One of the biggest decisions you need to make before choosing a mobile is how you want to type on it. Do you need a touchscreen? Would a QWERTY keyboard suit you? Or would you be better off with a traditional keypad? It can be confusing, so here’s our guide to QWERTY keyboards, traditional keypads & touchscreen mobile phones.

Nexus 5 in blackTouchscreens

The top smartphones use touchscreens, like iPhone 5s, Nokia Lumia 930 or Samsung Galaxy S5. Phones that only have touchscreens have bigger screens than ones with physical keyboards. So they’re great for videos and photos, as well as using apps like Google Maps.

Touchscreen Typing

Touchscreen phones have a virtual QWERTY keyboard – meaning the screen shows keys that are set out in the QWERTY layout like on a computer. In portrait mode, the keyboard’s smaller making it better for one handed typing. In landscape mode, the keys are larger, easier to hit and you can use both hands to type much faster.

There are also loads of apps that make typing better on a touchscreen. Swype™, often found on Samsung smartphones, and Word Flow, found on Windows Phone 8.1 phones, are great examples. You use them by pressing a letter and then dragging your finger to the next letters without taking your finger off the screen. That can let you type up to 500 characters per minute.

Physical QWERTY keyboardsBlackBerry Q10 QWERTY keyboard

Phones with physical QWERTY keyboards have a real keyboard under the screen, making them great for texting accurately and quickly. Some phones, like the BlackBerry® Q10, have both physical keyboards and touchscreens. But, as the screens are smaller, they’re only used for navigating through menus and webpages rather than typing.

QWERTY Typing

As physical keyboards have the same QWERTY layout as computers and you can feel yourself touching the letters, you’ll probably be comfortable typing on them. And a lot of phones have specially shaped keys that make it even easier to hit the right letter. Plus you can type secretly with a physical keypad, like under a table in a meeting, as you can feel the keys so you don’t need to keep looking.

read about the best QWERTY keyboard phones in this article

Nokia 105 traditional keypad
Traditional Keypads

These are phones with the same layout as home telephones, with the numbers 0-9 and three or four letters on each key. They’re usually really practical and easy to use and, because they have fewer keys, can be very light and small.

Traditional Keypads Typing

A lot of people are used to the layout of traditional keyboards because of old mobile phones and home phones. One handed typing is easy with these keypads as there are so few keys and the big buttons are ideal for people with larger fingers. But they’re not great for quick typing as you have to press the keys multiple times to get the correct letter.

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