Phones with QWERTY keypad’s have become quite a range among the youth. The stylish design along with ease of typing makes the phone an ideal choice for people who need to type a lot. With the onset of social networking in India, phones have become the tool for being connected with friends and family through not just calls, but on the numerous social networking sites.
With the rise in demand for such phones, more and more manufacturers started churning out phones with QWERTY keypad’s and at this point of time there are over 15 phones with QWERTY keypad available under the Rs 10,000 price tag. To make your decision simpler, we give you the best performing QWERTY phones among the lot.
Fly Circle (Rs 3,300) –
The Fly Circle is the best value for money proposition for someone looking at an entry level QWERTY mobile phone. The phone has got good build quality with smooth rounded edges at the corners. It provides its user with dual SIM functionality, 3.5mm audio jack, 1.3MP camera and has 10MB internal memory expandable up to 8GB. Weighing a mere 104g, the phone’s major drawback is its low-resolution display (176 x 208 pixels only)
A phone that gives you all the basic necessities at just about 4k definitely sounds like a great deal, doesn’t it? The B430 DS from Fly is a definite surprise in this regard. The device weighing 104 grams makes all possible efforts to give users all they might want, even at a later stage.
To start with, the device that came to us looked quite interesting. It is a light weight (104 grams) dual SIM device with a QWERTY keypad. The front sports a 2.2-inch screen with a resolution of 176×220 pixels. Below the screen are the D-pad with the Menu/Options and the Contacts/Back button on either sides. To the left side below the screen are the call receive buttons for SIM-1 and SIM-2 and the right corner has the call disconnect button. The lower portion of the Circle has well laid out keys, but there could have been better differentiation in the keys as typing becomes slightly difficult here. The top is clean with the miniUSB slot at the bottom and the 3.5mm jack on the left. The back of the phone has a 1.3Mp camera and the speaker grill to its left. Below the panel is a 1100mAh Li-ion battery powering the device and underneath that are the two SIM card slots and the microSD card slot (not hot-swappable).
A smooth user interface makes using the seemingly difficult activity of navigation very easy. The clear menu screen has 12 icons for navigation. The usual phonebook, messages, call history, user profile, File manager buttons are there and all the buttons are easily navigable. There is a security setup that has the Phone lock and a unique Mobile Tracker with Remote control and Call and SMS Blacklist feature as well.
It features a lesser amount of internal memory (10MB) but is expandable via microSD card. It also features upto 1000 phonebook entries. The multimedia features are quite disappointing with average images and videos. The sound quality on the speaker is decent. The FM Radio recognized only one of the ten FM channels in the city. It features other usual features like the Bluetooth, expandable memory, etc.
What catches ones attention most is the connectivity the Fly Circle provides. Along with the WAP and Bluetooth connectivity, there is a special Fly Zone that lets you access Nimbuzz, Snaptu and features Opera Mini in the phone. It lets you access your favourite Gtalk and Facebook easily. Another winner for the Fly is its battery life, which is amazing. It stays on charge for well over two days on normal usage.
However, the catch is its on call sound quality. In a quiet room the sound is very loud, while, as soon as you step out into even a slightly noisy surrounding, the hearing capability comes under question.
Overall, at 3k, the Fly Circle is definitely a good choice for one who wants an affordable QWERTY with abundant social media features. However, the Micromax Q5fb priced that is priced higher than the Fly at Rs 7k, but has a better screen resolution (320 x 240 pixels) and sound quality (powered by Yamaha).
Dual SIM (GSM+GSM)
10MB internal memory that is expandable via microSD,
– Easy UI
– Sound quality
– FM radio
GFone 571 DUO (Rs 3,999) –
The GFone Duo is the latest entrant in the QWERTY keypad segment and is loaded with features. The dual SIM phone has a 208MHz processor at its core and is the closest competitor in looks for a Blackberry clone. It comes with social networking apps preloaded; call recorder, background noise changer, Motion sensor and trackball navigation.
– Lots of built in applications
– Speedy interface
– Non-standard 2.5mm audio out
– Poor camera
– Average battery
The era of the QWERTY phones is very much here and this, is quite evident with the new phones being launched every other day. The flaunt value is said to be maximised with these phones and who wouldn’t want to be a part of the league. Speaking on these lines, lets talk about the QWERTY phone from Micromax, The Micromax Q5, also called the Facebook phone.
