Wednesday, 10 August 2011

What Android phones have keyboards?

One of the big selling points for some phone users is the fact they want to use a phone with a qwerty keypad. Although I'd a big fan of on screen keyboards personally I can understand that some people do prefer solid, touchable keypads, so what we are going to look at here is a short list of some of the best handsets with qwerty keyboards available in the UK. Although many of these phones are available elsewhere they maybe known under alternative names and other countries will have different handsets available to them.

HTC ChaCha
This heavily pushed HTC that has been advertised through town centres is one of the first phones with dedicated "Facebook" buttons. The phone has been advertised as a social phone though under-the marketing gimmick it runs the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). Where it falls down for me however is the small screen (480x320 or if you rather 2.6") which has had to compensate for the keyboard. The phone, as with many HTC's also lacks the solid internal memory that you may with to have in an Android having just 512MB and with just 512MB of RAM as well this is far from top of the range.

HTC Desire Z
The HTC Desire Z was the follow up to the HTC Desire and HTC Desire HD though added the slide out keyboard as it's main selling point. The handset has been out for almost a year now and this is arguably where it has it's biggest problems. A phone that is a year old maybe cheaper however it is also technologically limited and it's specification does some what show it's limitations. For a start the handset is still running Android version 2.2 (FroYo) a system that is already outdated and and really showing signs of aging. The phone also comes with issues regarding the sliding mechanism on the keyboard and battery issues. The phone however does have one of the best keyboards on the market, it also has in excess of 1GB of internal memory and generally comes with an 8GB memory card in the box. The phone, despite showing it's age is a solid handset as long as you are on a budget and don't mind using outdated software.

Motorola Milestone 2
The original Motorola Milestone (also called the Motorola Droid) was one of the first standout Android's with a keyboard and it's follow up, the Milestone 2 (Droid 2) followed in the same vein. The phone has a brilliant 3.7" display with sliding keyboard and a built in 8GB of on board memory. Though like the HTC Desire Z it is almost a year old and the phone is stuck with FroYo it seems. Despite technically being a great handset (and one you could likely pick up cheaply if you shopped around) I can't help but advising you off the phone. Sadly it's looking like Motorola won't be release the Milestone 3 in the UK which is a huge shame (as the phone is arguably the best qwerty Android in the world at the moment), though if you are in the US you should perhaps think about snapping one up.

Samsung Galaxy Pro
This handset is the only current Samsung Android with a qwerty keyboard currently sold through The Carphone Warehouse. It features a full qwerty keyboard and is one of the few non-sliders currently available (like the HTC ChaCha) which again means the screen is relatively tiny (2.8") when compared with the other handsets. The phone, despite being relatively new only comes with FroYo on board however it is viewed as "The android to challenge the Blackberry" by some and it's probably the most fair description of the phone. Spec wise the phone is running with a decent processor under though has seen cut backs on internal memory (512MB) and a below standard camera (3.2MP) which are two issues that you will need to think about.

Sony Ericsson Xperia mini pro
Sony have had success with their Xperia range and have had several that do run on Android, the only one included in this piece however is the Xperia mini pro (as the other phones seem to be running on versions of Android that are simply too outdated). The mini pro is currently running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and looks the real deal with both a front facing and rear camera, a slide out keyboard and it even comes with a 1Ghz Scorpion processor (one of, if not the quickest of any qwerty android available). The phone is arguable the best all round and most upto date phone on the Android system. Sadly like most of the phones on this list it does seem to lack something and in this case it's not only internal storage (320MB) but also RAM (512MB). Although the phone does have a great processor it's RAM is...not up there to match and you may notice some issues due to it. If I was to advise one it would be this handset though personally I'd be tempted to take the risk and look at none-qwerty phones as well. (Sadly this phone doesn't have an Amazon page it seems so here's a link to Carphone Warehouse product page)

If you can wait I'd say you should perhaps give a look to the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro that is just around the corner. The phone features the best features of the Experia Pro Mini though adds an amazing 8.1MP camera and looks like it could well take the mantle of being the best qwerty android available.

(Please note this list isn't extensive and is based on popular current handsets)

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