The Best QWERTY Android Phones in 2011 Compared

March 10, 2011
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We happen to believe that QWERTY smartphones are craved for by mobile enthusiasts. An Admob report in 2010 showed that 54% of Android traffic was driven by devices that feature a full QWERTY keyboards. It’s hard to deny that a huge amount of people still want a powerful smartphone with a physical QWERTY keyboard. Following that, let’s take a look at what’s in the store for you this year in the world of Android QWERTY phones.

[ Last update July 26, 2011 ]
[ Last update October 12, 2011 ]

Samsung Stratosphere (Verizon)

Verizon and Samsung jointly announced the Samsung Stratosphere last October 10 and expect to have the QWERTY smartphone in stores starting on October 13.  The Samsung Stratosphere is Verizon’s first Android smartphone that has both a sliding full QWERTY keyboard and 4G LTE connectivity.  The handset bears resemblances to the Samsung Epic 4G on Sprint, and the newly announced Samsung Captivate Glide on AT&T.

This device’s performance is expected to soar to stratospheric heights with the following specs:

  • 4.0-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen
  • 1.0-GHz Samsung Hummingbird processor
  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread
  • 5-row slide-out QWERTY keyboard
  • 5-megapixel primary camera
  • 1.3-megapixel secondary camera
  • 720p HD video playback, 480p DVD-quality video capture
  • Bluetooth 3.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n support
  • 4G LTE connectivity (up to 12 Mbps download speed)

Samsung Captivate Glide (AT&T)

Also freshly announced on AT&T, the Samsung Captivate Glide is AT&T’s newest high-end Android smartphone bearing a full QWERTY keyboard.  Coming from the same manufacturer, the Samsung Captivate Glide also looks similar to the Samsung Stratosphere on Verizon.  AT&T’s latest QWERTY smartphone, however, packs a dual-core processor, so you can expect the device to perform at awesome speeds.

Gliding along with the device are the following:
  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread
  • 4.0-inch Super AMOLED Plus touchscreen (800×480 resolution)
  • 1.0-GHz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 AP20H processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 1 GB ROM
  • 8 GB internal storage (via microSD card slot, expandable to 32 GB)
  • 8-megapixel primary camera
  • 1.3-megapixel secondary camera
  • 1080p Full HD video capture
  • HDMI playback
  • HSPA+ connectivity (Category 14)

Samsung DoubleTime (AT&T)

The Samsung DoubleTime is an AT&T entry-level Android smartphone featuring double touchscreens–one on the outside and one on the inside–and a flip-out 4-row QWERTY keyboard.  Coming in pink and white chassis, the Samsung DoubleTime can be a good choice for those wanting an affordable phone with a unique design without compromising usability or convenience.

  • 600 MHz Qualcomm Processor
  • 3.2-inch HVGA touchscreen
  • Android 2.2 Froyo
  • 260 MB internal memory
  • microSD card slot expandable to 32 GB (2 GB microSD card pre-installed)

Motorola DROID 3 and HTC myTouch 4G Slide

Both the Motorola DROID 3 (Verizon) and the HTC myTouch 4G Slide (on T-Mobile, and also known as the HTC Doubleshot) appeared on the market at about the same time.  We’ve prepared a comprehensive breakdown and comparison of the two, so make sure you check the QWERTY superphone fight between the Motorola DROID 3 and the HTC myTouch 4G Slide (HTC Doubleshot).

HTC G2 / HTC Vision


The G2/Vision is a strong contender for best Android QWERTY smartphone of 2011. It features great hardware, one of the best keyboards we have ever used, a pretty good battery, and a healthy provision of sensors. Plus, it’s highly overclockable, if you’re into that kind of thing.

  • Qualcomm MSM7230 CPU clocked at 800MHz
  • 512 MB of RAM
  • 4 GB of internal storage
  • microSD card expandable to 32GB (it comes with an 8-GB card)
  • 3.7-inch, 800×480 capacitive touchscreen (S-TFT)
  • 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, capable of 720p video
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, along with Bluetooth 2.1, an AGPS chip, proximity sensor, and an accelerometer
  • 1,300 mAh battery

Besides the very minor hinge issue, the keyboard itself is one of the best landscape QWERTYs we’ve ever used. If you thought the Droid 2’s was decent, wait until your thumbs get a taste of this. We were easily able to attain the same efficiency as our thumb-happy BlackBerry days.

Motorola DROID 2

The Motorola DROID 2 has Android 2.2 Froyo and features a more refined design and an improved keyboard. It also has an enhanced 1.0-GHz processor with 512 MB of RAM. Furthermore, it also boasts of Adobe Flash Player 10.1 and 3G Mobile HotSpot capabilities to send, access, and share information quicker than ever before.

