My QWERTY keypad mobile phones: Camera Face-off

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I have owned and used tons of mobile phones over the last several years. At the last count, the tally stood at 51. Those who have followed me know that my best devices have almost always been those equipped with a hardware QWERTY keyboard. Yes; my QWERTY keypad mobile phones have rocked.

In this feature article, I present you a photo shootout comparing the sizes of three of those devices, plus a few thoughts. The QWERTY keypad mobile phones we are comparing are:

  1. Nokia E61i – purchased in July 2007
  2. Nokia E90 – purchased in October 2008
  3. Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro – my current device purchased this month

You can click each image for a larger 1152 x 864 pixel full image. The devices appear in the pictures from left to right as follows: E90, E61i, X10 Mini Pro.
qwerty keypad mobile phones

qwerty keypad mobile phones

qwerty keypad mobile phones

qwerty keypad mobile phones

Over the years, the level of miniaturisation of smartphones and QWERTY keyboards have been amazing.

For example, packing into a device of the size of the X10 Mini Pro more functionality than either of the older devices like the E61i and E90 is stunning.

Straying a bit, I haven’t handled an E61i in about two (2) years, and I was surprised at how good the keyboard is. Of course, it is a wider device than the current crop of E-series candybars – E71, E72, and the E5, and that gives it larger, more comfortable keys too. The display is also larger, making it quite good for reading, web browsing and watching videos.

I found myself wishing that some manufacturer would put at least a 600 MHz processor, 256mb RAM, an improved operating system, and a 5 megapixel camera in that sort of casing today. That would be sweet.

I still have fond memories of the E90, and if anyone put a 1GHz CPU, 256 mb RAM, an improved operating system, and a 5 megapixel camera in that casing, I’d probably buy it up in a snap.

Lastly, and interestingly, while regular keypad devices and QWERTY devices are looking to squeeze as much as possible into smaller sizes, the touchscreen world is heading in the very opposite direction where it appears that the slogan is bigger is better.

It is certainly a crazy world that we live in.


  1. I’m not exactly pleased that the screen sizes are reducing, particularly for the E series. That’s why I am still holding on to my E61

  2. the hybrid input method – touchscreen plus physical keyboard – would appear to be the best of both worlds.

    This allows the screen to be bigger, while catering for the needs of the heavy texters -who prefer a physical keyboard.

    all factors held constant, I doubt if anyone would not prefer a bigger screen for his mobile device. Since different people would want different screen sizes. – for portability reasons, perhaps the manufacturers would just adopt the tv model – where you have a wide range as regards screen size choice…

    While it is good to miniaturise, the screen size – on tvs, laptops and mobile devices – seems to be the singular exception now. The bigger. the more prestigious!

    It is ironic, all right…

  3. @Yom
    Welcome back Boss…
    Never been a fan of QWERTY until recently when out of necessity I got one and its really changed my perception. I’ll agree with EyeBK about on screen & physical Qwerty (however not yet a fan of touchscreen) being best of both worlds…

  4. Looks like Yomi read my mind before this Post.

    I used and i still keep Nokia E61i which i bought in August 2007 for 50K, all theses years i have wished for the same thing below, but it looks like Nokia will never make such. Lets hope Stephen Elop buys our idea.

    ‘I found myself wishing that some manufacturer would put at least a 600 MHz processor, 256mb RAM, an improved operating system, and a 5 megapixel camera in that sort of casing today. That would be sweet’

    And Nokia sure needs to upgrade Nokia E900. the hardware has no rival.

    From what we have seen so far the Qwerty Bar phones are getting smaller screens (even blackberry) but the Touchscreen are getting bigger and bigger (up to 7′ as in Samsung Galaxy Tab, yes its a tablet but it makes phone calls)

  5. Bosun99uk said above, ‘yes its a tablet but it makes
    phone calls’

    My LG netbook also makes calls. Makes one wonder what the true definition of a smart-PHONE is / should be….
    Is it ANY device that makes calls and has sophisticated processing capabilities?

  6. Crazy world indeed. While touchscreens are getting bigger, others are getting smaller. When mobiles first came out they were big and bulky but then, they became so small (e.g. Haier Pen Phone). Now we don’t even know which direction the trend is going. PCs are also getting smaller and having ability to make calls.

    So, like EyeBeeKay says, what really is the definition of a smartphone giving the trend we are seeing now?

  7. A couple of observations: No state of the mobile web report for August?

    There has not been much activity with regards to fresh posts on a consistent basis what’s up with that. I guess there’s alot happening out there that we need to be aware of …

  8. @keweno
    Thanks for your link.
    So, by wikipedia’s definition, EyeBeeKay’s netbook is a smartphone if if can carry it about. Looks like with the upsurge in qwerty phones, smartphones are evolving into full fledge computers while with advent of netbooks, computers are shedding weight and turning into smartphones.

  9. Funny thing… the first smartphone was even a touchscreen tablet-like phone by computer giant IBM. Then came the nokia communicators which we know were qwerty phones.

    We all should read that wikipedia article.

  10. Specifications of the Nokia E7

  11. Yomi askd for It and We Ve nokia e7 already..But when will nokia wake up from this deep slumber? A nHD resolution of a 4″ screen???…Thats pretty stupid to me!

  12. Nokia E7, the best business smartphone as Nokia puts it is sure a top contender in the qwerty smartphone world.

    Love the screen and Amoled but not happy that its 640 x 360 pixels

    Hope the BL-4D 1200 mAh Li-Ion battery can power this heavy guy.

    Nokia only said Internal memory: 16 GB, and they are silent on micro SD, i hope this comes with the release product.

    Contrary to what most info online are the E7 will have a Secondary camera for video calls (VGA, 640 x 480 pixels).like that

    Would have preferred a 512RAM but i hope the 1GB ROM will offer some help.

    No world on processor yet but there is 3D Graphics accelerator.

    Should I drop Nokia N8 for QWERTY?

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