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back to article Ten... Qwerty mobiles

As the speedy texter generation grows longer in the Bluetooth and touchscreen technologies improve, the range of Qwerty phones on offer gets smaller by the day. But for many, they wouldn't use anything else. Indeed, for RIM, Qwerty keys have been the hallmark of it BlackBerry handsets. Sliderphones aside, Qwerty mobiles have …

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Anonymous Coward

Qwerty keyboards always seem to be on budget phones aimed a children.

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Anonymous Coward

Or on phones owned by adults who like to text using proper English and not kiddy's abbreviations.

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Anonymous Coward

or for people who love rsi, I hate my blackberry (work phone)

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The button size is certainly aimed at children. I doubt my man-sized hands could type on any of those keyboards. I certainly couldn't use a blackberry the last time I tried.

It's a pity HTC didn't continue with the landscape slide out keyboard design they had on the Desire Z. I currently own one, and can type on that quite successfully with my sausage fingers.

Unfortunately they decided to just follow the rest of the crowd and not bother making anything different, so now I have the full range of touch screen handsets from all the manufacturers to consider when I upgrade.

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Anonymous Coward

Never

Borrow a qwerty, the keys accumulate dirt, bacteria, viruses and anything else that may have been touched by those unwashed hands, nose,ar!e, dogs bollo!!! Etc.

At least a touch screen is wipeable.

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FAIL

Re: Never

Why stop there?

You shouldn't use share a computer keyboard or mouse.

Don't take the lift, those buttons will be filthy. But be careful of the hand rail as you take the stairs.

Don't flush the toilet, you know where those hands have been. You can't be sure the last person washed their hands properly before turning off that tap either. Watch out for that door handle on your way out too! In fact, any door handle.

In fact just put on your paper suit and stay out of public places altogether, Mr Hughes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Never

You my friend have just described my daily nightmare in the office! :-D

Thank the maker for antibacterial hand gel...

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they did

"It's a pity HTC didn't continue with the landscape slide out keyboard design they had on the Desire Z. I currently own one, and can type on that quite successfully with my sausage fingers."

They did, only it was camouflaged with a T-Mobile product name. It's called the T-Mobile MyTouch 4G Slide. It's basically a Sensation with a slide out keyboard. I use one, it's great. Has two good ICS ROMs as well. Has 2100MHz, so it'd be fine in Europe (I used it in the UK on 3 for a month).

This roundup seems to have been for candybar QWERTY, for some reason.

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Bronze badge

> Or on phones owned by adults who like to text using proper English

Agreed. And I'll note that I have no problems with RSI from using the keyboard on my slider qwerty phone (Nokia Surge), nor do I have any problems typing on it with my "man-sized"[1] hands.

And I hate, hate, hate touchscreens. Have hated them since I first encountered them in the 1980s. Now please excuse me as I use my qwerty phone to order a new cane to shake at those damn kids on my lawn.

[1] By definition, insofar as I am a man. And they're actually about 190mm long (measured from crease in wrist closest to palm to tip of longest finger), which is right on the average for adult males. I don't have any stats at hand[2] for finger-sausagity.

[2] Ha!

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Happy

Re: Thank the maker

That'll be His Noodliness then...

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Anonymous Coward

If you want an decent Android qwerty phone that doesn't look like a BlackBerry clone look at the Sony Xperia Mini Pro instead.

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I agree, I have one of these at the moment. Whilst I will be replacing it soon, it has been an excellent phone for me. The slide out keyboard is one of the best I have used tbh.

Saying that though, I wont be getting a phone with a physical keyboard for my next device.

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Anonymous Coward

Xperia Mini Pro

I had one of these once. A gorrrgeous piece of hardware, beautifully put together. But the first time it ran flat it never booted up again. I sent it back :-(

Keyboards are for those who like to write decent amounts of text, but have fingernails and can't use touchscreeen keyboards.

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Devil

Re: Xperia Mini Pro

Strange, wife runs her flat regularly and it never gives problems afterwards.

