QWERTY comparison: BlackBerry Torch vs. Droid 2 vs. Epic 4G

Although most of the momentum in the smartphone world is in touchscreen devices, there are still plenty of people who prefer hardware keyboards. Here's a comparison of the hardware QWERTYs on three popular new devices.

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.

Photo gallery

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.

By Jason Hiner

Jason Hiner is Editorial Director of CNET and former Editor in Chief of TechRepublic. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.