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Bar vs Slate vs Slider: Compare The 3 Types Of Smart Phones

Updated on November 5, 2010

Smart phones are the power houses of cell phones. They are the BMW's and Mercedes of mobile devices. These high end phones are becoming increasing popular as they take over the previous generation of feature phones. Today, almost all US mobile phone carriers offer smart phones at discount prices with a contract agreement. Some carriers even offer free low end smart phones under contract. There are 3 main design types of smart phones. The bar, slate, and slider. These 3 types can all function under the smart phone standard but each excel in different areas. First, let's look at what a smart phone is and then the different styles of them.

Make An Informed Purchase

What is a smart phone? A smart phone is a phone that can perform many functions. Not only must it be able to make calls and send text messages, but it must also be able to send and receive email. Along with that, a smart phone must be able to browse the Internet and access it's rich features. Other features that have become a standard in smart phones is having a wifi radio, Bluetooth, and a GPS radio. These standards are not official but people that are in the market for a smart phone will require many, if not all of these features.


The bar style smart phone is a design worthy of consideration when choosing your next mobile phone. Bar style smart phones are a natural choice for those jumping from a regular "old" cell phone. Nearly all bar style smart phones are equipped with a qwerty keypad. This makes data entry, text messaging, and email much easier and faster. Bar style smart phones are generally simple to use since there is no need for a software keyboard. Many professionals and business people tend to use bar style smart phones because they are simple to use and they are very reliable. Bar style smart phones generally last longer than their counterparts. This is mainly due to their smaller screens which consumes less power. Bar style smart phoned are good for text based communications such as sms and emails. Some popular bar type smart phones are BlackBerry's, Nokia E73, Palm Pixi, and htc Dash.


The slate is becoming synonymous in terms of "smart phone" design. The slate style phone is a smart phone with few(if any) hardware buttons and a large touch screen. The touch screen replaces most of the hardware buttons. The software on these devices render buttons that are activated by touch. Most slate type smart phones focus on entertainment. Their large screens make it enjoyable to view video clips. Their touch screen also creates a wide level of control for the user via gestures such as swiping and pinch to zoom. They also generally have better cameras than bar style smart phones. Slate style smart phones are popular among teenagers., young adults, and artists. Consuming large amounts of media is what slate style smart phones excel at. Whether it is music or videos, slate style smart phones offer users a more media rich experience. There are some drawbacks with the slate style smart phones. One is the battery consumption. These smart phones eat up lots of battery power in order to power their big displays. Also, running all of the touch screen processes smoothly requires beefier processors which, in turn, drains more battery. Another drawback for some is the lack of a physical keyboard. Some people prefer a physical keyboard over a software keyboard. Some popular slate style smart phones are the iPhone 4, Evo 4G, htc HD2 and the Nexus One.


The last style of smart phone is the slider. The slider is an interesting concept. The slider smart phone combines the cool factor of the touch screen and offers a physical keyboard that slides out. The slider is very versatile. It can do everything the slate phone does, but offers an additional slide out physical keyboard. While offering a physical keyboard, the slider can be more comfortable to type on especially on long email and texting sessions. Having a slider smart phone means you can get the best of both worlds. You can enjoy the multimedia that a large screen offer and you can still input text quite comfortably. The slider share some of the same drawbacks as the slate. The slider also suffers from insufficient battery life due to it's large screen. Another thing that the slider suffers from is bulk. Generally, the slider is the bulkiest smart phone out of the 3 however manufacturers are doing a good job cutting the fat. Having a physical keyboard adds to the bulk but for some, it's a drawback they are willing to live with. The slider is popular among texters of all ages. People that own sliders fit into a very large and diverse demographic. Some popular sliders are the Palm Pre, G1, Samsung Epic 4G (Galaxy S), and the BlackBerry Torch.

Final Thoughts

While I listed 3 types of smart phone, I failed to mention the clamshell. That's because clamshell smart phones are very far and few. The 3 that come to mind are the Motorola Backflip, BlackBerry Pearl Flip, and BlackBerry 9670. There are a plethora of smart phones in the bar, slate, and slider form and those designs prove to be the most popular. If you are in the market for a new smart phone then compare the different styles and choose which is right for you. Thank you for reading!


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