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About to get first smartphone. Evo vs Shift: How good is a keyboard?

Discussion in 'Sprint' started by Dokushin, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. Dokushin

    Dokushin Lurker
    Thread Starter

    So right now I've got an old, shoddy flip phone something-or-other on prepaid Straight Talk (Verizon network) which doesn't pick up at all in Birmingham; the nearest tower is over 10 miles away. So I'm about to make the plunge and get my first smartphone; I want an Android because I dig Linux, and I want Sprint because I approve of backing an open standard like WiMAX. And it's cheaper *grin*.

    I've been turning this over for a week or two, now, and (no surprise, I guess) am thinking that the EVO is the best on offer. However, I write a pretty large number of txts, and would really like to be able to manage my e-mail through my phone. The EVO Shift's physical keyboard seems like a pretty good option for lots of typing.

    So what I'm wondering is:
    Just how good is having the physical keyboard?
    Does typing on a screen ever get speedy?
    Is the smaller screen made up for by the lack of needing an on-screen input?
    *grin* What about games? Is the keyboard significant there?

    I'm sorry if these seem like really greenhorn questions -- I'm completely, utterly, totally new to the smartphone market. The phone I have now I've had for four years and it was the first one that could browse the web at all (go go gadget Openwave) and can almost do 1x. So I could really use the voice of experience :D

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  2. I have seen people use the evo and for most part the keyboard on screen is good enough.

    I do know some people need physical keyboard, ie they like to type with out looking at the phone.

    But from very large hands to very small hand can use the keyboard on screen, imo.
    Dokushin likes this.
  3. BenChase7

    BenChase7 Android Expert

    that all depends on you. Before I got the EVO I thought I had to have a physical keyboard, but with the EVO's nice big screen, typing has been a breeze. I think you'll probably be happy with either phone, but when viewing media and websites, the EVO's screen is great.
    CriticalCritic and Dokushin like this.
  4. pastafarian

    pastafarian Pâtes avec votre foie

    I haven't used the shift extensively, but I used to be a "needs a keyboard" guy before I got an Evo. With the right soft keyboard (currently Ultra), I have no need for a hardware keyboard. Any loss of typing accuracy and screen real estate. Is offset by a thinner profile and sturdier feel/build. The keyboard moving while in pocket can also turn on the screen frequently, so loosing it may improve battery life somewhat. YMMV, but after owning the Evo for a while, I don't think I'll ever go back to a slider again.
    Dokushin likes this.
  5. jasonacg

    jasonacg Well-Known Member

    Ah, Openwave. Those were the days. :)

    If you're willing to spend money for the Evo, but want the keyboard, then consider the Epic...as long as you're satisfied if the phone never sees the long promised, yet still undelivered upgrade to Android 2.2. It's the same price as the Evo.

    The big difference, aside from their size, is that the Shift does not have dedicated keys for 0-9. They are secondary keys on your QWERTY row. Depending on the content of your messages, this might affect the time it takes for you to compose messages, especially if you do a lot of texting. The Epic does have the fourth row of keys. The Epic, however, has unusual placement of the special characters. They aren't in the same place that you would find them on a traditional keyboard. Coming from the Samsung Moment, I've had to get used to that.

    Screen quality/size is more comparable between the Evo and Epic, where the Shift is a smaller screen, and seems be less vibrant than its two larger cousins.

    The Epic offers an on-screen keyboard called "Swype." I don't know if the Evo/Shift have it, or if it's just a Samsung thing. Some people say it makes touchscreen typing faster. To me, it's still a little awkward. You might want to try it for yourself to see if you like it.

    All three models will allow you to manage your E-Mail. If your E-Mail is based on Gmail (or Google Apps), then it's pretty automatic on the Android devices. For other non-Google accounts, there is a halfway decent mail client included.

    Let us know what you decide.
    Dokushin likes this.
  6. i VTAK

    i VTAK Android Expert

    The EVO does have Swipe, which a lot of people seem to like.