The device looks quite good, though is quite heavy. With its black coloured front dominated mostly with the well spaced out keypad and the 2.2-inch screen, it has the headphone above the screen. Below the screen is the trackball in the middle with the call connect, menu and facebook buttons on the left and the MSN, phonebook and the call disconnect button to the right. The keypad is well spaced out and make typing out messages easy, however, better defined keys would have been a lot better. The mic is below the keypad and the 3.5mm audio jack and the micro USB slot is at the bottom and the sides have been kept clear of any other controls. The camera and the volume controls have also been integrated in the keys, which is a slight quirk. There is a silver band across the sides of the device and the back just has the 2MP camera at the top with the speaker grill at its left.
The back panel is a metallic brown colour and is matt. It slides out easily to show us the 1000mAh battery that powers the device. Below the battery are the two SIM card slots and the mircoSD card slot. The SD card slot could have been hot swappable. An interesting thing is that the device comes with a supplied Silicon Sleeve, to keep the device safe and easy to grip. Once the sleeve is on the device, the phone looks completely black and becomes quite easy to hold.
The UI is quite smooth with the two SIM card indicators on the right hand top of the screen below the battery indicator and the signal strength indicator on the top left. The menu operations happen with either the menu key or the trackball that can be pressed. The menu features the Message, Phonebook, IM, Facebook, Opera Mini, Call Logs, Settings, Organiser, Multimedia, Fun & Games, Tools and the Service tabs. The navigatiobn through the menu is quite easy, however, the absense of a D-Pad is evident as the user would not have to be dependent only on the trackball.
The call quality of the device is very good and sound is clear both on the handheld or the speaker phone mode. It also features call blacklisting and easy line switching features.
The phone memory is 15MB that is expandable upto 8GB via microSD card. The sound quality is quite good and loud, courtesy Yamaha and the audio is quite clear as well. The multimedia options are many and the player output is good and it has the camera, sound and video recorder, the Image viewer, audio and video player play from the device quite well. The camera though is a poor performer, it just takes about average images in the best modes and also does not have a dedicated camera key. However, it does allow for some experimentation in terms of white balance and image settings. The FM radio has a very clear reception and loud reception. It tracked about 9 of the 10 channels that we have available here and it allows recording from the radio as well.
The device features MSN Messenger, Yahoo Chat, Gtalkand eBuddy IM applications and Facebook, Opera Mini and WAP browser for maximum connectivity. The Opera Mini in our case just refused to open with the message, “Opera mini not exists”.
The battery life is very good. The device can stay on charge for about two days to go from full charge to full discharge with a good deal of music, SMSing and voice calls.
To talk about the flaws, the device lacks dedicated keys, both for volume and the camera. The D-Pad is also highly missed in the Q5. However, the phone is pretty good social networking phone at its price that features Facebook and other social networking applications as well.
Dual GSM-Dual-Band (900/1800 MHz),
– Fast UI
– Amazing sound quality
– Good battery life
– Well set keys
– Rubber casing
– No dedicated music or volume keys
– No D-Pad
The multiplicity of ‘affordable’ QWERTY handsets available today is simply amazing. The devices available at super low prices boast of bringing the QWERTY feel and social networking capabilities to any and everyone who wants it.
In these likes, Lemon Mobiles have on offer their iQ 707, a QWERTY device that looks like it has a lot on offer. Lets check it out. In the box are the handset, battery, pouch, miniUSB to 3.5mm jack adapter (for 3.5mm headphones), headphone, micro USB transfer cable, charger, warranty and user guide.
Talking about the looks, the phone that came to us is in all black and has a silver band around the front. The entire body is glossy, but still looks quite good. The thin body is all of 96 grams and assures portability. The front of the device hosts the 2.2-inch TFT screen with the earphone above and an array of buttons below it. There is a trackball that rests at the centre with the shortcuts and messaging buttons on both the sides. To the left of the shortcut button are the SIM 1 and 2 call connect buttons and to the extreme left is the music button that takes the user directly to the music player. The right side of the messaging button has the names/back and the call disconnect button and to the right to these buttons is the camera shortcut. Below these buttons is the QWERTY keypad, which is very impressive because of its well spaced layout and ease of typing out messages (except that the numbers on the keypad are not backlit). The otherwise minimalistic design on the phone boasts of the power button at the top, the volume rocker and the microSD slot on the left and the miniUSB slot (for charging as well as connecting the provided headset) on the right. The back of the device is quite glossy. It has the 3.2MP camera at the top centre, the LED flash above it and the speaker grill to its left. The back panel has to be pried open and below it is the 1100mAh battery powering the device and under it are the two SIM slots one above the other. This is sure to make things slightly difficult, as to remove the second SIM, the first SIM will also have to be removed.