In any case, it is better build and has better keyboard than half of the monstrousities in the list. It is also still on sale priced at the very reasonable ~160£ SIM free unlocked. My only gripe with it is the relatively short battery life (for an Android). You have to charge it every day (and sometimes throughout the day when used heavily).

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Re: Xperia Mini Pro

The key to battery life on the Xperia Mini Pro seems to be to add the android switch widgets that let you control things like GPS / Wifi / Bluetooth etc, and use them to turn off things you don't need at the time. GPS especially is a power hog. With all bells and whistles running, then you will need to charge it once a day certainly. However kept in standby, with wifi, mobile data, GPS off etc, and it will run for 5 days between charges with just a few calls and texts to deal with.

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Devil

Re: Xperia Mini Pro

Replying to myself on this one:

While the Xperia (both Mini and the Arc) is a fantastic phone, its factory charger is phenomenal piece of crap. It is quite temperamental on charging from USB too (it will not charge if it is "on" from 2 of my laptops)

In any case I have seen the original charger failing to charge an Xperia mini or an Arc from low battery levels (ditto for USB to PC). In fact I have seen it discharge when connecting to its "default" charger.

I suspect that the original poster who had an Xperia never start again ran into that one. So it is not surprising that it refused to boot - it never actually charged up to do so (or maybe went to critical on battery in the process as well).

The solution for me has been to use kindle chargers. Plug in the phone, in 1h the battery is to 100% straight away.

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Err.... you seem to have forgotten Nokia. E5? Or the really rather powerful E6?

Can't believe how fast the media has closed ranks against Nokia.... Very sad.

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against Nokia

Indeed. I am a late comer to Nokia. For the past decade and a half have used lots of Ericssons, Sony, Motorola, HTC and several others. The earlier phones had great build quality, e.g. T28 and T39, but progressively worse, especially Sony ericsson.

Two years ago I got my first Nokia E71. Great piece of kit, but I passed it on after 6 months to get the E72 with a much better camera. Another great piece of kit. Then I had to change providers and they had a C7 on offer. Again, great quality and functionality.

I see most of my friends with iPhones and I simply don't buy into the over-hype - I can do everything they can, and better in some respects. Never been happier with a phone's quality and functionality and the anti-Nokia rants are astonishing to say the least; it appears that people are being paid well to destroy them, it would not surprise me.

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Re: against Nokia

Ask the people who got an N97 with an expensive 18 month contract why they hate Nokia, but steel yourself for a foul mouthed litany in reply. The real mystery is why people reflexively defend Nokia when other companies (e.g. Sony) would not come off as lightly.

The reviews of the E72 on Amazon suggest there were big software QC issues with that phone as well. It does seem that the Symbian^3 devices released in late 2010 were the first Nokia smartphones that were not terrible.

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Re: against Nokia

Well, my story with the N97 seems to be the opposite. I got mine in 2010 without a contract (I think long-term and don't believe in the contract-tied sim-locked phone savings crap). It was actually quite a decent piece of equipment.

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I still use my E71 as my main making-phone-calls-and-texts phone - it's on a sub £10/month contract, does most of the smartphone-ish things (email, gps) tolerably and the battery lasts for days (it has had to be replaced once at a cost of about £4 in the three years or so I have had it).

I wouldn't choose to browse the web or look at photos / videos on it all day (I run a Galaxy Note alongside it for games and multimedia) but it's a really good phone.

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Re: against Nokia

On the whole - and it's had quite a few software updates since launch - I've been very happy with my E72; it's sometimes a bit of a pig for web browsing, though Opera makes things a little more acceptable.

One of the reasons I still stick with it is because it does the phone things really well, and those seem to have been rather forgotten by some of the other OSs, in my view.

And, ProfiMail is an excellent IMAP client for Symbia; playing with a Galaxy Nexus at the moment, and while the stock email is better than the execrable G1 (which put me off Android for years), it's still not as good as ProfiMail.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: against Nokia

I am refusing to believe this groundturf on the simple grounds that the original software on both the E71, E72 and E95 which was released at about the same time as the 71 was phenomenally buggy.

