Physical vs. Touch Screen Keyboards On Smart Phones
Buying a smart phone is an exciting experience. You go to different stores and test them out. It almost feels like you are walking into a car dealership and test driving all the hottest cars. In this case, they are smart phones.
4 door sedan or 2 door coupe? Choose your flavor. In this case, most people are split between 2 major smart phone styles. One with a physical keyboard and one that is fully touchscreen. There are advantages and disadvantages of both. There is no better. Only what is right for you. Let's look at them and we will find out what style fits you perfectly. I've personally experienced both sides and maybe I can help you make a buying decision.
Smart Phones With Physical Keyboards
Smart Phones with physical keyboards are definitely on the downswing of the smart phone culture. Despite the growing popularity of fully touchscreen phones, there is still a market for smart phones with a physical keyboard. My Samsung Moment has an excellent slide out keyboard that offers great feedback. Physical keyboard are great because they are less prone to mistakes caused by mistyping.
Another advantage with having a physical keyboard is productivity. Whether you are a hard core texter or a business person. Having a real physical keyboard means less time hitting the backspace. This is crucial for accurate typing or inputting sensitive passwords. On my Samsung Moment, I also notice that I am able to type longer. I can easily type out 500 or 1000 words without a problem. With my Mytouch 3g, I could never type that much without getting frustrated. Auto-correct features are nice but you should not rely on them.
A noticeable disadvantage in owning a smart phone with a physical keyboard is increased size. Most phones with a physical keyboard have to be designed a certain way to minimize space and increase efficiency.
Full Touch Screen Smart Phones
Virtual keyboards on touch screens have their place. They are fun and fairly easy to type something short on. The market is moving towards full touch screen smart phone and their keyboards have and will improve. Using an on screen QWERTY keyboard in portrait mode is very difficult. Smart phone compensate for the lack of feedback by adding options to vibrate on key press, predictive text input, autocorrect. and multi-touch.
There is even a new way to type that is only available for touch screen phones. It's called swyping. Swyping is fast and easy. It's fantastic for casual, short conversations but I find it annoying on long memos. I would not recommend using Swype for important texting. Especially if it is business related. Often you will find mistakes in what you swype,
After using the Mytouch 3g and experienced many other smart phone with a virtual keyboard, I quickly find it annoying to type strange unnatural key combinations such as passwords. Another disadvantage to full touch screen phones is the screen itself. Most touch screen smart phones have beautiful large displays but while inputing text, the pop up keyboard always takes up half the screen. It almost feels like having a huge banner ad on your phone.
Battery life is an issue with all smart phones. Most smart phone last about 1 full day give or take a few hours. While the best smart phones have the faster processors and most responsive screens, the battery will suffer. You can easily find your new smart phone getting low on gas when you start pounding away for hours. We need to realize that a faster phone means more energy is required to power it. Not to mention the energy needed to power the nice screens.
For the average consumer, phones with physical keyboard are a bit more bulky. They need their phones for entertainment and a full touchscreen keyboard fulfill that roles nicely. If you are a heavy texter or business person, consider phones with physical keyboards.
I have tried both. I need my phone for heavy data input so I choose a smart phone with a physical keyboard. I do sometimes miss the fun in the virtual keyboards. It all comes down to preference. Some people like sedans, some like hatchbacks. The best thing to do is test drive all different phones and see which is right for you.
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