Physical keyboards in smartphones have become a myth at this point. There are only a handful of smartphones that rock a physical QWERTY keyboard in the market right now and F(x)tec Pro1 is one of those smartphones.
This bulky handset is more like a spiritual successor of the BlackBerry smartphones, that will probably die with TCL breaking up with the company. However, the F(x)tec Pro1 will carry on the legacy of a physical keyboard in a smartphone in the market.
F(x)tec is a London-based company that unveiled its first smartphone, the Pro1, in the MWC back in 2019. It is one of those novel smartphones that rocks an actual full-sized physical keyboard which slides out from the side of the device. The keyboard has a standard QWERTY layout with the general function buttons like “CTRL”, “Tab”, “Esc”, etc. It has a total of 64 backlit keys and unlike the BlackBerry KEY2, it also has the arrow keys. You can also bind some of the keys with certain apps on your phone. For instance, you can press “W” to open up WhatsApp or “Y” to launch the YouTube app. Also, you can use the classic “CTRL+C” and “CTRL+V” to copy and paste.
Now, the sliding mechanism of the keyboard is a unique one as it transforms the smartphone into a small laptop-style device. As soon as you flip out the keyboard from the left side, the smartphone will automatically change the display layout to landscape mode and the screen flips up to a 155-degree viewing angle. The screen is able to attain this viewing angle with the help of a strong hinge that supports it from the back. So, this essentially transforms the smartphone into a tiny laptop that you can keep on your desk and type your emails or finish your story, whatever you’re into.
Now, because of the sliding physical keyboard, this device is one huge chunk of a rectangle. If you take a look at the thickness of the device, it looks like two smartphones stuck together. However, this is an obvious consequence of having a physical keyboard attached under the smartphone. So, if you’re into thin devices, this one is definitely not for you.
Apart from the physical keyboard, the device rocks standard specs with Android Pie running the OS. It has a 5.99-inch full HD+ display with the Snapdragon 835 SoC. At the back, it rocks a dual-camera setup, both 12MP and it also has an 8MP front camera. It also has a side-mounted fingerprint reader, but if you’re into face unlock, unfortunately, you won’t get it with this device. With a RAM of 6 GB, internal storage of 128 GB and a 3200mAh battery, the Pro1 is more like a mid-ranger.
The device comes with a price tag of $650 (~Rs 48,150) and you can get it from the company’s official website.