for the BlackBerry Key2 is its software package. On the phone, you will find the BlackBerry Launcher, with more than a dozen specialized apps that help you get work done quickly. Apps like Privacy Shade and BlackBerry Locker keep prying eyes away, and Power Center makes sure your battery will last until the next time you plug in.
Where the OnePlus 6 does excel is updates. BlackBerry does a pretty good job of offering monthly security updates, but KeyOne owners are still waiting for the Android 8.0 Oreo update. OnePlus tends to be quick.
We’re calling this round a tie. While we believe you will see the update to Android P quicker on the OnePlus 6 versus the Key2, there are so many downright useful security and privacy-focused features in the Key2 that you won’t find on the OnePlus 6.
Other than its Alert Slider, many of the special features on the OnePlus 6 are baked into the software, and we’ve already mentioned most of them above.
TCL (the company that licenses the BlackBerry brand) has added a ton of features via hardware. For example, there is the Convenience Key, which lets you set three apps to three separate modes (nine apps total). In Car mode, the apps will change to your favorites such as Google Maps, Waze, or a music streaming app, when the phone connects to your car’s Bluetooth. The same happens when your phone is on your home or work network.
The keyboard also lets you create up to 52 shortcuts — you can long-press or short press a key to jump to an app or shortcut. What is more is that the new Speed Key lets you switch between apps without ever having to leave an app. It makes multitasking much faster.
The BlackBerry Key2 takes the win.
Price and availability
The BlackBerry Key2 starts at $650. It arrives in the U.S. through Amazon and Best Buy on July 13, and it will only be compatible with GSM networks like AT&T and T-Mobile.
The OnePlus 6 starts at $530 for the base model and can be purchased on the OnePlus website. It’s compatible only with AT&T and T-Mobile networks in the U.S.
Overall winner: OnePlus 6
Comparing specs alone, the OnePlus 6 comes ahead of the Key2, but it’s a close race. At the end of the day, both of these phones cater to different audiences, but it’s impressive how close the Key2 comes to the OnePlus, especially with a physical keyboard.
Updated on June 21: Added U.S. availability of the Key2.
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