The phone boots up quite fast and presents a decent looking screen with the SIM details on it. One can reach the menu with the menu button or by pressing the trackball, which also acts as the select button. The menu has a decent layout with all the essentials like messaging, audio player, image viewer, time manager, among others.
What is great about the phone is that inspite of being a low budget phone, it offers a bunch of social media features like Nimbuzz, facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, MSN and features pull email as well. It also has Opera Mini and Bluetooth for connectivity. In terms of unique features, the iQ 707 has a call, SMS blacklist option under its Business Safe feature to block calls and SMSes from unwanted places.
With regard to Multimedia, the phone features a 3.2MP camera. Though it does provide a lot many customization options, the camera performs just averagely. The images with the flash are also nothing great infact the LED flash is quite weak. It offers video recording, sound recorder and photo editor as well. In terms of sound quality, the performance is just average. The on call sound quality is clear but no very loud and the loudspeaker also performs averagely. Another good point is that though the phone does not come with a 3.5mm audio jack, a miniUSB to 3.5mm jack adapter is provided in the pack which allows the use of other headphones as well. It also features an e-Book reader that supports .txt files only.
The flaws are quite a few to be honest. There is no way to reach the flash directly in case there is a power cut. One has to go through the menu everytime. Next up, there is no auto focus and the flash is not very powerful. Another glitch which I feel is slightly problematic is the trackball, an additional d-pad would have been helpful in making things a lot easier.
The multiplicity of social networking options makes it a good option for a low budget social media phone. However, there is the Micromax Q5fb at around the same price that also has about the same features, but it wins in the case of sound quality and clarity and also features a better screen and a 3.5mm jack which makes things a lot easier. However, the keypad in iQ 707 is much better and the phone is a lot sleeker as well.
2.2-inch TFT display
Dual-SIM (GSM +GSM)
Connectivity: Bluetooth, GPRS/WAP
Mini USB slot
20MB internal memory, expandable via microSD card
Phonebook capacity 3000
SMS capacity 500
– QWERTY keypad
– No Auto Focus
– Poor support LED light
Micromax sells its products through more than 40,000 stores across India which would be further increased to 70,000 in near future. With its aggressive marketing and advertising strategy, the company is looking forward to establish its niche in the telecom market.
Micromax is formed to create new technologies in the telecom sector. The company has a strong R&D department. Over the year, the company revolutionized the telecom sectors by introducing various technologies and giving more options in the palms of the consumers.
From its inception, the company’s main goal remained to conquer the technological challenges by creating “life enhancing solutions.”
Micromax is the first Indian company to introduce handsets with 30 days battery backup, dual-SIM handsets and dual standby, handsets with network switching capability (GSM-CDMA) through gravity sensors, aspirational QWERTY keypad handsets, operator branded 3G handsets and OMH CDMA handsets.
Here are the specifications of Micromax Q7 collected from official website:
Form Factor: Bar Style
Band: EDGE/GSM 900/1800MHz
Weight : 100g
Color Options: Available in 2 colors (black/silver)
Display: 262K Color QVGA Screen (5.6 cms) Trackball Navigation with Full QWERTY keypad.
Camera: 2.0 MP
Music: Multi Format Music Player (MP3 / AMR / MIDI / WAV),
Background Music Playback
3.5mm Jack: Yes
Facebook: Yes, Integrated.
Opera Mini: Yes, integrated
Stereo FM Radio: Yes
Video Player: Yes(AVI/3GP/MP4)
Messaging: Yes, SMS /MMS/EMS
Phonebook Memory: 1000
SMS Memory: 1000
Internal Memory: 78MB
Expandable Memory: MIcroSD (upto 4GB)
Battery Type: Li-ion 800mAh
Talk Time: Up to 4.5 hours*
Standby Time: Up to 6 days *
INQ Chat 3G (Rs 6,500) –
The INQ chat 3G is the ultimate social networking phone. Running on the BREW platform the phone has killer looks with an outstanding build quality. The Phone offers Facebook, Twitter, Skype, windows live messenger and even push mail. It’s got a dedicated switcher key on the side to quickly switch between running applications. The phone has a 3.2MP camera, is 3G ready, but sadly skips out on a 3.5MM jack. Also, as it requires to be constantly connected, it requires an unlimited data plan.
INQ has gained its ground quickly in terms of brand recognition in the past year. They gained attention post their announcement of INQ1 which is also known as the Facebook phone due to its seamless Facebook integration. In March of 2010, INQ mobile has arrived in India launching their phones in tie up with mobile operator Aircel. They launched their INQ Chat 3G and the Mini 3G in India, and we got our hands on the Chat 3G for a review.
