***The Ultimate "Is the hardware keyboard really any good" thread!***

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  1. Richdog

    Richdog Well-Known Member

    First of all chaps a big hello to the forum. I have been following the Droid/Milestone since it was but a twinkle in it's Motomothers eye, and for the most part was absolutely more than impressed with it's specs. Lots and lots of pros... very few cons other than the camera and... the keyboard.

    The keyboard, ahh yes, often such a subjective topic. I see it mentioned in threads here and there, a couple of opinions... but nothing hugely specific. So I thought I would make a thread DEDICATED to opinions and discussion about the thing... and try and figure out once and for all, short of playing with it (hasn't come to my country yet), if it is any use for one such as me.

    *So, if you can, please answer the following:

    *Do you like the hardware keyboard?
    *Do you find tactile response and accuracy sufficient?
    *Do you find it comfortable with your size hands?
    *Do you use it more than the software QWERTY?
    *Likes and dislikes about it?
    *What other device would you compare it to positively and negatively?

    Hopefully we can get enough people answering to build up an idea of common opinion on the thing. I'm looking forward to the Milestone hitting here with it's multi-touch. Hopefully it won't take too long before Sense UI is ported over and then it really will be the ultimate device. Cheers! :)

  2. Arien157

    Arien157 Member

    I played with the Droid in the Verizon store, and the keyboard was awful in my opinion. The keys are to close together, and it feels kinda hard to press the buttons, which make it hard to text fast. I'm planning on getting this phone, and planning on never using the keyboard. Well maybe I could get use to it.... but probably not.
  3. travva

    travva Well-Known Member

    the keyboard is fine in my opinion. sure it's not as good as a blackberry one probably, but i wouldn't know. the keys are fine for me, and i have big hands. i'm 6'5", so you can use your imagination :D. anyway, i use it more and more as i use my phone more. depending on the situation depends on whether i use it or not. for emails i usually use it. for txting and posting on forums, i usually use the on screen. but yeah it could be better sure but i think it does the job well and is nice to have even if you don't use it too often.
  4. Bugglette

    Bugglette Member

    I have owned my Droid for exactly eight days now, and am on it constantly (seriously, my husband says I need to be in a 12-step program)... here is my opinion of the physical keyboard.

    I love that there is the option to use the physical keyboard, and I regularly switch between it and the on-screen version. I do think that they could have designed it better. It is a little hard to get my right thumb in to proper position with the directional pad there....but I use that directional pad often and do not see where else they would have put it. I don't find the 'smoothness' of the keyboard to be an issue, and I'm sure I would be able to type without looking, if I could get my hands in the right position. I do have little fingers, though....and now that I think of it, I use my nails to type....

    Bottom line, I'd rather it be there in it's current state, then not at all, but I think it could have been done better.....and I wouldn't trade my phone for any other in the world.
  5. bthoward

    bthoward Well-Known Member

    I think that you're going to find that in time you'll start to crack the keyboard if you continue this... However stopping is only going to delay when you start to crack the keyboard. That piece is a little lack luster in the design department and its only going to start to crack as it dries out and gets stressed...

    I know a thing or two about keyboards... I'm an electrical engineer and my wife is a mechanical engineer that actually does all the keypads for our products. So yea I hear a thing or two about keyboards and keypads whenever I get a device. Lets just say that she's used a few ideas here and there from Blackberry. I've owned a few BB's and they are just great devices. I honestly hope that BB comes up to par with the performance and features that Droid offers so that I can go back as text entry on their devices is bar none the best in the business. I'm quite a bit slower on the Droid than I was on my Storm or on the Tour but I live with that for the other enhancements that the Droid brings.
  6. blank

    blank Well-Known Member

    i aboslutely love the keyboard. Im a guy and i have big fingers, and i am able to type very quickly on it without a problem at all.

    i dont understand why some have a problem with it. i love it.

