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Input Devices Cellphones GUI

6 Smartphone Keyboards Compared 161

Barence writes "A debate that crops up time and again is whether it's better to have a dedicated keyboard on your smartphone or whether an on-screen keyboard with text correction is adequate. Some phones with screen-based keyboards have started to provide tactile feedback, either using an ultra-quick spin of their vibration alert or, like the BlackBerry Storm2, using clever piezo-electric technology to simulate the feel of a button press. But which system works best? PC Pro's Paul Ockendon gathered six of the most popular handsets around and put them through a timed typing test to see which proved quickest and most typo-free."
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6 Smartphone Keyboards Compared

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  • Re:Debate (Score:3, Informative)

    by DIplomatic ( 1759914 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @03:46PM (#31429950) Journal
    I have a BlackBerry Storm and I swear by RIM's SureType. (That's the one with 2 letters on each soft key)

    The predictive text learns as I use the device and I can type incredibly fast on it. Lengthy correspondence is not a problem.

    It's just my preference, but now I would never use a physical keyboard. The keys are tiny and fixed, whereas on my BB they are large and can change to match whatever input I happen to need. (letters, caps, symbols, web signs)

    Just my two cents.

  • Re:Blackberry (Score:5, Informative)

    by natehoy ( 1608657 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @04:11PM (#31430250) Journal

    Absolutely. My wife, she of the toothpick-sized fingers, does pretty well on her iPod Touch. She prefers my Blackberry keyboard for any sort of serious data entry, but then again she has little need for that on a phone - that's what her netbook is for.

    Personally, I can't type three consecutive letters on the iPod Touch or an iPhone without screwing it up. But I can burn through text like a sonofabitch with my Blackberry.

  • Re:Debate (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @04:23PM (#31430408)

    I love my iPhone as much as the next guy, but I was a way faster typer on my Blackberry, even a year after switching. Its reality. If I could have the appstore / iphone SDK / general UI quality and a real keyboard? please please please...

  • Re:Bias? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bigjeff5 ( 1143585 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @04:30PM (#31430504)

    Also the touchscreen keyboards need calibration to work best. The little quick start guide tells you how, it's easy.

    I found the HTC Hero to be much more accurate after calibration when compared to before calibration.

    That said, I'd still expect to see a physical keyboard to be a little faster and more accurate than a touchscreen, because you can feel the keys before you type, lending a lot to confidence which helps accuracy and speed.

    Still, using them out of the box is atrocious, it doesn't reflect the capabilities of the phone at all.

  • Re:three words: (Score:3, Informative)

    by YouWantFriesWithThat ( 1123591 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @04:46PM (#31430692)
    i am not sure that i understand what you are trying to say. the moto droid has basically the exact same dimensions as the iphone within a millimeter. however it has a slide-out keyboard so when i use that 100% of my screen is displaying the app or site
  • Re:Debate (Score:2, Informative)

    by Totenglocke ( 1291680 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @04:55PM (#31430806)

    Some of us use our phones for serious work like remote sysadmin tasks and document editing (to name just two). Both types of phones exist because different people have different needs and preferences.

    I've done remote access sysadmin work from my iPhone plenty of times and it was never a hassle at all. While I originally preferred physical keyboards, after having an iPhone for the last 7 months or so, I actually prefer the keyboard because it only shows one symbol on each key (and you hit a button on the side to change what the keyboard shows), which makes it much easier to find what I'm looking for instead of having to look for less frequently used buttons where there are 3 symbols all in different colors on the button. I just wish that it had the Storm 2's tactile feel, but that's a minor quibble. It's all a matter of personal preference / priorities. In your case you place a high value on having the physical feel of a button to push. In my case I place a high value on a clean looking keyboard where I can easily find what I'm looking for.

  • Re:Debate (Score:3, Informative)

    by pydev ( 1683904 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @06:06PM (#31431760)

    That's called "cognitive dissonance"; look it up sometime.

  • Re:Debate (Score:3, Informative)

    by thePowerOfGrayskull ( 905905 ) <marc,paradise&gmail,com> on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @09:11PM (#31433376) Homepage Journal

    Some of us use our phones for serious work like remote sysadmin tasks and document editing (to name just two)

    Such folks as yourself might be interested in my signature spam :-)

The Macintosh is Xerox technology at its best.