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MWC19 | The F(x)tec Pro 1 brings slide-out keyboards back to smartphones

All images via F(x)tec
All images via F(x)tec
The F(x)tec Pro 1 is a modern take on the slide-out keyboard that was once so common on Android phones. While the physical keyboard is quite unique, the phone is running on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835, a two-year-old SoC. The F(x)tec Pro 1 is expected to launch in July for US $650, but pre-orders are open now.

A decade ago, smartphones with keyboards were ubiquitous. Now, physical keyboards are only found in niche devices like the Blackberry Key2. However, there’s still a crowd clambering for keyboards, and the Pro 1 from smartphone startup F(x)tec may be what they’re looking for.

The Pro 1 is reminiscent of classic QWERTY sliders like the Motorola Droid (released in 2009); the keyboard is housed behind the screen and pops out on a sliding mechanism. The sliding mechanism also props the screen up to a 155-degree angle when the backlit keyboard is out.

While the keyboard is unique for a modern smartphone, the other specifications are fairly run-of-the-mill. The F(x)tec Pro 1 runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, which is two years old at this point. There’s 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB onboard, as well as microSD card support (up to 2 TB). The display is a 5.99-inch 2160 x 1080 AMOLED screen. There’s a dual-camera setup on the back (12 MP & 5 MP), an 8 MP selfie camera, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, and a USB Type-C port. The Pro 1 has other 2019 niceties like NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, and 802.11ac WiFi. Powering everything is a 3200 mAh battery. The phone will ship with Android 9 Pie and a custom launcher to better adapt Android’s landscape orientation to the keyboard.

The F(x)tec Pro 1 is a new take on an old idea, but it won’t come cheap. The phone is expected to launch in July for US $650, which is a fair bit to pay for an older chipset. Still, if the idea of a slide-out physical keyboard is appealing to you, you can pre-order the phone over at F(x)tec’s website.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 02 > The F(x)tec Pro 1 brings slide-out keyboards back to smartphones
Sam Medley, 2019-02-27 (Update: 2019-02-28)