BlackBerry Key 2 LE smartphone: Great for diehard keyboard fans, hard to handle for everyone else

BlackBerry's second Android phone launched this year starts at $399, making it much less than the iPhone XS or the Samsung Galaxy Note9.

BlackBerry Key 2 LE smartphone: Great for diehard keyboard fans, hard to handle for everyone else

If you've ever found yourself missing your old CrackBerry, then check out the new BlackBerry Key 2 LE. It's the second Android smartphone that BlackBerry has launched this year.

I used this new BlackBerry for several days, and I thought that I'd enjoy the throwback to my first BlackBerry smartphone in 2009. But I found that it was awkward to navigate the physical keyboard and as a result, I ended up sending shorter text messages and emails. Perhaps learning to be concise is a side benefit of the Key 2 LE.

As for the phone itself, the design gets attention. The full keyboard feels cramped compared to touchscreen keyboards. If you've been depending on an older BlackBerry phone, you might want to consider this as an upgrade. But if you're using an all-touch phone, it's going to be frustrating to make the change.

The price is the main selling point to the Key 2 LE. It's the lower-priced cousin to the Key 2 that launched earlier this year. The new phone starts at $399 for a 32GB version, and tops out at $499 for the 64GB model. The Key 2 is $650 for a 64 GB version.

SEE: Samsung Galaxy Fold, S10, S10 Plus and S10e: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

One of the handy features on the phone is the Speed Key. It activates app shortcuts and initiates actions without having to return to the homescreen.

I also like the option for power management to prolong your battery life. The phone pays attention to your daily calendar to nudge you to put your phone on a charger when you have downtime.

Security is solid, with BlackBerry Mobile's software locker giving you a safe place to keep apps. You have to scan your fingerprint to access them.

Overall, BlackBerry is offering an interesting phone for diehard keyboard fans.

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By Teena Maddox

Teena Maddox is a former Associate Managing Editor at TechRepublic. She oversees TechRepublic's news team and TechRepublic Premium. She focuses on tech and business and how the two worlds intersect. Teena's lifelong journalism career has included wri...