Memory Leaks in VOIP which induce a reboot mid-way through a 10 minute call, memory leaks in 3G data handling, settings and card data corruption, the bluetooth thread dying every time something "interesting" happens like GPS having to load the next country map (I travelled with an E71 across Europe and there was a point where I could say exactly when the bluetooth thread will be dead again).

Those got fixed circa 2011 but by that time it was little too late. Nokia for me is equivalent to shoddy software quality assurance. Knowing first hand some of the "IT practices" that used to be the standard modus operandi in Symbian when it was doing software development in my "village" I am not surprised. "Development" shop that used to standardize on Sony Vaio - and handed out PC "power" based not on development need but on developer's salary rank - need I say more?

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I dare you, I double dare you....

... to find a stockist for the Samsung Galaxy Pro Y.

Only Tesco wanted to offer it for contract, but they didn't actually have them in any store.

Ended up with HTC ChaCha for the Mrs, and actually she's very pleased with it.

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HTC Pro ?

My HTC 7 Pro has a brilliant keyboard, is there some 'slide out keyboard' bias at thereg ? :)

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Re: HTC Pro ?

Yes, I absolutely love the 7 Pro. Best phone I've had.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: HTC Pro ?

Yup, totally agree. This is the easiest to use and type on phone I have every owned. I only hope you're type wasn't done using yours! Not to comment on WP7 though (although I do actually like it despite not being able to control aircraft or re-align satellites with it).

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Holmes

sony xperia mini pro

xperia mini,pro is by far, the best. and upgreadable to android 4.

why is not on the list?

how bbos is recommended?? this m-keyboard list is incomplete

ps: and the motorola slide keyboards? seems very good

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Re: sony xperia mini pro

>>xperia mini,pro is by far, the best. and upgreadable to android 4.

Ahem. It's, well, mini. Xperia pro is the real thing. Like Desire Z, only with better specs. Quite nice for writing, I gave up on on-screen keyboards pretty completely after a day or two. I prefer the Xperia to a tablet if I need to write something.

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No mention of things that matter?

Scarcely any mention of battery life: which phones need recharging every day vs ones you can forget for the week.

And while you tell us which you find to have the better or worse keys, how about something on the comfort (or otherwise) of holding it in the hand while either typing or holding it to the ear? That's what ruled out the rather-big-to-hold-comfortably blackberries of the day when I bought my beloved Nokia E71.

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Re: No mention of things that matter?

I miss my e71. It was working well with my exchange emails as well. Battery was very good. Should've kept it and just got discounted line rental instead of upgrading.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No mention of things that matter?

Agreed: Android and iOS are shit when it comes to working with Exchange, so I won't touch either.

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Re: No mention of things that matter?

Mentioning battery life would likely have meant to include the Nokia E6.

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Samsung phone is literally useless

Bought the Samsung phone for my son. He keeps it in his pocket with the keyboard locked. When I ring him it instantly unlocks and answers the call, but he doesn't know the phone has rung. Basically, I cannot call him. Mmmm, but t can listen to his conversations.... so may be not >completely< useless.

M

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All disappointing

If the keyboard cannot be tucked away into/under the phone, that reduces the screen to a size that is unacceptable for me. Now if only Motorola Droid 4 would work on this side of the Atlantic...

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Re: All disappointing

http://www.engadget.com/2011/08/02/t-mobile-mytouch-4g-slide-review/

I know I resemble some crazy advertising bot in these threads, but the fact is the field's very limited and I know that's a really good phone. =) I can't think of a high-end Android slider outside of the Droid 4 and the MT4GS, and the MT4GS *does* have 2100MHz.

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I have an Alcatel OT-808! It's a very nice phone. Annoyingly pink, but it's incredibly small, extremely robust (I keep it in the pocket with the keys and coins!), the battery lasts for a week, and the keyboard is very usable.

What it's not is a smartphone, and I've been on the hunt for a similar form factor Android device. The only one I've found so far is the Motorola Flipout. Unfortunately that has a battery life of a day, if you're lucky, and has been abanded by Motorola and so only runs Eclair. Yes, not even Froyo. But it does have a FIVE row keyboard, which if you're doing anything shell-related makes a vast, vast difference.

