With the exception of the occasional BlackBerry, physical QWERTY keyboards are pretty much a dead concept on smartphones, but the F(x)tec Pro1 is bringing them back. This Android phone was announced back in February, but only now, finally, does it have a release date and price.
Priced at $699 / £649 (around AU$1,030), the Pro1 is available to pre-order from fxtec.com now, and doing so should see you receive the phone sometime in mid-September, ahead of a general release in October.
The F(x)tec Pro1 features a large landscape keyboard that slides out from the phone and tilts to a 155-degree angle, which is apparently optimal for viewing.
QWERTY keyboard aside, the Pro1 sounds like a fairly ordinary upper mid-range handset. It has a 5.99-inch 1080 x 2160 curved AMOLED screen, 6GB of RAM, and a Snapdragon 835 chipset, which is what you’ll find in the likes of the US Samsung Galaxy S8 and the OnePlus 5 – so it was once a flagship chip, but is now several years old.
The F(x)tec Pro1 also has 128GB of storage, a microSD card slot, a dual-lens rear camera (with 12MP and 5MP lenses), an 8MP selfie snapper, a 3,200mAh battery, stereo speakers and it runs Android 9 Pie. It also opts for a full top bezel rather than a notch or a punch-hole.
So on paper the specs don’t overly impress at the price, but then you are getting that keyboard, and if you want a QWERTY on an Android phone then your options are severely limited.