8 Keyboard Mobiles Tested

We test eight different phones with qwerty keyboard-all systems and all price ranges.

Nokia E72

E72 is a further development of success handset E71. Much is the same – the solid metal shell, thin format and the landscape qvga screen, just to mention a few things. There are, however, welcome news – both in hardware and in software. E72 has gotten a little less space button and it, in turn, has opened for a custom button for the letter å. The keyboard is excellent – the keys may look small at first glance, but the E72 is quite comfortable to type on. The camera was a weak point in the E71 – after lighting and auto focus. To call the E72 for a good camera phone is going too far, but outdoor images are approved and it works well to use autofocus although the phone lacks a real camera button with the imprint in two levels. Unfortunately capable cell phone not to geotag photos, despite the built-in gps and magnetic compass, but Ovi Maps is included and E72 belongs to mobiles that are eligible for no extra cost.

With many retailers see E72 in a package along with the car holder and headset. Nokia has a good order of the email features of E72. The old program is completely exchanged and manage multiple accounts as well as the html format in a good way. The old interface is not still have lying around that in places like the N97. Two different email accounts can be pinned to the start screen and displays either the latest headlines or the number of unread messages. Although the E72 can categorize different connections, such as “Internet” or “MMS” to require email application that specifies a specific connection — either wlan or 3 g.

The Web browser and other programs in your phone can be configured to connect to the Internet and then automatically select wlan if available, but it does not, therefore, in the email program. The calendar and the phone book is adapted for the landscape screen format and provides good overview although the screen is pretty small. It’s easy to look up contacts, enter a few letters from the home screen, but there are strange behaviour – such as looking for the search feature from the home screen, just in the personal name fields while it pops up hits even on company name if you first open the phone book. It also happens that the phone can’t find contacts who can be shown to exist, then work correctly after a reboot.

E72 is well-stocked with useful programs from starting. In addition to Ovi Maps is Quickoffice – complete with editing features and support for Office 2007 format. QVGA screen isn’t optimal for handling large Excel sheets, but the programs do that E72 opens most email attachments galant. The image archive is recognized from the N-series mobiles and is both fast and feature-rich. To email, resize photos, or send one or more files over bluetooth works smoothly. Although the E72 is a distinctive nyttolur so lacks the music player no features compared to Nokia’s music phones.

There is also a real headphone jack, support for A2DP and an rds radio. When I first start my mobile I miss, however, two programs – Internet Radio and Podcasting. It is enough to make a firmware update to get back Nokia’s excellent webbradioapp, but Podcasting turns out to be more difficult. According to the discussion forums on the net, it is possible to install the program by creating a digital signature, but the procedure seems quite complicated and it is sad that Nokia picked off this marvelous program.

Plus: Quality feeling. Navigation is included.

Minus: No geotagging.

 

Nokia C6

After long wait, Nokia released a pekskärmsversion of the S60 system. 5800 model was a good first attempt, but it was two years ago and C6 contains too few news to match the competing systems. The C6 can be seen as a budget version of the N97 Mini. The price tag is nearly 1000 USD lower, but most features are in place. 5-megapixel camera, reasonably large touchscreen, wlan and gps. The C6 is a bit bulkier and back cover in matte grey plastic feels no doubt cheaper than the metal cover on the N97 Mini. Any further differences in the hardware.

C6 uses the old charger with narrow pins – cannot charge your phone via the usb connector. Storage memory is also gone, and you have to make do with a memory card of 2 GB. But all the differences are not for the worse. The C6 has a keyboard with four lines instead of three. It allows for custom buttons for Swedish characters and a better four-way button than the minimal buttons on the N97 Mini. Screen shot straight from the keyboard without having to be angled up, but it is still good to read and write on the screen at the same time.

The home screen has room for widgets and there are a lot of different options, preinstalled on your mobile – watch, shortcuts to contacts and programs, updates from Facebook, link to the email program and News Viewer. The C6 has just the place for a page with widgets, but it is enough for the most important functions. Facebook widget leads to a decent app with the ability to follow your news feed, read messages, comment on and like things. Unfortunately, the coupling from the camera and photo gallery to the app very slow compared with the corresponding function on the Iphone and Android.

The touch screen uses resistive technology and is not nearly as fast as the screen on the X 10 Mini Pro, but I think that Nokia has improved significantly from the 5800 and N97 phones. Annoyances in the interface remain in place — for example, that we do not know where you have to double click and it was enough with the press. The C6 has Nokia’s new email software with support for html and a wizard that makes it easy to get started with a large number of different suppliers. Unfortunately, some manual settings more complicated in the new programme – for example, if you are using an outgoing mail server that requires a password.

