The Best Keyboard Phones Currently on the Market

by Dan Forster - , Last Updated on February 23, 2015, Buying Guides

Keyboard phones aren’t exactly the most popular choice on the market, but for some people they’re ideal. A physical QWERTY phone does tend to be a lot more robust than a delicate touch screen model, making it a good choice for a kid’s phone or for those people that live a more active lifestyle. Plus, if you’re a constant texter or emailer then there really is no substitute for a physical keyboard to get the job done. Whilst most models on the market these days are touch screen phones, there is still a niche for a decent keyboard mobile. Be warned, some of these models are going to be tough to get on contract with mobile operators, though some (like the Blackberry models) are more widely available. We’ve stuck to QWERTY keyboard phones, rather than number keypads, though there are a fair few number phones still around too. So, if you’re into getting a full keyboard phone, then here’s our look at the best keyboard phones on the market right now.

The BlackBerry Passport

The BlackBerry Passport

The BlackBerry Passport

Looking for something not only awesome but also unique? Then meet the Blackberry Passport. It’s square (rather than rectangular) design means you get a full keyboard plus tons of screen space, and its space-age looks are making the Passport a real fashion statement as well. As for specs… it’s loaded.

4.5 inch high definition screen, impressive, eh? Not only that, there’s a massive quad core 2.26 GHz processor and a huge 3 GB of RAM. That makes the Passport one of the most powerful phones on the market, keyboard or not. 13 MP rear camera, 2 MP front facing camera, do phones get much better than this? And we’ll top all that off with 32 GB of internal memory and a MicroSD card slot for up to 128 GB of extra space. The Passport is quite simply one of the best phones around right now.

The Blackberry Q10

BlackBerry Q10

BlackBerry Q10

Blackberry have long been the king of physical keyboard phones, though their current flagship is a touch screen. Their top of the line keyboard model is the Blackberry Q10, and it’s a pretty powerful little beast. It comes with a 1.5 GHz dual core processor and a whopping 2 GB of RAM, so speed isn’t going to be an issue here. You get a 3.1 inch AMOLED touch screen as well as your full keyboard, so you’re getting the best of both worlds. There’s even a solid 8 MP camera and a full 16 GB of internal memory, plus an SD card slot for more GB.

For keyboard phone lovers, who often find that they need to compromise pretty severely when it comes to specs and performance to get the keyboard they love, the Blackberry Q10 is probably going to be amongst the top choices. As an added bonus it’s 4G capable and widely available through most UK mobile operators.

The Blackberry Q5

BlackBerry Q5

BlackBerry Q5

For those that want the stylish design and decent specs of a Blackberry but are on a lower budget, the Blackberry Q5 might be a better choice. You still get a good keyboard phone, though you’re compromising a little on performance, but you’ll pay a lot less than for the top of the line Q10 model.

The Q5 sports a 1.2 GHz dual core processor and the same 2 GB of RAM as the Q10, so it’s pretty snappy. Again, you’re getting the best of both worlds with a full keyboard plus a 3.1 inch LCD touch screen. Internal memory is 8 GB, but that’s upgradable to 32 GB with an SD card, and the camera is a 5 MP device. And once more, you’ll be able to find the Blackberry Q5 with most UK operators.

The NEC Terrain

NEC Terrain

NEC Terrain

Keyboard phones are already a slightly less damage prone choice than pure touch screens, but if you’re looking for something really tough then you might want to consider the NEC Terrain. The Terrain is fully waterproof and dust proof, as well as shock absorbing and it has shatter proof glass. For outdoors enthusiasts, the NEC Terrain is an awesome choice.

It comes with a hearty dual core 1.5 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM. You’ll get a 3.1 inch touch screen as well as your full keyboard, and that’s Corning Gorilla Glass 2, so it’s pretty sturdy. Internal memory is 8 GB and you can expand that to 32 GB with an SD card. Finally, it’s an Android phone and the camera is 5 MP. This is a tough phone to find through a mobile operator, but it’s definitely worth taking a look at. Oh, and it’s 4G capable too!

The Blackberry Classic

BlackBerry Classic

BlackBerry Classic

Traditionalists will love the Blackberry Classic, also sometimes referred to as the Blackberry Q20. It’s the familiar shape and design that we’ve come to expect from the manufacturer, and it’s pretty powerful too (despite being relatively affordable).

As well as that all important keyboard, you get a 3.5 inch screen, which is pretty good given the keyboard size. And under the hood there’s a dual core 1.5 GHz processor, plus 2 GB of RAM. As we said, it’s powerful. On top of that you’ll have an 8 MP rear camera AND a 2 MP front facing cam (perfect for selfies). Oh, and there’s 16 GB of internal memory, plus an SD card slot for up to 128 GB more. Not bad at all, and that retro Blackberry design is very cool to look at…

The Motorola Photon Q

Motorola Photon Q

The Motorola Photon Q really does have it all. It’s a full touch screen phone with a slide out physical keyboard, so it’s basically for those who are looking for a regular smart phone but want the advantages of a keyboard as well. If you want a decent Android phone that also has a keyboard, then the Photon Q is the way to go.

Spec wise, the Photon Q has a dual core 1.5 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM. The display is a 4.3 inch TFT touch screen, so there’s plenty of viewing room here. You’re getting 8 GB of internal memory that’s upgradable to 32 GB with an SD card. And the camera is an 8 MP cam with LED flash and autofocus, which is pretty sweet, and you get 4G too.

The Blackberry 9720

BlackBerry 9720

BlackBerry 9720

Our last smart phone model again comes from Blackberry, and the 9720 is going to be the lowest budget smart phone and keyboard combo that you can get your hands on. That low price tag doesn’t mean that you’re getting awful performance, though the 9720 won’t hold a candle to the Blackberry Q10.
This model has an 806 MHz processor and 512 MB of RAM. It’s also got a 2.8 inch touch screen to go along with your keyboard. There’s only 512 MB of RAM, but you can pump that up to 32 GB with an SD card. The camera is 5 MP, but this is not a 4G capable device.

The Nokia Asha 210

Nokia Asha 210

Nokia Asha 210

If you’re not in the market for a fully formed smart phone, maybe because you’re shopping for a child, then Nokia are probably going to be your best bet. The Nokia Asha 210 is a wallet friendly keyboard phone that will please most pre teens, and it comes in some snazzy colour options too (including cyan, magenta and bright yellow).

You’re not getting huge specs here, but we wouldn’t really expect big numbers from a non smart phone. The Asha 210 has a 2.4 inch screen, and runs only 32 MB of RAM. Internal storage is limited to 64 MB, but once more you can upgrade with that handy SD card slot to 32 GB. There’s a 2 MP primary camera on board as well. The Asha can only connect over 2G networks, so there’s no real internet capability, though it is possible to send emails. All in all, this is a pretty safe choice for a child, or even for someone that doesn’t want to worry too much about mobile data bills. You’ll find the Asha 210 through many UK operators.

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