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CES 2022 | Astro Slide, the first 5G smartphone with a full physical backlit keyboard is now up for pre-order (and on display in Las Vegas)

Astro Slide 5G front and back, folded handheld (Source: Planet Computers)
Astro Slide 5G front and back (Source: Planet Computers)
At the end of a successful Indiegogo campaign that raised almost one million Euros by early May 2020, the Astro Slide 5G was supposed to arrive in March 2021. Now, there are over 5,000 backers and 2.2 million Euros involved. The device is on display at CES 2022 and shipments are scheduled to kick off in March.

After keeping the legacy of the Psion devices from the mid-1990s alive with the Gemini PDA and Cosmo Communicator, London-based Planet Computers is back with the Astro Slide 5G. Powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 800 processor, this smartphone/handheld device is the first of its kind to feature a backlit full mechanical keyboard.

In addition to the aforementioned QWERTY keyboard, the Astro Slide 5G phone also features the recently patented RockUp slider hinge that allows it to turn into a palmtop computer. The keyboard is available in no less than 24 different layouts, including Polish, US/UK English, German, Japanese, Dvorak, Hebrew, Spanish, Swiss, Thai, and more. 

The MediaTek processor comes alongside 8 GB 4-channel LPDD4x memory, 128 GB internal storage, microSD support, a 4,000 mAh battery with 10 W Qi wireless and 30 W USB fast charging, 48/13 MP main/front cameras, NFC, stereo speakers, a 3.5 mm audio jack, two USB-C ports with OTG and DP support, as well as a 6.39-inch AMOLED display with 2340 X 1080 pixels and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection.

The Astro Slide 5G runs Android 11 out of the box and ships loaded with Vivaldi browser and apps by Planet Computers such as Airmail and OneSearch. Multi-boot with various Linux distributions is also supported.

Shipments will begin in March, but the Indiegogo discount of 30 percent is still live, so those interested can still grab the Astro Slide 5G for slightly less than US$650. Although we are talking about a niche product that lags behind contemporary handsets within the same price range in areas like the camera department or charging speed, the success of the crowdfunding campaign shows that such devices still have fans. Those interested who happen to be in Las Vegas these days can find it on display at Eureka Park (62502), CES 2022 and ShowStoppers CES.

Would you grab the Astro Slide or a similar device? Why yes/no? As usual, the comments section is all yours.

Buy the Unihertz Titan rugged QWERTY smartphone (6/128 GB) on Amazon

PLANET COMPUTERS’ ASTRO SLIDE 5G AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER

  • The first 5G smartphone with a full physical backlit keyboard 
  • RockUp™ slider hinge instantly reveals keyboard to enable users to type and create without compromise
  • Astro Slide is in production and available to pre-order on the Planet Store: store.planetcom.co.uk
  • Astro Slide 5G will be on display at Eureka Park (62502), CES 2022 and ShowStoppers CES

LAS VEGAS, 5th January: Planet Computers today announces Astro Slide 5G is available to pre-order on the Planet Store. Following a successful Indiegogo campaign, Astro Slide is in production with first units set for delivery in early 2022. Astro Slide will also be on display at CES ShowStoppers and Eureka Park.

As the first Planet Computers device to feature the new patented RockUp™ slider hinge, Astro Slide can transform from a 5G smartphone into a powerful palmtop computer thanks to its physical backlit keyboard – available in 24 different keyboard layouts.

Designed to appeal to smartphone users who need to type and create on the move, Astro Slide runs the Android 11 operating system and can also be booted with Linux distributions. 

Astro is the first of Planet’s award-winning devices to house the large touchscreen display on the outside of the device. Its new RockUp™ slider hinge mechanism securely moves and tilts the 6.39” AMOLED touchscreen to reveal Planet’s signature physical backlit keyboard. When not in use, the keyboard is hidden under the scratch-resistant display yet is easily accessible with a simple push of a thumb.

Astro Slide is Planet’s first 5G device and is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 800 chipset, offering fast 5G performance with significantly reduced power consumption – enabling Astro’s large battery to power a user through an entire day of work and play. 

Astro Slide offers dual nano SIM card and eSIM mobile connectivity. It features a 48-megapixel Sony rear-facing camera sensor as well as a 13-megapixel front camera for video calling.  Other features of Astro Slide include:

  • Fingerprint sensor
  • NFC capability including payment
  • Wireless charging
  • Minimum 8GB RAM and 128GB of internal memory
  • Expandable memory via MicroSD

Both the Astro Slide and its unique RockUp™ slider hinge have been designed by Martin Riddiford, the inventor of the clamshell mobile device and the designer behind all the Psion and Planet Computers devices to date.

Dr Janko Mrsic-Flogel, CEO of Planet Computers, comments: “Astro Slide 5G is an innovative reimagining of the modern smartphone, one which empowers you to type, create, animate, and communicate – without compromise. 

“The Gemini PDA and Cosmo Communicator have both been immensely popular and helped kickstart a keyboard revolution. Now Astro Slide 5G is giving keyboard enthusiasts the world’s first 5G smartphone with a full physical keyboard.”

The Astro Slide 5G will retail at £729 + VAT and is available to pre-order on the Planet Store: store.planetcom.co.uk

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Codrut Nistor
Codrut Nistor - Senior Tech Writer - 5565 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2013
In my early school days, I hated writing and having to make up stories. A decade later, I started to enjoy it. Since then, I published a few offline articles and then I moved to the online space, where I contributed to major websites that are still present online as of 2021 such as Softpedia, Brothersoft, Download3000, but I also wrote for multiple blogs that have disappeared over the years. I've been riding with the Notebookcheck crew since 2013 and I am not planning to leave it anytime soon. In love with good mechanical keyboards, vinyl and tape sound, but also smartphones, streaming services, and digital art.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2022 01 > Astro Slide, the first 5G smartphone with a full physical backlit keyboard is now up for pre-order (and on display in Las Vegas)
Codrut Nistor, 2022-01- 6 (Update: 2022-01- 6)