The Chat 3G looks absolutely stunning with the black and dark red color combination with a silver streak running on the sides. It is one of the few phones that can make the blackberry look bad. The well spaced QWERTY keypad, large soft keys and easy to use navigation pad make this phone a joy to operate. The landscape display has a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels which is legible under direct sunlight. On the left is the mini-USB port and volume keys and on the right is the switcher key. Sadly, the volume adjustment keys on the side are too small for comfortable use. On the back is the 3.2MP AF camera along with a speaker grill. The back cover plate when removed has a” mark the way to the goal “puzzles engraved on the inside which is quite a good use of the empty space we think.
The Chat 3G has BREW platform with a user interface which is a breath of fresh air. The main menu is graphical with large color icons which turned black and white when selected. The home screen is much like a blackberry with a quick launcher at the bottom. On the home screen itself a user can add widgets of his choice ranging between cricket, Facebook, twitter, and up to 3 RSS feed updates. The switcher key on the right allows the user to multi-task as well. Ideally named as the Switcher key, it allows a user to switch between various running applications on one touch.
What is further impressive is the Facebook integration. Once a user adds his Facebook account on the phone, Facebook direct messages, wall posts, pokes and requests can be accessed through the unified inbox. Furthermore once the friend list is synced with Facebook, the profile picture is automatically updated in the phonebook contact list. The Chat 3G also comes with twitter and orkut apps for social networking, cricinfo app for cricket updates and even boasts of push mail. It allows a user to setup his Gmail, hotmail, yahoo and AOL mail accounts as well as corporate mail accounts.
The phone doesn’t disappoint in terms of audio output. The loudspeaker on the back and the in-ear speaker for voice calls has a loud volume output with superb clarity. The music player interface is simple, but provides most of the basic settings such as equalizer, set as ringtone as well as sharing options. The 3.2MP AF camera fails to impress. The camera claims to be AutoFocus but functions more or less as a fixed focus camera as the user has no control over the focus process. The images snapped are of average quality and can be used more or less just to share on social networking sites. The shots taken in day are good, but indoors and at night a lot of noise is visible on the snaps when viewed on the phone itself. Video recording is at 176 x 144 pixel resolution maximum which is another let down.
The phone even comes with inbuilt GPS that can be used with Google maps and is 3G ready which are rare feature to be available at this price point.
Sadly, the phone fails on multiple fronts including its core functionalities. The graphical user interface is a bit sluggish and it keeps getting slower as more and more apps are left running in the background. The core functionality which is its Social network capabilities are crippled as the phone fails to show the latest updates on its home screen widgets. In our use, the phone was showing Facebook updates older than 3 days even after a couple of repeated update status attempts. The cricinfo app failed to show the current match updates and was stuck on scores of the match that took place a day before. The twitter application failed to update at all multiple times with a Network error and when it did update it did not keep refreshing with latest tweets. We tried updating Google maps to the latest version around 10 times, and each time the download was cancelled with a Network error. Same error came with INQ mail most of the times. The phone failed to pick up a signal in a basement where a MicroMax Q5 was showing full signal strength on Vodafone. At its price, the phone lacks FM Radio which is more or less a necessity for the Indian consumer now-a-days and the camera as mentioned is just average. Shockingly, even after master reset of the phone, all the setting for mail, Facebook and twitter did not get removed.
Most of the issues that plague the phone are most likely due to the poor service and coverage of Aircel. Sadly, the phone is locked on Aircel, if it wasn’t, then maybe it would have worked better with services offered by other network providers. For now, if you are looking at the Chat 3G for its social networking capabilities, we suggest that you give it a miss and go for cheaper alternatives such as the Fly Circle or the MicroMax Q5. These might not give you all the features offered by the Chat 3G, but would let you be more updated on social networking than the Chat 3G for sure. Perhaps, once 3G rolls out and Aircel offers 3G service, this device would be able to perform better.
114.5 x 61 x 12.8 mm
320 x 240 pixel resolution
2.4” landscape display
100MB onboard memory + microSD slot
EDGE, 3G, Bluetooth, GPS
3.2Mp AF camera
– Multi tasking
– Facebook Integration
– QWERTY keypad
– Sluggish UI
– Poor camera
– Pathetic connectivity
– No FM Radio
– No dedicated camera key
– No 3.5mm jack
The E63 is a phone that redefines entry level Smartphone category. The Symbian Smartphone has a lot going for it as it combines elegance with performance. The phone has EDGE, 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth and comes with120MB internal memory expandable upto 16GB. It sports a 2MP camera and runs on a 369MHz processor. Sadly, this one skips on a 3.5mm audio jack.
