Smartphones have evolved quite a bit since the past few years. There was a time when phones with physical keyboards were considered the norm. However, that’s no longer the case with the advent of touchscreen handsets. With displays becoming larger and bigger every year, it’s nearly impossible to accommodate a physical keyboard within its exterior.
Best Smartphones With Physical Keyboard
|Motorola||Motorola Droid 4||159.99|
|1byone||1byone Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard||32.99|
However, some manufacturers have decided to challenge convention and go with keyboards anyway. BlackBerry is one such manufacturer. With phones like the Priv and more recently, the KEYone, the company has offered a slider form-factor with a physical keyboard and a touchscreen display. It’s for the customers to decide if this concept works, but we’ve been mightily impressed so far.
Just when touchscreen smartphones started becoming mainstream, some companies like Motorola, LG, HTC, and Samsung have also tried out the touchscreen + physical keyboard form factor. These haven’t been that successful in the market, although they’re still up for grabs from online retailers. We’re going to talk about a handful of smartphones like that today to help you pick the best device in this segment. Some of them, like the BlackBerry Priv and the KEYone, are relatively new in the industry whereas the others have been around for quite some time. Read on for more details on the handsets.
Best smartphones with physical keyboard in 2017
Comfortably one of the best smartphones with a physical keyboard right now, the BlackBerry KEYone is a logical evolution of the Priv which was launched a couple of years ago. The company has made some big changes here compared to the Priv, mainly with regards to the hardware. While the Priv was considered to be a high-end product, BlackBerry is really targeting the mid-ranged market segment with the KEYone. What this also means is that BlackBerry can market this in wider markets and also appeal to a larger audience across the globe. With the pricing being relatively low as well, more customers are expected to be interested in the handset.
Now for the hardware on board the device. Well, the KEYone uses the same tried and tested touchscreen + physical keyboard combination and it works pretty well on the device. Since it uses a slider format, customers have the liberty to use any form factor they want. It houses a crisp 4.5-inch 1080p display on board, which is convenient as a larger display would make using the keyboard awfully difficult. On the back, the smartphone comes with a 12-megapixel camera, while the front houses a standard 8-megapixel sensor which should be more than decent for selfies. Powering this beast is the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset, which is found in a number of popular mid-ranged handsets. The phone also comes with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage, and Android 7.1 Nougat under the hood. Keeping the phone going for long intervals is the 3,505 mAh battery with Turbo Charging support.
Overall, the BlackBerry KEYone is the phone to get if you’re considering a handset of this form factor. There are no other phones in the market right now which offer the same kind of feature set. Coupled with BlackBerry’s state-of-the-art security features on board, you can be ensured of keeping your personal data safe on the device. It’s currently selling for $549.99 via Amazon.
The phone that was supposed to launch the company back to relevancy, the Priv showed great promise when it was first launched in the market. It is also the company’s first ever Android smartphone, and its arrival came as a bit of a shock to the world. However, the phone itself was solid in every aspect. Featuring a unique combination of the physical keyboard and a touchscreen display, the Priv came with a fantastic hardware specs sheet under the hood.
The Priv comes with a 5.4-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display on board. This is a pretty big deal, as we usually see Super AMOLED displays on Samsung’s smartphones. Further, the phone also packs the Snapdragon 808 hexa-core chipset, an 18-megapixel camera on the back, and a 2-megapixel front camera. I was frankly very disappointed with the front-facing camera on the device. However, this is but a small glitch in what is otherwise a well-packed handset. The phone also comes with 32GB of expandable storage, 3GB of RAM, Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and a 3,410 mAh battery on board.
Although most retailers don’t sell the handset anymore, Amazon seems to have it in stock for $279.70. That’s a pretty attractive price to pay for a smartphone that comes with a touchscreen and a physical keyboard. Given how rare this form factor is today, we suggest you head over to Amazon and get the device right away.
Launched five years ago, the smartphone is surely not going to be on your horizon. The phone is hard to come by at this point, which is to be expected. The DROID 4 was ahead of its time when it was announced, as it came with a proper touchscreen and a vertical slide-out keyboard. There’s a 4-inch display on board here, featuring a resolution of 960 x 540, also known as qHD. The handset is equipped with a TI OMAP 4430 chipset, which has long been discontinued. This device is meant for those who want a phone with a physical keyboard and a touchscreen along with it. The DROID 4 also comes with an 8-megapixel rear camera, accompanied by a 1.3-megapixel front camera.
There’s 16GB of storage, and 1GB of RAM to go along with. Much like every Android smartphone of its time, the DROID 4 comes with expandable storage as well, although you can only add microSD cards of up to 32GB. The 1,785 mAh battery leaves a lot to be desired, although large batteries weren’t exactly in trend back then. Finally, the device comes with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which can be expanded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. These are pretty ancient terms for Android loyalists, but such is the nature of the tech industry today. The smartphone can be bought via Amazon right away for just under $45. As you probably guessed, this smartphone is only compatible with customers of Verizon Wireless. If you’re an existing customer of VZW and are looking to get a slider phone such as this one, we recommend you have a closer look at the listing.
Launched a few months before the DROID 4, the Samsung Stratosphere also targeted a similar audience. While touchscreen phones were the norm back in 2011, some manufacturers decided to offer something for those who live by physical keyboards. The Stratosphere was quite popular back in its day, although it didn’t manage to live up to Samsung’s expectations. This phone is only compatible with Verizon Wireless, which means that customers of GSM providers are out of luck here. Amazon’s listing mentions that it’s been tested by the company and is completely ready for activation, so you have nothing to worry about.
In terms of hardware, the Samsung Stratosphere comes with a 4-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. The device also features a single-core 1 GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage (expandable), a 5-megapixel rear camera, a 1.3-megapixel front camera, Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and a 1,800 mAh battery. The company even offers a 4GB microSD card by default to get you started, which is quite neat. As you probably noticed, the Stratosphere was launched as a mid-ranged offering back in 2011 and targeted a different market segment than the DROID 4. It can be bought for as low as $39.99 from Amazon right now and is likely to have a shipping charge as well. Since it’s only compatible with Verizon now, the phone won’t have a lot of takers. However, for a device that offers the ruggedness and feel of a physical keyboard combined with the sensitivity of a touchscreen display, that’s not a big price to pay.
Now that we’ve spoken about multiple smartphones with physical keyboards, those who already have a touchscreen phone don’t have to feel disheartened as there are alternatives for you as well. You can get this amazing Bluetooth keyboard by 1byone, which is currently selling on Amazon. This Bluetooth-powered keyboard can be used on any modern day Android smartphone or tablet, effectively letting you use a physical keyboard even if it’s not available on your phone by default. The best part here is that the keyboard can be folded, meaning that you can practically carry it in your pocket when you go out. While conventional Bluetooth keyboards require AA or AAA batteries to function, this particular offering comes with a rechargeable battery under the hood, allowing you to charge it up whenever it’s low on juice. This is a particularly handy feature to have since swapping batteries can be a frustrating affair.
The keyboard also comes with an on/off button on board, allowing you to conveniently switch it on or off whenever you off. It is recommended to turn off the keyboard when it’s not in use to avoid unnecessary draining of the battery. You can get this particular product for just $31.99 from Amazon right now. So even if you don’t have a physical keyboard on your phone by default, getting an accessory like this is a viable option. Be sure to check it out.