I'm a little surprised that clamshells are so out of fashion. Apparently nobody these days makes small Android phones.

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Happy

More Nokia

What about the wonderful E7? Or any of the E / Communicator series?

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No Slide outs?

Having had a HTC Kaiser (TyTnII), HTC Rhodium (TouchPro2) and HTC Desire Z I would've liked to see a slide keyboard amongst all the blackberry clones, never been able to get on with the squished compact keyboards like the ones listed.

TouchPro2 had the best keyboard of any phone I've had - though have to say the change to the HTC OneX and losing the physical board hasn't been as jarring as I expected - the bluetooth board I bought has barely been used.

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Re: No Slide outs?

I expected to miss the slide out keyboard when I upgraded my G1 but so far it's been pretty painless. Once you hit 4" screen size onscreen keyboards start comparing well - in portrait mode I can type as fast with 2 thumbs as on the old hard keyboard. Just annoying how much space it wastes on screen and the bad formatting it provokes on web pages.

I'd still like a slider keyboard but it no longer feels essential.

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Re: No Slide outs?

I would like to have seen a slide out keyboard too. It was essential on the Nokia N97, as as the on screen keyboard took you away from the page you are tying into, and still use it on the HTC Desire Z.

Haptic feedback just isn't the same as the touch of real keys. I subconsciously feel along the keyboard for the right key, which doesn't work for virtual ones.

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Flame

Ugly and wasteful form factor

I really hate the "Blackberry" form factor. I'd hardly call it a QWERTY at all. Even if there was a Clamshell version it would be slightly better. They are awkward.

I'm only interested in the "landscape" "proper" QWERTY keypads. IMO none of those are really QWERTY.

When I upgrade it will be to one with a "proper" QWERTY mini key pad.

Battery life?

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Re: Ugly and wasteful form factor

Agreed.... looks like my n900 is too old to qualify but I recommend it !

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Anonymous Coward

out of all the candybar qwerty phones (i600, E71, Galaxy Pro, Pro+) I've owned the Nokia E71 had the best keyboard layout and feel, I had the Samsung Galaxy Pro and didn't like layout of the comma and punctuation marks, always getting the two confused and having to press ALT to use both made it confusing, Moto Pro+ was pretty good all round the only pet hate I have is the way the keys are moulded its not as comfortable as the other phones I mentioned.

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Unhappy

Sliders

Does noone want qwery sliding phones anymore, or is it more of a case of the phone companies and manufacturers not wanting them for some reason.

I have a Nokia N900 and the missus an E7, both great form factors. I would love something like the E7, or slightly bigger with a decent grown up OS - think Maemo meets EPOC32.

There does seem to be Android sliders about, but not in the UK (Samsung Captivate, or Motorola Droid).

And no toys like the ones in the roundup dont count. I have a BB (for work), and absolutley hate the form factor as well as the phone in general, & every other chav around here has one.

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Re: Sliders

I'd love to change my Milestone but there just isn't anything I can find the the UK to do so.

It's not like the phones don't exist elsewhere (Captivate Glide etc) but no one seems to want to sell them to us.

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Re: Sliders

Buy 'em off eBay, it's not that much of a hassle.

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Facepalm

FFS! S40 is not Symbian!!! (Asha 302)

I'd think a site as esteemed as El Reg could get this most simple of things straight. And what about the E5, E6 or E7. A little older than the 302 but all far, far superior (and been around about as long as the HTC Cha Cha so still relevant based on your choice of devices).

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Re: FFS! S40 is not Symbian!!! (Asha 302)

Yep- El Reg remains stubbornly ignorant about Nokia (still thinks S60 and Symbian are one and the same thing) and now this bombshell.

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Coat

No Nokia E5?

Shame the Nokia E5 wasn't on this list. GPS plus Nokia Maps navigation (offline with little data use) is great on such a cheap(ish) phone.

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