Design, Materials and Build Quality
The E63 follows the same form factor of the E71 i.e. QWERTY candybar. The E63 measures at 113*59*13mm whereas the E71 measures at only 114*57*10mm. Yes the E63 is bigger than the E71 in both width and thickness but is a tad bit shorter. However the main difference is noticed in the thickness of the device. The weight of the device still remains almost the same i.e. 127 grams in E71 and 126 grams in E63. This is one of the things that surprised me the most since the E63 does not contain all the metal body parts of the E71/E-Series and yet is still heavy. The E63 has mostly plastic components and even the battery cover is made of plastic.
The back cover is fingerprint proof due to the matte finish. The front face is also less prone to fingerprints but has a glossy finish. The only region which attracts some fingerprints is the screen. The battery cover removal process is different, you have to unlock it and remove the cover, when your done, fit it back and lock it again. The face of the E63 has the QWERTY keypad, D-Pad, soft keys, light sensor and earpiece. On the top of the device are the loudspeaker and the 3.5mm audio jack. The right side of the device is plain. On the left are the micro-SD slot and micro-USB connector. Since all the connectors are sealed, it prevents dirt/damage. On the bottom are the charger connector, microphone and the lanyard eyelet. The camera module is on the back.
The device fells quite strong and does not creak. But it feels a bit weaker in comparison to the E71. I think the increase in thickness is the factor that makes it feel more solid. The phone is available in two colours-Ruby Red and Ultramarine Blue (The one I’m trialling). Both the colours look good and have good paint-jobs on the device. But the red feels more feminine and blue appeals to the men.
The E63 QWERTY keypad remains the same in terms of size but it has a better feeling to it. So it is still very comfortable to type on and even better as I think. The E63 has some more keys on the bottom of the keypad and the space key has become smaller to accommodate the extras. The soft keys, shortcut keys and D-Pad remain the same. The Call End key now acts as the Power Key too. This makes it easier to switch off but it also makes accidental switching on/off more possible. The E63 lacks the presence of voice command and volume keys. I feel the lack of volume keys is a disadvantage. Most users are likely to go to the side to increase/decrease the volume before realising the absence and seeking to other means to achieve so.
The earpiece on the E63 looks better than the one on the E71. Sound quality is identical to the E71. There are no hisses/disturbances. The loudness is the same through the earpiece but through the loudspeaker; the volume is a bit lower compared to the E71. There is a feature in which, if you type a certain number/letter, the phone searches in the call records and phonebook and gives you an easier way to call since you don’t have to dial the entire number or enter the contacts.
The E63 comes with the same 2.36” landscape oriented screen as on the E71. It displays 16 million colours at QVGA resolution and has good sunlight legibility. Since this model is a minor to the E71, having the same screen size can be treated as a good thing.
The QWERTY keypad enables quick texting/emailing which is an advantage to most business users. The 4 types of message supported are-SMS, MMS, Audio and E-Mail. The messages can be stored onto the phone memory or onto a memory card.
Everything is in there including 3G, HSDPA, Wi-Fi, GPRS, HSCSD, EDGE, micro-USB and Bluetooth. Data transfer speeds are similar to the E71. The E63 lacks a GPS receiver.
The E63 comes equipped with the same 128MB Ram and 369MHz processor as in the E71. But it has an additional 10 MB of internal memory i.e. 120MB in total. There is a micro-SD card slot which supports upto 8GB. I think higher capacities should work considering the fact that most other phone from Nokia with 128MB of Ram managed to get it working. The E63 runs on the S60 V3 Feature Pack 1 and it delivers the same performance as the E71.
The E63 camera has been downgraded from the 3.2MP AF camera on the E71 to the 2MP fixed focus camera. The camera quality is below average. The lack of autofocus makes the situation worse. The pictures taken appear greenish and have high noise levels. There is an LED flash which can be used as a flashlight and I believe this is the first time in a Nokia that the camera flash can be used as a flashlight. Other companies have had this for many years and its good to see Nokia heading in the right direction.
The lens also lacks protection and thus scratches and smudges appear easily if not taken care of properly. A self-portrait mirror is also there for self-shot assist. The video recording is also bad with maximum of 15fps at QVGA resolution.
The E63 was released as a younger brother to the Nokia E71 and it is indeed one in terms of features too. There are improvements in some areas and flaws in other areas. But overall this comes sufficient for those business users who are looking for a more affordable and multimedia friendly version of the E71.
-3.5mm Audio Jack
-Good Build Quality
-Decent Audio Quality
-Good Battery Life
-Average Camera Quality
-No Volume Keys
-3.5mm Jack Cover Not Attached to Body