My King of the QWERTYs series wrapped up a couple of days ago and I am now ready to provide you with my summary and personal preferences on this class of devices. As I stated in each article, these devices are targeted to the messaging user and all run mobile operating systems that have been around for years. You can check out my thoughts on the following announced front facing QWERTY non-touchscreen devices:
Unlike my Touch Titans series there are no discussions about completely different operating systems with limited multi-tasking, limited Bluetooth stacks, and more. Each of these devices runs established operating systems that fully support all of these functions. They are all quite similar in how they function, with differences being in some of the applications that are supported and in hardware. The layout of the QWERTY keyboard is also an important and very personal preference so if you are thinking about one of these devices you should try to test them out at your local wireless store.
Take a look at this comparison spreadsheet (PDF document) for a snapshot of features and specifications of each of these QWERTY Kings as it may help you when thinking about which device fits your needs best. Interestingly, these three devices also span across the four major carriers in the US so if heavy messaging and phone calls are your primary need you can find one of these devices on your carrier.
After personally trying out each of the devices and posting my comparisons, here is the order of my personal preferences for the three devices and major issue that affected the order I placed them in:
- AT&T Nokia E71x (outstanding hardware and phone performance, dedicated punctuation keys)
- T-Mobile Dash 3G (Exchange support, well designed keyboard)
- RIM BlackBerry Tour (outstanding keyboard, lack of WiFi)
It was extremely difficult to put these three devices in some kind of personal ranking order because they all are outstanding for forward facing QWERTY devices and none of them is a super clear winner. My ranking may have been a bit swayed by how long I have used each of these devices and maybe spending more time with each would yield a different result.
I think each of these devices have pros and cons and what may not be good for me may be just perfect for you. There are several outstanding BlackBerry QWERTY devices, but I just wanted to stick with one and went for the one I thought was the best in class. There are very few front facing QWERTY Windows Mobile and S60 devices so choosing to include the Dash 3G and E71x was quite easy.
The operating system on these forward facing QWERTY devices may be a bit long in the tooth, but for what their intended purpose and audience is it just goes to show you that you don't need the latest and greatest flashy OS to have an outstanding device.