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Battle of the Smart-Phone Keyboards

smart-phone keyboard

Whether you’re dashing off a quick text before the airplane door closes or typing a business report on the go, the accuracy and comfort of your smart-phone keyboard are important. Contrary to popular belief, touch screens haven’t entirely taken over. New BlackBerry-style handsets with physical keyboards are still coming out at a consistent clip, while innovative on-screen keyboard technologies such as the Android-compatible Swype, which allows you to drag your finger across the “keys,” connect-the-dots-style, are supplying revolutionary ways to make touch screens more accurate and simpler to use.

If your primary objective is to stay connected with the office, the latest generation of BlackBerrys—such as the BlackBerry Bold 9930 (prices vary)—are still the most reliable bet. The keys are big enough, and not so hard to depress that they lead to “BlackBerry thumb.” One drawback: the keypad lock is relatively easily deactivated, which can lead to pocket dialing or e-mailing.

Though fairly spot-on, the famous touch-screen keyboard on the iPhone (from $199) usually requires some proof reading, as anyone who’s ever sent an embarrassing text message as a result of Apple’s overeager—albeit optional—auto-correct function knows (see damnyouautocorrect.com for some choice examples). But not all touch screens are error-prone: besides Swype, many Android phones, such as the HTC Amaze 4G (price not available) and Droid X2 by Motorola ($489), have bigger touch screens that allow for larger, thus easier to hit, keys. Now, if we could only find a phone with an auto-correct that will guarantee no unseemly texts go to Mom and Dad.

Illustration by Leif Parsons

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