    I would suggest the EVO over the Shift just because I don't care for the bulk the keyboard adds to the phone. If I have to deal with a big phone, I want a big screen! Also I'm glad to see you didn't mention the Epic as an option. Stay away from that or any Samsung smart phone.
    Dokushin likes this.
  7. UniversalRep

    UniversalRep Newbie

    Sprint's 30 day satisfaction guarantee comes into play here. I say go with the HTC EVO first, it's more expensive, but you get the 1GHZ processor, 8 MP Camera, 1.3 MP frontward facing camera, and the Android 2.2 OS. If you cannot seem to manage using the touch-screen only inputs, simply just take it back and try the EVO Shift and enjoy $50 credited back to you. Definitely haven't heard a lot of complaints from my customers who are on the fence between the two here. I always try to move them into the EVO first, because I personally think it's the better device.
    Dokushin likes this.
  8. Dokushin

    Dokushin Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Wow, this forum rocks *grin* I sincerely appreciate the numerous replies. I didn't expect a tenth of this level of response. Thank you.

    So what I'm hearing is, skip the EVO Shift, and typing on a touchscreen is no big deal?

    Is there any situation in which having the keyboard makes up for the smaller screen? I'm an old dark-ages gamer and am likely to sneak an emulator on my phone if I think it will work at all; surely real-time controls such as for games are a weak point of a pure touchscreen? (This is, obviously, not a high priority, but I am curious *grin*)
  9. viber

    viber Android Enthusiast

    I'd get the Evo over the shift, but that's just me.

    The bigger screen and greater feature set make it worth the price of admission. Though, I wouldn't get either at this point. We are way too close to Sprint's Q2, and Q3 phones, which will certainly smoke the Evo and the Shift.
    Dokushin likes this.
  10. CarrieK

    CarrieK Android Expert

    Haven't used the Shift, but I'm lovin' my EVO. It did take some time to get accustomed to the virtual keyboard but now I'm pretty fast and accurate. Also, there are other keyboards you can download if you don't like the Swype or Android keyboards. Give it a try for the 30 days...I do not believe you will regret it. :)
    Dokushin likes this.
  11. dan330

    dan330 Extreme Android User

    first... welcome to the forum..and to android.

    2nd.. I give a vote for the EVO too. loving it!

    3rd.. keybaord or virtual...totally an opinion.. I dont need the real kb.

    4th...the evo can do most games great.. even with no kb. it is the heavy graphics one that it studders (a little) on. Shift has more power (it is not all about the mhz clock speed) and will do the big game better.

    5th... go play with the phones in the store for 15 mins each.

    6th.. use the thanks button to for all that have helped you.
    Dokushin likes this.
  12. HeadlessPonch

    HeadlessPonch Android Enthusiast

    The Market has various emulators for nes, snes, gameboy, etc.....
    I'm using Tiger SNES right now on my Moment. The Moment doesn't have multi-touch, so I have to use the hardware keyboard, which works pretty well. The on-screen virtual keyboard covers the game screen a bit, but I don't think it would get in the way too much. I have no idea if that would cause lag or not.

    For everything else, it comes down to personal choice. I love having a hardware keyboard, but I also use the on-screen keyboard occasionally. I also think the EVO and Epic are a bit too large to comfortably carry in my pocket. Like dan330 said - try them out in the store.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that a physical keyboard is one more thing that can break/wear out. Do you have kids? My 9 month old phone has to be helped the rest of the way open on the left (stops half-way over the number line) since The Kid knocked it off the arm of the couch 2 weeks ago, which also caused a temporary loss of communication with the sdcard. And that was only a 2 1/2 foot fall onto carpet. She also tried bending my old flip backwards a couple of times when she was younger, which made that hinge really loose.
    Dokushin likes this.
  13. Rigmaster

    Rigmaster Android Expert

    I'm not a kb fan because my big mitts simply don't like little buttons. At least with virtual boards, the mistakes seems to be a bit less common. I use voice whenever possible. As to the kb on the Evo Shift, the smaller screen led to a smaller kb so it's a total miss for me.