    I have noticed when i try to use my finger only to hit the keys its a bit harder, but i always tilt my fingers and use part of my nails, so it ends out working great.
  7. ggp

    ggp Well-Known Member

    I truly don't give the keyboard a second thought. For me it's totally fine. I'm not a super speedy texter, maybe medium speed, and I do as good on this as I did on a LG enV3 keyboard. My thumbnails are short, but I do use the outside edge to type with. This technique did not work well at all on a blackberry curve. The keys are little, high and rounded, and that was a frustrating texting experience for me... but anyway Moto Droid... glad I've got the keyboard, happy with it, but actually very surprised at the ease and acuracy of both virtual keyboards! :D
  8. jaymac8888

    jaymac8888 Member

    After reading a lot of people complain about the keyboard (although many more others thought it was just fine) I was a little worried. I went to the verizon store to try it out and I was pleaseantly surprised. There is plenty of feedback when pressing a key, the D-pad is pretty useful if you learn when to use it, my big hands have no problem with it. It's certainly not perfect, but what keyboard is? My only issue is typing the Y key with my right thumb as it can be a little bit of a stretch sometimes. I'm trying to train myself to type Y with my left thumb.

    Ultimately though, you're gonna have to try it out yourself and see. Some people love it and some people hate it.
  9. michaelkahl

    michaelkahl Well-Known Member

    Yes, I like it better than the virtual keyboard.
    It is sufficient for me, but it took me about a week to really get used to it.
    Yes, I have an average hand size.
    Absolutely. I don't like the virtual at all. The iPhone multi-touch virtual spoiled me.
    It's flat, difficult to differentiate between keys, and isn't off-set.
    I've owned an HTC QWERTY (SMT5800) and I like typing on the Motorola better. The HTC was my first physical QWERTY, and it was nice, but definitely felt more cramped than the Motorola does.
    Palm Pre vs Droid - I would vote Droid hands down. The Palm Pre keyboard cramped my hands because the keyboard was sunk so deep and so small.

    This keyboard isn't the best, but it gets the job done. I've been using it since launch and my typing has improved tremendously on it. When I first got my iPhone back in February I had the same issues. I couldn't type well on it for at least a week, then I started to get better, and eventually I was typing super fast on it.
    Until a Droid Virtual is released with multi-touch support it's virtual will not be anywhere near as good. I think a lot of people coming from iPhones would agree with me on that point.
    Anyway, this is about the physical keyboard so I digress. It's really good for what it is, a thin and streamlined slider with a massive 3.7" display. The sacrifice this phone makes is a low-travel space constrained keyboard. It works and gets the job done. I for one am very happy.
  10. rjoudrey

    rjoudrey Well-Known Member

    I think the Droid is about balance. It is probably the thinnest phone with a keyboard by far. I use the keyboard about 30% of the time and find it more than adequate. I believe some design issues were encountered because of the phone thickness. I think the phone achieves the best of all worlds, Great screen, great platform, great form factor and an adequate keyboard.

    I don't write novels on my phone, if I did I would buy something else.
  11. WalkerRS

    WalkerRS Member

    Personally, I love the keyboard.

    This is my first phone to have a physical keyboard (or any type of full keyboard, to be honest) and it feels like heaven to me. Coming from numpad typing to this is awesome. I really don't have a problem hitting the keys, and recently I've stopped looking at the keyboard to type.

    Oddly enough, I'm seeing a trend that people with bigger hands (like myself) like the keyboard more, which is adverse to general thoughts on the keyboard. I decided to investigate this by letting a wide range of my friends use the phone.

    My results showed that people with smaller hands lay their thumbs flat on the keyboard, so when they press down they often hit more than 1 key, while people with large hand hold their thumbs above the keyboard and "poke" down with the proximal end of their thumbs, hitting only 1 key.

    I think this is due to people with larger hands becoming used to having to use precision thumb strikes for various tasks throughout the day, and therefore have an easier time with the Droid's keyboard.

    Could be completely wrong, but that's just what I've found out.
  12. Livinlife

    Livinlife Member

    As with every phone I've owned, Treo, VX6800, BB Curve, and now droid, the keyboard was the hardest part to get used to, but that is status quo for a new phone and me... With that said, after two weeks of texting and emailing, I've become very comfortable with the keyboard and make very few mistakes... Like with any new item one tries, there is always a learning curve and muscle memory is one of the hardest things to overcome...
  13. ergalthema

    ergalthema Well-Known Member

  14. estobaughn

    estobaughn Active Member

    I like the keyboard. I have no issue with the size. Tho the top row is a bit close to the screen. The buttons I wish were a bit thicker since the button press seems long enough. Also the space bar should have been a bit longer. Seeing as they had some extra space on either side of that row. And the fact that it is offset. Besides that I like having an actually keyboard.

    I was on an LG Dare before, which only had a virtual keyboard. That virtual keyboard I believe is better than the droids. Maybe because it was a smaller phone it fit better in the hand.

