Sure, going full-size touchscreens might be the new trend, but touchscreen keyboards will never beat physical keyboards. In fact, one of the original and best-selling Android devices of all times was a full-qwerty phone, the Motorola Droid. For those of you who don’t know, a “QWERTY” keyboard is a nickname for a device with a full physical keyboard. The name comes from the first 6 keys on the top row of every standard keyboard.
Check out our comprehensive list of of the seven best QWERTY phones of 2012.
November 6, 2009 — the original Droid was released, and Motorola sold over 1 million devices in the first 74 days. That number passed even the original iPhone in sales for the first 74 days. Over 2 years later, on February 10, 2012, Motorola Mobility released the Droid 4. The new smartphone is powered by Android 2.3, but is upgradeable to Android 4.0 in the near future. It is the newest QWERTY phone on the block, building on the success of the original blockbuster device, the first Droid. The new Droid 4 features a fantastic 5-row keyboard, with backlighting. For me, it’s the best keyboard on any mobile device to date, and comes packed with a great responsive tactile feel and some handy shortcuts. It didn’t take me long to develop some serious muscle memory with this device, and, after a while, I found that I didn’t even have to look at the keyboard, which really enables me to take my productivity to a whole new level.
The Droid Pro has been out for over a year now, and, although it didn’t take over the market, so to speak, it is a business man’s (or woman’s) delight. With a design that really embodies the look and feel of a Blackberry, it’s powered by Android, which is clearly the superior option for smartphones. Furthermore, the phone will not cost you a buck, as long as you sign up for a two year contract. Finally, this device is a Global Ready device (Verizon), meaning that you can take it with you wherever you go. And best of all, it works on two of the best carriers in America (Verizon and Sprint).
Moving into the AT&T category, the Samsung Captivate Glide is a great 4G device that costs slightly less than its competitors. In addition, the Glide is a powerhouse, thanks to its dual-core processor, and has a great array of specs, which helped Samsung’s QWERTY phone gain its spot on our list. Needless to say, the phone sports a truly beautiful QWERTY keyboard, with 4 dedicated buttons that work with the Android OS (home, menu, back, and search). Although, at first, the battery may seem below par, the 4″ display won’t be hogging as much power, compared to the display of a Galaxy Nexus or Note.
Are you a Facebook fanatic? The HTC Status from AT&T lets you instantly share those “priceless moments” with all your friends. With one push of a button, the HTC Status helps you stay in the center of your social circle. In addition, the HTC Status boasts a candybar form factor, 5MP Rear camera, and HTC Sense.
For those of you wondering, this phone is very similar to the Samsung Captivate Glide. However, if you are a Samsung fan, the Captivate Glide is a few specs up on the Epic 4G. Either way, this device is 4G capable, and serves as one of Sprint’s best full QWERTY Android devices. Packed with an older version of Android, the Epic 4G is built to suit power-users for just $99.99 (with a “Mail–in Rebate via Reward Card”).
Moving on into T-Mobile territory, the myTouch 4G Slide is going to be your best bet if you need an affordable full QWERTY device. This device packs 4G capabilities, dedicated Android buttons (in addition to the full keyboard), an above-par battery life, and a sweet camera/camcorder. For the time being, the dual-core processor is also top of the line equipment.
Despite the incredibly outdated screen size and resolution, the LG Optimus Slider is a good QWERTY option for Virgin Mobile customers. Most of its main specs are sub-par, but the device itself looks pretty good, and it’s a great choice for the users who don’t need quad-core processors or 1080p video capture.
Revealed well over a year ago, but launched only in October 2011, the Sony Ericsson Xperia pro is an attractive device that comes in three stylish color options and packs a full QWERTY keyboard, complete with a full set of arrow keys and a long space key. The Xperia pro ships with Android 2.3 but Sony promised a timely update to Ice Cream Sandwich, which you’ll be able to properly enjoy thanks to a decent 3.7-inch screen that packs a 265 ppi pixel density. Under the hood, you’ll find a 1Ghz processor and 512MB or RAM, along with a nice 8MP camera. The keyboard of the Xperia pro is well-designed, with spaced-out keys that make it almost impossible to push two keys at once. Overall, the Sony Ericsson Xperia pro is a respectable, even not cutting-edge QWERTY phone that we can recommend to all keyboard fanatics out there.
So there you have it folks — these are, currently, the best QWERTY Android phones of 2012. While there aren’t any crazy 4.3, 4.5, 4.6, or even 5.3-inch QWERTY sliders yet on the market, you can be sure that a smart manufacturer will come along and deliver such devices. 2012 is the year that Android will really take off. With new entrants ZTE, Huawei, and others looking to assert their position and grab some market share from Samsung, Motorola, LG, Sony, or HTC, you can be sure that we’re going to see increased competition, in terms of the quality and diversity of the devices that come to market this year. This will translate into better quality devices, better internal hardware, and lower prices. Stay tuned, as we will be updating this article with any new information regarding the best QWERTY Android phones of 2012!
Seriously though, if you work for one of the companies mentioned above, you would be wise to build a QWERTY device with the following specs: