Best Android Portrait QWERTY’s for Sprint Compared: Bye Bye, Blackberry

May 13, 2011
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    Sprint is really on an Android handset blitzkrieg this year! They started out January with the HTC EVO Shift, then rolled on to the first ever dual screened smartphone – the Kyocera Echo in April. Recently, we compared the newest upcoming high end slate handset offerings; the Google Nexus S 4G, Motorola Atrix 4G, and HTC EVO 3D. But, it seems alternate form factor love is spreading, and potentially could mean the rein of the slate or landscape QWERTY is over – but we doubt it. So, If you know any Blackberry lovers who are getting fed up with their tired old Blackberry OS but love that form factor, steer them to Sprint for some new Android offerings. They’ll have plenty of portrait QWERTY¬†options by the beginning of June. In the next 30 days, Sprint will be rounding out their offerings to three, and among the three options they pretty much cover it all. Like we said, they’ve got it all coming: From “eco-friendly”, to global traveling business types, to walkie talkie ruggedized handset tough guys. Read on to find out what the options are.

    Samsung Replenish – Andy the Android dressed up like a frugal Captain Planet.

    The newly released Samsung Replenish has just been made available this past Sunday 5-8-2011. It is the most cost effective of the new portrait QWERTY phones, and its specs reflect the frugal price of $49.99 on the contract you’re getting. However, what is nice is that the phone isn’t overly small and actually has a good size to it. One of the most interesting things about the Replenish is the fact that right now, Sprint is waiving the $10 Premium Data requirement so it’ll provide a cost savings to the tune of $120 a year. The other selling point is the optional Solar Panel battery cover which recharges the phone at the rate of 20 minutes of talk time for every hour in the sun. I don’t mean to downplay the fact that the majority of its construction is from recycled materials, but that is not something you’ll actively deal with over the course of your stay with the handset, so its really a secondary bonus. Overall, its specs are geared towards being a low end offering.

    Specs

    4.84″ x 2.36″ x .45″, 4.1oz
    2.8″ TFT, 280×320, capacitive multi touch
    MSM7627-2 600 MHz, 512 MB RAM
    1600 mAh battery
    2.0 MP Camera
    EVDO Rev A.
    Light sensor, Proximity sensor
    Micro SD slot
    Android 2.2 Froyo with Sprint ID
    2GB memory card included, supporting up to 32GB

    Pros
    Cheap monthly plan
    Powerful MSM7627 600MHz processor
    Sufficient RAM at 512MB
    Optional solar panel

    Cons
    Small screen size at 2.8″
    Low QVGA resolution screen
    Low mega-pixel rear camera
    No flash on rear camera
    Relatively small battery

    Motorola Titanium – Andy with a rough and tough construction job.

    The Titanium is the successor of the¬†i1, with its¬†Push To Talk iDEN radio, and¬†Military Spec 810G¬†certification. This would be the perfect handset for the construction worker or anyone working in an environment where their phone needs to take some damage. This is because it holds the 810G certification, which is rated for dust, shock, vibration, low pressure, solar radiation, high temperature and low temperature. Not much is known about the processor or the amount of RAM powering this particularly ‘tough’ Android handset, however the specs that are known represent a significant step up from the older iDEN phone – the i1. ¬†But, the version of Android provided leaves much to be desired with its dated 2.1 version of Android, and the iDEN network in general tops out around 70Kbps which is just too slow to be a true everyday smartphone powerhouse. It¬†occurred¬†to me when considering this handset, why didn’t ¬†they outfit their iDEN phones with the optional 4G WiMAX radio to provide improved network speed while still having the push to talk feature? Honestly, that might be something that is totally livable to me because you don’t need much more than 70Kbps to¬†receive¬†an email or send/receive¬†an MMS, and then for surfing the internet you could just throw ¬†on 4G.

    Specs

    4.71 x 2.44 x 0.53, 5.20 oz
    3.1″ TFT, 320 x 480, capacitive multi touch
    Processor and RAM unknown
    1820 mAh
    5.0 MP, LED flash,
    iDEN radio
    Micro SD slot
    Android 2.1 Eclair
    2GB memory card included, supporting up to 32GB

    Pros
    Ruggedized body
    Large battery size
    Good mega-pixel camera
    LED flash

    Cons
    Small screen size for the price
    Unknown Processor and RAM
    Slow iDEN radio
    Dated Android 2.1 build

    Motorola XPRT – Andy the professional global traveler.