    And that's all I have to say about that...
  15. CRPercodani

    CRPercodani OFWGKTA VIP Member

    I like the keyboard a lot, especially being able to hold ALT or SHIFT if you need to type more then one punctuation/number in a row. Now when I first got my DROID I felt like I was always gonna press the wrong key, or press 2 at a time (I'm 6'4 290, big guy) but the more I used it I started to realize you just need to stop double guessing yourself with every keystroke and you really won't make that many error's. Everyone says the keys are all flat but they aren't, if you look closely at the right angles you can see they all have a slight bevel to them. When typing long emails or messages I can fly through them and I barely ever have to look down. For the virtual keyboard, I don't really care for it in landscape mode as it takes up way to much screen space. In portrait it's good for banging out quick reply's, but I wish TouchPal was updated for 2.0 and the DROID's higher resolution, its the BEST virtual keyboard, way better then Better Keyboard and just as good if not better then HTC_IME (Hero/Eris/Sense keyboard).
  16. vincentp

    vincentp Well-Known Member

    At first I thought it was awful, but I can already type on it as fast as I could on my BB.
  17. oceanlight

    oceanlight Well-Known Member

    the keyboard is decent imo. sometimes it's a little difficult to determine where one key ends and another begins, but i'm getting better at it. the backlight is nice. for anything longer than a sentence, i use the hardware keyboard instead of the onscreen one.

    as someone mentioned, they sacrificed having actual buttons in favor of the smooth piece of plastic with bumps in order to achieve the slim form factor. for me, it was a good tradeoff. i carry my phone in my pocket so it has to be slim.
  18. craighwk

    craighwk Well-Known Member

    The only time I've used the physical keyboard is when I was forced to when I was setting up the phone. Otherwise, It has remained closed.
  19. Richdog

    Richdog Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys some awesome feedback here... I must admit i'm not as dubious now as I was about it before. I have large-ish hands so seems I might just be ok. :D

    It's interesting though... I wonder if they will bring out a new revision of this next year with an improved camera and keyboard.
  20. prerunnerseth

    prerunnerseth Well-Known Member

    I think part of the issue is. Just about any mobile keyboard whether it be onscreen or physical is going to have a learning curve. I think people pick up the phone and complain because they cant jump on it immediately and type 20 WPM. Well If you've never used a BB go pick one up and see how well you do. I've had an Iphone, storm, ATT tilt, and now the droid all with keyboards of some sort. they all took time to adjust to. but once adjusted i was able to type just fine on any of them. it just takes practice. Granted some are better than others. but i find none of them horrible after some practice. It's along the same lines of all these people who buy the phone and expect it to be perfect. Its a new device on a fairly new OS and there are going to be issues. the iphone was a nightmare in the begining.
  21. koticphreak

    koticphreak Well-Known Member

    I didn't like it at first, and found the placement of some of they keys a bit odd, but as I use it more and more, I'm becoming faster and good with it :)
  22. fehhkk

    fehhkk Member

    I didn't like it at all at first, coming from an iPhone. But then I got used to it after living with the phone for a couple weeks. It's good to have a choice of both.

    If it only had the hardware keyboard, I would've bitched that I needed the soft keyboard.

    If it only had the screen keyboard, I would be bitching that I needed a slide out.. so all good :D
  23. mandfense

    mandfense Member

    I like the keyboard option, although it takes a little getting used to if you had a Blackberry before. I typically only use it when I'm typing and walking at the same time. Any other time I use the on screen keyboard.
  24. DanSan

    DanSan Well-Known Member

    for the past 2 weeks at work, maybe 3 or 4 days during work i would play with the demo droid we have to show customers. I dislike screen touch keyboards and will take a regular keyboard over it anyday. I havnt had a chance to dig through it, but id really like to disable that predictive text bullshit. stop trying to put words together for me..

    when i go to text ill slide out the keyboard but i felt like it was a little shallow and lacked markers on the keyboard. I need to keep my eyes on the keys but i bet after a couple of weeks i could do it blind.
  25. REMilk

    REMilk Member

    I upgraded from a nearly 5 year-old Treo 700W to the Motorola Droid. I have no problems with the slide-out keyboard. My fingers are large, but even the top row is not a problem. I am a 2-4 fingered keyer, not a touch keyer.

    I like the slide-out keyboard over the face-front thumb keyboard on the Treo.

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