Qwerty keyboards always seem to be on budget phones aimed a children.
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 …
Saturday 19th May 2012 11:36 GMT Anonymous Coward
Friday 25th May 2012 19:31 GMT Michael Wojcik
> 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" 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.
 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 for finger-sausagity.
Sunday 20th May 2012 00:47 GMT Steve Evans
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.
Monday 21st May 2012 15:17 GMT AdamWill
"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.
Sunday 20th May 2012 07:30 GMT Anonymous Coward
Monday 21st May 2012 10:03 GMT bluesxman
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.
Saturday 19th May 2012 08:27 GMT Anonymous Coward
Saturday 19th May 2012 11:36 GMT 1Rafayal
Saturday 19th May 2012 14:27 GMT 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.
Monday 21st May 2012 05:52 GMT Voland's right hand
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).
Monday 21st May 2012 12:55 GMT John 48
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.
Monday 21st May 2012 14:41 GMT Voland's right hand
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.
Saturday 19th May 2012 08:36 GMT Steve Litchfield
Sunday 20th May 2012 20:43 GMT Anonymous Coward
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.
Sunday 20th May 2012 21:49 GMT Anonymous Coward 101
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.
Monday 21st May 2012 12:04 GMT Nigel Whitfield.
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.
Monday 21st May 2012 14:50 GMT 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?
Monday 21st May 2012 09:53 GMT Anomynous Coward
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.
Saturday 19th May 2012 08:51 GMT cs94njw
Saturday 19th May 2012 08:54 GMT phil 21
Saturday 19th May 2012 09:05 GMT Guillermo Lo Coco
Monday 21st May 2012 07:55 GMT Olli Mannisto
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.
Saturday 19th May 2012 09:21 GMT Nick Kew
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.
Saturday 19th May 2012 09:29 GMT Michael 31
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.
Saturday 19th May 2012 09:58 GMT pip25
Monday 21st May 2012 15:21 GMT AdamWill
Re: All disappointing
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.
Saturday 19th May 2012 10:22 GMT David Given
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.
Saturday 19th May 2012 10:44 GMT Sampler
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.
Saturday 19th May 2012 11:49 GMT Paul Shirley
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.
Saturday 19th May 2012 14:36 GMT Wize
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.
Saturday 19th May 2012 10:45 GMT Mage
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.
Saturday 19th May 2012 11:27 GMT 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.
Saturday 19th May 2012 11:53 GMT gaz 7
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.
Saturday 19th May 2012 13:45 GMT Adam Hammerton
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).
Saturday 19th May 2012 14:29 GMT gizmo23
Slider key boards better
The best *keyboard* I ever used (on a phone) was the Sony Experia X1. However it ran Windows mobile which drove me nuts. It used to switch off the phone function just when I answered a call. Currently using a HTC Desire Z which is very good but would be nicer with an upgrade to Android. Other Half loves her Blackberry Torch slider, though.
Saturday 19th May 2012 16:03 GMT DangerousQ
NOKIA Hate! - Fail !!!
Another useless reg Nokia hate post.
The asha scores 80% and is the cheapest of all the phones scoring 80-85% and still no recommendation. The E series phones still available if you look are far superior to most of these. People like the reviewer just need to be shot (no not harsh at all!) for the biased HTC shoddy expensive plastic crap recommendations.
Saturday 19th May 2012 16:15 GMT Bad Beaver
So sliders are off-topic?
Nokia E7 is still ruling that part of the jungle. It is everything the E-Series is about – I am not aware of anything out there that can touch it in terms of build quality, hardware features and overall design. I would love to see this form factor run MeeGo – I shake my fist at Nokia for not releasing the N950 to the general public. Not that Belle wouldn't do. In fact it does quite fine. Especially since it does the little things you simply expect a phone to do but apparently are no longer to be taken for granted.
I nearly keeled over laughing the other day when an aggressively anti-Nokia mate of mine (some people act like Nokia at some point pissed in their pint and made them drink it) sporting both an iPhone and some Android complained that "these days, you cannot turn phones off overnight anymore and still have the alert work in the morning."
I could not resist to ask him "You mean like a Nokia does, right?"
Priceless face, absolutely priceless.
