Key2 Vs Gemini Vs Pocket. The ultimate keyboard fight!

By July 12, 2018


Do you need a hardware keyboard in a small portable device? What are your options in 2018?

There are three devices that have physical keyboards.  

First let's have a quick look at their specs below.


key2 gemini pocket specs



Key 2 and Gemini are based both on Android and they have the known ecosystem. They lack the ability to run desktop mainstream apps but they can both do phone calls and connect to the internet and of course they are “always on devices”. Pocket is in a league of its own, as it is a full-fledged windows 10 mini laptop that can do much more in comparison to the other two devices that are good for messaging and some productivity.

From the pure typist's perspective all devices have both pros and cons.





Let's start from GPD Pocket. You can run the real version of Microsoft office and you can do whatever you would do in a normal sized laptop or PC. It has the variety of desktop applications that can do far more that the other devices by using mobile versions.

Combined with a 7" screen it offers a far better user experience than the other two when typing for long periods of time. The main disadvantage of this device is the battery life in comparison to the other two. Also, for internet connectivity you have to use a Wi-Fi hotspot or your mobile phone as it lacks an LTE modem.

The keyboard, as soon as you get used to it, you can type easily.  In comparison to the other two devices, keyboard it is more spacious and more close to a familiar desktop experience, as the keys are not super cramped like the BB Key 2 and Gemini. Typing while standing is a no go and thumb typing is not very pleasant for a long time. It is meant to be used as a small laptop and it is doing that at its best.



BlackBerry Key 2

Blackberry Key Two is the rival of Key One and has many nice additions. The hardware keyboard after spending some time as a learning curve it is very good for replying to messages, emails or write small reports. Although it feels more cramped in comparison to the other two devices spoiling the experience if heavy typing is required.

If you like to type in dark places Key2 is your only viable option as it is the only one of the three that has a backlighting keyboard. Moreover, it is the only device that you do not need a desk in order to use it and type easily at the same time. You can type easily when standing or walking or when lying in bed.

The small screen (4.5") and the narrow keyboard spoils even more the experience in large documents or spreadsheets. It is very good if used as it is meant to be, like a superb compact smartphone with hardware keyboard.

If Blackberry had a second “plus" version of the device with wider keyboard and screen like Blackberry Passport the experience would be completely different when typing for a long time.



Planet Gemini
Gemini looks like a modern incarnation of Psion Series 5. This device balances between the other two as it can act both as an android tiny laptop and as a smartphone (with limitations as it lacks an external screen to see who is calling and the add on camera is not enough by today's standards).

It has a nice keyboard and the larger screen makes “heavy” typing pleasurable compared to Key2. You can thump type while standing but the experience is not as good as using it on a desk or your lap. Although in laptop mode if it is far away from you, everything on the screen appears to be very small, so you have to scale things up a bit.
I should mention that Gemini can run Linux and "kindish" run desktop Linux apps. This is very good for someone that needs the functionality but this is targeted at very specific users as the lack of pointing device and the small screen limits the whole experience for desktop use.




In reality all three devices target totally different sectors of the market.

I have shared my thoughts with people that use those devices and it is far more complicated to understand if they are happy with their device as their opinions and needs defer to a great extend. I am not sure if all of them are satisfied enough from the typing experience on all devices but that is natural as the typing experience on a laptop or desktop PC cannot be the same when using such small devices.

For someone that prefer to carry only one device and needs to do a lot of typing on a regular basis, I think Gemini is the best choice as it combines both worlds, with its mobile functionality to act as a communicator device and as a compact productivity device. If Planet overcome the limitations in Gemini 2 (by adding a second external screen, proper Camera by today’s standards and physical dual sim) and can act as a full smartphone replacement combined with a backlighted keyboard it will be a great hit for many hardware keyboard lovers.

For someone that prefer to carry one device but need to do some typing and use it mainly as a communicator device with full-fledged smartphone specs, BB Key 2 is the best option and there is a dual sim version too.

GPD Pocket is the heaviest and largest device of all three but if you carry a small waist bag is one of the best options as you can use all your favorite desktop applications that can get you more productive. You can do whatever you want and not just typing or simple image editing like the other two devices.  On the road it is very important for some workflows to have the GPD Pocket’s versatility without the need to seek a desktop/laptop computer. With an external screen, it can be your only computer for many tasks (you can read our full review HERE).

To be clear I like all three devices and it is difficult to choose just one.

For sure whatever you choose you will be very pleased from their hardware keyboards if you do not like to type on glass.


Serious Techie

Charalampos Moraitis: Computing Specialist with multiyear experience in the fields of 3D and VR, Networks and infrastructures, Mobile Applications, Web development, CAM and CNC machining.

1 comment

  • Donna
    Comment Link Donna Friday, 13 July 2018 00:30

    I love my GPD. I'd like to mention that some folks run Linux on it, and some have set up a dual-boot on their devices with Win 10 and a version of Linux.

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