Managing files and attachments serves as the common good in the S60 system, but unfortunately lacking proper documents from the start. Quickoffice can handle only show files and pdf application is time-limited. The browser is becoming to years, but is still good – thanks to flash support where the S60 has a head start in front of the new platforms. Ovi Maps with free navigation is included.

Telephony features are good with smart search capabilities from a touchscreen. It works much like in some navigation devices – that when you insert letters disappearing characters that do not fit on the name in the phone book. The music player can most of the time, but offers no news. RDS-radio are available as well as the standard connector for headphones. 5-megapixel camera has autofocus and Geotagging support. The camera application works fine, but the picture gallery is unfortunately very slow and “Share online” function still lacks big sites like Facebook and Picasa.

Plus: Free navigation.

Minus: Limited Office Applications. Inconsistent interface.

Samsung B3310

The real budget option is B3310. To make a mobile for around 1200 kr required numerous compromises – for example, the smallest B3310 screen and lacks both the 3 g and gps. The small screen on 2 inch has qvga resolution. There will be many pixels per inch, so the screen looks really sharp. B3310 has no smartphone system, but is an ordinary java mobile. The menus are familiar from many other Samsung phones, but the B3310 automatically turns on the interface when they shoot up the keyboard. Screen rotation is lightning fast, but to open and close the phone actually is complicated slightly by the B3310 is not just shaped like a bar of SOAP, but it’s also really slippery.

The shiny shell in blue or pink makes B3310 stands out among black, white and metallic lurking, but from ergonomics point of view, it is not entirely successful. The keyboard is good, but has unfortunately not custom buttons for Swedish characters. The number keys are lined up next to the display on the front of your phone. When the keyboard is in front, the solution is quite handy – both numbers and letters are available at the same time. When your phone is closed, it is not as much fun – it is tedious to dial phone with all the buttons in a single narrow column.

On the inside there is a great range of features. Samsung has added a menu on the home screen with shortcuts to many popular sites-Facebook, Myspace, and Picasa to name a few. The same selection can be found in the menu under “Communities” program, but it is not any programs or apps – menu items are bookmarks that open each site in your mobile browser. Two different chat programs available in your phone. Java application Fring allows you to chat through a large number of networks. The program is a bit tough in the beginning, but once started, it works really well. Chat does not require so much bandwidth and mobile connection is enough for even though 3 g and wlan are missing.

For chat on shorter distances, Samsung has built a separate chat program for bluetooth.

Music player does not have as much Visual candy as the more expensive competitors, but all key features are in place and the mobile phone have a rds radio. The memory is easy to expand, but unfortunately, Samsung does not built into any standard connector for headphones. The camera is the simplest model. B3310 mobile is a much easier than other lurking in the test, but the menus are lightning fast and chat and sms are tasks that it solves real good.

Plus: Dedicated number keys. Quick.

Minus: Lacks 3 g. Small screen.

 

Samsung B7330

Windows Mobile non-touch screen is an unadorned, but competent system. To make the B7330 a little more fun to use, Samsung has added a custom start menu. A little simpler than the spinning card index on old i600, but the arrangement is roughly the same. Here are links to the various features of your phone, but also to networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace and Youtube.

Unfortunately, the link is not deeper than the start screen and there is no link between, for example, Facebook and phone book or between camera and Youtube, but the ability to view information, weather and news on the home screen are both stylish and practical.

Even Microsoft has developed a neat home screen that can be used if you do not like Samsung’s solution, but unfortunately, the operating system is very boring and trivial designed when one finds its way deeper into the menus. A press the start menu button is enough to get to the mainstream, white screen with icons on the first menu level and long lists of text.

The screen is rectangular and has resolution 320 x 320 pixel – a bit more surface Nokia E72 despite almost exactly the same exterior dimensions. The extra lines will come in handy when reading emails and B7330 is lightning fast to configure for common services and can handle html messages. The Office programs is as expected excellent and also handles the new file formats – both for reading and editing. The keyboard is really good, even if the buttons are a bit more sluggish than that of its competitors. B7330 is made of plastic and feels significantly more well-built than Aspen, but the metal shell of the E72 is hard to beat.

When it comes to multimedia I lack a real headphone jack. The camera has a 3 megapixel and has no light, but the outdoor pictures look really nice out thanks to autofocus. Geo tagging features, but Windows system makes it unnecessarily complicated to send away the images. The music player is the system’s standard solution – Windows Media Player. In mobile phones without touch screen works really well – playlists, and search features are in place and the player is looking for fast through even a well-stocked memory card.

The browser works best on mobile-friendly pages, although it also manages regular html as needed. Internet Explorer has, however, not as fast zoom-and overview functions that the browsers in the S60 and Android, so full great sites does not work just as well.

Plus: The format. Screen.

Minus: Partly deprecated interface. No standard connector for headphones.

Samsung B7610 Omnia Pro

Omnia Pro has a really impressive hardware – this is really the most. The OLED screen is high resolution and indoors there is really nothing negative to say about the image quality – the screen is crisp with nice color reproduction. In direct sunlight works OLED technology is not nearly as good, and it can do better with their other phones TFT screens. The interface feels a lot more Samsung than Windows and has great similarities with the brand’s own touchscreen systems. The phone book, call lists and the whole telephony application has total bus and works well even without pennnan.

HTC is in my opinion a step ahead when it comes to design and usability, but Samsung’s interface can handle more information without having to go over to the usual WIndows menus. During a call, the screen is filled by large and clear buttons for all important features such as parking, privacy, tone and handling of speaker and headset. Samsung’s messaging applications share a common inbox for sms and mms, and you don’t want to fold up the physical keyboard, you can enter the letters on the screen.

The keyboard has separate keys for Swedish characters, but unlike the Samsung B3310 budgetlur as parts numbers buttons with the top line of letters. One might think that such a great handset should have had space for a better solution. The shell with a transparent red layer is extremely exciting – from a distance see the cell phone black out, but at close range have Omnia Pro much more personality than the other Windows Mobile phones.

When it comes to the Web, you can choose between Opera 9.5 and the system’s default Web browser Internet Explorer. Opera becomes the first choice due to improved fluency in browsing and a more well-thought-out touch screen interface. The high resolution gives a real captain’s vision while docking edge when it comes to the Web experience. B7610 has multimedia features that can match its competitors outside the Windows camp.

The camera resolution is a bit under the best handsets on the market, but Samsung has a successful and feature-rich interface. Camera button has two levels of the fingerprint so that you can use autofocus and other settings can be accessed via the icons lining the viewfinder screen. There are good options and multiple scene modes. The images can be geotagged, where there are gps reception and when you take a picture, it is easy to attach it to a message or blog post.

There is also a convenient shortcut to send pictures via bluetooth, but neither Samsung nor Microsoft has managed to overcome the shortcomings of Windows Mobile’s Bluetooth support, so it is both difficult and time-consuming to use. The still images are really good quality, but also good B7610 faring on the video page even if it is a good way to go to the Vivaz Pro that has even higher resolution and better features for video. Music players, rds radio, video player and image gallery are handled by applications that are well made in terms of both performance and appearance. In addition, Samsung will send you with Route 66 with the Nordic region maps and two years free map updates.

Plus: Quick. Great menus and multimedia features. Navigation is included.

Minus: The screen is difficult to read in sunlight

 

Sony Ericsson Xperia X 10 Mini Pro

It’s hard to get more features per Crown or per cubic centimeter than the X 10 Mini Pro features. Despite the minimal format, see this a keyboard with four lines and custom buttons for åäö. Quality feel is also high with a satisfyingly slow sliding mechanism and a solid gummilackat shell that is good in the hand. When HTC released the first slightly cheaper Android phones put the screens problems – many apps couldn’t run on qvga screens but called for higher resolution. How to cope when the X 10 Mini Pro? The small screen makes it not work particularly well to enter text on the standard on-screen keyboard, but the programme has improved and the screen resolution is no longer an obstacle to finding good apps.

It is short on Android mobiles with physical keyboard, so while waiting for the HTC Desire Z, the new Motorola Droid and other more or less confirmed news so does X 10 Mini Pro in your own p >

The home screen has four shortcuts – one in each corner. The shortcuts can be customized, but the default setting with messaging, telephony, help and main menu seems sensible. In the center of the screen space for a single widget. Not much compared to other Android mobiles, but in return, there is no limit to the number of home screens you can have. At the top of the screen is the communication line with the status of the battery, bluetooth and other functions of the phone. The interface works in both portrait and landscape mode and switches automatically when you shoot up the keyboard.

X 10 Mini Pro has dual email program – one that syncs with Gmail and a who managing pop and imapkonton directly to the mobile phone. Unfortunately lacks mobile document viewer from start, but it is easy to fix on your own. Some common synkprogram for Outlook in the computer does not conform with, but your phone will be synced over the air — either to Google or to Exchange servers using Roadsync app. In the multimedia area, the camera is the largest on-hand quantity. It takes great stills and approved video, while Sony Ericsson’s own Vivaz-mobiles are sharper in both categories. The picture gallery has shortcuts to post pictures to Facebook and other sites, but unfortunately the X 10 Mini Pro comes with old Android 1.6 and cannot send files through bluetooth.

Plus: Quick. Smooth. Good system.

Minus: Small screen. Poor Bluetooth support.

Sony Ericsson Vivaz Pro

A C6 or N97 Mini in Sony Ericsson-suit? No, we cannot so easily dismiss the Vivaz Pro. Certainly, there are many similarities – such as screen resolution and interface, but the Vivaz Pro has several unique features. Compared with the Nokia mobile phones is the camera features much more central. On paper have Vivaz Pro a simpler camera than Vivaz without the keyboard, but still images are still good quality and just like its siblings have Vivaz Pro really good performance when it comes to video. HD resolution in all its glory, but the function that gives the big advantage is the continuous autofocus — that the cell phone works like a real video camera and try to focus on the subject throughout the recording, even if the distance is changed.

Vivaz Pro feels a bit more plastic than a Nokia N97 Mini, which has edges and back cover in metal, but otherwise, I think that Sony Ericsson has succeeded in significantly better with the format. The keyboard has four lines and custom buttons for Swedish characters, while the cell phone is just as thin and just over 10 ounces lighter. The operating system of the Vivaz Pro is S60 for touch screen. A rather cumbersome system compared to Android or Ios, but telephony functions are well made. It’s easy to manage your Clipboard and cell phone has a good file manager. The home screen has five tabs at the top, which in turn leads to five separate home screens that you can customize with different types of content – shortcuts, different types of screen savers or news feed from Twitter.

Sony Ericsson uses a system of widgets in Flash that provides better looking home screens, but Nokia’s Web Runtime widgets have better links with the various features of your phone and provides more useful — for example, to view what is happening on the Facebook or the number of unread emails.

Keyboard on Vivaz Pro is excellent, but unfortunately Sony Ericsson it with commercial applications. Email software works with most services and is reasonably easy to set up – especially if you have a known provider like Gmail or Hotmail. Sending messages – with or without attachments – is also admirably simple, but e-mail program doesn’t support html. The Office programs are able to view most of the formats, but to edit you must buy an upgrade. Vivaz Pro does not have the same Facebook app that Nokia’s phones, but apart from home screen widget offers all of the features on the site and the differences seem mostly cosmetic. Sony Ericsson has given music player, camera app and picture gallery hearty face lifts and downloaded into successful functions as a media menu and Walkman interface. The camera has separate triggers for still and video, so there is no need to switch the mode. Vivaz Pro holds, of course, a gps, but it otherwise excellent navigator application Wisepilot is a time-limited trial version.

Plus: Thin and light. Video recording in the top class. Standard connector for headphones.

Minus: Limited e-mail and Office productivity.

 

Sony Ericsson Aspen

Windows Mobile comes in many different guises. Samsung Omnia Pro and Sony Ericsson Aspen uses basically the same system, but Sony Ericsson have been far more frugal with the additions and changes in the interface. Sony Ericsson has focused its efforts on the start screen and there is the so-called panels – six different setups with different features for the home screen. The panels turned up already on the Xperia X 1, but at Aspen, they got more and more advanced features – for example, there is a Skype panel and a Facebook panel.

But it feels like a strange detour to activate a special home screen to access Facebook – a regular app would be better. Panels, Spb Mobile Shell Lifestyle and Professional, however, is really useful. They are feature rich home screens with widgets and a boot menu where you can choose shortcuts. Spb Mobile Shell also provides a nicer phone book with connection to Facebook. Aspen can switch panel automatically after the time of day, so it is possible to choose a set of shortcuts for working hours and another for leisure.

To meet the competition from the Iphone and Android, Microsoft has tried to make the buttons on the touch screen larger for them to go to press without a pen. Most phones with Windows Mobile Pro have high-resolution screens, so the new buttons get very clumsy on Aspen’s small qvga display. At the same time, there are still elements in the interface — for example, when dealing with folder lists in email program or under settings – that is so small that you have to pick up the pen. In addition to the screen there is a four-way button, but there are many functions that can be accessed only from the touch screen.

In addition to the panels, Sony Ericsson brought menu shortcuts and improved phonebook – with tabs and connection to Skype – from the Xperia X 2. At Aspen are called shortcuts for slide view and they are always easy to access via the button below the Green handset. Slideview provides also a nice Shell to read emails and sms, but as soon as you want to write or modify settings it pops old Windows interface up. Aspen has a good media menu that can be accessed both from the slide view and from the standard start menu. The music player is both prettier and better adapted to the screen size than Windows Media Player, and there is also an FM radio with RDS. Photo and video galleries are nice, but browsing the content is far too slow.

Internet Explorer browser has support for flash and works really well with most pages. Other great internet features include rss reader, Live Messenger and internet sharing. Of course, there is complete support for Office files and Windows was as usual excellent email and syncing options.

Plus: Good keyboard. RDS radio.

Minus: Slow. Small and sluggish touch screen