And so to part 4 of our look at the rather sparse world of Android phones with QWERTY keyboards. As I mentioned before, I initially intended to focus on the best QWERTY Android phones, but the pickings they are slim. It’s not so much a Top 10, as a, uhm, 10.
So far, we’ve looked at HTC, Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, but between the four manufacturers we’ve scraped together a rather paltry eight(ish) QWERTY Android handsets that are available here in the UK. Jeez Louise.
Let’s round off the list with LG. Can the South Koreans drag us kicking and screaming into double figures? I think they might just do it...
LG InTouch Max GW620
The first ever Android phone had a QWERTY keyboard, as did the first ever Android phone from LG, the LG InTouch Max GW620. Those cases didn’t exactly set a precedent, but it’s an interesting factoid nonetheless, no?
LG’s first Android phone featured an easy-to-use five-row keyboard, which the Koreans described as “just like a pocket PC”. It also had a rather decent 5MP camera. Oddly, though, it shipped with Android 1.5 (Cupcake). The crappy screen didn’t do it any favours either, making it a tough one to recommend.
The LG InTouchMax GW620 was aimed at the lower end of the market. Having said that, it’s over a year old now, and fairly hard to come by; I can’t find it for any less than £270. Er, I think I’ll take a rain check.
Screen size: 3in
LG Optimus Chat C550
LG has a rather impressive line up at the higher end of the market with the LG Optimus 2X, LG Optimus 3D and LG Optimus Black. The LG Optimus Chat, like the InTouch Max, is aimed squarely at the opposite end of the market.
The teeny tiny LG Optimus Chat weighs just 122g (not bad considering it packs a keyboard), and measures 59 x 109 x 16mm. Cute.
The QWERTY keyboard adopts a four-row format, with a nice gap between the keys. The tiny little space bar makes for someslightly awkward typing though; it’s only two letters wide.
You can pick up the LG Optimus Chat for around £150. If you really want to stand out, why not go for the eye-catching pink edition?
Screen size: 2.8in
There clearly isn’t a huge demand for QWERTY Android phones. That’s probably because (a) landscape sliders can be cumbersome, (b) portrait sliders usually have small screens, and (c) smartphones tend to have large screens these days, and can easily accommodate adequate on-screen keyboards.
To recap, here are the 10 QWERTY Android phones we looked at that are available in Blighty:
- HTC Desire Z
- HTC ChaCha (coming in June)
- Motorola Milestone 2
- Motorola DEXT
- Motorola Flipout
- Samsung Galaxy Pro
- Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro (coming soonish)
- Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro
- LG InTouch Max GW620
- LG Optimus Chat
If we had to recommend one, it’d probably be the HTC Desire Z. It was recently kicking around for £265, though the price appears to have gone back up across the board. The HTC Desire Z boasts high specs, and will be upgraded to Gingerbread. At some point.
And so endeth our look at QWERTY Android phones. If I’ve forgotten something obvious, please berate me with a comment below.