    I did try the kb on the Epic. Not too bad, but I'm not an SS phone fan.
    Dokushin likes this.
  14. dbpaddler

    dbpaddler Android Expert

    for me it wasn't about how well I could type, it's the fact I lose all the screen real estate. editing and selecting text, seeing what you're replying to is all harder with an onscreen keyboard. I also went back to my Epic over the Shift. Gave it a try for a week and now it's on the nightstand where my Pre used to be.
    Dokushin likes this.
  15. RoboMonkey

    RoboMonkey Android Expert

    If I had it to do over I'd go with the Shift. I have an Evo and my wife has the Epic and I find that I use my iPad more than my Evo now days.
    What I want is a Shift Size android phone with no KB that I can put Wireless Tether on. I do find that I actually make phone calls every blue moon.
  16. SoulTerror

    SoulTerror Android Enthusiast

    I came from the Samsung Moment to my Evo and I can type just as fast on my on screen keyboard as I could on the Moment. I use the stock keyboard as well. I personally won't buy another Samsung phone anytime soon, that's how bad of a taste the Moment left in both my wife and I's mouths.
  17. toomuchgame441

    toomuchgame441 Android Expert

    I know you said that you would go with the Shift but I think the Optimus S would be a good no KB device. It has a slightly smaller screen than the Shift but it also has swype. My fiance has the Optimus and its real zippy device plus I'm sure you can root it and put the free tethering on it. Plus since you already have an iPad I don't think you'd do too much heavy multimedia on the Android, even tho it could handle it.
  18. dbpaddler

    dbpaddler Android Expert

    Any phone can get swype by joining the beta. The shift woluld be the better value over the optimus because it's amore capable phone and gives you the slide out keyboard if needed. Plus you're spending that extra $10/mo regardless of which one you buy so might as well get the 4g one so you can take advantage of the speed boost if/when you're in a 4g area.
  19. rambo47

    rambo47 Well-Known Member

    I was a 10-year BlackBerry user and felt I absolutely had to have a physical keyboard. My wife has an iPhone and I HATE the onscreen keyboard on that thing, which only backed up my prejudices against onscreen ones.

    I bought the Epic specifically because it had a keyboard, and it turns out I hated that keyboard. So I tried an Evo and to my surprise I found I loved the onscreen keyboard on the Evo. The screen size makes ALL the difference. I now actually prefer the Evo virtual keyboard over my beloved BlackBerry 9650's physical one. I went from die-hard to convert on the issue.
  20. CriticalCritic

    CriticalCritic Android Expert

    Physical Keyboard > Touch Screen when it comes to game emulators. Flat out.

    That said, I wouldn't trade my Evo for anything. Once upon a time I had a Samsung Moment *shudder*, with a physical keyboard, and played various emulator games on it, and it was very good for that purpose.

    Now that I have the Evo, I can't stand trying to input on screen in emulator games, but all other games are GREAT! Anything that is supposed to be touch screen input, or tilt-sensor input, is amazing, especially on the Evo's large screen.

    As far as normal typing, the physical v. screen keyboard issue is purely a matter of taste... but I personally lean towards the Evo and Swype.
  21. novox77

    novox77 Leeeroy Jennnkinnns!

    I came from the world of Blackberry, and after trying to type on my wife's iPhone3G, I was convinced I was a physical keyboard person.

    When the Evo came out, I was in desperate need of an upgrade. It was the only quality phone available, so I played with it in the store. Surprisingly, I wasn't fat-fingering any of the keys like I did on the iPhone. So, I made the decision that I would give the touchscreen a try.

    Turns out, the screen size difference between the Evo and the iPhone was all it took for me not to fat-finger the keys. Back then, I was still pecking away with the stock keyboard. Now I use swype. I'm even faster now with the typing. Way faster than I ever was on the blackberry.

    As for emulators, touchscreen direction pad is no fun. If your thumb starts to shift off the "buttons" you won't notice until your character stops responding. But yeah, you won't be on your A game for sure. Having a physical keyboard would help here, but, when I play emulators on my PC with my keyboard, it's still not the same as my old NES controllers.

    But that new playstation xperia Play phone looks pretty nice for gaming. Dedicated controller in the place of a keyboard. I'm not much of a gamer, but if I were, I'd definitely consider that phone.
  22. novox77

    novox77 Leeeroy Jennnkinnns!

    Awesome, exact same experience here (minus the Epic - it wasn't out yet). Evo's screen size made the touchscreen much easier to type.
  23. whs37

    whs37 Android Enthusiast

  24. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
    VIP Member


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