  • Size: 60.5 x 116.3 x 13.7 mm
  • Weight: 169 grams
  • 8 GB internal memory plus included 8 GB microSD memory card
  • 5-megapixel camera with Dual LED Flash and DVD-quality video recording
  • improved slide-out QWERTY keyboard with larger keys and enhanced tactility
  • 3.7-inch full multi-touch screen display with WVGA (480×854 pixels) resolution
  • 3G Mobile HotSpot functionality (costs additional US$20 a month)

Priced at US$199.99, the DROID 2 has a lot of improvements and is a great choice for people who want a smartphone with a physical keyboard with marked keys, and large Alt, Shift, Space, and Enter keys.

But, on the negative side it lacks an HDMI port and doesn’t have a front-facing camera. Check out our full review of the Motorola DROID 2.

It  is obviously boasting of a touchscreen, as well, and its keyboard is a huge improvement over the original. It also runs Android 2.2 Froyo with a 1.0-GHz Texas Instruments OMAP chip and 512 MB of RAM.

Aside from that, its features are more or less the same as the original DROID: same internal memory, same camera, etc. However, it does also feature a proximity sensor, an accelerometer, and the ever-popular Gorilla Glass. These make it one of the stronger offerings currently available.

But, users who have spent significant time with it are hardly impressed. They all seem to say that its performance is sluggish, despite its 1.0-GHz processor. Certainly, it doesn’t compare with some of the newer offerings from Motorola like the ATRIX, DROID Bionic, or any of the other dual-core phones announced recently.

Check out our comparison of some of the top dual-core smartphones.

Sony Ericsson Xperia pro


Sony Ericsson just expanded the Xperia line and unveiled the Xperia pro. This particular smartphone features the latest cutting-edge technology from Sony, with a great multimedia interface and Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Furthermore, Sony has gone the “Xtra” mile and added some smart image enhancements.

  • 3.7-inch touchscreen
  • Size: 120 x 57 x 13.5 mm
  • Weight: 135 grams
  • 1 GB internal memory plus microSD upto 32 GB
  • 8-megapixel primary camera with autofocus and LED flash
  • Touch focus, image stabilization, geo-tagging, face and smile detection
  • Also has a micrUSB v2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, and DLNA
  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread

Check out our full review of the Sony Xperia pro.

HTC Desire Z

“HTC Desire Z is the QWERTY slider your Android’s been waiting for.” – Thomas Ricker, Engadget. And, that quote I guess could be sufficient for us all to know the awesomeness of this smartphone. A solid and professional phone with the slider, or ‘pop-out’ as it is referred to by HTC.

  • 800 MHz Qualcomm MSM 7230 processor
  • 119 x 60.4 x 14.2 mm
  • 512MB of Ram, with 1.5 GB onboard memory space with upto 32 GB expansion
  • Bluetooth 2.1 and Wi-Fi connectivity
  • onboard GPS
  • 3.7 inches capacitive touchscreen
  • 5-megapixel camera with LED flash
  • Android 2.2 Froyo
  • slide-out QWERTY keyboard with four-rows of keys

Samsung Epic 4G

In some ways, this is one of the best QWERTY Android Phones to date. It features similar specs to the popular Samsung Galaxy S Series, and one of the powerful QWERTY phones on this list. Samsung really tried hard with this one, and it shows. It features a front-facing camera, a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and fast 4G connectivity. Unfortunately, it comes pre-loaded with Android 2.1 Eclair but is reportedly upgradable to higher Android versions at a later date.

“The Samsung Epic 4G features a 4-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen display with Samsung Media Hub for media buying/storing,  AllShare for viewing on multiple devices and Social Hub for integrating social networking. The Epic 4G also offers pinch-to-zoom, 5 MP camera/camcorder with autofocus, Visual Voicemail, Mobile Hotspot  up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices to share the 4G experience simultaneously) and Wi-Fi b/g/n.” (Samsung Press Release)

It’s also worth noting that the brilliant Super AMOLED touchscreen display is one of the best we’ve witnessed to date.

  • 1.0-GHz Samsung Hummingbird processor common to both Galaxy S and Wave
  • front-facing camera for video conferencing
  • 5-megapixel camera with 720p video recording
  • 4 inch WVGA (480×800) capacitive Super AMOLED touch display
  • 1 GB of internal storage
  • 512 MB of RAM
  • additional memory of up to 32 GB via microSD card slot

Check out our full review with video of the Samsung Epic 4G.

More of the Best Android QWERTY Smartphones of 2011

QWERTY smartphones aren’t dead as some claim.  It’s a booming ecosystem, in fact.  Take a look at more Android QWERTY smartphones in The Best QWERTY Android Phones of 2011 Compared – Part Two.

 

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