BlackBerry Key2 LE review

The business phone with a party price

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Battery life

  • 3,000mAh
  • USB-C and fast charge
  • Just about lasts a day

A 3,000mAh battery is pretty standard these days, but it goes a little further on the BlackBerry Key2 LE due to the handset having a smaller display than many competing phones.

Using the Key2 LE for normal daily use including calls, social media, streaming, reading and online shopping, we found it usually just about lasted the day, but no more.

A couple of heavy-use days saw the phone need a top-up in the evening, but that’s fair for the price point. We'd definitely take a power pack with us for nights out or important events, though.

Despite being a lower-cost phone, the charging port is USB-C. This is becoming standard on even more budget handsets, but having seen an old-style micro USB port on the Honor 8X recently, it's still appreciated on the BlackBerry.

The included fast charger uses the Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 standard, which means it powers up quickly (BlackBerry says 50% in 36 minutes, which was about accurate in our tests) and also offers you the option of a quick ‘boost’ charge.

Boost charge doesn’t actually change the power delivery to the phone, it just turns off some features while the handset charges to reduce power drain, like a less severe version of enabling airplane mode to charge faster. It doesn’t make a huge difference, but in a pinch it is useful. There’s no wireless charging though, as you’d expect at this price.

The Key2 LE keeps the charging animation from previous BlackBerry phones, which shows how much power the phone has at a glance with a colored line around the edge of the screen (the line turns off automatically when it’s dark). This is really handy, and something we wish would make it into all Androids.

When we ran our usual power test on the BlackBerry Key2 LE, which involves setting brightness to max and streaming a 90-minute HD video on full screen with accounts syncing in the background, the result was decent: from a 100% charge, the phone still had 78% remaining at the end of the video.

That 22% loss obviously doesn’t compare to the BlackBerry Key2’s 11%, but considering the price difference, it could be a lot worse.

Other phones in the Key2 LE price range performed better in the same test: the Honor 10 lost 16%, the Huawei Mate 20 Lite 14%, and the BlackBerry Motion just 10%. So, although the Key2 LE will get you through the day most of the time, it’s not the phone to choose if you want maximum stamina for your money.


  • 13MP + 5MP dual rear cameras (f/2.2 and f/2.4)
  • 4K video recording at 30fps
  • 8MP front-facing camera

Given the price and BlackBerry’s focus on business features, we weren’t expecting much from the Key2 LE’s cameras, but they pleasantly surprised us.

The Key2 LE uses the BlackBerry camera app rather than the native Android one, which seems a little unnecessary given that it doesn't really add anything, but does mean it’s quite straightforward to use. 

No bells and whistles here, just some filters, auto/manual, HDR, portrait mode, panorama, scanner and slow-mo.

For some reason, there's also an option to automatically add the BlackBerry logo – no, worse, the BlackBerry Key2 LE logo specifically – to all your photos. There is definitely someone somewhere who turned that on by accident and now has the photo equivalent of ‘sent from my BlackBerry’ on all their Facebook pics.

Quality-wise, photos from both the front and rear cameras vary considerably depending on the light. Pictures taken in strong light, like our photo below of the black cat in the cabinet, come out crisp and detailed.

But both the front and rear cameras struggle in less-than-perfect light, with HDR-enhanced photos looking too surreal, skewed white balance on indoor photos, and low light shots coming out pretty poor. There is a dual-tone LED flash to somewhat ameliorate that, though.

While there are lots of phones that deliver better photos at this price point – the Honor 10 comes to mind – this phone isn’t aimed at photography aficionados, so the decision to focus spending on other features makes sense. 

In fact, taking that into consideration, we were pleasantly surprised to see dual rear cameras on this phone.

Camera samples