Saturday 19th May 2012 16:27 GMT h3
This is a poor review. The ChaCha is a junk armv6. Android is not good at a low resolution even with a qwerty keyboard.
The Motorola pro is fairly good.
(The Milestone / Droid range - and the Xperia Pro (Mini Pro has a screen that is too small) are also good).
The Nokia Symbian blackberry alikes (E71 and its newer siblings) are also quite good.
The Xperia Pro really is a great business phone (Slide mechanism seems similar to the Xperia Play).
Maybe I will try a blackberry ones I can get a QNX one (With a Playbook tethered). I like QNX that I used at a previous job. (Just wish they were less locked down - using pkgsrc/QNX would be awesome).
These modern devices still seem worse than the Psion ones even after all this time.
Saturday 19th May 2012 20:21 GMT Anonymous Coward
Another E71 fan here. What gives?
Interesting to see the number of E71 fans here.
Shortly after the ZTE Blade came out, I acquired a Blade as an "upgrade" from my E65. Didn't like it for the well known reasons - battery life, my touch-incompatible fingers, poor RF, etc. And no offline satnav at that time (my E65 had TomTom).
So after looking around I *bought* an E71 second hand. It's great for the same reasons the E65 was great and the Blade wasn't, plus it has a kbd for occasional use, AND it still runs my old TomTom (unsupported, needs external BT GPS, out of date maps, but works fine even in no-signal areas). E71 also has great battery life, OK camera (unlike the Blade), and works fine in poor signal areas.
Come back the real Nokia, all is forgiven. Shame that's not going to happen. So where next then? I'm due for an upgrade, or do I just save money by swapping to SIM-only?
Saturday 19th May 2012 21:33 GMT Sgt_Oddball
What? No desire Z?
Of all the recent 'qwerty' phones I thought (and still think owing to owning one, bias I know but still) that the desire z was one of the best comprimises since it's got both a nice usable screen size and still has a decent keyboard, which i rather like since for work I can vnc into my work station and actually code if need be (massive geek angle I know) which nothing else can touch since i can use the thumb slider for a mouse, have a large(ish) screen and still type.
Yes, I know I'm not going to do a days work on it, but if a critical servers down and your actually having a work/life balance then it's a godsend for coaxing a system back into life until Monday morning
Sunday 20th May 2012 07:43 GMT Tommy Pock
Typing this blazingly quickly with my gorgeous HP Prē³ - I weep at the fact that it was scrapped after being on sale for about a week. It's a proper, proper smart phone, qwerty keyboard, not designed on a budget and not designed for kids. Would have been perfect for this Reg item if they still sold the bloody things.
The X10 Mini Pro is the best qwerty keyboard phone on sale today, if you want one; get that.
Sunday 20th May 2012 08:51 GMT IHateWearingATie
Sunday 20th May 2012 15:21 GMT Badsurgeon
Cha Cha battery problem
The HTC Cha Cha has a dialer problem which means when you have made one phone call the dialer does not exit properly and chews through processor usage until the battery is dead. It is an established problem that HTC cannot seem to fix or can't be bothered to. For me it meant the battery did not last one working day even with everything switched off. You could literally watch the battery drain with the only option to avoid it a battery pull after each call. also it often has a locked boot loader so is very hard to root.
Was irritating enough for me to sell it after a month.
Sunday 20th May 2012 16:33 GMT /\/\j17
What a waste of bits
Like many fellow commentards I'm also a fan of slide out QWERTY phones so read the story with interest...leading to dissapointment. Are there really NO new slide out QWERTY phone out there at the moment?
Looks like the Nokia E7 for a while longer - even if it was better running Anna than Belle. Wonder if we will ever see Carla/Donna...?
Sunday 20th May 2012 18:12 GMT ted frater
Mr. Cox, the author of this piece should have called it querty for midget hands.
Along with many posters I am sick to death with the handset makers for ignoring a large sector of mobile users who have big hands.
Form should follow function NOT form following fashion.
Which as one can see, has been set by the Iphone.
Nothing wrong with that, except its become a handset makers dream.
Just a screen, a pcb and a body . And to hell with user convenience.
along with this the obsession with thinness at the expense of battery size and run time.
