This is for all those who find a QWERTY keyboard essential on their mobile devices – whether those devices are smartphones or feature phones. Some

Gotta Have QWERTY – Your preference?

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This is for all those who find a QWERTY keyboard essential on their mobile devices – whether those devices are smartphones or feature phones.

Some touchscreen QWERTY keyboards, such as those on the iPhone and the Samsung Jet, have introduced a new level of usability to touchscreen keyboards. Onscreen QWERTYs are becoming more and more usable.


But each option has its pros and cons. For example, hardware QWERTYs add thickness, mass and weight to the device, not to mention reducing the area available for the display (with the exception of slider keyboards, such as that on the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1).


Touchscreen keyboards are not as tactile, even with haptic feedback implemented. We must mention that a touchscreen easily makes a device more fragile too.

There are pros and cons on both sides, and it does not seem that either side will win the war. The question is, “What is your preference – hardware or touchscreen QWERTY keyboard? What informs your preference?”


  1. Ever since I tried a touchscreen device, I swore I would NEVER go back to a physical QWERTY again.
    However, if you can, in for a phone that has both input methods (touch and physical QWERTY). That way, depending on your mood and what you wish to do @ any point in time, you have a choice.

    Most people will concede that, browsing the web with a touchscreen device is more fluid and effective.
    Because of the layout of a (physical) QWERTY, you can not easily do one-handed input (while chasing a Molue ) or in situations where two-handed input is impracticable.

    When their is copious text input to be done, the physical QWERTY may (arguably) be more appropriate. But pray, even if you can type 45 words / minute on a regular PC keyboard, can you get up to that kind of speed on even a Nokia E90 which has a ‘solid’ keyboard?

    Your touchscreen input also allows both portrait and landscape orientation. You are stuck with the physical QWERTY.
    The QWERTY (as opposed to touchscreen) is prone to physical damage. Unless you break the screen of your ‘touch’, there are no physical buttons to deteriorate or year out.

    Also, maybe the engineers among us can confirm/refute this – a touchscreen will probably consume more battery power than its physical QWERTY counterpart (apart from capacitive/resistive screens, there is a third type under development that consumes NO power – though)

  2. I tend to prefer the hardware qwerty to the touchscreen one. Though one’s choice depends on what works for you, there is no arguing the point that the hardware qwerty is the better one to work with. The tactile sensation is a plus, so also is the comfortable layout. You hardly make mistakes when typing and the symbols and numbers are always where they are as opposed to the touch qwerty that display different things on same slot depending on which symbol (shift, alt, etc) you press. What am trying to say is that some symbols or characters are not visible till you press a button.

    Another minus for touch qwerty is the limited space left to display what you are typing after the virtual keyboard has taken much of the screen. This does not make for easy editing of your work.

    I use a nokia 5800 with virtual qwerty but would gladly exchange it for a nokia n97 which has a hardwre qwerty. My motorola Q’s keyboard is a joy to use. But i’ll never touch those candybar nokia E series with qwerty (e.g. E63, & E71) because of their undersized, paediatric, & tightly packed keys.

  3. hardware all the way! hope I’m not being old school but i totally desist touch screen. it’s like the mouse and track-pad/touch-pad debate all over again.

  4. I’m typing this on the touchscreen keyboard of the Samsung Jet. It works well. It is actually better than some hardware QWERTY keyboards that I have used. For example, it works better than the slider QWERTY on the LG KS360.

    Still, I will take the superb hardware keyboard of the Nokia E90 or a BlackBerry over any touchscreen keyboard anyday.

  5. Having used both the touchscreen keyboard and the hardware keyboard, i’d take the hardware keyboard. The touchscreen keyboard can also deteriorate like the hardware type, as over time the touchscreen also loses it’s sensitivity in some parts of the screen

  6. @Yom
    I am with you all the way on that.
    Those qwerty boards you mentioned are the best in their class and a delight to use.

  7. I prefer the hardware key board any day. I make so many mistakes with the software keyboard that i very often give up halfway through. Maybe its due to my thick fingers!

  8. Why I remain displeased with the hardware QWERTY keyboard is the fact that it adds unnecessary weight and bulkiness to the phone. I have always preferred a touchscreen QWERTY because of the ease of use. Especially in large touchscrean phones. Minimum diagonal must be 3.5 inches. Although one can make mistakes while typing, I’ve learnt to live with this. Samsung Jet, Blackberry Storm2, the almighty iphone and others make decent on-screen QWERTY.

  9. I used to detest on-screen keyboards till I jumped on the blackberry bandwagon…actually blackberry storm 2. This onscreen/ touchscreen phone is amazing…it actually returns a tactile feedback that simulates a real hardware keypad to death! I would have fallen in with a hardware option, but with the Storm2… It is no contest…the touchscreen rules!

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