Frustrated with your touch screen phone when tapping messages or emails? Had your share of typing the letter "A" or "Z" when all you wanted to do was turn on the Caps Lock?
Despite of the popularity of the touch screen phones today, virtual keyboards will never beat physical QWERTY keyboards.
Fortunately, you don't have to choose between one or the another. There are plenty of phones on the market that offer users a large touch screen display and a full physical QWERTY keyboard.
Some of those keyboards slide out giving extra room for larger screens while others are right there, front and center making the device sleek and lightweight.
Here is the list of the most popular phones that feature a physical QWERTY keyboard, as many prefer that for easier text messaging and to take productivity to a whole new level.
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Why you should buy a QWERTY keyboard phone over a touch screen only phone
When touch screen phones were first introduced, everyone was in delight over how cool, innovative and high-tech they were. That was true and still is, even more so now than in the past. However, it’s not always about how cool and fun a device is. In fact, more often than not, practicality, comfort and ease of use is way more important than nifty tricks, especially if you are trying to reply fast to an urgent message. Unfortunately, touch screen phones can fail in such situations, while phones with physical keyboards do pretty well. Here are some reasons why you should buy a QWERTY keyboard phone over touch screen only.
Touch screen phones are everywhere now but if you value comfort and practicality, a device with a physical QWERTY keyboard may be a better choice.
1. Faster and more accurate, especially if you are moving
Walking and typing at the same time is not an easy task, but it’s even more difficult on a touch screen phone. Such screens are very sensitive to touch, and although for the most part it’s a huge advantage, in this case it’s not. Why? You stumble on a crack in the sidewalk, your thumb jerks and lightly touches a wrong key and bam, you have a typo. The same goes for typing in means of communication. Hopefully, you’re responsible enough not to type while driving, but you can do so as much as you like when you are a passenger. However, when the vehicle is jumping up and down, hitting the wrong key is just a matter of time.
2. You can type without looking
It’s called muscle memory and it’s really cool. In a nutshell, it means that if you repeat certain action often enough, your body learns how to do it without even thinking about it. In this case, if you type often on a physical keyboard, your thumbs “know” where particular letters are so you don’t even have to look when typing. Of course, with a virtual keyboard, your thumbs still “know” where the letters are located, but since the screen is flat and there’s no reference as to where the keys are, typing without looking is basically impossible.
3. Easier to use with long fingernails and gloves
Typing on a virtual keyboard is a nightmare for users with long fingernails. In order to respond to touch, such keyboard requires contact with skin, which means that you have to find the right angle to avoid scratching the screen with your fingernails. In the case of a physical keyboard, however, it doesn’t matter what body part you use as long as you can push the buttons so long fingernails are not a problem. Things get even more complicated on cold days when you wear gloves. Some smartphones have screens that can be operated with gloved hands but they are in the minority. In the vast majority of cases you have two choices when you need to text outside on a cold day – find a warm place to take your gloves off to type, or risk freezing your fingers off typing in the cold.
4. Easier to use for elderly users
Virtual keyboards require a certain degree of dexterity and a steady hand for accurate typing. However, as you get older, your joints become stiffer, move slower and every now and then your fingers may tremble causing you to hit the wrong key. If it happens often, you will probably want to avoid texting. Here’s where physical keyboards shine – you have to use some force to push the buttons so an occasional tremble won’t be a problem. Moreover, you don’t even have to lift your fingers off the keyboard to type – you can simply move your fingers from one key to another which is a blessing if your joints are not as flexible as they used to be.
5. Perfect for typing passwords, proper names, URLs, email addresses
As we’ve already established, physical keyboards are more accurate which is especially important when you often have to enter passwords, email addresses, etc. Using a QWERTY keyboard significantly reduces the risk of getting your account blocked if you enter a wrong password, not to mention the time you will be saving correcting autocorrect.
6. Offer shortcuts to apps, contacts, etc.
Speaking of saving time, many buttons on a physical keyboard can be programmed to act as shortcuts to your favorite apps or to perform certain actions. For instance, you can press and hold down a button and the phone will initiate a call to your significant other. This way you just save a few seconds on swiping through your contacts. If you program your keyboard the right way, you may earn quite a lot of precious time.
7. Easier for typing in less favorable conditions such as when you are drinking
It’s not a secret that when you have some alcohol in your system, your body is far less willing to cooperate. As it happens, virtual keyboards and poor eye-hand coordination (plus blurred vision and slower thinking) can be a dangerous mix which may end up in a fail of epic proportions when you try to text someone. Physical QWERTY keyboards are far more forgiving in this respect. So, if you are on a night out and drinking, use a phone with a physical keyboard – you will face less embarrassment the next day.
8. Offers deeper, more personal experience
For those who treat their phones as nothing more than tools for work, it may not serve as a valid argument, but those who LOVE their phones perfectly understand that it’s very important how the device feels in your hand. And the truth is that physical keyboards feel great. Maybe it’s because we are used to typing on such keyboards, since all-touchscreen devices are a pretty new invention. Or maybe it’s because physical keyboards tend to wear off in a certain manner depending on how you use your phone which creates a sense of personalization. Whatever the reason, using a handset with a physical keyboard, you simply develop a sort of personal relationship with it which is not possible when tapping on a flat, cold surface of a touchscreen.
9. Don’t necessarily mean you have to sacrifice screen size
One of the main reasons why physical QWERTY keyboards started to disappear was they took up too much space which could be used more practically when you’re not typing. Well, it is true. After all, you’re not typing all the time. But then again, when you do, a virtual keyboard takes up at least half of the screen, especially in smaller devices. It has to, since the keys need to be bigger to allow for more accurate typing. BlackBerry came up with a perfect solution – the company equipped one of its phones, the Priv, with a slider keyboard. You slide it down when you need to type fast, but when no typing is involved, you have the whole screen for other purposes. Alternatively, you can use a software keyboard.
10. Additional functionality like gesture control or cursor placement
It’s not a universal feature and so far can be found only on the BlackBerry Passport and Priv but it’s really cool. In short, it means that physical keys are touch sensitive and act sort of like a touchpad in a laptop so you can scroll, swipe, move around the cursor, etc. without leaving smudges on the screen.
Touchscreen-only phones are all the rage now and you have to look really hard to find a device with a physical keyboard. The only company which managed not to give in entirely to the trend is BlackBerry but it’s changing too.
Other manufacturers again start to realize that physical keyboards are not a product of a bygone era and can make life much easier. For instance, Samsung is offering a physical keyboard in the form of an accessory that clips onto the phone. It has it’s drawbacks, but such idea is certainly worth further exploration and maybe one day some will come up with a perfect solution.
If you are on the market for a QWERTY keyboard phone, you can find a rich offer right on this very page, just scroll up. You can find here the latest smartphones with physical keyboards at a very competitive price along with cheap QWERTY phones released in the past that still deliver great performance and are available in used and refurbished condition what make the offers even cheaper.