Touchscreen vs Keyboard

One way you can narrow your choices is by deciding if you're a keyboard or a touchscreen person. Personally, I'm a touchscreen person, but I've known many people that can't stand to enter text without a physical keyboard on their phone.

■ Keyboard: If you feel uncomfortable with virtual keyboards, such as those on the iPhone, you should go with a keyboard model. Keyboards can slide out, such as those on the T-Mobile G1 and the Verizon DROID, or they can flip out like the one on the Motorola BACKFLIP.

■ Keyboards add bulk to a phone, but they're nice to have around when you need them. Even if you have a keyboard, you can still use the virtual keyboard if you choose.

■ No Keyboard: Ditching the keyboard keeps the phone slimmer and often means you'll get a better-quality screen. It also means you have less to go wrong with your phone physically. The Google Nexus One, Xperia X10, and HTC EVO all skip the slide-out keyboard. The HTC EVO even allows you to do part of your text entry with your voice.

NOTE: Before you settle on a phone model, make sure you try typing a significant chunk of text in the store. Does the keyboard respond well? Are the keys easy to reach? Do they light up in the dark? Likewise, you want to make sure virtual keyboards are responsive and large enough to accommodate your fingers.

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