The last time I found a handset that suited ME was the Nokia communicator 9210i.
proper keys, well spaced, and responsive.
Id pay good money for a later handset with a bigger screen and a proper keyboadr,
till it happens the money stays in my pocket.
There are 10s of thousands of us in the UK, and millions world wide .
The handset makers are missing a trick here.
One possibility is a Samsung galaxy note in a fold case with a bluetooth keyboard along side.
Well have to see when they come on the s/h market at a reasonable price to give one a try.
till then Ill continue to use my Nokia.
Monday 21st May 2012 02:25 GMT RAMChYLD
I can't believe El Reg did not mention anything with regards to the ChaCha's memory. Seriously, what kind of self-respecting company nowadays would put out a phone with so little internal memory? When I powered up my phone for the first time, it only had 78MB free. Install a few apps (and perplexingly, a few updates) and it starts warning you of low memory. Indeed, after just half a dozen apps and a few updates, I'm down to less than 10MB free. And yes, I do have a MicroSD card installed - a 8GB one, and did tell the phone to install apps onto the card instead of the phone. It doesn't always work- apparently Android allows the app's metadata to override the user's installation settings, and as such said half dozen android app refuses to be moved to SD card.
It also comes preloaded with all sorts of crap that I never need to use like apps for managing the phones with Filipino, Indonesian and Singaporean operators (seriously, they should make these optional instead of preloading it with the phone).
Monday 21st May 2012 09:25 GMT Leona A
Missing out Sony?
So Dominated by the BlackBerries and missing the Sony's.
Like the Xperia Pro, which I have, the Mini Pro, or Txt Pro.
All have, err, QWERTY keyboards !
There is a lack of good QWERTY phones these days, why didn't Moto bring out the Droid/Milesone 4 to the UK? A big miss, it looked a lovely phone.
Humm, nice review, how about doing some more research ?
Tuesday 22nd May 2012 16:28 GMT Caleb Cox
Re: Missing out Sony?
To clarify, there are actually a very limited number of Qwerty handsets still current here in the UK. With certain models either discontinued, or soon to be so, their respective companies don't want to send kit out for review and third party retailers generally have a similar stance.
First impressions of a phone from a shopfloor wouldn't be a fair assessment in comparison and thus Sony missed out, despite varying efforts to include the Xperia Pro/Mini Pro.
Believe me, if you saw the extensive list I put together of models released, launch dates and current availability in the UK, you wouldn't doubt the research/planning.
Monday 21st May 2012 11:09 GMT milla03
In defense of the slider....
...having had a bunch of BB handsets over the last few years through work, every single HTC hardware keyboard I've had (TYTN, TYTNii, TouchPro2 and now the 7Pro) have been superb. They keep getting better and better. The 7Pro is a work of art, brilliant to use, not tiring on the thumbs at all and a much better form factor to boot!
Monday 21st May 2012 11:14 GMT Spotfist
Worst article ever! Not the writers fault but lets face facts here it's a bit like a roundup of "hot" ladies that must at all times have a bag over the heads because it looks like they have been bobbing for apples in a deep fat fryer!
I have given up waiting for a top notch QWERTY phone and gone for the galaxy note, who wants to buy a phone that is already 2 years out of date? It's a shame the Droid/milestone 4 never made it to europe, at least Motorola tried... :(
Maybe Sony will release an update to the xperia mini but I wont hold my breath, we are all sheep buying what ever is tossed our way, I know I did lol!
Monday 21st May 2012 11:38 GMT nemo20000
But what have they ever done for us?
To date nothing has beaten the venerable G1’s keyboard – that was superb. I’d like a G1 mark II with appropriate hardware improvements, but the form factor was right (for me) from day one.
I’m currently using a Desire Z, which is good, but I miss the G1’s keyboard. But I fear the future is bleak for those of us who were sold on the G1 – they’ve shed the physical phone buttons, they’ve discarded the trackerball, and now they’re scorning keyboards.
It’s the Fall of the Roman Empire all over again. It’ll be glass windows, central heating and decent roads we lose next.
Monday 21st May 2012 12:55 GMT Tapeador
Wednesday 30th May 2012 16:10 GMT pk1