Life with a real keyboard
It's a longstanding tradition around here that when a new BlackBerry shows up, we try to write our full review on the thing. The last time someone actually pulled it off was when the BlackBerry Passport was released in 2014. Now, I won't pretend I wrote this entire thing on a smartphone -- it would've taken too much time -- but I did jot down around half of it on the KEY2. It was much less of a hassle than one might think.
If you ever used the original KEYone, you'll remember the keyboard's scalloped, glossy buttons. They looked great, but the slick finish made it difficult to type quickly. This year, TCL and BlackBerry Mobile went with flatter, matte keys that are about 20 percent larger than last year's. It's much easier to use for long stretches.
BlackBerry Mobile really, really cares about making it convenient to sling words around, so they've embraced some more intelligent ways to type. As usual, the keyboard itself is touch sensitive, and you can use it to scroll down web pages and swipe up to select appropriate word suggestions. That latter feature is what helped me write as much of this review on a phone as I did. But, the sort of short swipes needed to select a suggestion feels unnatural at first. Curiously, you can also try swiping your fingers between multiple keys on the physical keyboard to spell out words, sort of like you can with apps like SwiftKey. It doesn't actually work very well, but it's there if you're feeling brave.