Although most of the momentum in the smartphone world is happening around touchscreen devices, there are still plenty of people -- especially many business professionals -- who want a hardware keyboard.
There are three new high-end smartphones with hardware QWERTYs that have recently hit the market and I have been doing an old fashioned showdown with all three of them. I've put together a set of photos comparing the three devices and I've done a quick evaluation of each of the three keyboards.
See a photo comparison of the three: Keyboard showdown: Droid 2 vs. Epic 4G vs. BlackBerry Torch.
Samsung Epic 4G
The Epic 4G has the most versatile keyboard of the three. It has a dedicated row for numbers and several special keys (search, back, home, smiley, etc.). The keys themselves are chicklet-style, reminiscent of Apple Macbooks and Sony Vaio laptops.
BlackBerry Torch 9800
The BlackBerry Torch has the traditional BlackBerry qwerty that has been around on high-end devices since the BlackBerry 8800 World Edition. It is a top quality keyboard with a nice weight to it and typically has a low error rate. Those who are already familiar with BlackBerry will love the standard feel.
Motorola Droid 2
The Droid 2 keyboard is the worst of the three. The keys are too flat and non-distinct and there are no special keys other than the arrow keys. The Droid 2 keyboard is better than the original Droid keyboard, but that's not saying much. Most of the people I know who have a Droid bought it at least partly because of the physical keyboard. But those same people report that 90% of the time they never use it, since it's so bad.
Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks.