Saturday 28 April 2012

Which phone style is best?

Which phone style is best?

   Landscape qwerty slider, portrait qwerty slider, touchscreen slab, twisting, clamshell, qwerty no touch screen... there must be something I missed. There are so many different designs of phones available, but which one is best? 

   We know which ones sell the best at the moment; touchscreen slabs, such as the iPhone, Galaxy SII and HTC's One Series are what I mean by this category. But, I for one know miss the landscape qwerty keyboard from my old phone, the HTC 7 Pro even though I love the bigger screen of the Galaxy SII. (The HTC 7 Pro is pictured over to the right.) So what I'm going to do here is cover all of the pros and cons of each style of phone, using reviews from as recently as possible and if new devices aren't available in a certain style I will speculate whether the style is still relevant or if there's a gap in the market which manufacturers have overlooked.

Portrait QWERTY Sliders;

   This first category is what the Hp/Palm Pre series, the Blackberry Torch and the Dell Venue Pro fall under. These phones are widely regarded as for the professional market and designed more towards enterprise users who need to type out an email with accuracy and speed while retaining a grown-up and sophisticated look.

  • Good for fast accurate typing.
  • Stylish.
  • Best of touch screen and physical keyboards.
  • These sort of phones frequently tend to be in the mid-range in terms of specifications.
  • There isn't much choice! The phones listed above are basically all of the phones available.
  • Because of the keyboard and touchscreen this sort of phone tends to be on the chunky side.
Landscape QWERTY Sliders.

   These are the more popular version of phones with slide out QWERTY keyboards; things like Motorola's iconic Droid series (well Milestone if you like in the UK). These phones are widely regarded as being design for the type-aholics who always need to quickly type out a text or email.


  • Great for typing.
  • Best of both worlds.
  • Reasonable specs, particularly in Motorola's Droid line.
  • Limited choice if you want this sort of phone.
  • Manufacturers are focusing on touchscreen only phones, HTC even said they will put this sort of phone aside for the time being.
Touchscreen Only!

   Touchscreen only phones are the biggest category here in terms of popularity amongst smartphone users and amount of different devices on offer. These are always companies flagship devices; things like the HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy S2 and of course the Apple iPhone define this category. You will likely have one of these in your pocket, or on your desk next to you as you read this!


  • High-end devices always carry the latest and greatest specs.
  • Plenty of choice and stunning designs.
  • Huge variety of sizes and specs to suit all budgets.
  • Timely software updates because they tend top be flagship devices.
  • Sometimes hard to type accurately on.
  • Everyone has one!

Twist phones:
   Now it has been a while since we've seen a genuine contender in this category and there's only two which come to me off the top of my head and they are the Sony Ericsson W550i and the Motorola Flipout. These phones are fun and iconic, and usually tailored towards the youth market.


  • Fun.
  • Unique.
  • Stylish
  • Not any recent phones released in this style.
  • Twisting mechanisms tend to wear out and become loose.
  • Decidedly mid-range specifications.

QWERTY (+touchscreen):

   This section is basically dominated by the Blackberry range of phones who define the sector, with notable exceptions like the Motorola Droid Pro and Palm Pixi. These are obviously aimed at the sort of people who like to type messages and emails accurately and quickly, just like other keyboarded devices. But, nowadays with a smaller or no touchscreen this sort of device is starting to look dated.


  • Easy messaging options.
  • Dedicated keyboard shortcuts.
  • Generally solid devices.
  • Great battery life because of the small screen and generally lower specs.
  • Look like a '90's throwback.
  • No/ small touchscreen.
  • Fewer apps.
  • Generally lower specs.
  • Blackberry or nothing generally.

   Last but not least we have Clamshell phones. Now this is rather vintage design but their are good uses for it nowadays; for example the Dorophone for easy use.
  • Protects the screen within the design.
  • Generally easy to use.
  • Outdated design.
  • Not very practical for incorporating a touch screen.
  • Lower specs.

So you've made it to the end!!! Well done you. Now feel free to let me know what you think! Have I misjudged a phone type? The comments section awaits or if not feel free to speak to me on Twitter @Jameseley31. Either way I hope you enjoyed my comparison!


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