By Brandon Miniman | November 4, 2008 12:51 AM
Next up in our comparison series of the Touch Pro and XPERIA X1 is a look at the keyboards. We’ll focus on layout and key offering, feel, and overall experience.
We’ll start with layout. The X1 has a 4-row keyboard with an oversized spacebar. To access the numbers, you must hold down the blue button in the bottom left corner. In terms of shortcuts, you get a Start menu button, a shortcut for symbols, and an “OK”. If we look at the Touch Pro, it has a 5-row keyboard with a dedicated number row, which is a rare and welcomed addition. It doesn’t have a Start menu or “OK” key, but does have shorcuts for Outlook Mobile, Opera Mobile, Communications Manager, and SMS/MMS. It also includes a CTRL key that you can use for shortcuts like CTRL+X, C, B, I, A, and P to do cut, copy, bold, italics, select all, and paste, respectively (the X1 lacks a CTRL key). Finally, the Touch Pro keyboard has indicator lights for CAPS and FN, while the X1 does not. It terms of layout and key offering, the Touch Pro beats the X1.
“Feel” is very important, and of course, it’s a bit subjective. A good-feeling keyboard can increase your typing speed and decrease errors. That said, I find that the keys on the X1 are too flat and spaced apart, making it difficult to feel for the next key. The Touch Pro’s isn’t perfect either on this front – the keys are smaller than they are on the X1, and have less than a millimeter of space between them. Also, I find the spacebar on the Touch Pro to be way undersized – which is a big deal considering how often it gets used. But, if I had to choose the better feeling keyboard, it would be the Touch Pro – the keys seem to require a lighter touch, which makes me type faster.
And finally, let’s talk about experience. A good keyboard experience is one where the keyboard enthusiastically slides out with just the right amount of spring assist; the keys on the keyboard exude enough of a “click” sound to be satisfying and to let you know that you’ve hit a key, but not loud enough to annoy people around you; and lastly, the keyboard must be aesthetically pleasing if you’re going to be looking at it many times per day. Which brings the best experience? The X1. The arc slider actions feels smoother than the slider of the Touch Pro, the keys make a more pronounced “click” when you press them, and the keyboard has a unique and modern design.
In summary, if you want the most robust keyboard – the Touch Pro beats the heck out of the X1. The number of keys and shortcuts is pretty staggering. But, if you want the best overall keyboard experience, the X1 wins.
Be sure to check out XPERIA X1 vs. Touch Pro: Comparing Screens.