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


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  1. Vance

    Vance Well-Known Member

    Was awful at first, now acceptable. That about sums it up.

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  2. russmd

    russmd Member

    I'm not as happy with the keyboard as most seem to be. I'm an old Treo 700w user and on that keypad, I could type with my thumbs almost as fast as I can type on a computer. On the Droid, I find my thumbs frequently pushing 2 keys and I get lots of errors requiring me to go back and correct them. I believe it would be better with a little raised dimple in the middle of each key for a little tactile feedback. I love the raised, rounded keys on the treo. Man, if they had a treo-like keyboard on this machine, I would be in heaven!
  3. MSU

    MSU Well-Known Member

    I like having the slide out keyboard, but I find it to hard to hit the keys correctly since they are small. I can use the on screen keyboard just as well, so I have stopped using the slide out.
  4. The keyboard is a big failure. End of thread.
  5. mikespe

    mikespe Well-Known Member

    For me the keyboard is just fine. As a matter of fact, sometimes when I am using the screen keyboard I hit the wrong letters and switch to the physical board for more accuracy. I am still trying to learn where all the symbols are and how to switch from caps to lower case...but over all I like the physical keyboard.
  6. Richdog

    Richdog Well-Known Member

    Sorry but that post is a big failure. Completely worthless.
  7. Tinger

    Tinger New Member

    I"m on the fence. Have used one in a couple of stores for a LOOOONG time, and still not convinced I want to live with a sub-par keyboard (my opinion). Yes, it is thin, but it's also not very good. I'm hoping for something better to come out soon before jumping into the fray.
  8. JonKyu

    JonKyu Well-Known Member

    At first when I first got the phone I definitely agreed with all the reviews about it. Then I actually started to use it, and well I LOVE it now. For longer messages I definitely prefer to type with the hard-keyboard because I feel like I can type more acurately which in turns makes me type faster. The soft keyboard for some reasom just can't keep up with my typing. It end's up freaking out on me when I'm trying to type. Also text selection sucks on the screen it takes me forever to accurately move the cursor to a place that I want to edit. The d-pad has made it a lot easier to position it accurately. Love it!!
  9. Barbara

    Barbara Well-Known Member

    After two weeks of use I'm also getting to the point where I can type without looking. I love having the three options for keyboard.
  10. Richdog

    Richdog Well-Known Member

    Very interesting reading thanks guys... any more opinions? :)
  11. Nepherim

    Nepherim Well-Known Member

    I like the keyboard in general, but dislike two things about it.
    1) when I open it, I invariably hit either the volume or camera buttons
    2) the pace key is too inset making it almost unusable

    I found that using my nails for thumb typing works best.
  12. pbwhite

    pbwhite Well-Known Member

    I'm coming from a phone with no keyboard. Not previously much of a text/SMS person - now I am.
    I actually like both keyboards, for longer messages/emails, I use the hard keyboard, and for other stuff, the soft. Both work very well for me.
    Just because one is used to a certain style/feel of a keyboard, shouldn't make the Droid keyboard bad or good - just that you need to get used to it.
    The same goes for the whole phone :)
  13. esmith818

    esmith818 Well-Known Member

    Sorry if I'm chiming in late, but as a new smartphone user with no previous experience using a QWERTY keyboard on a phone, I would have to answer the OP as follows:

    *Do you like the hardware keyboard?
    Yes. I typically use the software keyboard for texts and emails simply because it is quicker for me and provides the feedback options that learn as I type. However, if I am filling out a form online or if I need to edit something I did on the software keypad (yes, I proofread my emails), I find the hardware keypad indispensable. The D-pad provides arrow keys to move around within my text block to make edits which is a lifesaver. And using the hardware keyboard allows the screen to be used as a full screen rather than splitting it up for screen and keyboard.

    *Do you find tactile response and accuracy sufficient?
    I like the tactile feedback, although the accuracy leaves something to be desired. Personally, I blame that on my novice status as much or more so than the hardware.

    *Do you find it comfortable with your size hands?
    I do tend to make more mistakes due to the size discrepancy between my fingers and the keys.

    *Do you use it more than the software QWERTY?
    No, but as mentioned above, each has it's advantages. perhaps I'm naive, but it seems like a slider is a win-win. If you don't want the keyboard, you never have to slide it open - out of sight, out of mind. If you want it, you have it. Both sides should be happy, and as I have found, there are times when it is nice to have one.

    *Likes and dislikes about it?
    LIKES: d-pad, some market apps appear to be designed with the keypad in mind
    DISLIKES: small, cramped keys; no separate row for numbers; different from layout of software keyboard (I have to learn where symbols and punctuation are for both input methods)

    *What other device would you compare it to positively and negatively?
    Compared to my previous phone, a Moto RAZR with a T9 keypad, anything is better!
  14. scorrpio

    scorrpio Well-Known Member

    I find myself pretty accurate with the soft keyboard, both vertical and horizontal - it generally comes along with learning to place your finger just right to hit a needed link in the browser. For searches/SMS and such I use virtual. But when needing to write something extensive, I open up the keyboard. I find it comfortable and easy to use. What I kinda miss is the word suggestion feature that soft keyboard has.

    Also, and this is really looks to be a deficiency in the browser software, using it to post on forums can be a major pain. On most forums, the post editor window does not size properly, typing is VERY sluggish and some forums do not even show a cursor - so if you make a typo, correcting it is a nightmare. The workaround, however, is easy: I type the post in the notepad app, and then select all/copy/paste.
  15. SpecialEd

    SpecialEd Well-Known Member

    And I'm coming from a Treo with an awesome keyboard. I totally agree. Short stuff I poke out with one finger in the soft keyboard, longer stuff I use the hardware keyboard. I have learned to open the keyboard before clicking on the box or I end up sending the email too early :)

    The hardware keyboard is by no means idea. I would have preferred deeper separated keys. Of course, I carried a treo for years so thick and heavy is no issue for me. I would much rather have a 1 week battery and fewer mistakes over a sleek sexy phone, but the features of the Droid won me over.

    Maybe Seido will make a ginormous battery? Maybe someone will get a small real BT keyboard to work?
  16. I haven't seen this issue discussed anywhere else.

    I think the primary non-obvious thing that causes difficulty is that the little pressure bubble under each key is not centered under the printed letter. For instance, if you try to press directly on the printed H, there's a high likelihood of inadvertently pressing G, V or B, especially when you're really flying through the letters. If you want the H, you have to press between the H and =, not intuitive at all. To make matters worse, the pressure bubbles aren't even directly centered under each key. The entire third row (Z, X, C) sweet spots tend to be a bit lower than center on my Droid.

    This is turning out to be a rant but anyway, some of the design decisions on the keyboard don't make any sense to me. If space is at such a premium why have duplicate alt keys let alone two blank spaces? Put a bubble under there, let us use them as customizable shortcuts. And it seems to me that they could have easily accommodated an additional row of dedicated numbers, just let the screen open up a few more millimeters, it's not as if I'm applying any torque to the screen.

    I could go on and on about the keyboard. Do I use it? Yes, and I don't find that it's not too difficult either, it's just that I think it could be a whole lot better, that's what I find infuriating.

    By the way, I love this thing.:)
  17. chefboyardee

    chefboyardee Well-Known Member

    *Do you like the hardware keyboard?

    love it. big on having a hardware keyboard, which helped sell me on the droid originally. finding the more and more i use this, the more used to it i get, like with previous phones

    *Do you find tactile response and accuracy sufficient?

    yes and no. there needs to be a little more spacing between they keys or something, accuracy can be tough if i'm not looking at the keyboard. with my voyager i was able to type novels without looking down and trust my fingers. i've had this phone almost a month (i was a 6am first day guy) and i still dont' feel comfortable typing blind...yet. tactile response is ok everywhere but the space bar, which feels like one centered button under a 3-button width key.

    *Do you find it comfortable with your size hands?

    absolutely. and i don't mind the offset to the left that a lot of people mind. most phones with keyboards i've used have it (again, voyager being my most recent). i have pretty big hands, but have no problem typing accurately if i'm looking at the keyboard.

    *Do you use it more than the software QWERTY?

    without a doubt. i only use the software keyboard for small stuff, like searching market, and even then i open the keyboard sometimes. the lack of multitouch on the software one makes it really tough - i'm pretty fast with both, but on the software one i have to consciously slow myself down *significantly* so i don't miss letters (and it's very very hard to edit using the software keyboard, cursor placement is impossible)

    *Likes and dislikes about it?

    absolutely LOVE the keyboard shortcuts that come stock, and the ones you can set up. for example i know i'll always use the physical keyboard for messaging, so i have Search+M (Search being the magnifying glass key) open messaging; Search+N opens notepad, etc. i love that i can hold shift and alt like a regular keyboard, for selecting text, typing in caps, etc.

    dislike how hard it is to tell keys apart when you're not looking. also dislike not having a dedicated number row but i understand why they did it.

    *What other device would you compare it to positively and negatively?

    my only other experience at this level is with my voyager, and i'd have to give the win to the voyager here for on ability to type fast, without looking. but, the droid wins in functionality. i can do a lot more things (type more special chars, keyboard shortcuts) with this keyboard. and it's not *that* bad compared to the voyager. just not quite as good. that had serious key separation and i got used to it in a matter of days, not a month or two like this phone (pic: http://www.pma-show.com/news_images/0306_lg_voyager.jpg )

    one thing i've found, i've unnecessarily been texting way more than normal to practice typing - and it's helping. a lot. last time i played TxtSpeed (think mavis beacon) i was able to get 36WPM with minimal errors. not bad for a tiny, tiny keyboard :)
  18. argylecyclist

    argylecyclist Member

    Initially I wasn't all together sure if I would use it, but I am now a big fan of the hardware keyboard. I prefer it when typing long messages. For short quick replies I use the on screen keyboard.

    It only took me a few days to get used to the keyboard. Once I got used to the keyboard not being centered between my hands (I had to use my left hand more) typing was a breeze. My friends that have the Droid feel the same way.
  19. CombatChuck103

    CombatChuck103 Well-Known Member

    I forced myself to get used to it, and I haven't had a problem since. I usually prefer it over the virtual. Though I can't say I've used the D pad yet. My only major qualm is that the auto-correction feature is really scrapped down on the hardware qwerty (minor fixes like teh-the). If the full auto-correction was implemented I would be very happy.
  20. sooper_droid12

    sooper_droid12 Well-Known Member

    I use the physical keyboard all the time when using any of the emulators. The virtual d-pad sucks a duck. I also use the keyboard 100% of the time when I'm doing anything text intensive (i.e. emails, typing in URLs, etc.) It's really kind of like driving a stick shift. When you need to go to it, muscle memory kicks in and you slide it, don't even think about it. If I'm using the virtual keys and it looks like it'll be a long text, bam, slide. No thought. But if you don't drive stick, I don't expect you to get the analogy.
  21. darth_cholo

    darth_cholo Active Member

    I only use the virtual keyboard when typing with one hand in portrait mode. When in landscape it easier to view and hold using the keyboard.

    -DC
  22. chefboyardee

    chefboyardee Well-Known Member

    I love this analogy and completely agree. Well said!
  23. andrewdoane

    andrewdoane Well-Known Member

    *Do you like the hardware keyboard? YES
    *Do you find tactile response and accuracy sufficient? YES
    *Do you find it comfortable with your size hands? YES
    *Do you use it more than the software QWERTY? YES, by far
    *Likes and dislikes about it?
    Like it that it exists at all, when other phones just leave it out.
    Like that it has question mark, comma, slash, and at keys.
    Dislike the flatness
    Dislike the blank keys
    Dislike that it doesn't have an exclamation point (never would have expected this until you gave me the ones I mention above)
    Dislike the small size of the backspace key (I think it should be a double)
    Dislike that it's four rows (I would do a backflip it it had a number row)

    *What other device would you compare it to positively and negatively?
    I like it less than the keyboards on my Samsung Saga and Motorola Q. They were better, but I still like the Droid's keyboard.

    Initially I used the software keyboard about 60% of the time, but I have moved to using hardware for even search queries and short texts. The only time I use the onscreen keyboard is to put in the first letter or two to get to the right part of my contacts list.
  24. Barbara

    Barbara Well-Known Member

    It does have an exclamation key if you don't mind pressing alt. (alt+S)

    If you double tap the alt key, it turns all the alt functions on until you tap it again. This is very convenient when you are typing in a phone number. (The dash is alt+v)
  25. RayRaysGS430

    RayRaysGS430 Member

    RESPONSES IN CAPS...

    *Do you like the hardware keyboard?
    NOT REALLY, MY BIGGEST COMPLAINT IS YOU CANT FEEL WHERE ONE KEY ENDS AND THE OTHER BEGINS. ITS LIKE ONE BIG FLAT SURFACE. I DON'T LIKE IT MUCH, BUT YOU DO GET USED TO IT.
    *Do you find tactile response and accuracy sufficient?
    YES, AGAIN, SOMETHING YOU GET USED TO.
    *Do you find it comfortable with your size hands?
    I HAVE SMALL HANDS, AND I'M STILL NOT COMFORTABLE WITH IT.
    *Do you use it more than the software QWERTY?
    NO, I ONLY USE THE TOUCH SCREEN, I LOVE THE WAY IT KNOWS WHAT I'M TYPING, I CAN MISTYPE CAM, AND KNOW THAT I WANT TO TYPE CAN. LOVE IT!!
    *Likes and dislikes about it?
    I DID END UP GOING THROUGH 5 DROIDS BEFORE I FINALLY SETTLED WITH ONE THAT WAS NOT DEFECTIVE... ( I BOUGHT TWO, ONE WAS PERFECT, WHILE THE OTHER HAD ISSUES WITH THE KEYBOARD STICKING WHILE SLIDING OUT ON ONE SIDE, THIS WAS THE CASE WITH FIVE OTHER ONES, UNTIL ONE FINALLY CAME OUT WITHOUT ISSUES) SO WHEN YOU GET YOURS, I WOULD HOLD IT IN ONE HAND AND USE YOUR THUMB TO SLIDE IT UP, AND THEN USE THE OTHER AGAIN. IF THEY DONT STICK AT ALL, THEN YOU'VE GOT A GOOD ONE.
    *What other device would you compare it to positively and negatively?
    I AM ALWAYS GETTING NEW PHONES, BUT I THINK I HAVE FOUND ONE THAT I WILL KEEP FOR A WHILE. BY THE WAY, I HAVE SIRIUS AND I LOVE THE PANDORA APP.

    HIT ME UP IF YOU HAVE MORE QUESTIONS.

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