In the age of feature phones and early-stage smartphones, many manufacturers treated the keyboard like putty. Some did the honorable deed of making sure that the device and keyboard contoured with each other and to the hand. Some experimented with some crazy form factor and failed miserably — barely related, but think about the Cybiko. Most just had to stick one into a spatial situation far from ideal because you absolutely had to have a keyboard.

Well, TCL has brought BlackBerry back to the conversation with the KEYone. It has an inescapable keyboard. If you took it off the slab, you’d have a slightly tall LG Vu of old. But you can’t just slip the essence of the KEYone into oblivion.

So, how can a somewhat small keyboard prove itself to users in this day and age? Pull a few software tricks? Authenticate your fingerprint? Are those really proof? Juan Carlos Bagnell runs his fingers through the chiclets.

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