    The Motorola XPRT is Sprints¬†re-branded¬†version of the Verizon Motorola Droid Pro, and the specs¬†haven’t¬†changed at all, nor has its global ability with an HSDPA 10.2 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps radio built in. However, being that it is on Sprint’s network means it will cost less over the life of a two year contract than the Droid Pro. The XPRT probably has the most attractive spec sheet out of all three phones and could actually be considered a mid grade handset competition, unlike the others. It’s a funny time for innovation when a handset with a 1.0GHz processor, 512 MB RAM, and 5.0 MP Camera is thought of as mid grade. But, if you’re looking for a Portrait QWERTY phone with good specs and don’t have being eco-friendly as your driving force or needing a handset to survive a rugged (abusive) lifestyle – then this is your phone. However, I do find it ironic that the 10200Kbps HSDPA GSM radio for global compatability is actually faster than the primary EVDO Rev A radio which tends to top out around 700Kbps.

    Specs

    4.69 x 2.36 x 0.46
    3.1″ TFT, 320 x 480, capacitive multi touch
    TI OMAP3620 1000 MHz, 512 MB RAM
    1860 mAh
    5.0 MP, Dual LED flash, 720×480 30 fps
    EV-DO rev.A, HSDPA 10.2 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
    Micro SD slot
    Android 2.2 Froyo with Motoblur
    2GB memory card included, supporting up to 32GB

    Pros
    Fastest processor out of all offerings
    Large battery size
    Dual LED Flash
    DVD quality video recording
    Global GSM radio compatability

    Cons
    Small screen size for the price
    Dated design originally launched on Verizon in Nov 2010

    Conclusion

    I hope this helped you guys (and gals) out if you’re in the market for one of the newest Android portrait QWERTY offerings. Each of these phones have key points that I really found interesting because I actually have a lot of love for the portrait qwerty touchscreen layout. I like the fact that the Replenish lacks the required Premium Data charge and the fact that you can get a solar panel battery cover charger. But, I also like how the Titanium is ruggedized and is pretty much the same mid grade phone as the Droid Pro with an iDEN radio, which unfortunately is too slow for me. If it had an optional WiMAX radio I probably would get one of those over the Nexus S 4G I plan on ordering tomorrow. Then, I also considered the XPRT because it is the best of all three portrait QWERTY options currently available. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of it being a very dated design that isnt interesting anymore, and the fact it doesn’t have a WiMAX radio means it’s a no go for me. Either way, it looks like this particular form factor is making a strong comeback, and will probably be enough to pull even more Blackberry’s from the pockets of people everywhere. Once they start releasing 4G versions of these phones I’ll end up getting one for sure!

    What do you guys think? Any of these offerings belong in your pocket? Let us know in the comments.

    Sprint product fact sheets; Samsung Replenish, Motorola Titanium, Motorola XPRT

    Comments

    • Rodney

      I really think that the portrait qwerty design is unappreciated. A lot of people talk about how it’s a “business” design, however, as a college student and socialite, this for factor is ideal. Keeps me in constant contact on FB and with my friends- texting, IMing etc.

      I wish that they would stop advertising it as a business form factor and advertise it as both a business and pleasure form factor. Because it’s both. Plus I want to see more phones like it outside of BlackBerry and the three up top.

      I love them and they are sexy. Young people love them, why don’t manufacturers get that?

      • Darryl Doak

        I agree that the form factor is unappreciated. I really fell in love with that form factor from…dare I say it…the Palm Pixi. There really is something to be said about having a exposed QWERTY and touchscreen available full time. We’ll see, if the Droid XPRT is truly as good as it could be I might be trading in my Nexus S for one, because I’m all about productivity. Being able to write articles on the go on a Portrait QWERTY is very tempting.

        • Darcy Alexander

          Yes Darryl, good!

          I’m totally a fan too actually. My first jump into smartphones was with the Blackberry Pearl 8130. I mean, it was light-years ahead of the Nokia I had previously, and being able to do email, stream music and video, and add new cool apps simply blew me away. The form factor was amazing for productivity. Plus, I got to know the keyboard so well I could type without looking. This proved to be very useful for being in meetings or whenever I wanted to maintain eye contact, but still punch out some ideas, or throw a quick query to Google. The landscape sliders, as much as I love them, simply can’t touch this level of efficiency.

          Can’t touch this! Yeah, you know what i’m thinking.

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