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Are there still any phones with a physical QWERTY keyboard?

The Best
October 28, 2021
fxtec pro 1 -- phones with a keyboard

Just a few years ago, most of us had completely written off the idea of a phone with a physical keyboard, as the category was all but dead. Not wanting to let go, BlackBerry started pushing back. The revival of the physical keyboard began with the BlackBerry Priv but didn’t truly heat up until the BlackBerry KeyOne and Key2’s arrival. Unfortunately, it didn’t last, but there is fresh hope.

TCL stopped making Blackberry phones, which left the BlackBerry brand languishing, but it has a fresh new owner in OnwardMobility, which confirmed that it would offer a keyboard-toting 5G Blackberry phone this year. Their website reiterates that claim, but there have been no leaks or rumors surrounding the release of a new BlackBerry.

A crowdfunded phone in the Astro Slide 5G was successful in raising good money in 2020, with an expected October 2021 release date. Unfortunately, it seems like the device is still stuck in the prototype stage, so it looks like backers may have to wait longer. Fxtec will also be releasing the Pro1 X is expected to ship in November and is currently up for pre-order, so there’s definitely something to look forward to in 2021.

While we wait, you really only have some really old options available for now. If you really want a keyboard phone right now though, let’s take a closer look!

Best phones with a keyboard:

  1. BlackBerry Key2
  2. BlackBerry Key2 LE
  3. Fxtec Pro1

1. BlackBerry Key2

blackberry key2

The BlackBerry Key2 offers a number of improvements over its predecessor. The keyboard received a facelift, featuring keys that are 20 percent larger than the ones on the KEYone. There’s also the new Speed Key, a dedicated key on the bottom-right of the keyboard that lets you quickly jump to any app you’d like, from wherever you currently are on the screen.

The specs on the Key2 include two rear-facing 12MP sensors, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor, and 6GB of RAM, which is twice the memory that the KEYone contains. You can also get at least 64GB of onboard storage, although some versions sold outside the US will be able to get 128GB of storage. There’s also a 3,500mAh battery inside. There are also some excellent software security features such as a Private Locker feature where you can place photos, files, videos, and even applications inside. You can only access this section of the phone with a fingerprint, PIN, or password. 

Read next: BlackBerry Key2 cases — here are the 10 best ones available

The BlackBerry Key2 may be a bit of a niche device, but it certainly will please hardcore BlackBerry fans or anyone else who wants a solid smartphone made for business and security. It works with GSM wireless carriers, including AT&T and T-Mobile, and can be purchased from Amazon via the button below. Just keep in mind the phone has been around since 2018, so it’s not exactly a powerhouse. It’s also getting harder to get it brand-new.

BlackBerry Key2 specs:

  • Display: 6.5-inch, 1,620 x 1,080
  • SoC: Snapdragon 660
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Cameras: 12 and 12MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,500mAh
  • Software: Android 8.1 Oreo

2. BlackBerry Key2 LE

BlackBerry Key 2 LE

The BlackBerry Key2 LE is a cheaper version of the Key2. It looks more or less the same, although it sports a plastic instead of a metal body. Most of the changes between the two can be found under the hood, with the LE model offering less power. It comes with the Snapdragon 636 chipset, 4GB of RAM, and 32/64GB of storage.

The phone packs a smaller battery at 3,000mAh and has a different dual-camera setup with 13 and 5MP sensors. It comes with a 35-key physical keypad that has a fingerprint scanner embedded into the space bar. Other specs and features include an 8MP selfie camera, expandable storage, and Android Oreo.

You can get it unlocked on Amazon, but not many devices are new. There are some like new options. Regardless, it is quite a bit cheaper than the Key2. Keep in mind though that its prices fluctuate quite a lot. While you should get it for just a few hundred dollars, the price sometimes jumps to an exorbitant $1,000 and more, depending on availability.

Blackberry Key2 LE specs:

  • Display: 6.5-inch, 1,620 x 1,080
  • SoC: Snapdragon 636
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 32/64GB
  • Cameras: 13 and 5MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,000mAh
  • Software: Android 8.1 Oreo

3. Fxtec Pro1

phones with a keyboard

At MWC 2019, a London-based startup called Fxtec revealed its first phone called the Pro1. It sports a slider mechanism that brings out the keyboard from the side and tilts the display to a 155-degree angle for a better viewing experience. The QWERTY keyboard has five staggered rows and 64 backlit keys.

The handset features a stock-like version of Android Pie, a side-mounted capacitive fingerprint scanner, and a headphone jack. It’s powered by the Snapdragon 835 chipset, has 6GB of RAM, and comes with 128GB of storage. There’s also a dual-camera setup at the back for bokeh shots. All these things combined make it one of the best phones with a keyboard you can get.

You can get the Fxtec Pro1 from the company’s website for $699.

If you’re willing to wait, the Fxtec Pro1 X is currently available for pre-order for $829 and will be available in November this year. You’ll get upgraded specs and an improved QWERTY keyboard. On the software side of things, you will also have the choice between Android, Lineage OS, and Ubuntu. 

Fxtex Pro1 specs:

  • Display: 5.99-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 835
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 12MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,200mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie