Chromatic harmonica - do you have to bend notes?

I’m a beginner to the diatonic harmonica.
I’d like to learn to play the chromatic harmonica so that I can play in any key and don’t need to eventually buy a whole lot of diatonic harmonicas in different keys.
But I’m wondering if you still have to learn to bend notes on the chromatic? Or because the chromatic has all 12 keys then bending isn’t necessary?
If anyone has any other tips/info about playing the chromatic compared to the diatonic I’d appreciate any help before buying one. Is there a brand/model that is easier to play for a beginner?

you can bend them a bit. you can half valve it and it wail bends better but then it doesnt sound like a chromatic any more. chrome has more an organ/horn sound. diatonic is more like a sax or violin. ive heard you can play in all keys with a chrome but i dont. you can get a solo tuned 364 marine band which is a 12 hole chrome without the button just to get used to the tuning. but if you can play in 3rd on a diatonic you can play blues on a chrome. in which case skip the solo tuned diatonic 364 and just get the big 280 /64 chromonica monster. i started playing 3rd position with mine in D and Eb with the button in. then i used it for Eminor in 5th position for some beatles song. it just happened i never played in 5th before. little walter played his in 6th on one song i never have yet i learned to play with the button a bit pop it in still play in D or let it out and still play in Eb. then i got an A 12 chrome and learned to play crossed in E you cant go crazy bending but it is possible. now i can play the big monster crossed in G or with the button in in Ab. oh and before all this i could only play folk music in 1st. so recently i was trying to figure out watermellon man in F like little walter. i could do it on a Bb harp with overblows but i tried it on the big chrome and i could play it better in 12th position. you dont need a chrome to play in every key but chrome can be fun its a different animal. so on C chrome i can play in C/Db, G/Ab, D/Eb, Am/Bb, Em/Fm and F(one song) i like to carry a 12 hole D chrome to jams it lets me play in D/Eb or A/Bb or E/F.

Howdy and welcome AnnieG!
The chrom is a wonderful instrument. This is the instrument to learn
and develop with for jazz, classical, popular, and virtually all genres
of music. The diatonic, while maybe suited for blues, country, and rock
best, isn’t the instrument of choice for others. “Bending” on a chromatic
is more a use of expression than a necessity for certain missing notes.
This “bending” can be accomplished in more than one way.
I’m not putting diatonics in a bad light here. They’re just virtually a different
instrument all together; made to act and perform differently.
A fine player can perform any type music on a diatonic, though sometimes
concessions must be made, but a beginner can learn genres better on one
or the other instrument.
I play both.

thebugleboy